Monthly Archives: September 2009

Roasted Chickpeas with Chard

I can’t say I’ve ever gone out of my way to buy/cook/eat chard. But there was something about Julie’s entry during her year-long, post-a-day, blog-a-thon involving roasted chickpeas and chard that, for some unknown reason, really appealed to me. I filed it away, figuratively, for a future date and carried on with things.

Chard II

So, when a friend at work was extolling the virtues of her chard crop, I was immediately reminded of my plan to try out this dish. And, very fortuitously, she was happy to provide me with a large bunch of chard to use in my attempt.

Bundled Chard

Oh chard! Why have I foresaken thee for so many years? You are quick to prepare and delicious! And I’m pretty sure you’re good for me too!

Chard I

I’m just sad now that the chard season (at least in my friend’s garden) is over for another year. Most of the generous bunch she gave me went into the dish with the roasted chickpeas. But I held back a few stalks that I sauteed quickly with garlic and topped with a fried egg for breakfast one day.

The original recipe just calls for the leaves from what I can tell. But I liked the rainbow stalks so much that I diced them finely and fried them for a few minutes before adding the leaves to the mixture.

I can only hope that next year my friend’s chard crop is even bigger and she is as giving as this time around with it….

This recipe has been adapted ever so slightly from the original, as seen here. Mostly because I didn’t have enough garlic to do it properly and, as mentioned before, because I used up the stalks too.

Chickpeas, garlic, shallots and bay leaves

Chard III

Chopped chard stalks

Roasted chickpeas with garlic and bay leaves

Roasted Chickpeas with Chard

Roasted Chickpeas with Chard

For the chickpeas
1 19 oz.  can chick peas, rinsed and drained
3 cloves garlic, peeled (original calls for entire head; will try this next time)
2 shallots, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup olive oil

For the chard:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large bunch Swiss chard, center stems removed and chopped finely, and leaves coarsely torn
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup vegetable, chicken or beef broth

Preheat oven to 400. In a baking dish, combine chickpeas, garlic, shallots, bay leaves and oil. Roast for about 45 minutes, shaking the pan at least once (twice is probably even better) until everything is golden. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a frying pan on the stove, add olive oil and heat until hot. Saute garlic for about 30 seconds until it is fragrant, add chard stems and saute for a minute or two until tender. Add chard and continue cooking until it has wilted — about five minutes. Pour over stock, cover and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove lid and drain excess liquid. Add chickpea mixture, season with salt and pepper and mix until heated through. Add a little more olive oil if desired.

Rhubarb Pudding Cakes

I guess you could call me a fruit purist.

I’m not really interested in your bumbleberry mixes, your apple-cherry pies or any strawberry-rhubarb co-mingling.

I like my rhubarb straight up, please, with a little crisp topping, a flaky crust or simply folded in with whipped cream. Or, in this case, in the form of a pudding cake.

Rhubarb Pudding Cake II

Rhubarb, to me, is the quintessential summer dessert. The ruby-ish stalks with slight green tint always made at least one appearance a summer when I was growing up. Usually it was in the form of Rhubarb Fool, a stewed fruit and whipped cream dessert that always tasted like more work went into it than really had.

So, I was excited to see the slim stalks make their first appearance at the farmers’ market.

The decision was not whether or not to buy them. It was: how do I narrow down the recipes I want to try? Rhubarb custard tart. Rhubarb scones. Rhubarb crumb cake. My recipe folder is brimming with possibilities. But I had recently come across a recipe for Rhubarb Pudding Cakes baked in ramekins. And, if nothing else, I am a sucker for individual desserts.

Rhubarb Pudding Cake I

This recipe comes together quickly and easily. A quick chop of the rhubarb, a little simmer on the stove, some stirring of wet and dry ingredients. I didn’t even pull out a mixer. And while you do have to turn on the oven for a bit, I promise the payoff is worth the extra heat in the kitchen.

These are moist little cakes, slightly studded with softened and sweetened rhubarb on top and another layer of the fruit on the bottom. The cake-to-rhubarb ratio is perfect and I like eating it right out of the ramekin, sweeping my spoon around the bottom to scrape up all the pinkish syrup.

The original recipe calls for one cup (250 mL) of strawberries–taking the place of one of the cups of rhubarb–and only 1/3 cup (75 mL) of sugar for slightly stewing the fruit. Feel free to make that adjustment.

But I’ll be keeping mine strictly rhubarb, thank you.

Rhubarb and sugar

Slightly stewed rhubarb

Rhubarb and ramekins

Rhubarb and Batter

Rhubarb Pudding Cake III

Rhubarb Pudding Cakes

Adapted from Gourmet, April 2007

  • 1/4 cup (50 ml)water
  • 1½ tsp (7 ml) cornstarch
  • 1 cup (250 ml) sugar divided
  • 3 cups (750 ml) chopped fresh rhubarb stalks
  • 1 cup (250 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1¾ tsp (8 ml) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400°f (200°c), ensuring the rack is in the middle. Butter 4 individual 1-cup (250-ml) ramekins.

Mix together water, cornstarch and half of the sugar in a small pot, then add the rhubarb. Simmer, stirring constantly for about three minutes. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and the remaining sugar.

In a second bowl, whisk the egg, milk, melted butter and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until just combined. It will make a thick batter.

Reserving ½cup (125 ml) of the rhubarb mixture, divide the rest of the fruit and syrup among the ramekins. Spoon the batter evenly into each dish over the rhubarb. Top each ramekin with a portion of the remaining rhubarb syrup mix.

Bake until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean and the tops are slightly golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly and then serve.

Note: mine took less time than this. Start to keep an eye on them at the 20-minute mark.

This story first appeared in the Real Life section in the Calgary Herald. For more delicious recipes, visit CalgaryHerald.com/life.