Friday, March 30, 2012

Swiss Chard Gratin, Broiled Leeks, Flank Steak

Yesterday went like this, a typical veggie-box-delivery-day thursday: get up, drink coffee, have half a breakfast, go to workout class, do stretch class (okay so that is new), go to farmers' market for more eggs, get home and eat another half of breakfast (yes i am related to ron swanson), figure out what the heck to do with the giant box of veggies that was delivered to my doorstep earlier in the morning, and then get to prepping it all.
My giant box of work.

Got all my supplies ready - recipes bookmarked, gameplan mapped out, coffee, and phone (fyi even though it looks pretty i do not recommend a white phone if you cook a lot and your partner tends to call you while you are cooking, practically as soon as your hands are covered in junk.)

 Closer-up of the gameplan, and a grocery list.

Written down to-do list which is basically a meal plan too.

So you already know the gist of how i prep for the upcoming week and that is what i did today with the other ingredients that i wasn't also going to use for dinner.

The recipe for the swiss chard gratin i based my dish from is found here.  I chopped and then boiled the swiss chard in salt water, ice bathed it, drained it, and then chopped it some more as you see above.  Also pictured is the cheese that i grated for the gratin.  Since i did not follow the recipe exactly and i did my own lazy ghetto way of cooking (prep work is hard work) i will post my own "recipe," as follows:

Swiss Chard Gratin - serves however many people you need to feed who like cheese and swiss chard but probably not more than 6
2 bunches swiss chard, does not matter what color, boiled until tender in salted water and then dunked in ice bath and then drained and then as much of the water squeezed out as you can
2 garlic cloves
4 ounces swiss-y kind of cheese of your choice, shredded (i used 2 oz raclette and 2 oz Landaff)
1 ounce cream cheese
at least 1/4 cup half and half/cream/milk or more if needed for sauce consistency
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
onion powder, if you want
Parmesan cheese for topping 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and then spray an 8 by 8 glass baking dish/casserole dish with cooking spray or butter. 
Garlic press the garlic into a bowl or you can mince it if you don't have a press.  Add the cheese, the cream cheese, and the cream to the bowl and then microwave on medium power until everything is soft enough to stir together, checking the contents often so that you don't over-microwave it.  When it is stirrable into a smooth yet thick consistency (it will thin out some when baking) add the seasonings and stir together, then add the swiss chard.

Here is where if you had extraordinarily large bunches of swiss chard you could easily make more sauce if you need to, a light coating usually works fine though. I do realize this is yet another creamy pink vegetable side dish i have prepared but i did not choose the chard color! 
Put the swiss chard and sauce mix into the prepared glass dish and spread out evenly, then top with however much parmesan cheese you like.  I gave mine a fairly generous coating.  Place in preheated oven and bake until heated through and cheese on top is bubbly/melted, about 20 mins.

While that was baking I had another dish to prepare with one of last week's leftover leeks and the mega huge ones they sent me this week.  I cut the dark green tops off and then quartered the large ones and halved the small one, then rinsed them thoroughly, and trimmed the white part just barely--enough to get those little squiggly roots off.

Then I poured some flavored olive oil in a dish to brush them with, because that is easier than trying to pour oil from a bottle onto a pastry brush.

I put foil down on a sheet pan and since i was using oil already i used the cheap foil and not the nice nonstick foil so i also brushed the foil with the olive oil before sprinkling salt and pepper on the sheet.  Then I lightly brushed the leeks all over with a small amount of oil before arranging them one cut side down on the pan and  then sprinkling more salt and pepper on them.  I stuck them under the broiler on low to cook while i got the flank steak ready, with the chard gratin on the bottom rack of the oven still to stay warm.  When one side started to look softened and slightly charred i flipped them to the other cut side and fanned the stalks out slightly.  I took them out when they looked softened all over. (below is before they went in)

This here is the flank steak i got at the thursday farmers' market, from 5 Bar Beef.  They supposedly take really good care of their animals, and they sell their stuff in smaller quantities than the Da-Le Ranch from lake elsinore does so I got some meat.  It is shown thawed out below.

I just used some Emeril's original essence to season the meat before i put it under the broiler for a few minutes on each side.

Tah dah! the leeks come out and the beef goes in under the broiler, this time on high, for just a few minutes each side to desired doneness.  Flank steak is kind of thin so it doesn't need that long.

Gratin still on the bottom while beef is under the broiler.

Behold the finished gratin!

I let the beef cool slightly and then sliced it across the grain.

It was very tender even though it was previously frozen.

dinner is served

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