Stanislavski writes that an actor prepares.
And I would like to state that a healthy eater must prepare as well. "Ugh!" you may think, "I've already given up meat and dairy, now I have to do work?!"
"Nay," I say, fellow healthy eater. Think of it as preparing yourself for the weekly battle towards health. When I was a teacher, I would set aside a couple of hours each Sunday to prepare for the week. I would make a couple of soups, vinaigrettes, and whatever else suited my fancy so all I had to do when I walked in the door at 9:00 (yes, teachers pull very long hours) was combine a couple of ingredients, reheat a few things, and dinner was served (and, quite often, the next day's lunch was ready to go in the fridge).
When you are making some quinoa, or any other grain, double the batch. It will keep for a couple of days in your refrigerator. Same holds true for beans, vinaigrettes, and soups. Just add some fresh veggies and a little creativity and dinner is ready in no time!
Remember the Six Ps: Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance!
Culinary term of the week: chiffonade - a cooking technique in which herbs and leafy green veggies are cut into long thin slices.
Sauteed Swiss Chard with Leeks and Golden Raisins
The slightly bitter and earthy greens are balanced nicely by the sweetness of the raisins. Serve on top of quinoa or whole wheat Israeli couscous for a flavorful and filling meal!
1 large bunch of Swiss Chard (about 3 cups)
1 leek, white and light green parts
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 Tbl cider vinegar
1 Tbl warm water
1 Tbl honey (optional)
2 Tbl stone ground mustard
2 Tbl olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (for garnish)
In a small bowl, thoroughly combine water, vinegar, and honey. Soak raisins in the mixture while you prepare the other ingredients.
Remove dark green leaves from the leeks and slice down the center without cutting all the way through. Rinse under cold water to remove any grit. Cut leek into thin, circular slices. Saute leeks over medium heat in the olive oil until just beginning to brown (about the time it takes to prepare the chard). Be sure to season with salt and pepper. Add garlic to leeks and cook for one minute.
Rinse chard and pat dry. Holding on to the stems, fold leaves over, and remove leaves, reserving stems. Lay leaves one on top of the other. Roll into a cigar shape, and slice into 1/2" wide pieces. You have just made a chiffonade. Cut stems into 1/2" pieces, discarding any super thick pieces. Add leaves and stems to the leeks and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to wilt the greens. Cook for three to four minutes. Once greens have begun to wilt, add carrots, mustard, and raisins along with their liquid. Toss to combine and cook until liquid has evaporated and stems are tender (about three minutes).
Serve immediately. Garnish with toasted pine nuts.