It has still not reached 70* here in the Emerald city, but I was not going to let that ruin my participating in the holiday weekend of Jim having Monday off, friends, and fanning myself with my hand as I say “I’m wiltin’, I’m wiltin'” to Jim as I often do. He still finds it charming after six years. (Stay tuned for an anniversary post, it’s our 6th today:)). As visions of root beer barbecue sauced ribs danced out of my head, I happened to have a beautiful turkey breast I got the day before, and Maygiving was born. There would be brine! I saw the Neely’s make rainbow chard a few days before and had been craving it ever since. Veggie, check. Turkey and chard aren’t much of a tax, how about some homemade bread? Potato. My first tri-rise. Couldn’t have asked for a better bread. I grew up with soft pillowy potato bread, and it is sparse here. Now when I get the hinkering I can fill one of my bread voids. Kaiser, you’re next. I was blessed by a flour angel. I am jealous of me. My first pie had no tales of woe. I have always made a superb omelet, and I tend not to overcook chicken and pork tenderloin. I can also confess every one of my yeast adventures has produced wonderful results. Even you, that one cold rise. Grrr. That doesn’t mean I don’t have my share of dishes that are less than perfect, but they are always more than just edible. I think an important component in baking and cooking is learned skills, but natural talent and instinct are hotter commodities. I don’t care if you know what gastrique means, but if you can give me a good taco, you have my heart. If you can make it pretty, do, but, we all know everything we eat doesn’t look like your first love. Chili, I love you, as I do your first cousin Sloppy Joe. One of my favorite omelets: broccoli. They actually make me laugh every time I make one, they look that silly. Casseroles aren’t winning any beauty contests. Curries sometimes look blah, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t satisfying. A chop, veggie, and mash can only be arranged on a plate so many ways. Yes I love making and being served gorgeous food, but I also love my divided plates. For all of you who hated your foods touching each other growing up, these plates are for you. I even have a plate divided into five sections for when I want to have a five-bite meal. Seriously, the sections are that small. After having them for five years, I still haven’t used them, but I will never get rid of them. There is a perfect meal waiting to go on those plates. So in the spirit of Maygiving I focused on making a delicious, comforting meal that took just long enough for me to sit down with my friends sooner than later. Carved at the table, oatmeal cookies for dessert. Sometimes I don’t want to stack or arrange, I just want to eat and enjoy.
from The Neelys
- 2 large bunches Swiss chard
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 strips thick-sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Slice the stems into 1-inch pieces and reserve. Stack the chard leaves into a pile. Roll together into a bundle and slice into 1/2-inch ribbons.
Heat oil to a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon and saute until browned, rendering the fat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add chard stems, cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then season with salt and pepper.
Begin to add the chard ribbons in batches. Once the chard wilts down, add the next batch. Stir occasionally until completely tender, about 5 minutes.
After dinner, drinks, conversation, some furminating, and a game of “Scene it?” I declared the first annual Maygiving a success. Next year stuffing and pie!