A few things: This recipe calls for 1 cup of breadcrumbs and I think that is too much. I actually liked it better without the crumb topping. Since I had some shallots I needed to use up I substituted the shallots for a 1/2 chopped onion.
Remember, greens tend to really cook down so I put everything in a small baking dish.
I really liked this dish--it was very flavorful. My sister did not care for it but she doesn't like any cooked lettuce-type vegetable.
You could also change few things with this dish--such as I did by adding the shallots. Sprinkling a bit of freshly grated parmesan on top would be great.
Swiss Chard Gratin
1 1/2 bunches of chard
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons melted butter
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
2 teaspoons flour
1/2 cup milk
A few strokes of freshly grated nutmeg
1. Wash and stem the chard. Save half the stems and slice them thin. Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil and cooked the sliced stems for 2 minutes. Add the chard leaves and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and cool. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid from the stems and leaves and coarsely chop them.
2. Toss together the breadcrumbs and the melted butter. Toast on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven, stirring now and then, until lightly brown, about 10 minutes.
3. Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the diced onion. Cook over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chard and season with salt. Cook for 3 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and stir well. Then add the milk and nutmeg and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more milk if the mixture gets too thick. The chard should be moist but not floating in liquid. Taste and add salt if needed.
4. Butter a small baking dish. Spread the chard mixture evenly in the dish and dot with the remaining butter, cut into bits. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the top. Bake in a 350-degree oven until the gratin is golden and bubbling, 20 to 30 minutes.
Twenty-five years ago, I would take a morning walk with my young children. Each day we would pass an elderly man working in his big, beautiful garden.The old man would sit on the ground in the shade of his mulberry tree, thinning his carrots or weeding between the cabbages. This man let me stop and inquire; He let me just sit and watch and learn.
This is what we need now. Neighbors that are willing to learn together. Gardening is an art, it takes time, effort and passion. Many of us have been doing this for years, others are ready to begin. It's time to plant a garden. It's time to put our hands in the earth and bring our food back home.
The idea came to me last spring. Our five year old peach tree was once again demonstrating what abundance really means. For two weeks, we picked, peeled, bottled and froze our luscious Desert Gold Peaches. In the meantime this ''new" organic movement was finally blossoming. I knew people would really appreciate fresh, homegrown peaches right in their own neighborhood! I know this is not a new idea, but you really don't see it very often these days.
Our first step was to make a sign. Then we bagged our peaches, set up a table, and asked for $3 a bag. I put four bags on the table and within an hour they were all gone. On Saturdays we offered a special treat that became a favorite, peach cobbler. Finally, my peach harvest was over. At the grocery store, later that week, neighbors would stop me and tell me how wonderful my peaches were!
Really, all gardeners could be doing this! Each neighborhood is like a small village. We should be able to share our gifts and talents whatever they may be. As gardeners, we can share planning and information. We can offer hands on experience, knowledge and support. We can sell, trade or exchange our harvest. I would like to think that one day this may even evolve into a neighborhood farmers market. So where do we start? In our own backyards. One seed at a time.
Where do we start?
This blog was created as a resource for local neighbors to connect and support one another. If you are a gardener, or are interested in becoming one, or if you are a neighbor that would like to have access to organic produce from around the corner, we invite you to join us. We believe that this can be a fun experience, and although providing food for your family and possibly your community is not new, this generation is in the process of re-learning the age old art of gardening. If you have a garden blog or would like to create one for others to view please contact or send your link to Jill@SweetLifeGarden.com
"Twenty million Americans answered the call to plant Victory gardens. 40% of all that consumed was produced in the backyards of America. Citizens considered their gardens a community effort and a national duty. Victory gardens were vegetable gardens planted during World War II to ensure an adequate food supply for civilians and troops. The goal was to produce enough fresh vegetables through the summer for the immediate family and neighbors. Any excess produce was canned and preserved for the winter and early spring until next years victory garden produce was ripe."