Swiss Chard

Swiss chard-on plate

Recipe courtesy of Simply Recipes.com

Swiss Chard is one of the vegetables we grew this summer, and for the last few weeks we have harvested the small, tender leaves to put in our salads.  I’ve heard that when Swiss Chard is matured that it is bitter-tasting.  The stem did have a bitter taste to me, but the thick, velvety leaves were not bitter at all.  Because of that, I prepared them like I would prepare kale; I washed each leaf, then I folded the leaf in half and removed the stem as far up the leaf as possible.

Swiss chard-in the garden

Swiss chard in the garden bed

I used 12 leaves when I made this recipe tonight, and I probably could easily have used three times as many Swiss chard leaves because the amount of shrinkage was incredible.  Also, the recipe says to cook the Swiss chard for five minutes, flip the greens, then cook for five more minutes.  I found that amount of time to be excessive (maybe because I only used 12 leaves), and I will probably only cook them for five minutes total when I make them again.  They had a wonderful flavor thanks to the garlic, and a nice bite thanks to the red pepper flakes.  To me, Swiss chard tastes a lot like spinach, and it cooks up like spinach, too.  I’m looking forward to eating this again soon.  Enjoy!

 

Ingredients

1 large bunch Swiss Chard

1 clove garlic, sliced

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons water

crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon butter

salt

Swiss chard-whole leaves

Directions

1. Rinse the Swiss chard leaves thoroughly, pat dry with a paper towel.  Fold the leaves in half and remove the stalk.  Roughly chop the leaves into inch-wide strips.

Swiss chard-chopped leaves

2. Heat a saucepan on a medium heat setting, add olive oil, a few small slices of garlic and the crushed red pepper. Sauté for about a minute.

Swiss chard-oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes

3. Add the chopped Swiss chard leaves. Cover. Check after about 5 minutes. If it looks dry, add a couple tablespoons of water.

Swiss chard-chopped leaves in pan

4. Flip the leaves over in the pan, so that what was on the bottom, is now on the top. Cover again. Check for doneness after another 5 minutes (remove a piece and taste it).

5. Add salt to taste, and a small amount of butter. Remove the Swiss chard to a serving dish.

Late Summer Garden Harvest

Garden Harvest-Late Summer Veggies

cherry tomatoes, green onions, iceberg lettuce, Swiss chard, garlic onions, Butter lettuce, Early Girl tomato, green pepper, French breakfast radishes, Cherry Belle radishes, and jalapenos.

Today’s harvest made for a couple of very fine salads, some goodies for later, and some jalapenos for the freezer.

Garden Harvest-Late Summer Herbs

oregano, basil, purple basil, sage, Italian parsley

I also snipped some herbs to dry.  I prefer to use fresh herbs whenever possible, and I have been doing that all summer, but now I must start prepping for the winter.  I have been freezing herbs in batches all summer, but I also like to use dried herbs.  I make my own bread crumbs and season them with dried herbs, also dried herbs are delicious baked in breads, and sprinkled on casseroles.  As always, just click on the photos to enlarge them.  Enjoy!

Our Garden 2015- Radish Harvest

Our Garden 2015-Update Radishes

Click on the photo to enlarge

We harvested some beautiful radishes yesterday and I just wanted to share the bounty with all of you.  The ones on the left are French Breakfast Radishes; they are about 3 inches long, tri-colored, mild in flavor, and have a creamy interior.  The ones on the right are Cherry Belle Radishes; traditional looking radish, sharp flavor, and they also have a creamy interior.

These radishes are from the heirloom seed collection that we purchased earlier this summer.  Mark and Danielle built more garden beds and sowed these seeds on 8 August, you can read about it here in my last Garden Update post.  After I took this photo, we washed off a few of these babies and munched them with some delicious whole wheat bread. Enjoy!

Our Garden 2015- Update

Our Garden 2015-Update Jalapenos

Jalapenos

Our Garden 2015-Update Bell peppers

Bell Peppers

Our Garden 2015-Update proper spacing

Lettuce and radishes

This is an update to the gardening post from June.  On Mother’s Day, our daughter Danielle, and I planted tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, and flowers.  Mark returned from his TDY in late May and we talked about expanding the garden using a raised bed system.  However, before we sunk any money or time into building a raised bed system, we wanted to experiment on a smaller scale.  So Mark dug out a rolling work cart that he built years ago, painted the wood so that it would hold up in the rain and attached two plastic tubs (with holes drilled for drainage), that we found in our storage room.  We figured if it worked like we hoped, then great.  If it didn’t work like we hoped, then we wouldn’t have spent much money on the experiment.

