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Of Walking and Swiss Chard

First off? Alistaire sat upon his own this past week! And turned 7 months yesterday 🙂 I have been hands off, as I was with Walker. I let them do it on their own, when they are ready.

Last week was a good one for walking. My friend Dani came over from the Olympic Peninsula and we went for a “hike” on Labor Day. Well, it ended up being a walk on two of the local rail to trails. Kirk dropped us off at one end and then picked us up at the end. Dani and I took Walker and Alistaire with us, in their BOB jogger stroller. Pushing 100+ lbs of kids/stroller/gear is still easier than carrying said children/gear on my back. Now that Alistaire can sit up on his own I have no qualms on taking him on unpaved trails. He loved it and both the kids took a long nap (win-win). We put in a little over 8 miles. And had quite a few ripe blackberries, both native and invasive. Walker loves nearly any berry one offers up.

Near the end of the second trail, a picnic spot along the river (out of view) –

 

We had a nice day on Tuesday as well. I took the boys and we walked to town to run errands, with them in the jogger stroller. I love being able to walk comfortably again, in cooler temps. After doing the errands we cut down the rail to trail that goes through town and visited a neighborhood park that is on the trail – Walker being goofy. I let him out to run around, then back in for the walk home. We put in 5 miles.

 

Then it was grossly hot the rest of the week. It wasn’t calling to me to go walking or hiking at all. Ford is back in school as well, as of last Tuesday. It felt good to get back into a schedule. On Saturday the boys, Kirk and I went to the farmers market. The produce was quite nice and I loaded up. Spent my Saturday processing and freezing much of it. More rhubarb, sweet corn and blueberries in the freezer! Then I saw piles of rainbow swiss chard. And had that sharp realization that I had never eaten it (as far as I know). And why not? I Had no good reason against it. Live a little…if anything this summer has been about that – try any and everything in the produce realm. Shed off the childhood memories of why I didn’t like certain items. Swiss Chard never called to me because it was “greens” and well….until the past two years I didn’t go out of my way to buy them. I still have issues with being force fed canned spinach in school for years 😉 Thankfully every bite of farm fresh greens lessens that memory. Hah! And the rainbow chard? Gorgeous looking! The bunch I picked had pink, red, purple and yellow stalks. The yellow was so vivid –

 

Snobbery is hard to tame in summer, when the produce is so appealing to look at – who’d want frozen, canned or store bought? When this is here!

 

In the end I took the chard and a couple bunches of beets (whose tops were not stellar looking) and crafted a pasta dish out of them. That was way too good. Although if one just simply cannot do beets, it is fine to leave them out.

Served outside in the back yard. In the warmth of late summer…..it was nice. Today it is cold, windy and drizzling!

 

Swiss Chard and Beets with Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches beets
  • 1 slice bread (used DKB)
  • 1 tsp garlic, diced
  • 2 Tbsp Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 large bunch Swiss chard, leaves separated from stalks, finely slice stalks, tear leaves into bite size pieces, keep separated
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper or to taste
  • 13.25 ounce package whole grain or whole wheat rotini pasta
  • Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, for topping, if desired

 

 

Directions:

Clean the beets, trim the tops and bottoms. Put in a large saucepan, cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, simmer till fork tender. Drain, cover with cool water till you can handle them. Slide the peels off, trim the ends and slice into bite size pieces. Set aside or if preparing in advance, chill till needed.

Tear the bread into chunks, add it, garlic and the cheese to a mini food chopper, pulse until finely chopped. Heat a large skillet over medium. Add 1 Tablespoon oil and bread mixture. Cook, tossing often, until golden and smelling great, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Bring a large pot of water to boil, salt lightly and cook pasta for time on package. Reserve 1 cup cooking water before draining. Toss the drained pasta with 1 Tablespoon oil.

Wipe out the skillet and add 1 Tablespoon oil and onion, sauté until golden, about 6 minutes. Add in beets, sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the chard stalks and ½ cup reserved cooking water, simmer for 5 minutes, until stalks are softening. Add the leaves, cover for a minute to help wilt, then cook uncovered for 5 minutes, tossing with tongs. Stir in vinegar and black pepper, tossing to coat.

Add in the pasta, tossing to coat, with a good sprinkle of extra cheese and as much reserved cooking water to coat the sauce. Season to taste with salt and additional cheese.

Serve topped with the breadcrumbs.

Serves 4 to 6, depending on appetite.

 

~Sarah

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