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By Laura Stec

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About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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House of Chards

Uploaded: Mar 5, 2015

Must be hard to be chard.

Chard just isn't getting much attention these days. I've started to feel sorry for it, always reaching over those smiley broad leaves to grab for the kale instead. To assuage my guilt, I did a little greens research. Turns out chard has some things over its almighty cousin, like increased fiber, protein, calcium, and 16% more iron! Chard is also really high in vitamins A, K and C.



The House of Chard has three commons: Rhubarb Chard (red stem), Swiss Chard (white stem), and Rainbow Chard (multi-colored stem). They look different, but can be used interchangeably. We can learn from them.

I actually prefer young chard (who doesn't?), small supple leaves especially good raw in salads. Like the man of my dreams, they are hard to find in the store, so keep an eye out at farmers markets. When I get the older, bigger leaves, I cut out their appendage, chop and saute, unlike kale stems that I just toss away and compost. Use chard stems like celery in your soups and stews.

If the leaves are really big, they make a great wrap for leftovers. Mix together what ever grains, veggies or meats you have from last night's dinner, add some red pepper flakes or fresh herbs, and put in the center of lightly blanched chard leaves. (Shortened directions: F. U. *) Roll them up like a burrito, tucking in the sides, and place in a baking dish with some tomato sauce or chopped fresh tomatoes on top, and a splash of white wine and olive oil on the bottom. Top with fresh Parmesan cheese, cover and bake at 350º F for 30 minutes, or until warm inside.

I'm not a gardener, but every time I live with one, we have chard. So I think it must be super easy to grow, and the nice thing about it is you can harvest only the leaves you want. The remaining bunch just keeps growing, ready for your next meal.

No, chard is not as ruthless, cunning, or in pursuit of power like its brethren kale....

But it can be dangerous when it needs to be.



Super Easy Stuffed Chard (center) as described above


Master Gardeners, are there artisan breeds of chard? Tell us the good ones, please. I think these store varieties were shaped for size, not flavor or texture.

* Fill Up? (ok, before I get myself in any more trouble - this whole post is a play on House of Cards. You have to watch the show to know what the letters really stand for).

Comments

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by A Single Guy, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Mar 6, 2015 at 8:05 am

I prefer chard in soups rather than sautéed. It seems to work particularly well in chicken soup.

Kale is trendy. :-)


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Patti, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Mar 7, 2015 at 8:38 am

I LOVE chard and it is easy to grow. We grow it in the school gardens and the kids love it. While I usually recommend heirloom varieties of vegetables to my clients, I grow Bright Lights or Rainbow Chard, just because I like the colors of the stems. Apparently, my chickens do, too! I always find them sneaking into the veggie garden to dine on the chard!


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Mar 7, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Single Guy back in the house, and hello Patti. Welcome to The Food Party! Something makes me think I've met you in a previous life...Bright Lights? Never heard of that and thanks for the tip.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by JoAnne, a resident of another community,
on Mar 8, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Wonderful article... made me smile, laugh, and go buy chard!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Chard fan, a resident of another community,
on Mar 9, 2015 at 9:53 am

Kevin Spacey is yummy and would be lovely wrapped in chard. And yes, chard is very easy to grow.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley,
on Mar 9, 2015 at 4:32 pm

Chard fan - I see you too are a Food Partier!, and I like the way you do it! Yummy is right!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cid Young, a resident of another community,
on Mar 10, 2015 at 4:07 pm

I grew chard in my garden, but it gets leaf miners. Kale sometimes gets aphids, but they are easily washed off. I sometimes get them on my beet tops as well.

Web Link


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cid Young, a resident of another community,
on Mar 10, 2015 at 4:07 pm

I grew chard in my garden, but it gets leaf miners. Kale sometimes gets aphids, but they are easily washed off. I sometimes get them on my beet tops as well.

Web Link


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Mar 10, 2015 at 7:51 pm

I wonder if those leaf miners and aphids are good protein? And hey - what do the initials stand for?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Paul, a resident of Barron Park,
on Mar 11, 2015 at 1:00 pm

I much prefer Chard to Kale. G. Berta's is a good place to buy, located on Hwy 92 in Half Moon Bay, they have all varieties. When very fresh, I cook with olive olive, garlic and salt/pepper only.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Barron Park,
on Mar 12, 2015 at 11:24 am

Nice seeing you. I am somehow banned from parts of Palo Alto Weekly message board, but I am trying to turn over a new leaf.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Mar 12, 2015 at 5:06 pm

Mark, that new leaf would't be chard now, would it?



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