I missed yesterday's farmers' market, as my younger daughter and I had a chance to attend a rehearsal of the Minnesota Orchestra with guest cellist Daniel Mueller-Schott, playing Dvorak's Cello Concerto -- one of the most glorious pieces of music ever, and Daniel was phenomenal. Check him out! (I'm listening to his recording of a Bach sonata from his website as I write.) The New York Times recently described him as "the magnetic young German cellist ... a fearless player with technique to burn ... [and a] gorgeous, plush tone." The perhaps hackneyed phrase "caramel tones" kept flitting through my head as I listened to him yesterday.
But I digress.
Having missed the farmers' market, I took myself to the co-op this morning to see what locally-grown goodies would catch my eye. I left the produce aisle with an adorable little muskmelon, a bunch of green onions, and a bunch of beautiful rainbow chard (all yellow stalks in my bunch).
And here's where I confess: I have never before cooked with chard, nor ever eaten it as far as I'm aware. I've admired it for its multi-colored stalks and deep green leaves in the seed catalogs, and I know chard (also known as Swiss chard) was widely recommended as a spinach substitute during the recent spinach safety scare, but this is the first time I've ever bought it. I decided it was high time I did.
Many of the recipes for chard call for chopping it coarsely, removing any large, woody stalks, and sautéing it briefly in olive oil and garlic. It can be used in place of spinach in any cooked recipe, and even eaten raw when the stalks are young and tender. I haven't decided exactly how I'm going to prepare my chard, but I will report back.