Experimentation of Taste

A food blog that catalogs discovery of foods available through CSA Farms Shares and other arenas and the recipes to enhance the flavors.


My husbands solution to the spice colony.

He has been a little hooked on the Dune series recently but this addition to my kitchen came about a year ago. He hated dealing with the mass quantities of spices that I have collected from all over the world and continue to receive from my parents continued travels in far away lands.

I am including this in Sweetnicks' I'll Show You Mine, If You Show Me Yours #2 which is showing off your spice rack/cabinet or other place you keep them all.

Now for the sexy close up shots. Too bad I don't have one of his installation of it. It was sure simple. I think he spend all of 20 minutes on this project.

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The rainbow colored green - Swiss Chard.

photo from Live Earth CSA Farm in California

Last weeks Farm Share included Swiss Chard. It is a beautiful rainbow of color on the stems. This leafy green is similar in use to Spinach. It is part of the beet family and is grown for its leaves and stems.

Storage: After sorting out any withered, limp or yellow leaves, place in a plastic bag with a paper towel to absorb moisture (replace when it gets soggy) and press out excess air. Mine has kept for 2 plus weeks in this manner, but be careful since they can perish faster depending on if it is the end of the growing season. Blanched leaves can be frozen but not stems.

Uses: Can substitute Leaves for Spinach and stalks for Asparagus in recipes. Both the leaves and the stalks are eaten. Young tender leaves can be eaten whole in a salad or sandwich. The stalks can be chopped in 2-3" segments and boiled/ sautéed till tender. The leaves can be shredded and steamed in the small amount of water that clings to them after washing. Then the leaves can be sautéed or mixed with a oil and herb/spice mixture.

Flavor Enhancers: Garlic, nutmeg, oregano, tarragon

Health note: Swiss chard is considered one of the top rate veggies for its nutritional benefits. It is high in many vitamins and minerals. 1 cup of Swiss chard has 35 calories, 300% of the dv of vitamin K, 109% of the dv of vitamin A, and 52% dv of vitamin C.

Safety note: People with kidney or gallbladder problems should avoid eating Swiss chard. As with Kale, Chard interferes with calcium absorption. Wait 2-3 hours between uses of both.

I have never had Swiss chard before. I was fascinated by the colorful foliage. I sat down to do my menu planning for the week and to go through my recipe clipping file and was ecstatic to find a recipe that used Swiss Chard from the August 2003 Martha Stewart Living.

The Swiss chard and Goat Cheese Galette (tart) was delish. My husband and I almost polished off the entire thing. We could not believe the wonderful mixture of flavors and creamy goodness.

Swiss Chard and Goat Cheese Galette

Serves Aprox 6
Prep Time 1 hr 30 min
Total Time 2 hr 15 min

Note: You can mix and refrigerate the dough the night before. When removing the stems from the Swiss chard, cut all the way into the upper portion of the leaf so that you cut in half so that the entire stem is removed. It will make cutting into the tart easier. Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet so that are cool by assembly time.

12 oz Swiss Chard, washed, stems removed and reserved

2 Tbs olive oil

1 large onion, sliced lengthwise 1/4" thick

3 Tbs balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

2 Tbs fresh thyme leaves

6 oz fresh goat cheese, room temperature

Oatmeal Tart Dough (recipe follows)

2 Tbs pine nuts, toasted

2 Tbs golden raisins

1 large egg yolk

1. Slice Chard stems into 1/4" pieces. In a large skillet, heat Tb oil over medium heat. Add stems and onions, and cook, stirring until slightly brown, 8-10 min.

2. Cover skillet, and reduce heat to low. Cook stirring occasionally, until stems are very soft, about 15 min. Add the vinegar, and cook, stirring, until liquid is reduced by half about2 min. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, and transfer onion mixture to nonreactive bowl; set aside.

3. Heat remaining Tb of oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add chard leaves, and sauté until slightly wilted, about 1 min. Stir thyme; season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

4. With electric mixer, combine the goat cheese and 2 Tbs of cream. Beat mixture until smooth, about 1 min. Stir in the nutmeg; season with salt and pepper and set aside.

