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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in The Chard Tart's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, June 5th, 2011
3:24 pm
Truly outrageous amounts of spinach

This is a photo of 3 of the 4 bunches of spinach which we got this week. I was thinking we'd use it all up at my birthday dinner (a dinner for 11 people) but we only managed to use half!!

Friday, June 3rd, 2011
7:44 pm

Before and after pix from the grill. We had them with pork chops from our meat CSA and wheat berry salad, left over from our memorial day grill with J and J.

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011
9:18 pm
Salad Days

Tonight's salad used up the spicy greens mix and the two heads of lettuce.

2:56 pm

Another tatsoi stirfry. The recipe comes from the Joy of Cooking, but we modify it so much that it's like a different dish.

Here's the
Stir-Fried Bok Choy With Mushrooms
4-6 servings

Joy of Cooking (3rd Ed.) page 349

Place in a small bowl:
6 dried black or shiitake mushrooms.

Pour over the mushrooms:
1/2 cup boiling water.

Let soak for 20 minutes, stirring the mushrooms occasionally.

[We just use a bunch of fresh shiitakes, maybe a double handful or so, but it varies a lot.]

While the mushrooms soak, prepare, keeping the stems separate from the leafy parts:
1 1/2 to 2 pounds bok choy, bottoms trimmed, stalks washed, and cut into 2-inch pieces

[We think tat soi works great, even better than the bok choy.]

In a small saucepan, warm over medium-low heat:
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar

[We heat it in a microwave instead of a saucepan, and we omit the salt -- isn't stock usually plenty salty?]

Remove the mushrooms from their soaking liquid and reserve the liquid. Cut the mushrooms into 1/4-inch thick slices and set aside. In a small bowl, mix:
2 tablespoons reserved mushroom soaking liquid, strained
1 tablespoon Scotch whiskey or Shaoxing wine
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon ground white white [sic] pepper

[Since we use fresh mushrooms, we have no soaking liquid, so we just use a total of 3 tablespoons of Scotch. We usually use Johnny Walker Red Label. We also use more like a heaping tablespoon of cornstarch, and a full teaspoon of white pepper.]

Heat in a wok or large skillet over high heat:
3 tablespoons of peanut oil. [We use canola mixed with toasted sesame oil.]

Add the reserved mushrooms and bok choy stems and cook, stirring often, for 3 to 5 minutes to soften. [We start with the fresh mushrooms, they take a while to soften, then add the stems.]

[At this point we add:
[2 blocks of tofu, cut into cubes
[and continue to saute for a few minutes]

Add the reserved bok choy leaves and warmed chicken stock, cover, and steam until the leaves wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Uncover and transfer the vegetables with a slotted spoon to a serving dish. [We have never done this, we just cook it all up together.] Stir the reserved cornstarch mixture and whisk into the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, whisking, and add:
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil.

Stir well, pour the sauce over the vegetables, and serve.

2:43 pm
CSA week 1

Here's what arrived in the first week's box. We ate the radishes with lunch on Wednesday (pickup day) and made the tatsoi into a stirfry (recipe to follow).


FRESH HERBS: black-stemmed Peppermint




KALE (Red Russian)





Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
2:10 pm
Yes, but will it upload pictures?

Hmmm. I see that camera icon but it's greyed out.

Ha!! It's working!! The Chard Tart rides again

1:08 pm
Does this thing work?

Gearing up to reinitiate The Chard Tart so I downloaded the iPhone app. Is chaos ensuing?

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Thursday, May 21st, 2009
2:09 pm
CSA starting up next week!
Can we keep up with the vegetables, let alone the blog posts?
Saturday, June 7th, 2008
11:18 am
Bun in the Oven
We have actually already gotten two shares of our CSA this year already, but have been too busy to post.  For those of you who don't already know, The Chard Tart is expecting a Tartlet, to be done baking in the next two weeks or so.  So postings may be somewhat sporadic, to say the very least.
Saturday, December 15th, 2007
11:12 am
I've been making a bread based on the infamous NYT recipe for a while now.  Now there's a "2.0" version in the January/February 2008 issue of Cook's Illustrated.  I found a few of their improvements to be worth adopting.  I thought I might as well write out my own variant.

