It's been quiet around here recently, and for a good reason. This little space of mine is getting an well-deserved update, and I should be up and running with the new site next week.
But while that has been going on behind the scenes, the late summer vegetables are still lingering, in my backyard as well as in the market, and knew I needed to jump back on here and share one last late summer favorite. I hope you haven't moved onto butternut squash on me already.
It's kind of that in-between season time right now, the days are still warm but at night the chilly air is sneaking it's way in, and before we know it jackets will make their way back into our daily wardrobe. It right about this time that I start roasting my veggies instead of eating them raw, and this is one of those recipes I will be using to get my last bit of late summer indulgence on.
This swiss chard pesto is a new one for me and I've been putting it on anything and everything. I've make kale pesto, and I've made plenty of basil varieties, but this swiss chard pesto is going to be a new staple. Plus it is just another way for me to use and freeze the mass amounts of swiss chard I ended up with in my garden this season.
Hey guys, guess what? I want to be the one to tell you this, so here it goes. Summer isn't over yet. Just because Labor Day has come and gone, I am not turning in my flip flops for knee-high boots just yet. I am going to soak up every last second. As long as I have a slight hint of tan on my legs and vegetables in the garden it's summer in my mind.
This summer was a productive one for me. I had some pretty serious goals I was trying to accomplish, but within the serious goals I had some not so serious ones I was aiming for too.
Try to wiggle in a couple of beach days in-between working on the cookbook (check).
Have fun (check).
Sleep in during the last week of August (check).
Work on my garden and improve my green thumb skills (check).
Last summer I planted my first garden on my own, and I had very few successes and way too many zucchinis and mini-pumpkins. This summer I had a different strategy. I may have cheated a little, but I think it was necessary in my learning process.
I planted my garden with plants I bought that had already sprouted. Some may call this cutting corners, others may call this smart, but since I am not a person who can dedicate all of my attention to my garden, it turned out to be the best decision I could have made. My entire garden was a success (except for some little creature who was loving my kale) but besides that we now have a beautiful and balanced garden that is full of gorgeous summer vegetables.
I have been eating mostly from the garden for the past few weeks, and as far as home cooked meals go, there is not much that beats that.
I planted a few swiss chard plants in my garden and by mid-August they had grown to have some of the biggest leaves I have ever seen. I'm talking seriously big. I had to do something fun with them.
You know I am not one to take the safe route and just throw them into a pan and satuée them. I wanted to come up with something totally different. After several attempts, these enchiladas came to be.
Michael and I had a little bit of a debate on what to call these. Actually, the debate was sparked because I was accidentally calling them "empanadas" and he vehemently protested. Empanadas are one of Michael's great food loves, so I wouldn't want to mess with them. Woops! Enchiladas ... not empanadas! Once we sorted out the confusion, he agreed that "enchiladas" made more sense.
Traditional enchiladas are made with a corn or flour tortilla that has some kind of filling, topped off with a tomato based sauce and typically lots of cheese and then baked. Over here, I have a slightly different take on enchiladas for you. Subbing out the processed, carb-heavy tortilla for swiss chard is bold move in the health direction. And, by sticking with the green theme, adding in a green tahini instead of a tomato based sauce and cheese still satisfies the creamy texture but in a much more "still kind-of bathing suit season" sort of way. This is a perfect light, but indulgent, meal to ease into late late summer.
I usually start thinking about my next meal before I've finished the current meal in front of me. Sometimes I start day dreaming about meals days or weeks ahead of time. If you're reading this, I am guessing you do the same.
This past weekend I visited one of my closest friends from college, Michal, in Switzerland. Michal and I both think about food and talk about food a lot. I knew this trip would involve some pretty great meals. And don't let those mountains in the background fool you, there was no physical activity happening on this trip ...... we didn't want anything to get in the way of our eating.
Before my trip, I was already thinking about the food I would eat while I was there, and what I would bring with me to eat on the plane. As you might remember, I have been trying to make food for my flights, especially the longer ones. Since I don't really enjoy flying, I like to make food that will make me happy. Looking forward to a good meal is one way to take my mind off of take-offs and bumpy rides.
Dumplings make me happy. I just love a good dumpling. I get excited when I see a dumpling, and even more excited when I eat a dumpling.
Before I made my first dumpling, I have to admit, I was intimidated (and maybe just a little lazy) to take on the task. Leave it to the experts, I thought. But let me tell you, once you start making your own dumplings, you'll never stop. It is so much easier that you would think, and this way you can come up with crazy concoctions that you would not be able to order from take out.
I bet you wouldn't find swiss chard dumplings at your local chinese food delivery place.
I love the idea of stuffing what is fresh and seasonal into a dumpling. Last fall I made some pumpkin dumplings, maybe this spring I will do some sort of pea dumpling. Right now there has been some stunning swiss chard in the markets, so I thought a fantastic dumpling combination would be swiss chard and roasted garlic, because swiss chard and roasted garlic go so well together.
The walnut miso was inspired by my favorite cookbook of the moment: Japanese Farm Foods. That book is such an awesome source of inspiration, I am sure you will be seeing more recipes + influences from that book here.