Sunday, July 25, 2010

A chard day's night

Yesterday was one of those perfect days. In spite of the over 100 degree (and humid, my god!) weather. Ollie and I made our way all over town, covering about 30 miles: from a vibrant community garden in Ledroit Park in the morning to Conall's first birthday party in Silver Spring later in the afternoon, then across town for dinner in Friendship Heights, and finally to Adams Morgan for a little dancing before meandering home from the salsa club at 2am. ("Thirty miles on a bicycle in this heat?" Psh. I didn't even put my bike shorts on. Actually, it felt cooler to be cycling in a skirt and blouse rather than spandex.)
How apt that it was a day filled with food and conversation and farming and dancing, this two-week marker of my return to DC. Things began with a few hours of weeding and mulching at Common Good City Farm (which I'd been meaning to check out since before I left DC). The hard labor wrapped up a bit after noon as everyone gathered for a potluck lunch and chat about food security under the shade tent. They were willing guinea pigs for one of my latest culinary experiments: roasted beet and dark chocolate brownies. (Okay, it was more of a moist, fluffy cake, in terms of consistency, thanks to my inadvertent addition of baking soda instead of baking powder -- there is a difference.) A post on Common Good is on the way soon. On with the perfect day....
After a quick shower, I assembled some ingredients to make mini pizzas for the afternoon birthday party. I had plenty of goat cheese and veggies and dough that I'd made for the crust the evening before, but sauce? Curses, I forgot to get more tomatoes at the Petworth farmers' market on Friday! I opened the fridge and noticed a bunch of swiss chard peeking through the window of the crisper. Hmmm. Necessity is the mother of invention. It's green, and I had garlic... a pesto variation, perhaps? In fact, it turned out to be one of my tastier kitchen endeavors. Here, for you experimental cooks out there, is a new favorite:
A Chard Day's Night Pesto
In a food processor, combine:
- 2-4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup fresh chard greens (center stalks removed)
- 1 handful walnuts
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1-2 tsp brown sugar
- a pinch of sea salt
Pulse ingredients together until creamy, adding 1-2 tsp water as needed. Makes about 1 cup. Good as a pizza sauce, pasta sauce, on sandwiches, on a spoon. And it's vegan (if you're into that kind of thing).
The little pizzas came out just fine. For those curious about the rest of the perfect day, the later portion consisted of dinner with my friend Beth and her husband (visiting from North Dakota) at my favorite restaurant in DC -- the Chat Noir, with french delicacies galore! -- and salsa dancing at my favorite spot in the city with one of my favorite dance partners ever. Ahhh, it's good to be home.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


  1. Chard pesto--what a great idea.

  2. So glad you made it to the salsa club! We were glowing all the way home from the wonderful meal and meeting a dear new friend - thanks so much Ibti! You and Ollie always have a place to crash here in ND! :)

  3. By "crash" you mean "sleep," right? ;)


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