Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chard and Cheesesteaks

Sometimes dinner is cheesesteaks.   Back in the day, we used to eat food that wasn't made of food, and so cheesesteaks were heavy in the rotation.  And I mean like, before we moved to the city, so not a Cheesesteak(tm) but Steak 'Ums or something.  We used to eat Kraft Mac n Cheese.

But now we eat food that's (almost) entirely made of stuff you'd recognize as food. We cheated a lil bit tonight with Wawa rolls, because when your husband is picking up bread on his way home from school after 9pm, that's what there is.  I'm certain they're not "made of food".

Also, red chard!  I forgot that I meant to use it in last night's dinner.  So steak sandwiches take like a minute to make, so we start with chard. Besides, it was getting a lil bit tired looking in the fridge.
wilted just means you have to cook it, and with chard, you have to cook it anyway.  raw chard is not lettuce.

Chard is magic, like two veggies in one. You have the stems, which are the texture of celery, and the leaves, which are the texture of leaves. It's awesome. Also, it's super bitter if you don't cook it long enough. So cut the stems from the leaves first.

you can get all fancy and run a knife down the stem, but i just tore them apart and it worked.

Cut the stems into chunks, tear up the leaves and set the leaves aside.

I do all my serious greens the same way (serious greens means collards, mustard greens, chard). Start with a bit of a saute in a little oil plus flavor (garlic), then add liquid and go slow. But with chard, the stems need extra love, so I did them up in a pan wiped with olive oil for about ten minutes, with three cloves of garlic. Sometimes I grate garlic on my microplane, sometimes I mince it in my garlic press, but the reality is, this is going to cook for a few, and it's not going to be all whoa garlic when it's done, so it's ok to use big pieces. Seriously, I tore it up with my hands. Smell my hands.

The stems are like beets - no, beets are awful - but the stems of chard make things turn red. Things like garlic. So once your stems have had their time (10 mins or so), add wet. The key to bitter greens (you listening, collards?) is apple cider vinegar, so to the hot pan I added about two tablespoons. Note - I say things like that sometimes. "two tablespoons" It just rolls off the tongue. But there's no chance I'm bringing out the measuring spoons unless I'm baking. So just add some vinegar. Like a couple splashes. More if you want more. Also another liquid. I used my magic veg stock cubes, but you could add lemon juice and water, or canned stock, or hot water and a bullion cube, I'm not judging.

Melt your cubes (ok, probably just me) and then piles your greens atop.

Now I cover the pan, turn down to low, and worry about something else for a bit. I sliced onions for the sandwiches and made sure my griddle was clean. Who has a griddle? Seriously, just use a frying pan.

But before we get thinking to hard about griddles, stir your greens. When they're wilty, flip them. And turn off the heat and recover. Let 'em steam.

Ok, so we're having sandwiches, right? I wiped my griddle with olive oil, barely any, and threw down some onions to burn. No really, burn em a bit. Ok, if you're feeling like cooking with love, put them in butter and caramelize them - they're delicious - but if you want to eat soon, and shit, it's like 10 pm already, just put the griddle on high and schooch them around a bit. Add your rolls to "toast" for a minute or two. Like two.

Take the lid off your chard so some of the wet can evaporate between now and chow time, and deal with your meat.

This is my meat.

my favorite thing is that it says "local" but not where, other than "United States" - like they sell this same package in Nevada.

Defrost your meat, if you're the meat freezing type, and look back to your griddle. It's on high, right, for the onions? Put your meat down on it and TURN IT OFF. I swear.

It will brown the second it hits the pan. Flip it and tell it to get to know the onions real well.

Shred some cheese on top. Of course, we're fancy, so I didn't have any standard ass cheddar or provolone in the house, I had dubliner. (ew, I didn't know you could get cheese on Amazon, and that's 100% wrong, don't buy cheese from a warehouse. I just wanted to add a link.)

Shred it right onto the meat on the griddle (frying pan, whatever).

Apply steak to bread.

Serve with chard.

Or if you're like me, top with chard. But I didn't think of that til mid-meal, and I don't like to use the camera at dinner. ew.  Also, here, lots of the sandwich and pizza places use broccoli rabe on the cheesesteaks, so it's not like I'm weird, adding my chard.

You know what this'd be great with?  Other vegetables.  Mushrooms, peppers (of course, it's a cheesesteak) but summer squash, eggplant and other veggies you like to have roasted or grilled on sandwiches.  Add veg, a splash of balasmic and make a point of using provolone and you've got something special.

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