Friday, June 12, 2009

Rainbow Chard-alition

Some days you have to really reach for a title...

A couple of weeks ago, I hung out in Peoria, Arizona, which is just outside of Phoenix. It was my first time to Arizona, other than innumerable layovers in the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, so I was excited to cross another state off my list. I've only got 10 more to go--Alaska, Ha
waii, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wyoming, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island--and I can complete the total destruction of my refrigerator, which will fall over from the magnets. Magnets are much cheaper and easier to store and display than t-shirts!

Peoria is the winter home of the Padres and the Mariners, and is surrounded by mountains and Phoenix. Nothing incredible to report, food-wise, except the existence of an In and Out Burger about a block from my hotel. That's a real good thing. I did eat at Carolina's, a local quickie Mexican place that's been around Phoenix for 40 years, and they had these Juicy Whip Mexican fountain drinks that I fell in love least the pina colada one. All I needed was a little shot of rum, and, well, that would have been unprofessional, wouldn't it?!

And it was hot! But, I'm beginning to think that there might be something to that old saw about "it's a dry heat." It was easily 98-101 every day I was there, but I never seemed to sweat the way I do at home...yeah, yeah, TMI. Seriously, I considered sitting outside one evening to eat dinner, when it was a balmy 95, and opted not to, because there were a ton of kids in the outside eating area and it was rather noisy.

The landscape in Arizona fascinated really did look sort of Martian-like, with the different tones of reds and oranges, and all the cacti. The saguaro is the cactus you always
associate with the Southwest, a'la Roadrunner cartoons, and they are all over the place. It takes 75-80 years for a saguaro to grow an "arm," so anything with multiple arms is very old.
And, protected. If you need to move or remove one, you have to get special permits.

(There's a grouping of adolescent saguaros on the entrance ramp at the airport's rental car complex, and it looks like a large stand of green penises...or would that be penii? Amusing either way.)

I flew in and out of Atlanta so I could pick up the dogs, who were vacationing with The Man while I was away. The Man and I went to the Dekalb Farmer's Market and picked up some fruits, veggies, and of course, cheese.

I saw some rainbow chard, and thought that it might be a good thing to try...need to add more leafy greens to the diet, and I get really tired of spinach sometimes. Plus, spinach makes my teeth feel weird if I eat too much of it. Evidently, I'm not the only person who has this happen, as evinced by this post on "spinach teeth."

Back to the "chard-alition"...Last night, I decided to give the chard a whirl. I rinsed it many times to get all the grit off--this rainbow chard was labeled "organic," which means "you get the dirt it grew in as a bonus," and sauteed it up with some shallots and garlic. 'Twas pretty darn tasty.

Sauteed Rainbow Chard

1 bunch rainbow or Swiss chard
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, chopped2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Rinse the hell out of the chard, and then rinse it again. The "dunk method" worked well--fill a bowl or the sink with water, dunk in the chard and swish around. Lather, rinse, repeat until no more dirt or grit is in the water.

2. Trim the stems from the chard and dice them into 1-1.5-inch cuts. Chop the shallots, and mince the garlic. Take the leaves of the chard and roll them into a cylinder and slice to produce "ribbons" of chard...easier to cook this way.

3. Preheat a skillet or saute pan and throw in the olive oil. Toss in the stems and cook for 2 minutes, then add the shallots and garlic.

4. As the shallots begin to soften, add the chard ribbons and saute for another 5 - 7 minutes, or until tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and voila! a tasty and actually good for you side dish.

Go forth and eat healthy!   Or add a little bacon! : )

(Yes, that is a ladybug tea kettle.)


LinC said...

Interesting article on "spinach teeth." I didn't realize that eating spinach decreased iron absorption. Popeye must be anemic!

Chard is not something I've ever eaten. Thanks for the tips on the dunk-and-swish method.

J said...

Reading this made me think of our visit to Southern California. Remember we went and had dinner at a restaurant up in the hills? Looking out at that desert landscape definitely says "We're not in the South anymore".