This especially applies to produce. Something Jeffrey Steingarten said once on Iron Chef America, I think on the Battle Melon episode, was, possibly paraphrasing here, that he'd never had something made with peaches that was as good as a really good peach. Do you ever hear something and go, in your head or out loud, "YEAH!"? That's what I did.
Because I can think of tons of foodstuffs that, given the choice between something delicious made with the ingredient or just the ingredient itself (good-quality, of course), I'd choose the ingredient. Some things just get worse when you add things to them. Not that apple pies and mango sorbets are gross, but I'd much rather just have a nice, crisp Pink Lady or a perfectly ripe mango that I refuse to learn how to properly chop, because to me the nice thing about slowly carving off mango flesh from the kernel, eating as you carve, is that it gives you the time to really savor it. I love frozen chopped mango like no other, but I always enjoy my mango more when I've really spent time to get to it.
But this isn't about mangoes. This is about Swiss chard. I call it Swiss chard because that was the first name I heard for it. Rainbow chard is more fun, but if you showed me a bunch of the leafy stuff with colorful stalks the first name to come to mind would be Swiss. Oh well.
We went to the farmer's market today. It was fun. :D I got some chard, kale, kohlrabi, and basil. Greeeeeeeeeeeeeen. Actually one of the kohlrabi was purple. Nevermind, I totally ruined the color scheme.
Can you tell my mind is going a mile a minute right now? Haha.
Anyway, I took pictures of the very simple process of cooking chard, but either someone messed with my camera settings and won't tell me or I was sleepwalking and screwed it up. It'll behave well in certain lightings now and will just laugh at me if I dare try to photograph something under my kitchen light, no matter what settings I put it to. Except for this one which, while still gross, is being posted to show you how much chard I got for 5 bucks:
It's a lot, if the picture doesn't show...
Getting back to the simplicity thing: this is simple. I mean, really simple. Just chop it up and go. You can season it with whatever you like, but if you're buying good chard, it shouldn't be needed. Of course, I am just one person with silly little taste buds of my own, and you may think it needs salt or pepper or nutmeg or garlic or somethin'. I just think it needs to be eaten.
Chard smells like summer. I first had it in the summer of 2006, I think, when my Nana cooked it for dinner up at my grandparents' summer house in Maine. I don't know what she did to it exactly, but it was probably just a simple sauté. Now, every time I smell it, I smell Maine. And Maine needs no seasoning to be awesome. For some reason I would love for that sentence to be on a t-shirt.
So here's whatchya do:
Cut off the ends of the stems, then strip the leaves from the stems (if the stem is thick while entering leafy territory, just cut the leaf from the stem by cutting it along the thick part of the stem, then just chopping off the stem to where it stops being thick). Chop the stems as evenly as possible, and place in a small colander. Bunch up the leaves and cut in strips, usually 1/2 - 1 inch wide. Place in a large colander. Wash the stems first while a large pan preheats. When the pan's hot, add the stems (if you're not using nonstick, a little oil would suffice, but I just cooked them in the little bit of water that was still on them from being washed). While those cook, wash the leaves well. After a few minutes of the stems cooking, add the leaves and, pretty much just walk away for a bit. I checked email. Come back every few minutes to stir around the chard, but for the most part it just needs to sit there and wilt down.
When the leaves look wilted, find a piece of stem and bite it to see if it's cooked through. If it's not, keep on cooking, if not, eat up!
I have some thingymabobbits to share with you, since this post wasn't very interesting. XD
I've recently fallen in love with thrift shops. I mean, I knew they were cool but I didn't really think about going in one until a couple weeks ago. I hadn't bought any clothes since 2008 (except a shirt I got in February at a Tegan and Sara concert, but shh) and figured I kind of needed some more by now. I hate spending money, particularly because I have little to speak of, so I stepped into Treasure Trove, which is a store owned by the local hospital (as in, the proceeds go to the hospital), looking for clothes, and found this:
KitchenAid silicone muffin tin - $7
I also got this 4-cup fat separator that I just use as a measuring cup because I can for $2.50ish. Steal!
Thennnn on Thursday my sister and I had a thrift store day, heading out to the Treasure Trove in Springfield (which is pretty far from where I live and that was the first I'd been there since late '08 I think). We were looking for clothes but while she was trying stuff on, I of course was again drawn to the kitchen section.
I got this:
|Ignore the Dasani in the window. It's not mine.|
This is a huuuge erm container/jar thing that's super cute, and apparently was made in Elkins, West Virginia. It was originally selling for $12 but was 50% off so I got it for $6. I also got two dainty little dark blue containers that refused to be photographed which I paid $3.75 for. I'm very pleased and now have storage for all my bulk items. :D
We also went to a ridiculously large thrift store called Unique, which was where most of the clothes of the day came from. Their kitchen section sucked, though. Also, the place was, despite having cool clothes for very cheap, quite skeevy. There was one section where they were selling half-empty bottles of hand lotion. o.O
Well, this post reeks of longevity and digressions so I'm going to stop typing now. :)
Have a wonderful weekend!
Oh, wait, I forgot to shamelessly plug the contest. Which ends tomorrow night so hurry up, fellas.