Root Vegetable Slaw & Swiss Chard Fritters

Root Vegetable Slaw & Swiss Chard Fritters

I, as a Libra, am apparently indecisive by nature. (Whether you buy into astrology/zodiac stuff or not, I can confirm that I am extremely indecisive. I may also be a little obsessed with fairness and balance. I share a birthday with Niels Bohr and Desmond Tutu — I think that’s pretty awesome. Wait, what am I talking about?)

That, actually, is exactly what I’m trying to talk about. Every year, the winter-spring and summer-fall cusps render me completely, totally spaztastic bonkers. My indecisive, somewhat flighty nature is amplified by a thousand. I am extremely excitable. I write run-on sentences with lots of exclamation points. It feels like my brain has been replaced with a hummingbird, causing my mind to flit about without ever landing for a moment’s rest. (This is also the time of year when I need to be hyper-aware of my mood if I’m at a party or out having a drink, because half a glass of booze will turn me into the Chattiest Cathy ever. And if I happen to realize in the middle of a conversation that the person I’m talking to probably thinks I’m totally bombed, I can’t exactly stop in the middle of my sentence and say, “oh by the way, I’m not drunk, it’s just the MANIA!” Yeah……I’m not crazy at all.)

swiss chard

My amplified indecisiveness is also reflected in the foods I begin to crave. I’m not quite ready to give up the heartiness of winter, but I also want the bright, freshness of spring. Luckily, my impulse purchase of the Jerusalem cookbook a few weekends ago turned out to be the perfect companion for these best-of-both-worlds cravings. I spent several nights last week flipping through and flagging recipes, although I knew within the first dozen pages that I’d already found the two things that I absolutely had to eat that weekend.

whipped feta + swiss chard puree

As soon as I read the words “root vegetable slaw,” I knew that was exactly what I wanted to eat, ASAP. Earthy root vegetables covered with citrus and vinegar and fresh herbs sounded 100% perfect. And then I flipped through a few more pages and landed on a recipe for swiss chard fritters. For some reason, the combination of the two spoke to me (perhaps partly because I’m drawn to anything with the word “fritter” in its name). But it was settled and I was psyched.

whipped feta

The swiss chard fritter recipe called for crumbled feta, but I decided to take the opportunity to make the whipped feta I’ve been drooling over for the past month. And you guys, this stuff……HOLYSMOKES. I don’t even know what to say. I made it with Greek yoghurt, and it tasted like salty sour cream that’s the consistency of cream cheese. J and I smothered baked potatoes in it the other night (awesome idea). I may have finished off the rest of it yesterday by scooping it right from the container onto ranch chips (don’t judge). I can’t believe it’s gone. Until there is more whipped feta, there will just be sadness.

whipped feta + swiss chard puree

One of the things I was most excited about when I set out to make these two dishes (aside from eating them) was photographing the slaw, since it was going to be brilliant shades of white and orange and pink. I toyed with the idea of keeping the beets separate from everything else, but after julienning all those vegetables, I just couldn’t bear any more fussiness. So I threw it all together and said, “Whatever! It will just be pretty pink.” And it was an absolutely brilliant shade of pink. But as I began taking the photos, frustration hit. See, my trusty little 50mm lens, as much as I love it, has a very hard time with warm, bright colors like deep reds/pinks and yellows. All of the subtleties are lost, and I’m left with flat, jarring blobs of color. So, I kept getting more and more frustrated with each photo I took. About halfway through the shoot, I said to myself, “F it. I’ll have to make them black and white.”

Root Vegetable Slaw & Swiss Chard Fritters

And I did. I had black and white images, and they were fine, but they also made me a little sad. Sad because they did not reflect how bright and delicious the food tasted. And sad because I knew I was probably going to spend this post harping on how annoyed I was with the photos, instead of talking about how seriously wonderful both of these things were, especially together. But then along came Laura’s post yesterday, and it made me rethink my frustration.

