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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dazed and Confused

Some weeks I feel like I'm sprinting for Friday, full of energy and purpose.  This week I feel like I'm crawling.

It hasn't been a bad week, just an exhausting one.  Work has been super-busy (not that I'm complaining--better that way than the reverse), and we just blitzed through blocking twenty-four pages of On Golden Pond over the last two nights.

Somehow, David and I have no plans for the next couple of nights.  I'm kind of grateful.  I foresee a long walk in my future tonight, followed by a glass of wine and some of the good cheese here my parents schlepped from one of the Italian markets in St. Louis.

A totally random photo demonstrating what happens if one flops on the
bed in our household.  Ingrid considers you her personal chaise.
David is doing somewhat better after his rib-fracturing bike accident a couple of weeks ago, but he's not up to hiking or other outdoor activity yet, so I also foresee a solo hike in my future this weekend.

We also received the latest CSA box, which includes a bunch of one of my favorite veggies, Swiss chard.  I love the stuff but am forever trying to find new ways to prepare it.

This recipe might win over people who don't particularly like dark leafy greens--it is savory and just slightly cheesy, and it has a terrific combination of tender and crispy bits.  While the original recipe did not call for oiling the pan prior before placing the chard cakes in it, they wanted to stick without it.  I thought it sounded weird not to oil the pan, but who am I to overrule Lidia?  Learn from my mistake.

Crispy Swiss Chard Cakes
Adapted from Lidia's Italy by Lidia Bastianich

1 lb. rainbow chard
2 tbsp. good olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely shredded
1 egg yolk, beaten

Wash the chard and trim off the stems, then trim away the central ribs.  You won't be using these for the dish, but they are great slow-cooked with a little broth, oil and garlic.

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat, then add the chard leaves.  Continue to let the pot boil for about twenty minutes, or until the chard is tender.  Drain and rinse the chard under cool water, and then finely chop the chard.

Here's the step I can't emphasize enough--squeeze every drop of water you can out of the chard, or the cakes will fall apart. 

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the butter.  When it is melted, add the onion and half a teaspoon of salt.  Cook the onion until it turns lightly brown, then add the chard and remaining salt.  Cook another 7-8 minutes, until the butter has all been absorbed.  You will want the chard to be dry but not crispy.

Remove the chard from the skillet and let the skillet cool.  When it is cool enough to handle, wipe it absolutely clean. 

When the chard is lukewarm to the touch, combine it with the cheese and egg yolk.  Divide the mixture into small patties and press them together firmly.  If there seems to be too much liquid in the mixture, squeeze some out and start again.

Reheat the skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil.  When the oil is shimmering, carefully place the chard cakes in the skillet.  Cook for about three minutes per side, then drain on a paper towel.

Serve warm--should make about four large cakes or six small ones.  We served them with a grilled Florentine steak, though they would make a fantastic addition to a vegetarian meal.


  1. Sure, it would win the heart, I like chard cooked in some olive oil or butter with some meat.

  2. This reminds me to get some chard planted in the fall garden.

  3. I never have chard,sound delicious,everything on the plate looks yummy :)

  4. I'm not a big chard fan but, you're right, this recipe might convert me! In our house, if you get on the bed in any way you will shortly end up with a dog on top of you. :)

  5. Such a pretty kitty!
    I like the idea of turning chard into little patties. Will have to give that one a go.

  6. Mmmm, these little savory cakes look delicious1 I think you need to eat a few, sit down and relax my friend :)

    Choc Chip Uru

  7. I can completely relate!!

    (Glad I'm not the only one) =D

    Believe it or not, I've NEVER had rainbow chard and I'm obviously missing out. Thanks for the reminder!!

    Have a lovely weekend, my friend!!

  8. I could just have these chard cakes and I'd be perfectly happy with my delicious dinner! YUM!

    Also, I LOVE that pic of the kitty taking a piggy-back ride!

  9. I love how your cat treats you as a chaise lounge. I have two dogs and they do the same. I can't lie or sit on anything low down because they then have to jump up and recline on me - but how I love it! xx

  10. The chard cakes look fab [and chard surely is not the only leafy green one can 'treat' like this :)!] Thoroughly understand how Ingrid feels and acts: natural, isn't it?!

  11. Good to know david's on the road to recovery! Your cat looks gorgeous! I'm not a big chard fan but this recipe sounds like it should be tried.

  12. Love chard, but usually cook them with some garlic in olive oil.

    Clever Ingrid ;-)

  13. I have never made anything like this chard and its really new to me. Whatever it is, I love all the flavours you have added, the olive oil, chard and the rest. Simple yet makes a complete meal.

  14. Love the idea of using chard like this!Perfect as a side dish with any meal :) My best wishes to David!

    Love your cat :)

  15. These swiss chard cakes look amazing. What a wonderful and healthy meal. :) Glad to hear your hubby is on the mend... hope the rest is quick so your solo walk will be a duo soon enough. :) Have a great weekend. :)

  16. I already love leafy greens so this will reeallly win me over :) A long walk + wine + cheese sounds lovely. Hope you enjoy your weekend and glad David is feeling better.

  17. Glad to know I'm not the only one who's weekend seemed like it was NEVER going to come. I'm still at work...only 3 more hours and I'm heading for a staycation in East End. The condo's got a kitchen...I'm thinking this is a fabulous dinner!

  18. This looks like a fabulous way to make Swiss chard, one of our favorite vegetables.

    I hope your husband feels better soon!

  19. What a combination of flavors! I love it. Definitely will be adding this to my summer try list.

  20. I have a bunch of swiss chard in my garden, and never know what to do with it! I will have to give this a try!

  21. This is such a good idea for chard, sounds great.

  22. What a great recipe for Swiss Chard! It's one of those greens I can't get enough of so I'm always looking for new recipes. Love this one! Glad to hear that David is getting better!

  23. This looks and sounds really wonderful. I grew swiss chard last year, I wish I had had this recipe. Gotta try making this one.

  24. That sounds delicious. I may have to adapt it to use collards as they seem to be most abundant here in FL. They sell HUGE bundles of greens on the side of the roads. Lovely stuff.

  25. What a healthy and delicious meal! Need to make this for sure.

  26. What a fabulous recipe! You know...I've only ever had swiss chard in soups! It will be nice to try this and taste swiss chard when it is the star of the recipe! Hope you manage to get some rest!!! : )

  27. sorry to hear about the ribs - i hear that is excruciating!

    your cakes look fantastic. chard is such a delicious green; but i don't use it often enough.

  28. such a great use of chard, i'll definitely have to give it a try!

  29. What a lovely way to prepare swiss chard! I bet it was just phenomenal with the Parm!

  30. Cute photo of the cat! And your chard cakes look terrific.

  31. This sounds like a nice way to prepare swiss chard.

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  33. Positive thoughts to to Dave for a speedy recovery-you need your hiking partner.

    I can totally relate to a crazy exhausting work week. It will be good to have a couple of days without plans...I think it is a fabulous idea to take a long walk or hike, glass of good wine...and really good meal. Sounds divine.

    I grew swiss chard in my garden last season. I made a lot of soups with swiss chard, and sauté it a lot too. Your recipe looks really good. Swiss chard will be planted in late September and I am book marking this recipe.


  34. The photo is so funny with the live chair of Ingrid lol! I love your swiss chard cakes!

  35. LOL! Ingrid is so cute. I need a back massage - I wonder if Ingrid is willing to move around a bit. =P

    I haven't made anything with Swiss chard. It sounds very healthy and I should give it a try!

  36. Love the chard, love the kitty. So adorable.