  • I use sourdough as a starter, not commercial yeast.  I use a wet starter ("barm"), half flour and half water by weight, per The Bread Baker's Apprentice, by Peter Reinhart (Ten Speed Press, 2001).
  • I usually make a half loaf, and I make it with 2/3 whole wheat.  I've been using King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour (organic when I can get it, which isn't often).  White whole wheat may sound like an oxymoron but it's just a different kind of wheat with a lighter color, still whole grain.  Anyway, I use 1 cup of that and 1/2 cup of bread flour.
  • I just about double the salt -- about a heaping teaspoon per half loaf.
  • I don't make the dough as wet as the NYT says to.  I probably hydrate it about as much as the Cook's Illustrated article suggests, though I've never been fussy enough to measure precisely.  At this point I just do it by feel.  Basically, I put in enough water to get the flour to all stick together into a tacky ball.  If it's really gluey when I handle it, I add some more flour until I can handle it without having it stick all over my hands.
  • I use 1/4 cup barm instead of yeast.  Remember, this is for a half loaf.  The barm is pretty wet, so that's another reason I don't use as much water as the NYT says to use.
  • Recently I've been doing the second rise on a sheet of parchment, dusted with cornmeal.  This is one of the improvements suggested in the Cook's article.  It makes getting the dough into the hot pot much easier, makes it feasible to slash the top, and keeps the pot clean besides (no cleanup).  The cornmeal isn't strictly necessary (the dough won't stick to the parchment) but I found that without it, the bottom of my loaves was browning to the point of being burned.  The cornmeal seems to provide just enough insulation to prevent that.  
  • After the first (18 hour) rise, I've been kneading 15 times as suggested in the Cook's recipe.  This works surprisingly well and hardly adds any effort at all.  I've been getting a more consistently good loaf using this method. 

The basic NYT recipe makes one shape of loaf: a boule.  The dough basically goes into the heated pot as an amorphous blob and takes on the shape suggested by the pot.  Between reducing the hydration, kneading just a little, and transferring the dough to the heated pot using parchment paper, I find that I can use a larger pot and shape the dough more conventionally.  My last few attempts at a bâtard have been pretty successful.

The other refinements suggested in the Cook's recipe, the use of beer and vinegar, seem to be a shortcut for getting sourdough flavor.  Since I'm actually using sourdough, I didn't bother.  One point though -- the shorter fermentation time suggested by Cook's doesn't seem to work too well if using sourdough, probably because the flavors don't have enough time to develop.  So I've decided to stick with the 18 hour first fermentation.
Tuesday, December 4th, 2007
2:01 pm
Much Belated: Thanksgiving Share
I have been rather busy lately, but wanted to tell y'all about our Thanksgiving CSA Share.  We were promised between 40-60 pounds of vegetables, but the actual amount ended up being 65 lbs!  Most of it promptly went onto our screened in porch, where it could say cool, but not be harried by animals. 

Here's a list and some photos.

That's the bigger box, with the contents still in place. 

That's the smaller box (the regular CSA share sized box) with the contents spread out on our kitchen counter.

Here's the inventory:

2 small butternut squash
2 bunches kale
1 bunch of turnip greens
1 small bunch rosemary
1 bunch green onions
1.5 lbs spinach
a huge bunch parsley
salad greens
a bunch of carrots, with greens
a black radish, I swear, the size of a grapefruit
a bunch of normal radishes with greens
4 large radishes
3 small heads of cauliflower, multi-colored
1 broccoli
4 kohlrabi
a bag of potatoes
a bag of fingerling potatoes
3 acorn squash
3 delicata squash
brussels sprouts, a small bag
4 medium/small beets
turnips, around 1 lb
6 pie pumpkins
4 kombucha squashes
Wednesday, November 7th, 2007
8:06 pm
Not Dead Yet!
Many have wondered: since we got our last shipment of vegetables, is The Chard Tart finished? (at least til next summer?) Not Quite Yet! Although I do intend to shut down for the season soon, actually, we are still eating food from our last allotment! Plus, we have signed up for the frighteningly large "Thanksgiving Share" which will consist of 40-60 pounds of vegetables! Yowsers.

I haven't posted for a while since we've been out of town a fair amount, but there is a CSA meal we ate, well, a while ago now:

It consisted of salmon on a bed of Swiss chard,  delicata squash with sage, and wheat berry pilaf with onions and apricots.

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007
9:47 am
Fresh Herb Kuku
I chose the delightfully named Fresh Herb Kuku from A Taste of Persia, p. 49.  A "kuku" is a kind of Iranian omelet.  I chose the fresh herb one because it called for the fresh dill we got in our CSA share (along with about 4 more cups of herbs!)

