Grape Leaves 2.0


By Freya Bellin

There’s a whole subset of foods that I would normally be hesitant to make at home because they sound too complicated or too messy. And until this past weekend, stuffed grape leaves would have fallen into this category. Yet, as it turns out, grape leaves—or chard leaves in this case—are pretty easy to make yourself.

I was totally impressed by the filling in this recipe. As I often find with the vegetable side dishes or fillings in this book, I couldn’t resist just eating it straight from the mixing bowl. The tabbouleh is herby and fresh, and I added raisins and walnuts for extra flavor and texture. I highly recommend that addition, especially if you’re accustomed to sweet dolmades. You could also substitute Quinoa Tabbouleh for the filling if you prefer quinoa to bulgur.

The next piece of this recipe is part arts and crafts project. The chard leaves become surprisingly pliable yet sturdy once shocked, and they’re pretty easy to work with. It took me a few tries to master the rolling, but once I got the hang of it they started to look quite professional. It’s tough to take a clean bite of the final product, but the leaves become softer and easier to bite into on day 2, probably due to the acidity of the lemon juice. You may experiment with coating the leaves with extra juice or olive oil to soften them. Needless to say, they take well to being made in advance, and you still end up with an impressive-looking, delicious new take on a classic. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

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Posted in Middle Eastern, Recipes

Garlicky Chard with Olives and Pine Nuts


By Freya Bellin

All too often I come home with a giant bunch of beautiful leafy greens and then wonder what exactly to do with them.  This recipe is a simple, flavorful answer to that question.  All of the ingredients are easy to keep on hand, and it’s also the type of recipe that can be altered to taste or whatever you happen to have in stock, although olives are a great choice.  I used Moroccan oil-cured olives: shriveled, bitter, and very salty.  They’re delicious, but make sure to go very light on any additional salt, if you use any at all.  Particularly useful is learning the braising method used in this recipe.  Leafy greens can fill up a pot or pan really quickly, but when you add liquid, like the red wine here, the leaves wilt much more quickly and are less likely to burn than if simply sautéed. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

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Posted in Produce, Recipes, Uncategorized

Dinner with Bittman: Chard with Orange and Shallots

Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

Chard with Orange and Shallots

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 25 minutes

A perfect winter dish, this warm salad has vibrant color and tangy sweet-sour flavor. The skin of the orange or tangerine becomes almost candied and provides a nice chew, but if you’d rather not eat it, simply peel before chopping.

Other vegetables you can use: any chard, bok choy, kale, or any cabbage. For the citrus, use kumquats (quartered) if available.

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Posted in Produce, Recipes