Saturday, March 17, 2012

Easy week-night greens


I read this article in The Guardian the other day and thought that Eliane Glaser had a very good point. Sure, celebrity chefs do live in a bubble, and their culinary advice, as healthy and tasty and wonderful as they might sound, aren't always practical. But I work full time, I have two young kids, an overworked partner, no one around to give us a hand, and yet we cook dinner from scratch every single night. The kids and I get home at 6:30pm every week night and we are ready to eat dinner by 7:15. Dinners consist of freshly cooked vegetables, usually served with meat or fish (the type of recipes you read on this blog), then a dairy product (yogurt or cheese), and a fruit. Most nights we start with a salad or soup (made from scratch as well, including dressing). (For drinks: water.) So I know there is a way to eat healthy food even on a tight schedule, and I know that the food revolution isn't just a great big fat lie.

Well, that was my conclusion two weeks ago. Yesterday, I took this quiz by Charles Murray, on NPR.org, and had to admit that I, too, live in a pretty thick bubble. Hm... So... Err... Take my advice with a grain of salt ;-)

Here is one of my new week-night favorites. It works well aside grilled meat, baked fish, or a starchier vegetable dish (which can be as simple as boiled potatoes).

Serves 4

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 1/2 yellow onion, coarsely chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, halved and stemmed 
  • 2 bunches swiss chards, or 1 bunch swiss chards and 1 bunch collard greens, or any other combination of green-leafed vegetables 
  • 2 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, cut into strips 
  • salt, freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 tsp whole coriander seeds, crushed, or 1/2 tsp coriander seed powder 
  1.  If you use swiss chards and the stems are large enough, use them. 
    • Cut off the leaves close to the stem and reserve. 
    • Cut the base of each stem without detaching it completely, and pull the fibers that come off. 
    • Cut the stem again, 2 inches away from its base, starting from the other side of the stem, and pull off the fibers again. Repeat until you reach the tip of the stem. 
    • You are left with 2-inch strips of delicious stem, free of the extra fibers that would make them chewy.
    • Chop the stem strips. 
  2. Wash the stemmed leaves and drain them the way you would wash and drain lettuce leaves. Take a few leaves at a time, roll them together along their longer axis, and cut into 1-inch strips. 
  3. Heat up the olive oil in a sautee pan. Add the chopped onion, chard stems and garlic and sautee until translucent (1-2 minutes). 
  4. Add the greens and toss until all the leaves are wilted, but still bright (another 1-2 minutes). 
  5. Toss in the julienned dried tomatoes and seasoning. Serve immediately. 
Step 3 (with green onions instead of yellow, here)