Saturday, May 23, 2009


Lots of yummy cucumbers ripening right now. Add a shallot, red hot pepper, and some rice wine vinegar and you have a Thai cucumber salad. Chill for an hour and you will have a lovely little treat.

6 to 7 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the above and pour over:

1 cucumber, seeded and sliced
1 shallot, chopped
1 red spur chili (or any red pepper), chopped

Chill for at least one hour. I have also substituted a red onion for the shallot and have used crushed red pepper when I didn't have a red chili on hand. It all works.


Friday, May 8, 2009


Swiss Chard? Sadly, another vegetable I'm not familiar with. So, seeing a gorgeous bunch at the farmer's market the other day I bought some.

I found a good Alice Water's recipe on The Wednesday Chef blogsite.

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
4 servings

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.