Archive for April, 2011

Chard Battle!

The winter garden did really well this year with minimal care thanks to record rains in San Diego.  Everyone on my block got a huge bag of lettuce at least once this season, and the cabbage, brussels sprouts and artichokes are filling our bellies.

The back bed in the picture below is filled to the brim with chard and beets, and however many stems I harvest, it seems like I wake up to a full bed each morning.  Something must be done!  When my sister was in town, we had some friends over for dinner and presented a whole chard-themed meal, Iron Chef style.  Allez cuisine!  This first dish wasn’t a part of that meal, but it certainly qualifies.

In addition to mountains of chard, I had a sad packet of puff pastry that was waiting to be used for something, anything!  I found a recipe for a spanikopita-esque casserole and adapted it to make this stunner.

Chard and Potato Strudel
inspired by this filo-dough-based recipe in Vegetarian Times

3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1 onion, diced
8oz mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 large bunch chard leaves, washed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/2 package frozen puff pastry, thawed but kept moist (under saran wrap, under a damp towel works well)

Cook the potatoes in boiling water until tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain and mash with the sour cream, ricotta and salt.  Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet and saute the onion until golden.  Add the mushrooms, garlic, red pepper flakes and sun-dried tomatoes and saute about 3 minutes more, until the mushrooms are starting to soften.  Add the chard and cook, covered for about 5 minutes more, until the chard is wilted.  Stir the mixture into your mashed potatoes and set aside.  Preheat oven to 375F. Spray 9×12-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

To assemble:  Lay out the puff pastry in a long rectangle.  Spread the potato chard mixture in a line down the length of the rectangle.  To make folding easier, don’t lay the filling down the very center, but set it off a bit.  Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise and pinch the pieces of puff pastry together.  If you have too much puff pastry hanging out on the edges without filling, cut it away and make adorable decorations.  Cut some vent lines in the strudel to allow steam to escape during cooking.

Bake about 30 minutes, or until golden.

I hope to share more of the chard showcase soon, and it looks like Beet Battle is next up:

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101 in 1001 Update

To see the original list, click here.

It’s been a pretty productive month on the ol’ list, due in no small part to a trip that Chris and I took to LA for our anniversary.  My wonderful mother came to town to play with El Nino Grande for the weekend, and we jetted off for a couple of days.  My handsome husband even got me flowers!

85. Hike the grotto in Malibu


This one 86. Swim under a waterfall is still undone.  By me, at least.

1. Go to the Getty Center

Lovely!  I could’ve spent 2 more days exploring this place – beautiful architecture and landscaping to highlight the amazing art within.

I’m excited for Ben to get a little older so we can return – we ran into a class field trip on the shuttle down to our car, and it looks like they were having a pretty amazing day.

We got close to being able to cross #4 off the list, but the Rose Bowl Flea Market was being held the weekend after our planned trip, so that was a no-go.

63. Sleep in until 9AM

Well, this is kind of a cheater – given two days to sleep in AS LATE AS I WANTED, my body woke up at 7:00 and 7:30, respectively.  So, I’ve decided to mark this one off, as I don’t want to force myself to lie in bed any more than feels decadent.

94. Take a bubble bath for at least 30 minutes

Again, in the same vein as above – I realized on attempt that I get super bored sitting in the bath for more than 15 minutes.  And the pruny-ness?  Mark this one done.

83. Repaint living room

It’s practically the same color (an unattractively-named Guacamole), but all the patch marks are covered and I don’t have to photoshop them out for our playtime photos, so I’m happy.

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