Shorelinechef's Blog

Cooking and creating everyday solutions for busy families like mine.

Special Delivery February 15, 2011

So… my children’s elementary school has a great new program whereby I can order organic produce, guaranteed to have been plucked from the ground within 24 hours of delivery. I’ve received two boxes so far:

First February Box

First Box of February

With the first delivery of Chinese Broccoli – with the little white flowers still on it!), I made a delicious stir-fry with garlic, green onions, yellow and orange peppers, chicken, seasoned rice vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce. I served it over brown rice. Explaining it to the kids as just another form of broccoli (which they already liked) helped to ease the introduction and, aside from my three year-old, they ate happily.

Chinese Broccoli Stir-Fry

Second February Box

Second Box of February

With the chard from the second box (and with apologies to a Martha Stewart feature at least 15 years ago,) I made Swiss Chard Bundles:

Ingredient Assembly

I started by blanching my chard leaves and brushing them with olive oil.

Layered and ready to roll

Next, I layered a base of mozzarella cheese, slices of Roma tomatoes,a smear of pesto, some freshly ground sea salt and pepper, and another drizzle of olive oil. Alternatively, use some fresh basil leaves in place of the basil.

Brushing the exterior with olive oil

I rolled up from the bottom, folding in the sides as I went. Then, I brushed the exterior of the bundles with olive oil.

Into the grill pan

One of my favorite tools in the kitchen is my grill pan. I actually have two: a cast iron, which is superior for high heat and super-impressive grill marks, and a nonstick version, which is SO easy to clean that it usually wins out over the cast iron. I even make grilled cheese in it, use a press for panini and chicken breasts and this pan goes into the oven, so I can finish off meats that way, if needed.

But I digress… pop these bundles into the grill pan over medium heat and let cook, undisturbed, for about five minutes. I like to use tongs with silicone tips so as not to mar my pan.

The B-Sides

When you flip them, you’ll notice that they have slightly charred on the bottom. I absolutely love this flavor. The second side won’t take as long… probably about 3 minutes, though you could peek to check the browning, if you’d like.

Incidentally, this recipe can also be done on the grill. If you choose to do this, soak some wooden skewers in water a half an hour before you make the bundles and use those to secure the packets. They fall apart much more readily on the barbecue.

Sneak Peek

I had to get a sneak peek to make sure the cheese was melted properly! My kids decided that these tasted like pizza and, again, except for the three year-old, gobbled them up (then finished off the three year-old’s plate!)

I hope you will try this at home. It is so easy, so delicious and an unusual presentation of a vegetable that is often overlooked or considered difficult to cook.

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Brunch Bites to Impress October 9, 2009

I often have the need for a breakfast/brunch dish that travels well. Well, I’ve got a new favorite and it would be just as good for a party appetizer. The prep is simple and the results are fantastic (really… how wrong can you go with bacon and cheese?!?)

Bacon-Cheddar Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. pie crusts (2 crusts), softened according to package directions.
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 2 plum tomatoes (plus more diced for garnish, optional)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz. (1/2 pkg) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • Sliced green onions (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Unroll pie crust onto lightly floured surface. Spacing closely together, use a cup (the Pampered Chef Measure-All Cup is perfect) to cut nine circles around the outside edge and three in the center. Press disks into wells of a 24-indentation mini muffin pan, using the Mini-Tart Shaper to complete. Bake 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown (if your dough has become very warm, I would suggest popping it into the fridge for 5 – 10 minutes to re-chill).
  2. Meanwhile, stack bacon; thinly slice and cook over medium-high heat 10 – 12 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon to paper towel-lined plate; cool slightly. Meanwhile, cut tomatoes in half and scrape out seeds. Dice. Chop bacon (the Food Chopper is great for this). In a bowl, combine bacon, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, mustard and pressed garlic. Mix well.
  3. Remove pan from oven to a rack. Using a small spoon (such as the Adjustable Measuring Spoon), fill each cup with about 1 Tbsp. of the cheese mixture. Bake 5 – 7 minutes or until cheese is melted. Garnish with green onions and additional diced tomato, if desired.

Yield: 24 appetizers

Recipe from The Pampered Chef.

I ended up with extra filling and plan to try it wrapped in crescent dough and baked or spread on toast and broiled. Simple and quick, but

This could definitely be lightened up. The Neufchatel cheese I used worked just fine. You could also replace the bacon with turkey bacon and use light cheddar.

Hope you enjoy it!