Sunday, January 27, 2008

Chard Stems, Acting, and Birds

I keep promising to post follow-ups, and it's gotten to the point that I have a list now of things to update you about! So here goes ...

Chard Stems

In a follow-up to my posting on Roasted Garbanzos with Garlic & Chard, here's the recipe using chard stems. And, by the way, the last time I went looking for chard, it was simultaneously a bit peaked and overpriced the last time I was in the store, so I substituted collard greens in the original recipe for roasted garbanzos. It was OK, but chard was better.

This recipe comes from a book you've heard me mention before, Jack Bishop's Vegetables Every Day. If ever there's a cookbook that's guaranteed to get dog-eared from regular use, it's this one. Mine's a well-loved mess! Kalyn informs me that he has a new book out, A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, oriented toward helping us eat what's in season and thus as locally as possible. It's on my Amazon wish list with a priority of "highest", which means I'll probably have it by next Christmas at the latest. My family are very good about buying me books because they know it makes me so happy.

Most chard recipes call for cutting out the stems and discarding them. The recipe below is a tasty (albeit decidedly not diet-friendly) way to use them up instead of tossing them. In a recipe this simple, using a good quality cheese will make a big difference in the results. And Jack reminds us to be sure to cook the casserole long enough so that the edges start to brown.

Baked Chard Stems with Butter and Parmesan

1 pound chard stems (about 12 large), any bruised parts trimmed
Salt
3 T unsalted butter (I used a little less)
3/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Lightly grease an 8-in-square baking dish.
  2. Add the chard stems and salt to the boiling water. Cook until the stems are almost tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and reserve the stems.
  3. Lay three or four chard stems in the prepared baking dish in a single layer, cutting them as necessary to make them fit. Dot with a little of the butter and sprinkle with some of the cheese. Repeat this process three or four more times, alternating the direction in which you place the stems for each layer, until all the chard, butter and cheese have been used.
  4. Bake until chard is very tender and the top of casserole is lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
This recipe is my entry for Sweetnick's ARF (anti-oxidant-rich foods) Tuesday. I've been absent from food blogging for so long, it's really good to put my oar in the cooking water again!

Acting

As a result of auditions previously mentioned here, I'm now in rehearsals for a brand new ten-minute play called "Pre-Nup," to be performed in the context of a ten-minute play festival two weekends in February. It's a plum role, as a wily aging Hollywood diva (think Faye Dunaway). I'm having a ball being "Delphina."It's been really interesting to be in the first cast to perform a play. The script is being modified as we act it and discover that certain lines don't work or motivations are unclear -- which admittedly makes it a little hard to memorize your lines, but it allows you to be part of the creative process, too. Pretty cool!

The playwright is directing her own play, not by choice but because her favorite director is unavailable. I've heard that this arrangement can make for problems in cases where the writer is too in love with the words they've written to be able to allow the acting creative process to take place. That certainly hasn't been the case here. She's been wonderful to work with and, as a former actor, very respectful of and interested in her cast's insights.

My co-actors are engaging and well cast. We have an amazing number of rehearsal hours logged and planned for only ten minutes of theater, and I have to admit the rest of my life is getting a bit squooshed as a result. In some senses it's fortunate the Huz is away till Wednesday so he's not feeling neglected. In another sense, though, it's very UNfortunate, because there's snow coming down out there and there's a long, steep driveway between my car in the garage and the street and no Huz muscles to clear it for me. Sigh.

Also am in rehearsals for a murder mystery weekend, but with much less intensity right now so I'll have to make another of those promises to update you more later!

Birds

No more sightings of the pine grosbeaks, I'm sorry to report. But here's a cute picture of a chickadee silhouetted against a blue, blue sky.

And I think that catches me up with all the updates I promised. Hope your Sunday is going well, and don't forget to check in at Anna's Cool Finds later today to get her roundup for Weekend Herb Blogging. She's offering a cookbook as a prize, in hopes of garnering the largest roundup so far. Will she make it? Stay tuned!

5 comments:

Kalyn said...

This sounds just delicious. I would make it for sure, diet or no diet. That is truly such a great cookbook.

The play sounds fun. Wish I could come and watch you.

Red Icculus said...

Thanks for the chard stems recipe. I really appreciate it!

Paz said...

I like your recipe. Have prepared chard only once. I love your bird pics. Continue having fun with your acting.

Best,
Paz

Zimbabwe said...

Have just found this recipe. Just picked a whole lot of chard from the garden so off now to do the stems. Thanks for this Diane

PatL said...

I hope you like it! it's still a favorite, some years later!