Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Sunday Lunch from the Farmer's Market

This morning I was so thankful that we were in town for the weekend and we were finally able to go back to church at Community Covenant in Scott's Valley. It's a bit of a drive over the mountain from Los Gatos but it is such a nice church and I really enjoy their services. Their music is especially nice and always ties in well with the theme of the service. To go along with the Lenten service we got to sing one of my favorite worship songs. It was only written a few years ago by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty, but the text and melody are so rich they remind me of some of my favorite old hymns. The words are so powerful: 

In Christ Alone My Hope is Found 
by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all -  
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe! 
This gift of love and righteousness,  
Scorned by the ones he came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied; 
For ev'ry sin on him was laid - 
Here in the depth of Christ I live. 

There in the ground his body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain; 
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again! 
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine - 
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death -
This is the pow'r of Christ in me; 
From life's first cry to final breath, 
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand; 
Till He returns or calls me home - 
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

It always gives me thrills to sing through all of the verses as it reminds me of the amazing power of the gospel message. The rest of the services was great too, but singing that hymn was my favorite part!

On our way home from church, I glanced at the clock and realize that the Los Gatos farmer's market was still happening. I checked with Woodley about his plans for the afternoon and we decided that he would drop me off to go to the market while he ran over to Fry's for a new fan for his computer. 

I had a great hour pouring over the various booths of organic produce. I had my shopping list for the week with me so it was easy to find most of the veggies I will need for the week. 

When we got home, I decided to depart from my planned menus for the week and instead put together a menu using some of the extra vegetables I'd picked up at the market. Here's the lunch menu we had today: 

Steamed Carrots and Swiss Chard Stems 
Slices of Blood Oranges 

Altogether, I think it took about an hour and a half to two hours to get lunch on the table. Needless to say, we had a mid-afternoon lunch around 3:30pm. 

First I roasted the garbanzo beans with some olive oil (less than the recipe called for), garlic cloves, fennel seeds, salt and a shallot. I removed the foil cover from the pan for the last 15 minutes to allow the beans to brown up a bit. Here's how it looked when it came out of the oven. 

After taking them out of the oven, I let the garbanzo bean mixture drain to remove the excess olive oil. 

Ahhhhhhh! Swiss Chard! I love it! My mom fed us a lot of swiss chard when I was growing up and my brother and I both grew to love it. I think it reminds us of our northern European heritage. Woodley didn't eat a lot of chard growing up so he's not such a fan. I still like to make it in the winter though so I'm always looking for fun new ways to "hide" it. Isn't it beautiful!

Following the recipe, I cut off the stems and shredded the leaves into bite sized pieces. I just couldn't bear to throw the stems away though so I decided to get creative and mix them in with some steamed carrots as a colorful side dish. 

After sautéing the garlic, shallot, and bay leaves in olive oil, I added the swiss chard to wilt it before adding the chicken broth. In a side note, I'm hoping to make several batches of chicken broth this week to freeze and save for future use. I think it will be so much better than using the store bought chicken broth. I can never finish a full container fast enough so I always end up dumping a lot of it down the drain. 

The final step involved mixing the garbanzo bean mixture with the cooked swiss chard mixture. Yum! 

Here are some pictures of my made-up carrot and swiss chard stem side dish. First I cut up the carrots and stems into bite sized pieces and mixed them together. 

Next, I added a small amount of water (maybe 1/8th to 1/4th of a cup) to a small saucepan along with about 2 teaspoons of butter and 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar and turned the heat up to medium high. When the butter had melted I tossed in the swiss chard stems and carrot slices, turned down the heat so it would simmer gently, covered it, and let it cook for about 15 minutes, until the carrots were tender. I also added a little squeeze of lemon juice and some salt. I think it turned out really well and I would definitely make it again next time I have swiss chard stems! :)

Here's the polenta near the end of its 45 minute cook time. I like this recipe since you only need to stir it once every 10 minutes. It's so easy to do that while working on other dishes at the same time. 

The last step was to plate the polenta with the chickpea chard mixture on top. It turned out very nicely and tasted great. It's probably not our absolute favorite dish, but it's a great way to do something different with Swiss Chard. I really liked how the carrots and swiss chard stems turned out also. Woodley wasn't as much of a fan as I was, but I really liked the colors and the way the textures went together. It was much better than just tossing out the stems. 



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