Thursday, July 25, 2013

Flower petals, fish scales and swiss chard

It's easy to get caught up in this chip rage of turning anything and everything into chips, as if it will make super nutritious vegetables go down like junk food to even the most discerning of veggie-discriminatory eaters.  I'm a victim of the rage as well and this week decided that our household was rather radished-out and maybe trying them in chip form would go over well.
Are those watermelon radish gorgeous or what!?  
 Anyway, I sliced up the daikons and the watermelon radish with the mandolin slicer, had my kitchen helpers lay them out on a baking sheet and seasoned them with olive oil, salt and pepper.  We broiled them until they started to brown and then turned them until they looked ready.
They shrunk considerably but were very pretty as they cooked.  Lucy and I couldn't decide if they looked like big translucent fish scales from a tropical sea somewhere or flower petals.  Maybe it was because they were so pretty and we raved about their appearance so much that we set ourselves up for disappointment, or maybe it was because the pretty pink was deceiving and we forgot that they were radishes, but these were not the raving success I had hoped for. 
Don't get me wrong, they were good.  Well, they were as good as radishes are, so if you love radishes you would love these chips.  I think getting creative with the seasoning would be good next time. Maybe add some garlic powder or curry or something would be good.  My four year old felt they needed some dip, but he is a big advocate for dip with just about anything, so take that as you will.

Anyway, since those were only marginally successful, we decided to make the best of our big beautiful swiss chard.  Again, this is a Canadian Living recipe and again, uses chicken (you may notice a trend heavy on the chicken side in the next little while).
Chicken and Swiss Chard Pasta
1 lb swiss chard
Olive Oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced thinly.
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 red peppers (I used one)
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. fresh rosemary
4 cups pasta of choice (I used an organic veggie spiral)
2 tsp. arrowroot starch (recipe calls for 4 tsp. cornstarch)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (you could probably get away with salted water)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Separate the chard into stalks and leaves and chop both.  Set aside separately.
Cook chicken.  Transfer to plate, keep warm.
Cook onion, garlic, pepper and chard ribs until softened, over med. heat. 
Return chicken to the pan.
Add vinegar, rosemary, chard leaves, cover, cook, stirring occasionally until chard is wilted.
Cook pasta, drain well, return to pot.
Add chard mixture and toss to combine.
Whisk starch into broth, add to skillet and cook over high heat, whisking until thickened. 
Stir into the pasta.
Sprinkle with parm cheese to serve.
The swiss chard, leaves separated from the stalks.  A picture of the final product from the cook book in the foreground. 

This recipe was a big winner.  I think it will make a really good cold pasta salad as well, maybe without the chicken.
 The chard added so much colour, but lost it's sometimes overwhelming flavour and added just enough kick to make you remember how good this is for you! haha.

We'll definitely be making this one again. And we may just try the radish chips again sometime and get a bit more creative next time.

Have fun cooking!

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