Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lebanese Fusion Chard Tortilla

I needed a decent, vegetable-heavy snack today, with some protein. Little of interest lurked in the fridge: cabbage, carrots, celery, and a large bunch of chard that really needed cooking. The weather is cold and rainy here and I didn't want to eat a raw slaw - I wanted hot food. I was also busy and did not want to prep chard and cook it in laborious stages the way I usually do, carefully cutting out the ribs and sauteeing them first.

Pamela Anderson gives this formula for "Steam/Sauteed Vegetables": prep a pound of veg, add 1/3 cup of water, a tablespoon of fat, salt, and optional aromatics. Bring it all to the boil in a heavy pot (my All-clad big saucepan works fine; she suggests a Dutch oven or heavy skillet with a lid.) Cover and steam over medium-high heat until the vegetable is brightly colored and just tender, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on vegetable size.

Remove the lid and continue to cook until the liquid evaporates, 1 to 2 minutes longer, adding optional fresh herbs and other flavorings at this point. Saute to intensify flavors, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Adjust seasonings, including pepper to taste, and serve.

I did this with the chard sliced crosswise, not bothering to separate the ribs; minced garlic (3 cloves!) water and lemon juice, olive oil and salt. At the end I added pine nuts (ideally toasted but I hadn't thought ahead - next time). Then I heated a whole-wheat and corn tortilla, piled half the chard on it, and covered with a dollop of plain yogurt.

OMG that was so good and it took so little time. It's Lebanese-style chard because of the flavorings - tastes just like the fillings used in spinach or chard pies. The whole-wheat tortilla is pure California.

I'm choosing "low-glycemic" foods more often now, and working hard to eat more vegetables and less white flour and cheese. When I'm hungry for a snack I pick a protein, veg or fruit, and only whole grains. This "snack" fit the bill. I'm making it again.

Other vegetable ideas in "How To Cook Without a Book": asparagus with garlic, basil and soy; broccoli with garlic and green pepper; green beans with onions and thyme; cabbage with butter and caraway; and carrots with cumin. These are not cordon bleu recipes, granted. However, they create flavor quickly with whole ingredients. This recipe meant I ate hot chard and yogurt on that tortilla instead of melted cheese.

1 comment:

  1. Leila, that sounds so very good. I have been trying to up my vegetable and whole grain intake as well.
    Mark Bittman's new book, Food Matters, is one that I think you would like. He really is gung ho on eating many, many more vegetables and whole foods. And I know you like Mark Bittman.

    Christine, from RFC