Sunday, December 12, 2010

BEST THING I LEARNED ALL WEEK: COLD CHARD AND GARLIC

In an email Tuesday, my friend Lucille said she was going to let me try her chard with garlic when I came over to stretch canvases.  I have to say I wasn't that excited about the prospect, and when she plopped a dish of it in front of me straight from the fridge, I was less so.  HOWEVER, I was so wrong.  It was Delicious!  I now have my own batch in the fridge and it will definitely stay in my arsenal of anti-depression foods for the whole winter.

Ingredients:  2 big bunches of swiss chard (if you use less, it's hardly worth bothering because chard cooks down so much), 2 cloves of garlic (minced), 2 T of olive oil (maybe less -- I didn't measure), a pinch of salt.

Recipe:  Remove stems from the chard up to where they become thin. I do this by folding the leaf in half and cutting away the stem with a sharp knife.   Wash the leaves, and tear or cut them up -- they don't have to be in small pieces.  Heat a big pot on the stove with a tiny bit of slightly salted water in the bottom (1/2 an inch will do).  When the pot is hot, throw in all the chard and put the lid on.  Stir a couple of times as the chard reduces to about 1/4 of the volume you threw in the pot.  It only takes a few minutes for it to cook down.  Don't let it burn!

Dump it in a colander and let the excess water drain off.

In a big pan,  heat the garlic in the olive oil.  As soon as you smell the garlic, add your chard.  Make sure it all gets a coating of olive oil and garlic.  This takes about two minutes.

Now it's ready to serve BUT if you let it cool and then put it in the fridge to enjoy cold, you'll thank me later.

From whfoods.org:

Recent research has shown that chard leaves contain at least 13 different polyphenol antioxidants, including kaempferol, the cardioprotective flavonoid that's also found in broccoli, kale, strawberries, and other foods. But alongside of kaempferol, one of the primary flavonoids found in the leaves of chard is a flavonoid called syringic acid. Syringic acid has received special attention in recent research due to its blood sugar regulating properties. This flavonoid has been shown to inhibit activity of an enzyme called alpha-glucosidase. When this enzyme gets inhibited, fewer carbs are broken down into simple sugars and blood sugar is able to stay more steady.


Note:  Yesterday I sautéed whole blanched green beans in garlic and squeezed a little lime on them.  Alice asked me to put them in the fridge, announcing, "this will taste better cold."   She's right.

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