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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Kale and Swiss Chard

Kale and Swiss Chard are among the most beautiful of vegetables. Sold in enormous bunches, and in a multitude of gorgeous colours, these greens practically jump into your market bag (they do look stylish jauntily peeking out of there). It's only when you get home that you go "uh-oh! What was I thinking, buying this many greens?" Well, if you are crazy healthy like my two good friends named Melissa and Melyssa, you put them in a smoothie and head back the next week for more. However, the rest of us may want to dress it up a little, or at least cook it. Luckily, it's easy.

Greens with Caramelized Onions
1 T. Olive Oil
1 large Onion, sliced or diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 bunch Swiss Chard or Kale, chopped (stems are most welcome, but separate them from the leaves and chop them)
Salt and Pepper
Optional: Balsamic Vinegar, Raisins, Dried Cherries, Feta, Parmesan Cheese

Heat your largest pan over medium heat and add the olive oil and onions. Stir and cook for at least ten minutes, until onions have softened and are browned in spots. You may add a little water from time to time if the onions are sticking. Turn the heat to high and stir in the garlic and stems. Saute for a minute. If you're using kale, add the chopped leaves at this point and about 1/4 C. water. Cover and cook for about five minutes, until kale is tender. If using Swiss Chard, the water isn't necessary. Just add the leaves and stir until wilted. In either case, season to taste with salt and pepper. If you like, add a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar, and/or a small amount of any or all of the suggested toppings!

Chicken Penne with Raspberries and Greens

1 batch Greens with Caramelized Onions
1 C. Whipping Cream
1/2 C. Apple Cider (optional, I love Boates)
1 lb. Penne or your favourite pasta, cooked
2 C. cooked chicken, diced or shredded
1 pint Raspberries
Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese and Chopped Parsley

Prepare the greens in your largest pan, then stir in the cream and cider if using. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and let bubble for a minute. Stir in the pasta and chicken. Cover and cook for about five minutes, until sauce has thickened and pasta is nicely coated. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and divide among 6 bowls. Garnish with the raspberries and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and parsley.

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