Root Vegetable Slaw & Swiss Chard Fritters

I may have been projecting slightly, but her post really spoke to me. The pizza topped with bright greens and herbs fit so well with the still-winter-but-soon-spring things I’d been craving. And as I read the passage it called to mind, I had another “F it” moment, and I decided that the images had to be in color, no matter how crazy those colors were. I had, however, grown rather attached to the B&W images, despite the fact that they were born out of frustration. So, as a true demonstration of my indecisiveness, they have graced the beginning of this (image-heavy) post. With that said, I present the rest to you in color!

swiss chard

And now that I have explained my nuttiness ad nauseum, I would like to talk to you about the actual foods. Both the slaw and the fritters are wonderful. They are laced with enough herbs to make them taste awesomely fresh, while still keeping you grounded with earthy base flavors. This particular pairing is a very telling demonstration of my tendency to prefer piling a bunch of sides/snacks onto a plate and eating them like a meal, rather than going for some central dish with a couple secondary items. They do work very well together (especially with a healthy dollop of Greek yoghurt or labneh), but I realize the I-will-have-three-appetizers-for-dinner approach is not for everyone. The fritters would be excellent served as their own independent side dish, and the slaw would be great on its own or mixed into salad greens, or on sandwiches. There are tons of possibilities!

whipped feta + swiss chard puree

whipped feta

Swiss Chard Fritters

(from Jerusalem: A Cookbook)

yield: approximately 1.5 dozen small fritters

  • 14 oz. Swiss chard leaves, stalks removed
  • 1 oz. flat-leaf parsley
  • 2/3 oz. cilantro
  • 2/3 oz. dill
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (or substitute whipped feta)
  • 1/4 heaping tsp salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • olive oil, for the pan
  • lemon wedges

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the chard and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and then squeeze until dry.* Place in a food processor along with the herbs, nutmeg, sugar, flour, garlic, eggs, a heaping 1/4 tsp of salt, and a bit of black pepper. Plus until smooth, the fold the feta in by hand.

*Taking a little break here to add a note of my own: As I’m typing out this recipe, I’m realizing that the one step I sort of skipped was squeezing all of the water out of the chard. I did let it drain for a bit, but the water content may have been the reason that my fritters were more pancake-like.

Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a medium frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the batter into the pan, then gently press into a circle that’s around 2 3/4 inches in diameter and 3/8 of an inch thick. (I was able to fit 4 at a time into the pan.) Cook fritters for 3–4 minutes total, turning once, until they are well-browned on both sides. Remove from heat and let drain on paper towels, and keep warm as you cook the remaining fritters. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

whipped feta + swiss chard puree

Root Vegetable Slaw & Swiss Chard Fritters

Root Vegetable Slaw

(from Jerusalem: A Cookbook)

serves 6

  • 3 medium red beets (1 lb)
  • 2 medium carrots (9 oz.)
  • 1/2 celeriac (10 oz.)
  • 1 medium kohlrabi (9 oz.)
  • 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp superfine sugar
  • 3/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
  • 3/4 cup of mint leaves, chopped
  • 2/3 cup of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • scant 1 cup of labneh or Greek yoghurt

Root Vegetable Slaw & Swiss Chard Fritters

Peel and julienne all of the veggies, then place them in a large bowl and cover with cold water.

Combine lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, sugar, and 1 tsp salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar and salt are just dissolved, then remove from heat.

Drain veggies and transfer to a paper towel to dry. Once dry, place in a bowl and add the hot dressing. Mix well, then let cool in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.

When ready to serve, add the herbs, lemon zest, and pepper and toss to combine. Taste and add a little more salt, if needed. Serve with labneh on the side.

Root Vegetable Slaw & Swiss Chard Fritters

Comments

  1. says

    I thought Pisces were known for being horribly indecisive, which would explain my terrible bordering-on-neurotic wishy-washiness. Actually, it’s pretty funny that you stress how important fairness and balance are to you, because I find myself acting unbearably principled at times. Tiresomely so. Maybe I should’ve been born a Libra.

    Anyway, both sets of photos are gorgeous! I’m sure the color ones don’t even begin to capture all the swirling subtleties your eyes detected (which is why human brains will always be superior to machines. Sorry, I just rewatched Terminator the other day with Chris, haha) but they’re wonderful nonetheless. And the sepia! I can’t decide which I like better! But the color of the processed Swiss chard kind of tips me into the color camp. I just love that color of green.

    Whipped feta, yum. Jerusalem, I want. And Laura’s post, love! (Love her whole blog, for that matter.)

    • says

      Hehe, maybe your moon sign is Libra! :D

      I still can’t decide which ones I like better. I’m really happy I decided to give the color ones a go, though, because they actually turned out quite nicely (although the pink needed a lot of TLC in Lightroom). But I really like the b&w ones too, especially since I decided to go with the kind of light, creamy sepia tone instead of complete greyscale. And they’re so gritty. It’s a toss up!

