Swiss Chard… a farmer’s market treasure! By Nikki

Oberusel, Germany Farmer's Market

Oberursel, Germany Farmer’s Market

This past week, our school has been on holiday for October break. Allison and myself traveled to Frankfurt, Germany to visit our good friend Anne. I have traveled many places with Anne and together we have found local food markets to purchase goodies for our various holiday adventures. Last weekend, while we wandered in the local farmer’s market in the quaint town of Oberursel, I found Swiss chard at one of the large vegetable tents.

the colorful leafy, greens

the colorful leafy, greens

Chard is one of my favorite things to eat from my mother’s garden! Swiss chard is the colorful, leafy green. It can sometimes taste bitter, similar to kale; however, with butter and garlic, it sautes beautifully- and tastes delicious. Anne’s menu plan for the evening was to roast a cut of beef and serve with a red wine mushroom sauce that Anne’s mother used to make. At the market, we were happy to find green beans, fingerling potatoes, and this chard to compliment the meal.

rainbow stems

rainbow stems

My mother would cut the stems of this chard 3/4 of the way and throw the whole leaf with stem connected, into a pan of shallow water to steam. I prefer to cut the stems off at the base of the leaves, chop the stems into small pieces and saute them separately. Add the chopped stems to a pan of sizzling butter and garlic and saute for 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently.

yummy

saute in butter and garlic

I cut the big, chard leaves into strips and add them into the same pan as the cut stems.

cut and ready to steam

cut and ready to steam

Add about 1/3 cup water, put a lid on top and let it steam for 5-6 minutes. When it is ready, you should strain the cooked chard to let the water run off.

ready to steam

ready to steam

I have never been one to enjoy cooked spinach, so when I make chard, I don’t let it get to that point where it is wilted. I prefer my greens to remain leafy with a slight crisp, and the beauty of chard is that you can cook it to your preference. We served ours with skirt steak stuffed with a sauteed zucchini and mushrooms, topped with a red wine, mushroom sauce. We also ate sides of steamed green beans and roasted, fingerling potatoes. Our German farmer’s market adventure turned into a beautiful plate of deliciousness! Thank you Anne for a wonderful meal…

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

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It’s called, “Keeping your ducks in a row”! – guest post by Tom Hume

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

After a full day of skiing on Mt. Hood, it was a treat to come home to a New Year’s day dinner of roast wild duck, oyster stuffing and sweet, baked acorn squash.
That is a nicely centered plate!

That is a nicely centered plate- thanks Mom!

The post below is a contribution by my dad who has always had an interest in fish and wildlife- especially hunting, fishing, and clam digging. So much of what I have learned about being a creative cook has come from working in the kitchen with Papa Bear!
Here is what he has to say about roasting wild ducks…
plucking the feathers

plucking the feathers

After the birds were plucked, they were soaked, breast down in organic 1% milk for 3 hours.
This decreases the game-y flavor of the meat.
ducks take a milk bath

ducks take a milk bath

When finished soaking, place the birds breast side up in a baking dish.
Pat dry with paper towel. Then separate the skin from the breast meat with fingers.
the dirty work

the dirty work

Under the skin place 1 piece of small mandarin, 1 dried apricot and 1/2 slice of apple on each side of the breast, squishing the mandarin in between the skin and the meat. Salt the inside of the cavity with kosher salt and replace 1 heart and 1 liver per duck along with remaining apple and 1 minced garlic clove.
prepping the birds

prepping the birds

Slather the top skin with olive oil, dust with a mixture of dried sage and thyme, kosher salt and fresh parsley.
almost ready...

almost ready…

Pour about 1/3 cup of full bodied red wine in the bottom of the pan and roast on 375 degrees F for 50 minutes, covered.
Mama and Papa Hume- teamwork!

Mama and Papa Hume- teamwork!

Reduce heat to 325 degrees F and continue to roast for another 15-20 minutes.

those squash look yum

those squash look yum

Let sit out of oven for approx 10 minutes, uncovered before serving.

those are some beautiful ducks- all in a row!

those are some beautiful “ducks in a row”!

Notes about these ducks: “Northern Mallards are originally from Canada. The duck is recognizable by the 1 quarter inch of yellow, insulating fat under the down. They feed on grain and corn. Their flight path brings them through Moses Lake in Eastern Washington then on to Umatilla in Eastern Oregon. Colder weather will push them further south to the Klamath river basin where they winter with up to half a million ducks and geese.”