Saturday, January 12, 2008

Dark Days Dinner

That sounds kind of ominous, doesn't it? Feel like I should get out the black candles and create some ambience for dinner tonight. This is a meal I haven't cooked yet, but am getting ready for. Lately, I'm never sure how I will be feeling by later in the evening, so I thought I'd report in ahead of time.

I've had a hankering for ham every since they were being advertised before Christmas. But, we had other wonderful things for the holiday meals. So, now I'm going to have my ham - from Oregon-raised and processed pork. The ham will get some enhancement with a bourbon, molasses and pecan glaze. The glaze will include some travelling pecans and bourbon, but the apple juice is local and "Aunt Patty's" molasses is at least processed in Eugene.

I'll be making "Swiss Chard Gratin" to go with the ham. But, this version will have not just chard, but a variety of greens from my last outing to the farmer's market. (See them in the Jan.9 post.) A nice thing about how they were being sold is that I was able to pick individual pieces instead of buying a full bunch. With just two of us, it is hard to get variety when I have to buy whole bunches of veggies. So, this gratin will have kale, three varieties of chard, beet greens and collards, all from the farms in our area. I've not used these enough to know how well that will work, but it seems worth a try. I have to admit to being a newcomer to liking and using many of these greens after my grown daughter re-introduced me to them a couple years ago. Grady is not a big convert as yet, but I discovered that he does like this recipe from the Epicurious website. The cheese will be an "ancient heritage rosa" from Canby, Oregon. And, instead of chicken broth, I am using a vegetable broth that I am making. The cream is from a dairy here in Portland and the onions, garlic, and herbs also are local.

I thought I was having a pretty local breakfast this morning - a scramble with scallions, shitakes, and a Willamette Valley cheese. But, then I double-checked the egg carton and found they were not from around here as I had thought. Sigh. Clearly I need to check more closely next time. Lessons learned along the way in this eat local challenge.

And, meanwhile, back at Lambeau Field, I am happy to see that the Packers have gotten themselves back on track after that disastrous beginning of the game today.

(Sunday morning update: that ham glaze was also great with some leftover sweet potatoes that I dug out of the freezer for this meal and the mixed greens in the gratin was a fine combination.)


Melinda said...

Yum, that swiss chard (etc) gratin sounds great. How do you make it? We have loads of kale and beet greens in our garden, and I'm looking for new recipes.

Joan said...

It really is quite good, but it's hard to go wrong when you add cheese and cream to almost anything. For details on how to make it, go to
or go to and type in the name of the recipe.
Basically, you make a roux and add Tome de Savoie or other cheese. Cook the greens, with garlic and onion, until wilted. Add the cheese sauce to the vegetables, top with bread crumbs and bake. Pretty simple and open to variations.
Good luck.

Green Bean said...

Oh, Joan, I'm going to try the Swiss Chard gratin. I've got chard coming out of my ears and looking for good recipes. Thanks for sharing! :)

Ann said...

we eat chard, greens (beet and otherwise) kale, all summer cuz our farmer friends supply us. gina sautes them with the usual olive oil garlic and key ingredient brown sugar...