5. Preheat oven to 375 F. On a large piece of parchment paper, roll out dough to a 1/4" thick round or rectangle. Arrange onion mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 3" border around the edge. Spread goat cheese mixture over onion mixture, and top with the chard mixture. Sprinkle with pine nuts and golden raisins. Fold edges of dough over, and press down gently to seal. Transfer tart on paper to baking sheet and refrigerate 15 min.

6. In a small bowl, beat egg yolk with remaining Tbs of cream. Brush exposed dough with egg wash and bake until golden, 40-45 min. Serve warm or room temp. (I transferred the tart with paper onto my pizza stone after being in the fridge and it cooked faster than the stated time.)

Oatmeal Tart Dough

Makes enough for one tart

Note: if dough is too crumbly add one to two Tbs ice water in a slow steady stream.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 tea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) of chilled butter cut into small pieces.
3 oz cream cheese (I used sour cream instead which made the dough extra sticky)
1 large egg yolk

1. In a food processor, pulse the flours, oats, and salt to combine. Add the butter, cream cheese, and egg yolk, and process until the dough just holds together, 15 to 20 sec.

2. Turn dough onto a clean work surface. Flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic; chill at least 1 hr or overnight.

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What do I do with Kale?

photo from Live Earth CSA Farm in California

The last two weeks I received a bunch of Kale in our Farm Share. I did a little bit of research on Kale to make sure I used and cared for it properly as not to waste it.

Storage: Place in a storage bag in the fridge. I normally place a paper towel to soak up excess moisture so that the kale lasts longer. Kale can be frozen for many months after being cooked and chopped in a container. It's time to throw out when it starts to turn yellow, brown or wilted.

Uses: Salads, in its tender state, and stir fries, steamed, sautéed, or mixed with pasta. Normally combined with strong flavors to balance it’s own intensity. Frozen Kale is good in soups and casseroles (lasagna).

Safety note: Kale interferes with Calcium absorption. So don't take supplements and Kale at the same time. Kale also is not beneficial in its raw form for individuals with a thyroid problem.

I have had Kale before in a Portuguese soup called caldo verde. It was a nice comfort potato soup but not really a summer item to cook. Even so, I do not remember cooking with it. My husband begs to differ. So, I dragged out my cookbooks and debated what would work and some of my friends passed on recipes and suggestions.

I finally decided I would mix it in with something because I was not sure I wanted to experience the pure version. I will eventually. The recipe I chose was from Everyday Food with some changes.

It was delicious especially with perfectly sweet tomatoes that popped with every bite.

Lasagna with Sausage and Kale

Serves 8
Prep time: 40 min
Total time: 1 hr 20 min

Notes: You can assemble up to one day ahead and refrigerate, covering tightly; cooking time will be the same. Kale can be replaced with 2 boxes of 10 oz frozen chopped spinach; thaw and drain before adding to noodle mixture in step 3 (skip step 2). Regular lasagna noodles can be cooked instead and added in step 3.

Ingredients :

16 oz of Pork Sausage no casing

2 large Onions, halved and thinly sliced (4 cups)

4 Garlic Cloves, coarsely grated

2 bunches of Kale (12 oz), thick stems removed

coarse salt and pepper

9 sheets of Lasagna Noodles, no bake, broken into small pieces

1 pint of Cherry Tomatoes

3 cups Ricotta Cheese

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400F. In a 5-quart pot, cook sausage over medium heat, stirring often, until browned, about 5 min. Stir in onions; cover and cook until softened, 5 min. Uncover, cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 10-15 min. Add garlic; cook 2 min. Transfer to large bowl.

2. Add Kale and 1/2 cup water to pot; season with salt and pepper. Cover; cook over medium-low heat, until tender, 10-15 min Drain; coarsely chop. Transfer to bowl with onions.

3. Add noodles, tomatoes and ricotta to the bowl; season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Pour into a 9x13 inch baking dish; smooth top with a spatula. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until golden brown, about 40 min. Cool 10 min before serving.

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