Derecho 2012 and a Recipe for Swiss Chard with Fennel

A tree that closed our road during the Derecho

A Derecho is a straight-line windstorm associated with a fast moving band of severe thunderstorms.  They travel quickly, but their winds are sustained and increase in strength behind the front, generally exceeding hurricane-force.  On Friday, June 29th a Derecho blew through our area knocking down trees, power lines, cell phone service, land line service and our internet.  Unfortunately, our internet service has not been fully restored, thus the reason that Living Gluten and Grain Free has been so quiet.  On the brighter side, our Generator had been serviced 3 days prior to the storm and we had the basic creature comforts; refrigeration, running water, and several outlets.  While a bit tedious, we muddled through the 6 days of living off the grid unscathed, making use of our grill and cook top for breakfast, lunch, and dinners.  The following recipe is one I created during the aftermath of the Derecho, and it is not only nutrient dense, but colorful….it lifted our spirits as I hope it will yours.

Swiss Chard with Fennel:

Swiss Chard with Fennel

Chard (commonly referred to as Swiss Chard) is a tall leafy green and while it is available throughout the year, we are now in its peak growing season (June through August).  Chard belongs to the chenopod family, (think spinach and beets), that are highly regarded for their phytonutrients and polyphenol antioxidants.  Chard is an antioxidant power house containing kaempferol (cardioprotective), syringic acid (blood sugar regulating), and betalins (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification).   One cup of cooked chard is a super source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, and Iron.  Chard is also beautiful; fan like greens and colorful stalks of white, red, yellow or orange (depending on the variety).   The one draw back is that Chard is high in Oxalic Acid, so it may not be right for those on a low oxalate diet.  For my friends who are concerned about oxalates, the best way to enjoy chard is by par boiling for at least 3 minutes to reduce the oxalates, or follow the cooking method below.

Ingredients:
1 large bunch of fresh Swiss chard
1 medium sized bulb of fresh organic fennel
3 Tablespoons of Pastured Butter
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil (or Olive Oil)
½ to 1 Cup of Beef or Chicken bone broth (homemade or organic)
1 ½ teaspoon Organic Ground Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Organic Ground Ginger
Celtic Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper (to taste)

Directions:
Rinse out the Swiss chard leaves thoroughly under cold running water.
Roughly chop the leaves and all but the bottom of the stalk into inch-wide strips.
Chop the fennel bulb into 1 inch thick slices.
Heat a large sauté pan on a medium heat, adding coconut or olive oil and pastured butter.  Add the sliced fennel, onion powder, ground ginger, Celtic sea salt and pepper and sauté for approximately 5 minutes.
Add the chopped Swiss chard, and bone broth, stirring to combine.
Cover and continue cooking for approximately 3 minutes.
Remove the lid and stir, adding more bone broth if the chard looks dry.
Cover again, and continue cooking for another 3 to 5 minutes.
Re-season as needed, adding more pastured butter, Celtic Sea Salt, Pepper, etc.

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