Wednesday, July 10

Back in my Kitchen!

During the winter I noted that my desire to cook or bake was waning.  By Spring, there was no homemade granola or bread (typically staples at our house).   We were doing more and more yogurt based meals, Trader Joe's Tamales and tomato soup from a carton.  Carrots and hummus were being doled out a bit exccesivly at lunch times.  I found myself fretting about it.  I wondered if I would ever enjoy cooking again, or now that we are back to the States, would I start feeding my family sugary processed foods, would the kitchen no longer be a place I enjoyed creating...!  I know, it was a little overly dramatic, but I have a dramatic tendency.   I tried to tell myself that it wasn't my kitchen and that once we were settled it might feel different, but I continued to worry.  (That said, I was able to set aside some of my angst.  I bought some bread and store-bought cereal entered our lives.  All the while, I was assuring myself that I needed to give myself grace in a transient time.)  

Then in June, we moved to Richmond and I began to unpack my kitchen goods, most of which I haven't seen in five years. Oh, the difference a good cheese grater and quality knives can make!  We found the farmers markets nearby (yes, there are several).  And, not only have the markets been solace as we didn't have time to get much of a garden going this summer, they are also a continuing source of inspiration.  And so, between having my own kitchen, our own family table and farm-fresh ingredients, I'm once again excited to be creating in my kitchen.  Oh, we've only been here a month and I'm still easing into everything as we get organized, but it is so good to feel like I want to be playing in my kitchen (even if store-bought cereal still resides in my cupboard.)

I have such trouble passing up beautiful swiss chard, but have yet to find a recipe we love that uses it.  I did a stir-fry this time, which I liked but Jim wasn't crazy about.  Any favorite swiss chard recipes out there?
This is the table Jim and I bought for our hobbit home (basement apartment with 6.5 foot ceilings and two rooms) right after we were married.  I'm afraid we will need a bigger table very soon as there isn't much room for guests.  And to think, when we bought this table we liked that we could have two other couples over for dinner comfortably... how things have changed!
I'm loving this soup - Zucchini Chowder from Simply in Season - so fresh and  yummy!
My brother's family sent Jonah a Harry Potter cookbook for his birthday.  "I'm trembling with Excitement" were his exact words upon opening it.  I let him pick a dessert recipe out of it for me to make the day after his birthday.  He chose chocolate eclairs much to everyone's delight.
And this... yes, this is what it is all about my friends!


Laura Wingard-Plank said...

That zucchini chowder looks delicious! So glad you are having fun cooking and oh my, what a precious chocolatey face!

Laura Wingard-Plank said...

I think I found the zucchini chowder recipe and was just wondering: did you use fresh milk or evaporated milk? I can hardly wait to try the recipe--especially when we have fresh produce from the garden!

Haley said...

This is the only chard recipe I've had that I actually like:

And this one I can eat, but it's not my favorite:

Let us know if you find any other winners!

gmyo said...

We have a Swiss Chard salad that we really love...probably only good w/ Swiss Chard straight from the garden or farmer's market - grocery store would be too old/tough. Unfortunately, I am away from my own kitchen for 3 more weeks, but if I remember, I'll post it when we get back. It's delicious and delightfully colorful b/c you can use the stems!

Watkins said...

Laura, I used fresh milk and I don't use any sugar.

And thanks for the recipes all! I'm excited to try them!

gmyo said...

Shredded Swiss Chard Salad

1 large bunch rainbow chard (12 oz)
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp finely chopped shallot (I use onion)
1 fresh hot chile pepper, very thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
5 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, coarsely shredded

Wash and dry the chard leaves. Remove stems (some can be chopped later and thrown back in for color and texture). Stack leaves in a pile and roll them tightly, like a cigar, and thinly slice crosswise into very fine strands.
For vinaigrette, mash the garlic with the salt. In a large bowl whisk garlic paste with oil, vinegar, shallot, chile pepper, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper Toss the chard into the vinaigrette. Sprinkle wiht cheese and season w/ salt and pepper to taste.

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