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2011 July 27
by Thehousedaddy

We have had a week of hellish temperatures. The kind of heat that makes you question why you live where you do. We have friends and family who live all over the world, and whenever we talk during the summer it seems that as though we are the only ones living in swelter. For the first few days of temperatures over 100 degrees, we visited our local pool and found some relief. But as of yesterday, the pool felt more like a hot tub without the therapeutic jets.

Everyone in our house prefers winter with the exception of Virginia. Samantha and the boys love the snow and never feel it is too cold. I always argue that you can always put on more clothes. Since Virginia is always cold, thermostats in our house and cars seem to change on their own. For our poor dog Samantha, the heat is really brutal. I have been taking her out on walks before the family gets up to try and beat the heat, but there is no winning. We hose off before we go out, swim in the creek and look forward to coming back into the air-conditioned house. It is hard to imagine cooking in these temps, but everyone still gets hungry and I am the only one satisfied with a cold meal. Everyone else wants a hot multicourse extravaganza every night.

So before the heat hit its record breaking, news worthy highs in the DC area, Twin Springs market had some amazing chard. I usually think of this green along with kale as a winter green, but it looked so delicate and tender that I had to get it. The problem was I couldn’t picture using it since we had so much nice summer stuff that we hadn’t seen for months. So when an old friend, who I had met one lucky summer a long time ago while skiing in New Zealand saw my blog, I was inspired to cook some chard. I had never heard of “silverbeet”, but apparently that is what Kiwis call chard and my friend Jacqui seemingly had an abundance of it in her snowy garden. It seemed almost fitting to make a dish that had a winter connection to help try and cool us down.

When it is this brutal it is hard to imagine even standing over the grill. I have taken to assembling all the ingredients in a large risotto pan and cooking them on the grill all at once or adding veggies throughout the process. But when it is 100 plus degrees outside standing over the grill is painfully hot as well. So I confess to cooking on the stove with the exhaust fan cranking. I knew that the kitchen might get a little hot, but at least I would not have that disgusting feeling of walking into a hot wall of water when I went back and forth to the grill.

So again for us gluten-free, vegan, Volvo driving, overhead fan using, longhaired kids family, we switched gears a bit and let the AC do it’s magic. It felt so civilized and wasteful and good. In the pan was our trusty local spring onions, scapes, wonderful wax beans, red and yellow tomatoes and lots of chard. In the spirit of the heat we put everything in at once on the highest possible heat. Salt, pepper, and fresh thyme and sage seasoned the dish along with turmeric, paprika and cumin. I also added a splash of Red Burgundy from the night before since red wine in a hot house doesn’t taste so good the next day, but it adds a richness to the dish when cooked. When the veggies were all done, I added a huge helping of fava beans that I had prepared the week before. Virginia wanted favas and I had missed them at the market so I reconstituted dry ones by cooking with water, salt and pepper. While they lost their shape and were a Bessara like consistency, they added a creaminess as well as a protein to the dish. The favas were cooked before, but everything else only took about 20 minutes from prep to bowl and we had Moroccan Tagine with summer veggies. With it I opened a lovely Sauvignon Blanc from Goldwater located on Waike Island off the cost of Auckland that I had visited years ago while coming home from a summer ski trip. It was hot outside, but we were cool, comfortable and full…again.

One Response leave one →
  1. July 28, 2011

    Ozone killing air conditioning? Yikes! Love the Chard. I made it for Taylor the other night and she fell in love as well. Great Shots tonight. Tom

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