Hmmmm…I have some swiss chard, a few stalks of celery, a lemon and half a red onion. Today was one of those days where I looked in my refrigerator and saw a lot of stray produce that needed some love. Since we will be heading out of town on vacation this Friday, I needed to clean things up in there pronto or be faced with a) plenty of rotting greens upon return or b) throwing stuff out. I hate to throw stuff out. The solution came in the form of a tossed salad of the soon-to-be remains, proof that desperation leads to ingenuity. I had a veritable kitchen sink of bits and pieces from the bottom drawer that came together to make this nice summer side dish. I served it alongside turkey burgers.
I began thinking about this as a rice salad with herbs and veggies tossed in but when I went to cook some rice, I had only a sad little handful left in the cupboard so I switched the plan to quinoa which cooks faster anyways. I cooked the quinoa, let it cool and tossed in the chopped veggies. I made my own dressing but you might be just as happy with a lemon-y vinaigrette from a bottle.
Summer Quinoa Salad
1 cup (uncooked) quinoa
2 celery stalks, chopped
½ cup finely chopped red onion
1 bunch red Swiss chard
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp honey
salt & pepper
dash of garlic powder
Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package. Let cool to room temperature.
Cut the leafy greens from the stems of the Swiss chard and chop into 1” slices. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat and sauté the greens for about 3 minutes, until they are wilted. Remove and let cool on a plate. Once cool, chop the chard a little finer. Combine the celery, red onion and basil and chard in a medium bowl. Add the cooled quinoa and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Add the dressing, toss and serve.
There is such abundance of beautiful things to eat right now in these summer months, its becoming hard to decide how to parcel out what little time I have to cook. How do I choose which of these lovely things in my refrigerator to give my attention to today? I have spinach, turnips, broccoli, beans other greens from my CSA. I bring home basil, strawberries, corn, tomatoes from the store. My eyes can be bigger than my kitchen ability sometimes. Produce bought with the best intentions will end up rotting in the bottom drawer while I am thinking about the fabulous thing I want to make. Sometimes the day will get away from me and I’ll end up boiling frozen ravioli for dinner with olive oil as a sauce.
Recently I brought home 3 big baskets of sweet cherries that are juicy and ripe—it would be a shame not to make them into a pie. Maybe my cherry pitter is not the best, but mon Dieu! it took a long time to get those pits out. I made it through about 3 cups of cherries before I threw in the towel (the towel I used to repeatedly wipe cherry juice from my hands and arms). While 3 cups were not enough to make a whole pie it was a perfect amount to make tartlettes in ramekins.
The great thing about tartlettes, or mini-tarts, is that each is its own self-contained unit of deliciousness. When you cut into a fruit pie, it can fall apart after you get the first slice out, but each tartlette stays in perfect form until you eat it. Refrigerate the tartlettes you don’t eat and have some for breakfast tomorrow.
3 cups sweet cherries, pits removed
1/3 cup sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp orange peel
2 roll-out pie crusts (store bought)
Mix the cherries, sugar, cinnamon and orange peel in a medium bowl. Set aside for half an hour. Preheat the oven to 375.
On a floured surface, unroll the crust. Sprinkle with a small amount of flour and roll out lightly. You want to stretch the dough out a little bit, but not too thin. Turn a large yogurt container (or similar sized bowl) upside down and press into the dough to cut out a round shapes. Fit the dough into the ramekins and fill with the cherry mixture. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown.