Saturday, December 5, 2009

Easy cooking for a Friday evening

I’m at another writing retreat so once again I chose the easy way to feed myself and my writer friends. Last night we ate two of my favorite dishes—Swiss chard lasagna and winter cole slaw.

The Swiss chard lasagna recipe originated with the Moosewood Cookbook that a friend gave to me 20 years ago. Their recipe is for spinach lasagna. I substituted my garden chard (my chard is even more beautiful in the cold weather; its flesh is sturdier and ribbons of yellow, white and red wind vibrantly through the green), my own preserved tomato sauce and added more parmesan cheese than they called for. This is one of those dishes you can assemble in a baking dish the day before so it’s simple to cook when you’re hungry. The results? Here’s what my friends rated it:
Lin: 10
Mary: 10

Since I ate the last of my garden lettuce this week, I pulled some winter cole slaw out of the freezer for the salad. It’s one of those vinegar recipes my mom gave me a couple of years ago when I told her I had more cabbage than I could eat. I think it’s quite tasty and I know it’s healthy since cabbage is in the cruciferous vegetable family, that gang of cancer fighters that I go to for support. Cabbage is also a great supplier of Vitamin C, folate, manganese, potassium and dietary fiber. My husband prefers creamy cole slaw, so instead of subjecting him to my freezer slaw, I brought it to a more appreciative crowd. Here’s what the writers rated it:

Lin: 10
Mary: 10

And yes, we did have dessert. I had Cushaw left from Thanksgiving week since that’s what I used to make our pumpkin pie. My husband clued me in that this southern heirloom squash actually makes tastier pie than pumpkin; he was right. So I made the leftover puree into pumpkin bread, or in this case, Cushaw bread. Topped with a little cream cheese, it’s an excellently moist and slightly sweet dessert. It’s not bad for breakfast either. Here are the ratings:

Lin: 10+
Mary: 10+

Okay, maybe I should have asked Lin and Mary separately for more honest ratings, but I think it’s safe to say from their reactions they really did enjoy the food.

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