I have to say it was a bit...odd.  It called for a a tablespoon of flour, which I forgot to put in but I'm not sure that putting it in would have changed the taste a whole lot.  The problem, in my opinion, is that there is too much Persian spice mix (consisting of cardamom, cinnamon, rose water and cumin).  I normally love cardamom, but it had a strangely metallic taste in this recipe.  The Complete Middle East Cookbook gives another version of the recipe, with more eggs, and no Persian spice mix.  I think this dish has promise, so maybe I"ll try Tess Mallos' take on it next time.

Also I think you can see from the pictures, that it separated into a herbal stratum and an egg stratum. I don't think it affected the taste, but maybe if I'd remembered to put the flour it, it would have been more uniformly distributed?


I ate it with some leftover wheat berry pilaf from our recent party.

9:05 am
The 40 year olds
Yet another 40th birthday this last weekend.  It was S's birtthday, and we had S&J and family, S&B, and J&J over.  We made a really nice beef brisket on the grill according to Cook's Illustrated method, which involved brining it for two hours, and then cooking it on the grill for 6 more hours!  In typical Cook's Illustrated method, they had us counting out a specific number of individual charcoal bricquets!  We made a tasty BBQ sauce to go with it.

We served the brisket with a salad (all those greens went into the salad) along with a few baby turnips, a red pepper, and some of those baby carrots.  We also made broccoli, just steamed, served with olive oil.  In addition, we had a wheat berry pilaf with fried onions and apricots, and J made fresh bread.  J&J brought a cake, from Eastern Accents with the names of all the 40 year olds on it. It was S's birthday but we all have turned or will turn 40 within the year.

Sorry too busy to take pictures!

Also, never took a picture of the Radish Top Soup we made earlier in the week.
Sunday, October 14th, 2007
8:58 am
The Chard Tart
We used our chard in a chard tart. It didn't seem right for The Chard Tart to finish up this CSA blog without making a final Chard Tart!


The tart went for two meals.  Once we ate it with steamed green beans (dressed with olive oil and lemon juice) and once we ate it with radishes. 

I have the page of this recipe -- 364 -- memorized in the Joy of Cooking.

8:25 am
Another tatsoi stirfry.  The recipe comes from the Joy of Cooking, but we modify it so much that it's like a different dish. 

Here's the
Friday, October 12th, 2007
12:15 pm
CSA final week!
Week 20 consisted of:

  • Green Beans (of variety Jade or Fortex)
  • Broccoli
  • Swiss Chard
  • Baby Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Dill
  • 2 lettuce heads (red leaf and green leaf varieties)
  • New Potatoes (red norland variety)
  • Radishes and their greens
  • Spicy Greens (a blend of arugula, Kyona/Mizuna, and red and green mustards)
  • Tatsoi
  • Turnips and Turnip Greens
  • 3 squashes (varieties delicata, confection kabocha, and pumpkin)

From previous weeks we still have 2 squashes left (our dining room table is filing up with squashes!) and a single red pepper.  Not too bad, having gone into week 19 with quite a surplus.
12:10 pm
Tuesday night we used up the Brussels sprouts.  We made them up with hazlenuts (a recipe from the Joy of Cooking) and ate them with grilled potatoes and steak from Knight's.   This week was somewhat unusual in that we ate a meat dish three times this week:  the grilled pork, the green bean khoresh with lamb, and now this steak.

11:56 am
World's Spiciest Baby Food
We made another batch of radish top soup (using turnip greens) which we've been eating with the fresh bread loaves that J has been producing.  Since we had a lot of carrots hanging out in the fridge from previous weeks of our CSA, we decided to make The World's Spiciest Baby Food, (also known as Carrot Dip or Omi Houriya from North African Cooking p. 28)


See below for the recipes for Carrot Dip, and its constituent ingredient, Harissa.

9:16 am
Lion's Head, part deux
We still had half of the Lion's Head TVP loaf hanging out in our fridge, but had eaten all of the original stirfry that we made to go with it.  We didn't have any more nappa cabbage (which is what the recipe called for) so we made up another stirfry made with broccoli.  I think the nappa cabbage is better, but broccoli is OK too.


Here's the recipe, (Joy of Cooking p. 292) which I don't think I've given previously:

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