Garden June 2015- carrots, radishes, lettuce

Our starter bed-June 2015

For those not familiar with raised bed gardening; raised beds are beneficial for areas with poor soil (ours is clay and rock), it is easier on your back, legs, etc. because there is no stooping, kneeling or bending, the beds require less water, are more resistant to animals (ours are high, the bunnies won’t be eating our lettuce), are not prone to growing weeds, and have a higher yield of produce.

Our Garden 2015-Update First garden bed

Our starter bed- August 2015

We have been eating salads from our garden (lettuce, radishes, cherry tomatoes, green onions, and some carrots) almost all summer long and were pretty juiced by the idea of growing all our own veggies.  Since our two tubs did so well in spite of our lack of gardening knowledge (we did not use proper spacing) we decided to build a bed and try it out this summer.  Mark found the plans online at Raised Urban Gardens.

Danielle came home to celebrate Father’s Day and they built the first raised bed together (then they drank some beer).

P1050601 - Copy

Heavy concentration is required when pouring a black and tan

Mark and his tomatoes

Mark and his tomatoes -July 2015

That bed did so well that we decided if one bed was good, then four beds would be great.  So I did the research and looked into heirloom seeds and garden planning.  We ordered our seeds, I spent two weeks just reading and learning about square foot garden (SFG) planning, succession planting, crop rotation, and figuring out what we could still plant this late in the season.

Our Garden 2015-Update Mark and his wheelbarrow

Hauling the potting soil

Our Garden 2015-Update M&D filling the beds

Filling the beds

Our Garden 2015-Update The beds are filled with soil

Ready for seeds

Our Garden 2015-Update Chicken wire SFG template

Chicken wire square foot template

Our Garden 2015-Update D on clean-up duty

Danielle on clean-up duty

Once again Danielle came home to help her Dad “work the family farm”, as she referred to it, they built three more raised beds and sowed all the seeds for the late summer/fall crops (spinach, lettuce, radishes, Swiss chard, carrots, Chinese cabbage, green onions, and garlic).

Our Garden 2015-Update Farmer Mark sowing seeds

Farmer Mark sowing the seeds

Our Garden 2015-Update Work is done, now we play

Work is done so now we can goof around

Our Garden 2015-Update Jasper enjoying the sunshine

Jasper is enjoying the sunshine

Our Garden 2015-Update Mika searching for the shade

Mika is searching for the shade

 

Our next step is to plan the Spring and Summer 2016 beds, which means starting the seeds indoors this winter…oh yeah, and Mark and Danielle plan on building two more garden beds.  Our patio will be nearly filled with garden beds at that point.  Years ago, when Mark and his Dad built our deck (with assistance from our son Bobby) my Mother-in-law told me that we would love our deck so much that we would probably never use the patio again.  Outside of a few parties, she was right.  I’m so glad that the patio now has a use again.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin-Muffins-the-guys-at-work

The Levesque men building the deck- 2010

Our Garden 2015-Update Patio is filled with beds

The patio being put to good use

Our Garden 2015-Update M&D picking a little dinner

Mark and Danielle picking a little dinner

Our Garden 2015

Garden June 2015- basil

I’ve been trying to snap a few photos of our garden, but the Midwest has been hit with a lot of storms.  This morning when I let Mika and Jasper out, it was bright and sunny (and steamy), so I snapped a few photos.  Just as I got these photos taken, it started raining again.

We planted all our flowers, herbs, cucumber, and tomatoes on Mother’s Day.  We are in zone 6, and that is when it is the safest to plant.  They are doing really well with our muggy conditions.  The carrots, lettuce, and radishes went in late, only two weeks ago.  I wasn’t able to snap a photo of our green onions ( a giant pot full), our chives (a smaller pot full), or the planter box with oregano and cilantro.  Click on each of the photos and they will open up really big so that you can see them a little better.

I was able to capture Mika and Jasper looking at me at the same time, but it was so bright that their color washed out in the photo.  They are a tad bit more golden around the edges , like a cookie. Enjoy!

Garden June 2015- carrots, radishes, lettuce

Carrots, radishes, lettuce

Garden June 2015- cherry tomatoes and cucumber

cherry tomatoes and cucumber

Garden June 2015- basil

basil

Garden June 2015- sage, Italian parsley

sage, Italian parsley

Garden June 2015- Mika and Jasper

Mika and Jasper