July 11, 2009

Swiss chard with udon, raisins, garlic and toasted pumpkin seeds / baked marinated tempeh

First, I should mention that I've never really liked Swiss chard. It's just too beety tasting, and I'm not thrilled with beets. That said, I will eat these things if I come upon them at the table. My son and d-i-l in Seattle are very fond of Swiss chard and when they cook it it always tastes much better than I think it will. It tastes good, and makes me think I don't dislike it after all. But it's not something I would buy on purpose at the store. I'd rather have kale.

The garlic is added to the wok.
However, this year when we planted the garden - a garden that will be beneficial mainly to our renters since we'll be gone before most of it is ready to eat - I decided to plant Swiss chard because it grows fast, and the thought that I might be able to actually eat something from the garden other than lettuce, was enough to get me past my true feelings. Well, yahoo, the chard is indeed ready, and today I gathered a huge bowlful of thinnings. (The pole beans are also doing well and who knows, maybe we'll get a few of those. And the broccoli plants have tiny broccoli heads forming. And the Tumbling Tom tomato is covered with green cherry tomatoes, so there's a glimmer of hope that we might get to harvest something besides Swiss chard before August 15.)

The Swiss chard gets stir-fried in the wok.
Anyway, faced with this giant bowl of fresh greens, I had to cook something. I made a simple dish from the chard with crimini mushrooms, lots of garlic, raisins and toasted pumpkin seeds, and it wasn't too bad. It was seasoned with Shark brand sriracha. (I read that Shark sriracha is a more traditional chili sauce than the commonly used rooster brand. It's what is used in Thailand, and unlike Rooster sriracha, it has no preservatives. Now if only it didn't have 20% sugar. In Australia, my husband was able to find chili sauce that contained neither preservatives or sugar, but we haven't found anything like that here. If you know a good brand, please let me know.)

This is a very flexible recipe, and in keeping with that theme (and because I didn't measure), I'm going to be a little vague with ingredients and cooking directions. It's the basic idea that counts.

Swiss chard with udon noodles
  • about 2 cups crimini (or whatever) mushrooms, sliced
  • handful of raisins (1/4 cup?)
  • olive oil
  • lots of fresh garlic, minced fine (at least 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha chili sauce (more or less to taste)
  • handful of grape tomatoes, halved (I would have added these but we didn't have any!)
  • BIG bunch Swiss chard, leaves and stems, roughly cut
  • 10 ounces udon noodles
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • handful of pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds), toasted
  • chopped green onions might be nice added at the end, though I didn't add any
  1. First toast the pumpkin or sunflower seeds in a wok until browned and fragrant. Set aside in a small bowl.
  2. Cook the udon. Drain it, rinse it well with cold running water and drain again. Place it in a bowl and toss with toasted sesame oil.
  3. Cook the mushrooms and raisins for a minute or two in oil in a wok. As they begin to soften, add the garlic and cook for a minute. (Add a little more oil if needed.)
  4. Mix in the sriracha and tomatoes, then add the chard and stir fry briefly until the chard is wilted, mixing ingredients together.
  5. Add the noodles to the wok and toss for a minute until noodles are heated.
  6. Place in serving bowl and grind pepper over the noodles.
  7. Sprinkle the toasted pumpkin seeds over all.

We had our chardy noodles with Basic Oven-Baked Marinated Tempeh from Crescent Dragonwagon's "Passionate Vegetarian."

17 comments:

  1. My first visit to your site. I am a vegetarian and try to cook with fruit and veg that I grow at my allotment plot. Your blog is full of new ideas that I can't wait to try.

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  2. Mmmm this sounds like total comfort food. Swiss chard is on sale here this week too, so I may have to give this one a whirl!

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  3. Mangocheeks,
    Thanks for your comment and for visiting my blog. I hope you enjoy some of the recipes here!

    Alisa,
    Anything with noodles is comfort food to me. Swiss chard not so much, but I'm working on it!

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  4. Glad you liked your chard! Ours is just getting going. We had kale tonight, and tomorrow night it will be beet green thinnings. Happy to have greens!

    Thanks for the heads-up about the sriracha!

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  5. John's growing lots of Swiss chard at the allotment, so this recipe sounds just what we need! Thanks!

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  6. I think you found a perfect way to enjoy Swiss chard. Greens with fruits and nuts always whet my appetite. Chard is not my favorite green either, but I love the stems.

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  7. That looks delicious! I actually really like Swiss Chard, but I can't find it where I live - boo! Because this looks delicious!

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  8. Clair,
    I never got around to planting kale this year and of course, I'm sorry now.

    Penny,
    I just went out to check on the chard and something is eating it. It's not looking so good.

    Diann,
    I think we feel similarly about chard and beets. People who love beets seem to love chard, too.

    Shellyfish,
    You could just use a different green, like kale. Actually, I love kale and will probably make this again with kale from the farmers' market.

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  9. Love Swiss Chard! And this looks like a great dish with lots of interesting things going on! Love the pumpkin seeds.

    How do you like that particular tempeh recipe? I find some of Dragonwagon's recipes to be a bit hit-or-miss. Is it just me??

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  10. Lo,
    We really liked the tempeh and generally have good luck with the recipes. They sometimes have too much salt for me but that's easily adjustable.

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  11. I'm not a huge chard fan either (I'd rather have kale, too), but that dish looks amazing!

    That cookbook was one of the first ones I got after going vegetarian years ago. I love her name! I noticed a new book of hers recently and it looks like she's an omni again. Too bad, I liked having a Dragonwagon on team veg!

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  12. Kris,
    Do you mean the cornbread book? I'm going to have to take a look at that.

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  13. Hey Andrea, I think I'll love this one... I like pumpkin seeds in nearly any dish and I love anything with plenty of garlic :)

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  14. V.R.,
    I vote with you on pumpkin seeds. They taste so good. And I love garlic, too, as long as it's cooked a bit. (I also love it raw but it doesn't love me back.)

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  15. I'm sure if I made chard, you'd hate it because it would be steamed plain. not because I don't like a garlic mushroom greens fest, but because I'm really lazy when it comes to veggies. I haven't been into cooking at all this month. I hope that changes soon... especially since I'm going blueberry picking tomorrow and will "need" to use them up :)

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  16. Bethany,
    No, I wouldn't hate it. I like my veggies steamed, too, but if I only wrote about steamed veggies no one would read the blog! :D We eat lots of steamed vegetables. I especially like steamed kale.

    I'm not feeling much like cooking either. Maybe I should do restaurant reviews instead!

    You could freeze the blueberries and make smoothies.

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  17. Thanks for the helpful blog.

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