Eat Your Chard!
The spinach mystery is still with us, and this just in: Giant Food stores are putting the leafy green back on the shelves, as is Wegman's, starting today. The stores are promising signs stating where the spinach comes from - NOT from California farms, where the focus of the E. coli investigation continues.
Sounds almost as confusing as what kinds of liquids you can take on an airplane -- Colorado spinach, anyone? New Jersey? Pre-washed bags or loose bunches? It's enough to make me fall in love with other green leafy vegetables.
Steam it. Blanch it. Saute-garlic-onion it. Give some love to the chard, ladies and gents.
Not only is it a respectable stand-in for spinach, chard can stand on its own culinary laurels, thank you very much. In a beauty pageant, chard, with its gorgeous red veins and multi-colored stems, would steal the tiara from plain-Jane spinach. What's more, chard offers a slime-free zone, a common complaint heard over plates of sauteed spinach.
To get you started on a Chardian path, below are three recipes that have become staples in the O'Donnel kitchen:
Lentils, Syrian style, a luscious autumnal dish in which chard figures prominently; and then two takes on the spinach pie - first, the lunch box-sized, hand-held
fetayer (just use chard instead of spinach) and a by-the-slice, fully-fledged savory pie, flavored with dill and feta, a great make-ahead supper that can be reheated throughout the week.
With these chard secrets up your sleeve, spinach may soon become a figment of your imagination. If chard is old hat for you, share your favorite ways of cozying up with her in the kitchen.
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