Eighth of an Acre Bounty

Random thoughts and anecdotes on cooking, critters, gardening and life on our small city lot.

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Summer meals

July 10th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Pardon the poor picture quality, but I was hungry and there wasn’t much light left so the camera flash left everything a bit overexposed. It occurred to me that I have all but stopped cataloging  some of our meals. With canning and growing season well upon us, the daily food preparation takes a backseat. Add to that the fact that during the summer we don’t usually eat dinner until the sun starts to fade (8 or 8:30) means when dinner is finally cooked there is little time to snap pictures before we wolf it down.

Last night’s meal was in many ways the epitome of all that is good in the summertime. Two pork chops from Whistling Train were rubbed with fresh minced sage, garlic powder, salt and pepper and seared on the cast iron griddle. A pseudo-succotash comprised of peas, purslane, squash, squash blossoms, garlic and young (still green) coriander went alongside a few griddled grit sticks (don’t quite know how else to describe them – leftover grits that I had chilled in a bread pan in the fridge overnight) that had been mixed with fresh herbs and cheddar cheese.

The night before we had chicken heart stew.  We had several bags of chicken hearts left over from when we went out to Laura’s to process chickens earlier in June. I ended up with the majority of the hearts, feet and liver from the 79 chickens we butchered that day. The subsequent days were dedicated largely to making an amazing stock from all those feet and making a bourbon pate from the livers (both were canned to save freezer space). All of that took some significant time so I bagged the hearts in smaller portions and stuck them in the freezer until I could figure out what to do with them.

I doodled about on the internet looking for inspiration and came across a forum thread that mentioned a Puerto Rican stew. It had been a rather cool day and stew sounded good so I took inspiration from there and went rummaging around to see what I could put together. I pulled  a half bag of dried hominy out of the cupboard and set it to soak a few hours before. I diced up the remainder of a red onion that had been lanquishing in the fridge, grabbed a quart jar of the green tomato enchilada sauce I canned last year (pic here) and a two quarts of chicken stock. While all of the above ingredients simmered with the chicken hearts and a bit of additional cumin, I picked and washed a large bunch of purslane to be thrown in at the last minute. The result was hearty, delicious and perfect for that evening. The purslane added a great lemony accent to what was a very savory stew.

We’re eating good around here now with the garden in full swing. Pole beans are climbing up thier poles, the peas are slowly finishing and broccoli and cabbage heads make themselves ready. I’ll have to harass Gary to make a post on his 3 sisters garden out front – we ate the first squash from there this morning.

Tags: Cooking

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Sanwaartan // Jul 17, 2015 at 1:03 am

    a lasagna rceipe from vegetarian website using chard and onions:Swiss Chard and Caramelized Onion LasagnaVegetarian Times Issue: December 1, 1998 p.24 — Member Rating: This lasagna is slightly unconventional, but not so much that traditional lasagna lovers won’t love it. The caramelized onions have a delicious sweetness that is offset by the robustly flavored chard.Ingredient List12 Servings12 oz. dried or 1 lb. fresh lasagna noodles4 Tbs. olive oil1 clove garlic, minced2 bunches (about 3 lbs.) red Swiss chard, stemmed, leaves coarsely chopped and blanched1 cup part-skim ricotta cheeseSalt and freshly ground black pepper to taste4 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions1 tsp. sugar1 tsp. balsamic vinegar3 cups low-fat milk1/3 cup all-purpose flour1 1/4 cups plus 2 Tbs. grated Parmesan or Asiago cheeseDirectionsIn large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles until just tender, about 8 minutes for dried and 1 minute for fresh. Drain and rinse under cold water. Spread noodles on clean kitchen towels and cover with plastic wrap.In large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, 30 seconds. Add chard and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer chard to medium bowl and stir in ricotta cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.Wipe out skillet, heat remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until onions begin to brown all over, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar and stir. Cook, stirring, until deep amber in color, about 20 minutes more. Remove from heat and splash with vinegar. Set aside.In medium saucepan, heat 2 1/2 cups milk over medium heat until steaming. Meanwhile, put flour in small bowl and whisk in remaining 1/2 cup milk until smooth; whisk into hot milk mixture and whisk constantly until sauce comes to a simmer and thickens. Continue cooking and stirring for 1 minute. Stir in Asiago or Parmesan cheese until melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.Preheat oven to 400b0F. Lightly oil a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or coat with nonstick cooking spray. Coat bottom of prepared dish with 1/2 cup of sauce. Line bottom with a single layer of noodles. Spread half the chard over the noodles. Add another layer of noodles, arrange caramelized onions on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread another 1/2 cup sauce over all. Add another layer of noodles, followed by the remaining chard mixture. Finish with remaining noodles and sauce. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.Lightly oil a large piece of aluminum foil or coat with nonstick cooking spray and use it to tightly cover dish. Bake lasagna for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 to 15 minutes more, or until lightly browned and bubbling. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.Nutritional InformationPer serving: Calories: 221, Protein: 7g, Total fat: 10g, Saturated fat: 4g, Carbs: 21g, Cholesterol: 17mg, Sodium: 304mg, Fiber: g, Sugars: gCopyright a9 2008 Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc. | an Active Interest Media Company.

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