Kitchen Creation – Swiss Chard with Lime!

Just for fun, I’d like to share with you my most recent kitchen creation. This dish was inspired by the fact that I’ve gotten a big bunch of Swiss Chard each week from the CSA. It’s super fast (20 min tops), delicious, and super nutritious.

Now – if you are immediately turned off by the thought of leafy greens – don’t be discouraged! I was in your shoes in the not so recent past. I didn’t even really like them when I first tried them… they are an acquired taste… but if they are prepared well, their taste will grow on you! Plus they are super nutritious. I still don’t like mustard greens – too bitter, but Kale and Swiss Chard are milder.

Anyway… here is the recipe I’ve made 3 times in the past week. It’s great by for a side dish or served over rice:

Swiss Chard sauteed with lime

For 1 serving:
  • about 6-8 large leaves Swiss Chard
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 slice of lime
For 4-6 servings:
  • 1 bunch Swiss Chard
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 of a lime
Directions:
  1. Wash the chard
  2. Remove the stems from the leaves
  3. Chop the stems in small pieces
  4. Chop the leaves (I roll the leaves, chop into 1/2 inch strips then cut the strips in half)
  5. Heat some olive oil in a pan (just once or twice around the pan – less than you think you need)
  6. Add the stems, mix with the oil and cook for about a minute
  7. Add the leaves, mix with the stems
  8. Pour a little more olive oil over the leaves (they will still be fluffy) and mix
  9. When the leaves are almost wilted, but not quite – another 4 minutes or so – turn off the heat
  10. While the pan in still hot, add a sprinkling of salt (I don’t really use that much) and squeeze the lime over the leaves. Mix in to finish wilting the leaves
  11. Enjoy!

 

 

 

CSA

Last year, I decided to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  Joining a CSA is similar to buying stock in a farm – you pay at the beginning of the season for a share of the farm’s harvest. The fee is the same no matter what – so if it is a great year with lots of produce, you get more for your money; if its a hard year – bad weather conditions, etc – you get less. Each week, on the designated day – you go to the pick up location and get your share of vegetables for the week! I love it because you get to try new vegetables and forces you to eat lots of veggies (or freeze them for later use… but thats another blog!). Everything is super fresh (often picked that very day!!), organic and locally grown.

Most CSAs have some sort of work requirement – usually you have to work at the pick up station one time during the year. Some of them let you work at the farm in order to fulfill your work requirement. Being that when I was 5 I wanted to be a farmer when I grew up, I made sure the CSA I joined let you work at the farm to fulfill your requirement!  You only have to attend one work day at the farm – but last year I went to almost all of them. I got to cut potatoes to seed, transplant young plants, cover the greenhouse, and pick green beans.

This past Saturday was the first work day of this year that I was able to attend – and I got my friend Erin to come with me!

We helped cover the greenhouse (see the metal “hoops” in the picture below? (In the middle, on the left) – that is the frame for the greenhouse that we covered):

On our way home, Erin and I stopped at a lake to eat our lunch:
Fresh Asparagus from the farm:

I would love to hear about your experiences with a CSA, if you have them!

Cooking

One of my favorite things to do – besides acting – is cooking. I love, love, love spending all day in the kitchen preparing delicious food.

I wasn’t always in love with (or good at) cooking. And I’ve had my fair share of kitchen disasters. There was the time in high school that my sister and I tried to make mashed potatoes. We cooked the potatoes, then put them in a bowl with some milk and proceeded to mash with the electric beaters. Sounds good, right? WRONG. We didn’t cook the potatoes long enough, so they were too hard to really mash. We ended up with a soupy-potato-like liquid filled with chunks of super hard potatoes – sounds delicious, right?

Anyway, a few years ago, before I started acting again – I found myself unemployed with no hobby.  So, I taught myself how to cook! And, if I do say so myself, I’m pretty darn good at it!  I love cooking because its a creative, in the moment process that you can get lost in for a few hours (or 30 minutes if you’re making a quick meal) – and end up with a satisfying result that can be shared with others.

I’ll share with you one of my favorite recipes… I had just started cooking quinoa – and after having it with dinner one night, my sister said – you should make a stir fry with this instead of rice – and I did!

Quinoa Stir Fry
Ingredients
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic
2 medium carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 large zucchini, chopped (about 2 cups)
1.5 cups of fresh or frozen green beans, partially defrosted if frozen, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1.5 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
1.5 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Directions
Dry the Quinoa in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat, about 10 minutes
Add garlic and olive oil and toast the quinoa, uncovered 2 minutes
Add the carrots, cover and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the zucchini, cover and cook 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
Add the green beans, cover and cook 1 minute.
Add the soy, teriyaki, and sesame, mix well and cook, uncovered for 1-2 minutes, until vegetables reach their desired level of doneness.
Remove from heat and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.

Footnotes
I like my vegetables tender-crisp so the cook times reflect that level of doneness – it is easily adjusted to your tastes. It is best to make the quinoa a bit ahead of time so it has some time to dry out (otherwise the first step will take more time). 1/2c dry quinoa will yield about 2 cups cooked. To cook: boil water in a medium pan, add RINSED quinoa and let boil until cooked, about 12 minutes, drain water.

(Want to hear the latest from Marissa? Follow her on Twitter)