Dinner from the Garden: Chard with Garbanzos and Tomatoes

I'm still trying to get the hang of photographing food, but I have to say that this picture is looks almost as delicious as it tasted.

I’ll be completely honest with you: this is a meal of supreme laziness.  Closing in on dinner time and I realized that the chicken dish I wanted to make wasn’t going to happen. Still had frozen chicken. I blame the Supreme Court. I spent a ridiculous amount of time trolling the interwebz for news about the hearing regarding the health care reform act. I digress.

I was headed out to check on my garden bed and see if those m-effer fire ants had finally beat it (oh yeah… didn’t tell you. I have flucking fire ants in my bed. Arrr!!!) I noticed that my chard was out of control and just begging to be harvested.  So I did. I managed to get about a pound and a half of leaves from my three plants.

So now I have this bunch of chard and no idea what to make for dinner, then brilliance strikes. Thank goodness for a well stocked pantry. One can of garbanzos and one can of organic diced tomatoes, a bit of this and that from the fridge and the spice cabinet and viola: chard with garbanzos and tomatoes.

This is a perfect spring time, meatless 20 minute meal.

Chard with Garbanzos and Tomatoes

1 shallot (or 1/2 a medium onion), chopped small
2 gloves of garlic
1 to 2 lbs of chard, rinsed and chopped
16 oz can of garbanzos, drained and rinsed
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, mostly drained
1/2 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tsp fresh if you have it on hand)
1/2 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tsp fresh if you have it on hand)
olive oil
salt & pepper

1. In a large saute pan, heat oil on medium high heat. Add shallots and saute until translucent but not brown. Add garlic and saute a little longer until fragrant.

2. Add chard, garbanzos, tomatoes, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir a bit to incorporate shallots and garlic. The moisture from the beans and the tomatoes will help wilt the chard. Continue on medium to medium-low heat until chard is wilted and flavors meld. Serve hot and enjoy!

We didn’t have any on hand (remember, this was a what-do-I-have-that-I-can-feed-the-hubs), but a slice of sourdough with a bit of butter would go perfectly with this dish!


Spring Has Sprung!

Austin ushered in spring last night with a terrific storm. Lots of thunder and lightning and a ton of rain, which was very much needed. The hubs and I covered the raised bed for the night, hoping to keep the winds from knocking around the taller plants.  This morning when I uncovered the garden, I found these guys.  Happy spring, y’all!

My Veggies Have Bugs

I was out this morning after I came home from my Saturday errands to take a look at the garden. I noticed that the radish patch is both overcrowded and buggy.  I don’t exactly know what’s going on there, but I hate to say it squicked me out.   I know bugs and gardens go together like peas and carrots (see what I did there? That was a pun. Ha!)

My problem is that I don’t know what to do about my problem.  I tried to photograph the offending buggers, but they’re too fast.  They look like teeny flies. I also saw a fat caterpillar enjoying elevensies and he was quickly relocated.

So gardeners, what do I have and how do I evict them?

– little flying flies or gnats
– holes in my radish leaves


Here is a better-ish picture of the assault on my radish leaves.  It’s a little tricky to see, but there are the little buggies and the holes (which I’m pretty sure are due to the Fat Cat-erpillar and, presumably, his buddies.)


Tomato, Tomahto

I sort of want to be a farmer. Not a big, millions of acres farmer, cranking out commodity crops like corn and soybeans. I want to be the kind of farmer that has a little bit of land, some delicious varietals, and booth at the local farmer’s market. You know, a yuppy farmer. *smile*

What I am is a housewife who bought a deal on one of those deal-o-day sites for a 4′ x 4′ raised bed and some transplants. When I got the deal, a wonderful man-o-the-earth type of fella installed it in our backyard. He planted two kinds of lettuces, some Swiss chard, broccoli, spinach, carrots, and radishes.  They’re doing quite well so far.

But when I envisioned a garden, what I really wanted were tomatoes. And lots of them! I love tomatoes. I love their sweetness, versatility, their cannability (ooh, canning! This is something I do not know how to do, but I imagine having loads of canned tomatoes and pickled okra in my pantry.)

Not really knowing the first thing about planting tomatoes and my assumption that they are persnickety, I asked one of the gals at my favorite produce stall in the market about how she plants hers. She said three words, “Five gallon bucket.”   Plant them in a big container, give them lots of sun, water them, don’t crowd them, let them do their thing, and she assured me that they will fruit delicious tomatoes.

So last weekend my sister, my son, and I headed to the organic nursery and then hardware store. We bought tomato plants (Amish Paste, which looks like a Roma, Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, and Black Cherry, two heirloom varieties), soil, and got a few tips on planting.

They should fruit in a few months but in the mean time, with the streak of warm weather we’ve been having, they’re quite happy in their paint bucket homes. That’s my little farmer in the background.

Back Row, l to r: Amish Paste, Brandywine
Front Row, l to r: Cherokee Purple, Black Cherry