Tag Archive for swiss chard

Winter Swiss Chard

Lard crostini, with spicy Swiss chard & fresh farm cheese

It got down to 5F (-15C) last week and the high for a few days reached low 20sF ( -4 to 66 C) —  cold by our standards, especially with no protective snow covering. especially after the mild fall and winter to date. And yet! yet, how is the Swiss chard doing in its rustic cold frame (the one made with reclaimed storm windows)? Good enough to pick from.

It was even a late planted Swiss chard (that was started in the fall, sat too long in their containers and where finally transplanted in the cold frame in late October (see how it looked back then)

Newly transplanted Swiss chard back in November

But today? today after a really cold week? A very pretty bouquet!

Pretty good looking Swiss chard for January 29, after a long week of a very cold spell

It founds it way into a split pea, sausage and Swiss chard soup – a riff off the classic Tuscan cannelloni, sausage & kale soup (although when I made it, I was not conscious of the riff… this is how one cook after all when cooking without recipes – from memory or from unconscious influences).

I don’t like raw Swiss chard (I never use its baby leaves in salad for example), but I like it a lot cooked. It’s very versatile for one:

  • quick wilted in the frying pan with lots of chopped garlic, then thrown into a soup, with pasta or served as a side vegetable;
  • blanched, refreshed and squeezed dried, they can be tossed with a bean salad, with pasta, into a tart or quiche, in a gratin or on top of crostini.

I don’t really like the ones with all the brighter colors either. They might be pretty raw, but they don’t look so appetizing cooked (the red ones bleed all over!), their texture is rougher, sometimes vaguely unpleasant. I prefer green Swiss chard, and I am always on the look-out for new cultivars to try in the garden.I also really like the ones with a very thick stems – I use them as a separate vegetable. They are perfect in a garlicky cream-based gratin with a sprinkling of hard cheese and bread crumbs.

The recipe below is ideal for a quick lunch or appetizer as you can prepare the Swiss chard (and the cheese if using homemade) well ahead and refrigerate it – bring back to room temperature before using. All that’s needed is to toast the bread, before topping it with cheese and the greens.

Lard Crostini With Fresh Farm Cheese & Spicy Swiss Chard Read more

More on Growing In Hoop Tunnels

This is Swiss Chard in the garden today, unprotected, after weeks of cold weather, night in the teens (F/- 7 C to -12 C) and days of bone-chilling howling winds with gusts at 50 miles/ h (80 km). Not pretty, right? Certainly not much to harvest…

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This is Swiss Chard (and more) in the unheated hoop tunnel. Need I say more?

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A few hours of labor, $100 in materials (some second hand), one layer of greenhouse plastic – and we moved at least one zone south, maybe 2 . Not bad for January, eh?

S Is For Strawberries

Or is it for Swiss chard?

because my chard is doing quite well, thank you very much. I am now harvesting two big bunches a week, and with all that rain, and that nice temperature, it’s growing and growing and growing – as you can see from the photo taken just after a harvest, a couple of days ago, of ‘Lucullus’, a chard with a white respectable-sized stem and pale green leaves. It has grown remarkably well in the 7 weeks since I transplanted it out.

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I also have planted perpetual Swiss Chard, ‘Golden’ Swiss chard (with, you guessed it, has yellow stems), ‘Rhubard’ Swiss chard (with red stem) and another one with dark green leaves and white stem which label has been lost. And the one self seeding from last year. Those are not as far along as ‘Lucullus’, because I started them later.

Yes, I like Swiss chard.

I like strawberries too. And Tristar, is, again, not disappointing: small, abundant and bursting with flavor.

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So, of course, I am making sorbet. I am also making strawberry jam Read more

Before The Rain

Before the rain is a good time to:

1. transplant Swiss chard

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2. transplant lettuce

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3. check on tomato seedlings in greenhouse. Sigh. Too early to transplant outside. BUT Read more

The Scent of Swiss Chard

I had no idea that Swiss Chard flowers smelled so good.

The flowers themselves are small and inconspicuous – albeit on top of rather incongruously awkward stems that flop onto their neighbors – and, unfortunately onto the cowslip primroses. The scent is powdery sweet, not cloying. How I got to revel in the scent of Swiss Chard is a (not that) long story. Read more