Pickled Rainbow Chard Stems… and Sauteed Chard with Eggs

Pickled Rainbow Chard Stems… and Sauteed Chard with Eggs. Growing up I ate lots of  pickled vegetables, and even to this day I love pickled vegetables. It was mostly during the winter that my mom would  fill a barrel full of pickled vegetables that included carrots, cauliflower, green tomatoes, cabbage, peppers etc. Sometimes she would  have smaller jars  filled with pickling cucumbers, or jars filled with red bell peppers. Every so often she would stuff red bell peppers with shredded cabbage, sometimes adding shredded carrots to the cabbage to make them different. She would allow these vegetables to pickle over a matter of weeks…. where fermentation would do it’s work.  We always looked forward to the vegetables and they didn’t last long. Pickled vegetables went so well with stews or as a side to some sort of meat dish. I still pickle from time to time… though sometimes I opt for the quicker version of  “pickling”…. just because I don’t have the patience. Fermentation though, is ideal.  
So from time to time, I enjoy making the pickled carrots and daikon, a recipe I posted some time ago. But I will be honest, I don’t necessarily use it for sandwiches only. I love the crunch of the vegetables and find them wonderful just to eat on their own… as a snack:).  In any case, the other day, I ended up seeing these beautiful bunches of rainbow chard at our local organic store. Was going there only to pick up some vitamins, but they looked so pretty that I couldn’t resist. Ended buying a bunch. 
I thought of  using the chard leaves to make a simple lunch… reminiscent of spinach and eggs. I remembered my mom making spinach and eggs for us when we were little, so I was inspired to make the sauteed chard recipe which I’m sharing below. It was quite delicious and very quick to put together. And really, anything that has an egg on top will make the dish that more enjoyable for me:). 
The rainbow chard stems were so beautiful, that I quickly decided to pickle them… and since I had plenty of celery and carrots on hand I added some as well… to  sort of “stretch” the vegetables a bit. Actually, I ended up making a jar with just carrots and celery only, because I had some extra pickling brine and not enough of the chard stems. In any case, the pickled vegetables were delicious and a wonderful way to use up the chard stems… loved the colors! They aren’t too sweet as other quick-pickle versions out there, and actually you can adjust the vinegar amount to taste.
The pickled vegetables are great chopped up and put in salads of all kinds… great in potato and egg salads especially. They are equally good as a side dish/ appetizer… or put in sandwiches as well. So here’s a couple of recipes using the beautiful rainbow chard … gluten-free and good for you. Hope you enjoy…         

Pickled Rainbow Chard Stems… with celery and carrots.

Note: The pickled vegetables are best after they’ve been brined at least a day… and they get more flavor as the days go by, but the color from the stems sort of leech out after a few days.   

You will need:

stems from one bunch of rainbow chard, cut in sticks
2 celery stalks, cut in sticks
2 carrots, cut in sticks
extra carrots, celery, chard stems, as needed to use up all the pickling liquid
Pickling Liquid: extra celery and carrots may be needed  to use up all the pickling liquid, otherwise you may need to cut the amount in half

1 1/2 cups warm water
3-6 TBS white vinegar, can add acidity to preference
1 TBS kosher salt
1 TBS sugar
1 garlic, grated or chopped finely
chile peppers(optional)

1. Julienne the chard stems, carrots and celery. I like to cut the carrots in long slices on a bias and then cut in strips.
2. Place the chard stems, carrots and celery in clean canning jars…. stacked upright.
3. In a measuring bowl add water, vinegar, salt , sugar and grated garlic. Stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved. You can add a bit more vinegar, if you like a bit more tang.
4. Pour mixture over vegetables in jars. Seal and refrigerate for a day or even longer for better flavor. Enjoy in sandwiches, as a side with  meats, etc…. or chopped up and put in potato salads, egg salads etc.

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Sauteed Chard with Poached Eggs

Tip: You can make this spicy by adding some cayenne pepper to the chard. if you like. Feel free to use other types of cheese… I just had some Romano on hand. Of course, you can omit, if you like.

You will need:
bunch of rainbow chard leaves, chopped
1/4 of a medium onion, chopped
2 TBS olive oil
2-4 TBS water, as needed
3-4 eggs
grating of Romano cheese, to taste
squeeze of Meyer lemon, optional 

1. Heat oil in a hot skillet and add the onion. Cook onion until soft and takes on a bit of golden color… about 5 minutes on medium heat.
2. Add chard and a bit of water to help wilt it down. Stir and cook  for a 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Squeeze  a bit of Meyer lemon juice over the chard to brighten the flavors… not too much. 
3. Level the chard in the skillet, to make a base for the eggs. Crack the eggs on top of the chard , season with salt and pepper, if desired and cover with a lid.
4. Cook until eggs are set to your liking…. on low heat, so you don’t burn the chard. 
5. Grate some Romano cheese over the eggs and chard.     
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