Sunday, November 14, 2010

red chard risotto

Leafy greens have become a weekly staple of late in the CSA delivery. I am enjoying the variety, which seems to run the gamut from week to week. Last week, it was beautiful baby dino kale (yes, sounds like an oxymoron, but it's true!). This week, our leafy greens came in the form of the biggest red chard leaves I have ever seen. Ever. "Bigger than my head," according to JR. The pic confirms it.

Sometimes big leaves can be tough or bitter, but I didn't find that to be an issue here. This was definitely a case of making up a dish based on ingredients we had on hand vs. grocery shopping with a specific idea in mind. I was happy with the results. Lemon brightens the flavor of the overall dish and I enjoy the salty bursts of kalamata olives. With a lighter colored stock (the mushroom stock is quite dark), it would be possible to create a beautiful pink risotto as the rice soaks up the color from the chard ribs.

My posts have been a little slow lately and will remain that way for a while. This is turning out to be a busy fall full of travel. Next up: London. While I don't plan to cook from there, I definitely do plan to eat: if you know of any great restaurants there, send me a note!

Red Chard Risotto
Serves 3-4

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch chard, center ribs separated from leaves: center ribs chopped and leaves cut into thin ribbons
zest & juice of 1 lemon
1 c. arborio rice
1/2 c. white wine
4 c. hot mushroom stock (can substitute vegetable or chicken)
a big pinch of white pepper
12 kalamata olives, quartered
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
1/4 c. feta cheese, plus more to garnish

Heat olive oil in a french oven. Add onions, garlic, and chard ribs. Cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add rice. Stir until covered with a nice sheen. Add wine. Simmer 3-4 minutes until mostly absorbed. Add lemon juice. Adjust heat to maintain a gentle simmer.

Add stock 1/2 c. at a time, letting the rice absorb the majority of liquid between each addition and stirring regularly.

Once rice is tender (if you run out of stock before this happens, add hot water 1/2 c. at a time until rice is tender). Add chard leaves, lemon zest (reserve some for garnish if desired), white pepper, olives, and cheeses. Stir and cook until chard is wilted.

Serve garnished with reserved lemon zest and a sprinkle of feta.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

pear galette

Today was a cold, rainy day. The kind of day that makes you want to drink hot tea, wear slippers into the afternoon, and avoid going outdoors at all cost. Due to my trip to the northwest and some busy workdays since returning, it has been weeks since I've posted anything made in my own kitchen. To top things off, my last post (over a week ago) features what might be my ugliest food photo ever. Yes, my mom's split pea soup tasted phenomenal, but no, it did not photograph well.

All good reasons to spend some quality time in my kitch making something beautiful and blog-worthy.

Four pretty pears called out to me from the fruit plate: two anjou and two bartlett. JR had bought them to go with the "blue cheese" he purchased, that upon opening the fridge I discovered was really Humboldt Fog chevre - one of my favorite cheeses, but I'd personally prefer to pair it with fruit & nut crackers. Which, in my opinion, meant that the pears were up for grabs.

Up for grabs and the perfect filling for my first galette, which seemed somehow fitting for this cold, fall day. The following recipe is loosely based on one I found on My main changes were to swap muscavado sugar for the white sugar called for, to omit corn starch and apricot jam, and to make the dough in my KitchenAid vs. a food processor. I left the skins on the pears to go with the rustic look of the free form pie.

The galette came together quickly and is unquestionably delicious (even without the vanilla ice cream I forgot to pick up at the grocery store to accompany it). Bonus: it photographs much better than split pea soup. :-)

Pear Galette
Serves 6

1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. muscavado sugar
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 c. chilled butter, cut into pieces
4 large pears, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/4 c. muscavado sugar
pinch of sea salt
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
coarse sugar (I used demerara)

Combine flour, 1 Tbsp. sugar, and 1/2 tsp. salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add butter. Beat until the mixture resembles coarse meal, stopping to incorporate the flour that makes its way up the side of the bowl as needed. Add water slowly while mixer is in motion, mixing just until dough comes together. Flatten the dough into a disc, rap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Combine the pears, 1/4 c. sugar, and pinch of salt in a medium bowl.

Roll dough out on floured parchment paper to a roughly 14-inch round (aim for 1/4" thick). Mound pear mixture in the center of the dough, leaving a couple-inch border on all sides. Fold the dough over the pear mixture, overlapping where necessary and gently pressing to adhere folds. Transfer carefully on parchment to a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Beat egg in a small bowl. Brush the edges of the dough with egg. Dot the top of the galette with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until crust is golden and juices are bubbling, about an hour.
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