What is Swiss Chard and How do I Cook it?

Yesterday we came across a large leafy green vegetable with a white stem called Swiss Chard. I’ve heard of it, but personally never eaten it, much less cooked it myself. I immediately asked someone how I’d cook it and they didn’t know, nor did the next person. When we returned home with our new found vegetable, I of course went on the internet and researched recipes. to my surprise I found that it is cooked much like kale.

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Swiss Chard is a relative of kale and beets. It is a wonderful source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as magnesium, potassium, and iron. Harvesting season begins in late summer into fall. The most typical types of chard you’ll find in stores are the rainbow chard, ruby read (rhubard) and fordhook giant. Rainbow chard has colorful red, pink, yellow, or white stalks; Fordhook Giant is identifiable by crinkly leaves and thick, white, tender stalks; and Ruby Red (or Rhubarb) chard has thin, red stalks and slightly stronger flavors.

Here are some recipes I found:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/swiss-chard-recipe/index.html

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Sauteed-Swiss-Chard-with-Onions-240560

http://www.recipe.com/swiss-chard-gratin/

http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Swiss-chard-turnovers-with-parmesan-and-pistachios-310026?columns=5&position=11%2F71

http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Swiss-Chard-and-Feta-Frittata-Naturally-Ella-46284?columns=5&position=19%2F71

Winnie the Pooh’s Real Name is Edward Bear

Winnie-the-Pooh-Wallpaper-51

 

We had friends over our new house today to help with moving furniture. Afterward we all sat around chatting and the subject rounded to Winnie the Pooh when my daughter brought one of the books to me. One of our friends asked, “Why would anyone name a bear Pooh?” I replied that I knew that that was actually a nickname and that his real name was something else. Off I went to browse through some of the older Winnie the Pooh books I’ve found for our daughter. I found the answer in a 1926 copy of three stories. Winnie the Pooh’s real name is Edward Bear.

After looking around the internet for an explanation I found that A. A. Milne (the author) found the inspiration for the books from his son (Christopher Robin Milne) who had a collection of stuffed animals. One of his bears was named Edward Bear. His son also loved a bear at the zoo, which was named Winnie. When the bear at the zoo died, his son decided to rename his stuffed bear, Edward Bear, Winnie.

Kmart in Puyallup WA Closing

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The Kmart store in  Puyallup, WA will be closing mid November, but the liquidation sale starts today August 25th 2013.

There are apparently many reasons that the store is closing, but at the top of the list is that they are cutting costs (locations) that aren’t making their quota and have decided not to renew the lease here.

The Puyallup store, located at 621 River Road.

White Figs

In Florida I grew up with an entirely different type of fig than I have found here. The figs in Florida were ripe when they turned a deep purple on the outside and were so delicious. My grandmother used to make homemade fig bars that were to die for. Here in Washington I found a different type of fig. On one of my picking adventures I passed a house that had a fig tree, but the figs were still green on the outside.

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Of course, I unbuckle both the kids from their seats, walk up their drive and knock on their door to ask about them. Strangely enough, the woman who answered told me they were called White Figs. This type of fig is ripe even when it’s green on the outside and the only way to tell if they are ripe enough to pick is if you squeeze them. If they are still hard, don’t pick. She said I could pick a few and while they taste sweet to me, the ones in Florida are still better.

When I returned home, I looked up different types of figs and was surprised to discover how many types there are around the world. See for yourself: http://adrianosfigtrees.com/varieties.html

Don’t be afraid to ask to pick

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I find myself wondering a lot of the time why I don’t see more people picking the wild organic fruits that grow around here in Washington. Is it that they don’t have the time or that they would rather go to the grocery store and buy it? Since moving here I have found (wild And organic) blackberries, apples, plums, blueberries and raspberries.
One lesson to be learned here is if someone has a fruit tree growing their yard and it looks like its not being, knock on their front door and ask them.  Generally they are very pleased to let you pick as many as you want.
Today is find was organic apples that snapped off of someone’s apple tree. Look at the picture.

Nana Thai Restaurant

Tacoma, WA:

Recently my husband and I decided to go out to dinner to Olive Garden. They have a wonderful deal going on right now for an appetizer, salad and two entrees for $25, plus we had a $4 off two entrees coupon and a gift card. Seemed that we couldn’t loose on that deal. So off we went. Since it was a Friday night traffic was backed up on the highway, so we decided to take the back way to avoid it. About 10 minutes away from home we discovered that we had left the gift card at home. Yes, that wonderful decision…what were we going to do?

Since we didn’t have anything ready to cook at home and it was already nearing 7pm, I told my husband we would just go. Perhaps find a new place on the way that sounded better than Olive Garden. This is how we found Nana Thai.

The restaurant was plain on the outside other than a large sign above their door, but Thai food is something that we love, especially when cooked right. I was surprised when we walked in because only one table was taken. It was nice that they had tables and a few booths, so that we could make our choice. I was delighted to find that they provided a 1-5 level of spiciness. Wonderful for us because while my toddler will eat something with some spice, too much  and she won’t eat.

The waiter had to wait quite a few minutes for us to decide on our meal, but I chose Sweet and Sour Pork Stir Fry #3 heat and my husband chose the Chicken Vegetable Delight Stir fry #4 heat. Both meals came with Jasmine Rice. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised. The food was amazing!! My two year old even loved the food! The food was fresh, spicy and plated in a large serving. We kept going back for more and even though at the end of the meal we were full, we still had 2 full servings leftover to take home.

This is a place that we will go to again and again. I recommend you to try it, if you have a craving for something new.

Look at their website here: http://nanathaitacoma.com/

The Fig Leaf. Edible and Insulin Lowering.

fig leaf

I received an interesting email from my dad, Russell, today regarding fig leaves and diabetes. This is what his said:

“An Insulin-Lowering Leaf in Diabetes: You probably do not think about the leaves of the fig tree as one of fig’s edible parts. But in some cultures, fig leaves are a common part of the menu, and for good reason. The leaves of the fig have repeatedly been shown to have antidiabetic properties and can actually reduce the amount of insulin needed by persons with diabetes who require insulin injections. In one study, a liquid extract made from fig leaves was simply added to the breakfast of insulin-dependent diabetic subjects in order to produce this insulin-lowering effect.”

Frankly, I didn’t even know you could eat a fig leaf. While I love the fruit of the fig tree, I find the leaf itself rather prickly.

In addition to these recipes:

http://honest-food.net/2008/04/14/sykomaitha-greek-fig-cakes/

http://desertcandy.blogspot.com/2007/10/squirrel-3-me-1.html

http://honest-food.net/2008/04/21/quail-with-wild-fennel-and-fig-leaves/

http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Apricots-Baked-in-Fig-Leaves-Martha-Stewart?columns=5&position=1%2F36

You can also dry them to use as a tea. Apparently it’s delicious, but I haven’t tried it myself as of yet.

this is from yahoo: “Fig leaf tea helps support proper insulin response.  Researchers in Spain have shown that fig leaf tea can help maintain proper insulin levels.  It can easily be made using 2 teaspoons of dried cut leaves. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the leaves, cover, and let the brew sit for 10 to 15 minutes before drinking. Drink 1 cup each morning at breakfast.”

Soon, I’ll have to try it. =D