recipes: enjoying autumn greens

In autumn, the sun sinks just low enough in the sky that she hides behind our trees most of the day.  The farm sadly surrenders to shade which means that fall veggies for us are limited primarily to greens.  No matter.  We love chard, kale and spinach in our home (and our chickens did too) and find creative ways to prepare them on a regular basis.

Tonight, rather than posting one recipe, I’m going to share two of our favorites.  We have made these with all three types of greens, sometimes incorporating the trio all at once.  Both dishes can be quite colorful if you use different varieties of kale and chard and make for beautiful autumn side dishes.

Sauteed Greens

In a pan warmed on medium high heat, drizzle some olive oil in the center (approximately 1-2 tablespoons depending on amount of chard).  Chop or press fresh garlic and add to heated oil.  When garlic begins to soften, add greens and a splash of broth (I use/make organic veggie broth), a generous pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper.  We like our greens with some crunch and remove it from the heat as it begins to wilt.  You can always wait a bit longer until it is completely wilted and soft.

After removing from the pan, we try different “dressings” sometimes.  For an Asain flair, my daughter will add a dash of tamari.  Sometimes, I’ll stir in fresh basil and oregano.  Our favorite, however, is to head over to our favorite oil and vinegar store and purchase some apple elderberrry vinegar then drizzle that on top of the greens.  The pairing of the sweet vinegar with the bitter greens is quite delicious.

Rainbow Chard Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette  (we’ve used with kale and spinach as well)

This salad quickly became a family favorite, and now friends request that I bring it to gatherings.  The sweet fruit compliments the bitter chard nicely.

Ingredients for salad:

chard, pears, dried cherries or cranberries,  shredded parmesan cheese, sugar-salted nuts

Ingredients for sugar-salted nuts:

pecans or walnuts, a pat of butter, brown sugar, sea salt

Ingredients for citrus dressing:

olive oil, juice of half naval orange or whole clementine, white wine vinegar (or other mild vinegar), honey, Italian or Greek seasoning

Making the salad:

Chop chard and pears and toss in bowl.  Add dried cranberries or cherries to taste.

In a pan warmed over medium high heat, melt the pat of butter.  Add a handful of nuts, a couple of spoonfuls of brown sugar, and a generous pinch of seasalt.  When the butter and sugar combine and melt to coat the nuts, reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes or so.  Remove nuts, cool, then add to top of salad.  Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top.

Vinaigrette:  Combine 1 part juice to 1 part oil, add a splash of vinegar, a small drizzle of honey to taste and herbs to taste.  Shake.  I find that mixing it in a small Mason jar works well.

Other ingredients we’ve tried:  apples, dried blueberries, almonds, grapes, and gorgonzola cheese (and not all at once!)

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