DIY Kitchen: the chard cure
Is everyone okay with talking about bi-partisan leafy greens on election day? Okay, good.
When Rose was 7 months old and slurping up steamed spinach without even a particle of salt, I was like, oh yeah; this one’s gonna eat everything. And then she turned 2. The end.
I forgot that the kids were all up in each others’ business even way back then. After spending 2 hours flipping through old photos, I’m going to start a whole new blog about Col and Rose’s babyhood; 6512: the prequel!
The original “first food:” elk tenderloin! And the sweater that I didn’t take off for 2 years. I miss you, sweater.
Not sure what they’re doing, but omg: diapers, a boppy, a 2-year old in overalls, baby-proofed electric sockets, and a baby cradle all in one picture? This is too much for my creaky old ovaries.
Oh, you were here for a recipe? Right. My friend Mikel (who is a nutritionist/mom/general badass) gave me the idea to steam, blend and freeze chard in small portions to unleash in kids’ meals in a transparent (“wow, you’re really enjoying those LEAFY GREENS, honey!”), yet unthreatening way (because my kids see little difference between a whole leaf of cooked kale and an enormous, slimy piece of seaweed that washed up on the beach and got slapped on their plate).
Creamy potato soup with non-threatening, very small pieces of chard.
I thought I would have to start small – inserting nano-particles of chard into crowd-pleasers like macaroni and cheese until the kids built up a respectable tolerance. But, for the first couple weeks no one said a word about receiving bowls of noodles laced with green specks. I think we were all so happily astonished. Me – that they’re eating chard. Them – about the luckiness of mac ‘n’cheese. And then just last week Rose requested, “can we have mac’n’cheese with the bits of lettuce in it please?”
Is she melancholy about her deteriorating bowl?
This is not the sexiest food you will preserve, in fact you may feel a little like Popeye’s mother, hunched over the blender with your heels and cigarette. It also feels like something Mrs Piggle Wiggle might engineer for veggie-phobic kids: a cure in the sense of a delivery system of vital nutrients to children. But, really, it’s not just for children, we could all use a wallop of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, calcium, beta-carotene, and lutein in our meals. Chard is a starred food in the book, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth.
The most important thing, the clincher really, is the very small pieces. They are so small and ubiquitous (but power-packed)—and really, chard is quite bland—as to become almost indistinguishable from the rest of the food.
Directions: The Chard Cure
Steam as much chard/leafy greens as you have until just wilted. Blend in food processor or blender (briefly; if you blend too long, it turns to mush). Freeze in small portions. Ice cube trays work well. Or 4 – 8 oz jars. Leafy greens thaw really easily and seamlessly into soups, pasta sauce, stir fries, and yes, mac’n’cheese.
We cut all our leafy greens last weekend: chard, beet greens, kale, spinach, broccoli leaves (!), and pac choi.
Luckily, Col found a strange, curved, rusty old knife in the archery target area behind our house. Whew! Just in time to cut the family supper.
What is this thing? Col is so enamored with it, he filled a 5-gallon bucket with greens without complaint.
Blended broccoli leaves; no awards for sexiness here.
Chard in the ice cube tray; I do love the pure, concentrated greenness of this.
Little frozen cubes; this batch had a lot of red chard stem in them. Am I overstaying my semi-colon welcome? Grammarians? Chi-An?
Chard in the spaghetti sauce.
Okay. That’s it. Go vote, celebrate our country, love your neighbor, eat your greens, use reasonable caution and permissiveness with antique rusty knives, and be well.