Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Let's start at the very beginning...

I realise I went about this the wrong way - starting with my little review of the Strand, without first explaining that Richard and I are on holiday (yay!) in New York for the next two weeks. It's as cold as hell, but really wonderful. With the year I've had, I desperately needed a break, and he's been working flat out too, so the timing is perfect.

Anyhoo, I'll be sharing some food experiences and other New York gems while I'm here.

One of my favourite things to do in a new place is go to the supermarket. I try to do this wherever I go. I remember being completely bowled over by a supermarket in Salamanca, Spain. The seafood counter was out of this world - every kind of thing you could imagine. I love a Whole Foods - even though I find it quite overwhelming! And don't talk for Zabar's! Supermarkets, markets and delis give you a first-hand introduction to the food culture of a place, and, if you're adventurous about food, they give you the opportunity to try new ingredients too.

So as I mentioned, I'm in New York. Staying with my friend Rachel in Harlem. On my 2nd day here, Richard and I braved the icy wind to trek over to the local supermarket. It had a wonderful vegetable s
ection, and I couldn't resist a dazzling bunch of chard - all magenta stems and green leaves! I've never cooked chard before, so I looked on the internet for inspiration, and here's what I came up with:

You'll need a fresh bunch of chard (chop off and discard the bottom third of the stems as they're tough and fibrous, and then give everything else a 1-inch chop); 4 or 5 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped; an onion, diced; 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced; salt and pepper.

Cook the bacon for a minute or two on a medium heat in a large frying pan (one that has a lid). (By the way, you don't need to put any oil in the pan, as the bacon will spring its own fat.) Once the bacon has cooked for a couple of minutes, add your onions and garlic and cook them until the onions are translucent. Throw in the chard with a little salt and pepper. Give everything a stir and put the lid on. Continue to cook on a medium heat for another 2 or 3 minutes, and serve immediately.

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