‘Grow what grows best in your garden’ advised a friend as we struggled through the first of our gardening year in Espanola. Seven years later we concluded that in our sunny valley, in heavy clay soil mixed with rich home made compost our garden bursts with mostly leafy greens from late February until the beginning of November. Number one of the greens is Swiss chard. I’m Hungarian. Swiss chard was not my favorite vegetable. But our family started growing it because it grows well where we live…

We wasted a lot until we finally “tamed” the sometimes too strong, “green” taste by mixing the leaves in omelettes, cooking it together with the more favorable  kale, or adding white wine and Parmesan for a pasta sauce. Our most favorite recipe makes me realize that Swiss chard still has huge potentials in our kitchen.


John, my husband wants to call it Compost Pie – I don’t think anyone would want even a bite of it with that name… I just call it CSÁRDÁS Muffin – named after the popular Hungarian folk dance. I hope it gives you the energy and the mood to dance when you taste it.

This is the filling of our “muffins”:

1 lbs Swiss chard
8 oz mushrooms
a handful of basil ( or 2 Tbs pesto)
a small onion – all chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
and a few dashes of olive oil to sauteé it all together. Salt and pepper to taste.
Add 3-4 eggs for creamier consistency.

The crust of the muffins are made of good quality sliced whole wheat bread. We chose Oroweat because it is easy to shape in place. Cut out the largest circle you can from 12 slices of bread and fill a well greased muffin tin with the bread circles. Fill the crust with the chard-mushroom mix, top it with your favorite cheese, and bake it until it turns golden – about 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

When this is for dinner our picky children (2 and 6 year-old Perpetuum mobiles) don’t realize that they have just eaten the largest amount of leafy greens in one sitting EVER.

Fresh corn and basil polenta with sauteed oyster mushrooms, zucchini and fresh pea shoots in a chipotle cream

2 ears of corn shuched
Handful of basil chopped
4 1/2 cups of water
4tbsp butter
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cup polenta
2 bunches oyster mushrooms
3 cups zucchini
1/2 head of chopped garlic
1 tbsp. Chipotle peppers
1 fresh bell pepper
2 cups half & half
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring milk, butter and water to boil, slowly add polenta, whisking as you add.  Add corn and basil, s&p to taste, will take about 20 minutes of cook time and will thicken, pour into 10×14 sheet pan spread and cool.  Sautee zucchini and garlic with mushrooms.  Puree chipotle with fresh bell pepper and add to half & half, cook on low heat for 10 minutes.  Pour into bottom of shallow bowl and stack squares of cooled polenta,  top with sauteed veg fresh pea shoots and Voila!!!

Bon apetit!!

with love from the kitchen of Karen Todd

Radish Soup


2 bunches of red radish, look for bright green leaves.
3Tbsp butter or your favorite oil
1 onion medium chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 potatoes cooked and crushed
Salt and pepper and a bit of fresh nutmeg

Remove leaves from radishes and clean well.
Melt butter in soup pan and add chopped onion, saute til translucent, add crushed garlic and chopped radish leaves.  Add water, veg or chicken stock about 1 quart. Cook til leaves are tender.  Add potatoes and seasoning.  Remove from heat and blend til smooth.  Pass through a seive to remove any fibers.  Check seasoning and adjust.  Float a small price of bread with a generous pat of butter topped with thinly sliced radishes and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.

Bon Apetit!!

with love from the kitchen of Karen Todd