Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fourth of July BBQ

We had a small dinner party for Fourth of July with all the quintessential fare. No Fourth would be complete without corn of the cob (first of the season from a Jersey farm); potato salad and coleslaw; strawberries & blueberries for dessert; and grass fed burgers with all the fixings: lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, and pickled swiss chard stems.

Oh WAIT something there is not like the others - pickled chard. But I happened to have a whole lot of swiss chard in the fridge and didn't know what else I'd do with all those stems, so I tried to pickle them, adapting this recipe from the New York Times. The pickled stems were just okay for snacking, but great on the burgers, adding a little brightness and vinegary complexity.

I also spruced up the average coleslaw by including broccoli. Inspired by Smitten Kitchen's broccoli slaw, but a world away. With a mustard-based vinaigrette instead of mayo because we were already getting plenty of mayo in the potato salad. The coleslaw was a hit and I'd make it again.

On a side note, we didn't get to see any fireworks (thanks a lot to Macy's for leaving all of Brooklyn in the dark) but I didn't care.

Pickled Swiss Chard Stems
1 bunch swiss chard stems (discard the leaves for cooking another time)
3 tbsp (?) olive oil
3 tbsp (?) vinegar
1 tsp pickling spices (can be bought at supermarkets)
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp Salt

Cut stems in pieces 1/2-inch wide and 2 inches long. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, add stems and simmer for 10 minutes until chard is softened. Drain and place stems in a small jar. Combine oil, vinegar, pickling spices, sugar, salt, and pepper. Pour liquid mixture over stems into jar. Let marinate at least a few hours before serving. Keep in regrigerator up to two weeks.

Mustard Broccoli Slaw
1 head broccoli
1/2 head of cabbage
few carrots
1/2 onion
3 tbsp (?) olive oil
2 tbsp (?) vinegar
3 tbsp (?) mustard
2 tsp (?) sugar
1/2 lemon, juice and zest
1 tsp dried thyme

Thinly slice broccoli, cabbage, carrots, and onion (or use slicer blade in food processor - but I handsliced because I'm afraid of the special slicer blade). Combine in a bowl with remaining ingredients and add more oil/vinegar/mustard/sugar/salt if needed*.

* (?) Note it's been a few weeks since I made these recipes so I don't remember the exact processes, and I tend to just kind of throw in ingredients and adjust to taste, so take these measurements with a grain of salt.


  1. oh man, i'm afraid of that thing too!

  2. meag - i love the rest of my food processor, just not those slicing blades. i'm planning to appoint the food processor a permanent counter space so i don't have to lug that thing out of its hiding place anymore.