Swiss Chard CalzoneBeautiful bouquets of Swiss chard. Give in to the temptation and enjoy the pleasure of touching and washing and chopping them. Those fantastic pink stems.

The “Swiss Chard Calzone” recipe from MJ’s Kitchen, said all the right things to me, employing both the leaves and the stems of this dazzling vegetable. Also, I needn’t make my own crust: I gladly used the Wholly Wholesome organic rolled pie dough. Easy. I doubled this recipe, to make two big calzones.

I made sure to cook the leaves for much longer than a minute, in order to evaporate that Swiss chard water (you don’t want weepy calzones!). I added 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper to the leafy mix. After filling, folding, and crimping the dough, I baked these calzones for 40 minutes. Victory was mine -- these were not soggy.

Let’s talk about perfection: the bite of pine nuts, the sweetness of raisins, the creamy saltiness of feta cheese. Right on. And you know the crust was excellent.

Freekeh Salad w/Zucchini, Green Olives, WalnutsAnd the brilliance doesn’t end there. I managed to prepare an ideal grain salad, too. Ideal? The epitome is defined by its texture and its taste.

The “Freekah Salad with Zucchini, Green Olives and Walnuts” from A Sweet Spoonful, satisfied my equation. Freekeh is a firm and hearty ancient grain that’s such a pleasure to eat. Why eat plain old rice when we’ve got access to this super grain that cooks in just 18 minutes? Exactly.

Eat this salad and understand its niceness: the sauteed zucchini, the parsley, the olives, the walnuts. The dill (I used dried) is assertive in a good way. The raw leek is such a nice surprise.

The dressing formula, too, is fantastic. The shallot is first tamed by the lemon juice. Then there’s the creamy parmesan. I added another 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper to the final salad mix. Enjoy the tanginess of the olives and the lemon. The textures. Wow.

PRICES:
Swiss Chard (2 bunches) = $3.94
Ready-Made Pie Crusts (2) = $4.00
Zucchini (3) = $3.26
Leek (1 tiny) = .55¢
Shallot (1) = .60¢

PREP TIMES: devote more than an hour to the calzones; the salad needs less time
TASTES:
perfect pie crust encases chard, pine nuts, raisins, and feta; hearty freekeh mixes with zucchini, parsley, olives, walnuts, parmesan, and tangy lemon

Next time, I’ll indulge in the “Fruity Pork Skewers,” from the March 2015 issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray (recipe below), along with the “Warm Green Beans and Lettuce in Anchovy Butter,” from the February 2015 issue of Food & Wine. Come back to my site next week to enjoy these with me.

Fruity Pork Skewers
Every Day With Rachael Ray, March 2015
Makes 9 skewers

1 Pork Tenderloin
1 Fresh Pineapple
1/2 jar Hoisin Sauce

Toss small chunks of pork tenderloin and cubes of fresh pineapple with hoisin sauce. Thread these on on water-soaked bamboo skewers. Broil these for less than 13 minutes, until cooked through.