Sunday, August 17, 2014

Red Chard with Currants & Feta

(4 servings)

Almost everywhere I go here on the Olympic Peninsula, I come across bunches of beets and chard. Both crops appear to be abundant here. The chard especially always looks very colorful and inviting; bunches of rainbow and reds.

I wanted to try something a bit different with the chard (other than braising it with lemon and garlic). I found an interesting recipe on Epicurious which added currants and feta cheese. The finished dish was delicious! I will definitely make this again.

adapted from Epicurious
1 bunch chard, about 1 lb
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
a few grinds of black pepper
2- 3 pinches red pepper flakes
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp dried currants
1/3 cup crumbled feta

Wash the chard and shake off the excess water. It's not necessary to dry. Trim off the very ends of the chard, then cut the stems into one inch pieces. Set aside. Cut the leaves into one inch ribbons. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot over a medium flame. Add the garlic and saute until it begins to brown. Quickly add the reserved stems and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Add the sliced leaves. Sprinkle the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes evenly over the chard and add the water and currants. Cook about 3-5 minutes. (I cooked mine for 5 minutes. That was too much for me personally. I would have preferred it crispier. So, watch the chard carefully until you like the texture.)

Remove from heat and stir in the feta.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Blueberry Crumble

(3-4 servings)

The blueberries here are magnificent. They are large, plump and juicy. I've gone picking a few times now and will probably head out at least one more time before the season is finished. I can't seem to get enough of them.

This is the fourth crumble I've made. Each one has been a bit different. I've experimented, adding fresh lemon zest, cinnamon and almond extract. I prefer this crumble. It's plain, with a small amount of sour cream. The sour cream provides a subtle tang, allowing the blueberries to shine.

For this recipe I used a small baking dish which holds about 3 1/2 cups.

3 tbsp sour cream
2 tbsp sucanat or brown sugar
2 tsp rice flour or unbleached flour
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Combine the sour cream, sucanat and rice flour. When they are thoroughly mixed, add the blueberries and toss until they are evenly coated.

Place the coated blueberries into a small baking dish. Set aside.

2 tbsp rice flour or unbleached flour
2 tbsp sucanat or brown sugar
2 tbsp rolled oats (gluten free, if you are avoiding the regular flour)
2 tbsp cold salted butter, cut up

Place all of the crumble ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times taking care not to over-process. The mixture should be quite coarse in texture.

Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the blueberries. Place the dish onto a cookie sheet to catch any drippings and place both into the oven.

Bake for about 35-45 minutes or until the crumble has browned and the berries are hot and bubbling.

Remove from oven and cool. Serve while still slightly warm.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Chicken Noodle Soup

( 4 servings)

This terrific soup warms you up on a cool evening. I used up odds and ends of vegetables I found in my mum's refrigerator. Feel free to swap out whatever you have on hand.

5 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 stalks celery diced
1-2 sweet peppers diced or cut into matchsticks
2-3 carrots, sliced
1 medium tomato, diced
2 green onions, sliced
small handful fresh Italian parsley, chopped
4-5 oz dried egg noodles
1 1/2 cups leftover cooked chicken, sliced into bite sized pieces
salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
4 lemon wedges for serving

Bring the broth and bay leaf to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Adjust the temperature as needed and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the celery, peppers and carrots and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes, the add the tomato, green onions and parsley. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

If you plan to serve all of the soup, then add the dried noodles directly to the soup. I planned on saving half of the soup for the following day, so I cooked the noodles separately in lightly salted water to keep them from getting mushy.

When the noodles are done, add the sliced chicken. If you cooked the noodles separately, then drain them and place them into the serving bowl(s). Cook the soup until the chicken has heated through and check for seasoning. Add salt and pepper, as needed.

Serve the soup with the lemon wedges.