  2. says

    I have always been excited to share a birthday with George Michael. Also, your mania is me on a daily basis, 24/7/365. I try not to write that way–otherwise no one would read my blog–and only my closest friends witness my maniacal side, but it’s there. Trust.

    I’ve really, really been struggling with my photos lately. I always look to you for inspiration, and I am absolutely enamored by both sets of photos you posted here. I am partial to the colored shots, though. I love the flecks of herbs in the slaw–it ties the beets and the chard fritters together. On a silly note–or sleepless proposal writing note–the colors make me think of Christmas. The first few months I was blogging I made a meal that included beets and cauliflower, and I remember being all excited that my dinner was color-coordinated with Valentine’s Day. Oh my gosh; I actually thought that. Now it makes me shudder. But I’m really into these chard fritters! Swiss chard is my favorite green. And I didn’t eat beets once this winter. I shouldn’t be jonesing for root vegetables in mid-March, but now I am. Also, if Jessica from How Sweet It Is sees what you did with her whipped feta, I think she would die. I’ve been a bit obsessed with her blog lately (as in I just found it a few weeks ago and can’t believe what I was missing), and she always talks about how much she hates vegetables! Too funny :)

    • says

      Oh man, George Michael! That is excellent. I’m glad someone else knows how I feel right now. Writing this post yesterday was SO HARD. I had to keep rereading and editing, then forcing myself back on track when I got distracted. Ugh.

      And haha! I totally disappeared that feta into a bowl of liquid veggie stuff. I was actually thinking that the next time I make these, I’d probably use straight feta. It would be nice to have little bits scattered throughout the fritter, to break up the very “green” taste. And yes, Christmas colors. That’s exactly what I thought when I started taking the photos and checking them on the lcd. I was like, “Noooo, what were you thinking?! Moss green patties and shiny pink-red stuff — really?”

      I’ve been wanting to download GIMP (the open-source version of Photoshop) and mess around with it to see how it works in comparison. I’d love to do a “this is how I make my photos” post, but I realize the fact that I use programs like Lightroom and Photoshop doesn’t make it accessible to everyone. I actually use Lightroom primarily, and I’m not sure if there are open source alternatives to that. It’s pretty reasonably priced ($90), at least in comparison to Photoshop ($500), and I see really good deals for it on slickdeals fairly often. But the process of photo styling is probably the toughest, for me. I enjoy doing it when things are actually going right. But when I’m fussing with a cloth for two minutes to make it look very “casually” arranged under something, I start freaking out.

  3. Matt says

    Great post. Glad I still have a kohlrabi left- pretty much mindlessly devoured an entire one by myself tonight, hosting board games.

    And actually, Geminis are the most indecisive… you know, the twins. Lots of divisive internal conflict.

    • says

      Thanks, Matt! There was an awesome looking kohlrabi salad recipe in the Jerusalem book that almost beat out the slaw. Basically just a ton of cubed kohlrabi and watercress, covered with herbs, lemon juice, and a mixture of Greek yoghurt, sour cream, and mascarpone. Damn, that sounds good. I might have to make that this weekend.

      And don’t even get me started on Geminis. You all drive me nuts! :) And yet, I identify and get along very well with a lot of Geminis. (I blame THAT internal conflict on the fact that my moon sign is Gemini — UGH!)

  4. says

    your description of requiring winter’s hearty bounty but desiring spring’s crisp lightness is spot-on, at least for me. i don’t want to jinx things and have the lighter fare with winter doing her very slow exit so incorporating spring foods with winter techniques or winter foods with spring techniques is perfect.

    • says

      Oh my, yup, so true — I almost didn’t even want to talk about the winter-to-spring transition, for fear of jinxing it. It’s gotten rather cold again here the past couple days. And we had a weird little freak snow/sleet thing happen the other afternoon, and I got so grumpy. I can’t take any more of it. :)

  5. teresa says

    it’s hard to photograph food in black and white! my photography teacher in highschool said the mark of a good b/w photo included the whitest white and the blackest black, plus everything in between. having each end of the shade spectrum in the image ensured that your photo didn’t look washed out/”sad” as you put it! i sometimes i stray away from b/w digital photos, i found it easier to get the whitest white and the blackest black in the darkroom. your photos are gorgeous in colour, though!!!

      • says

        It’s true, B&W photos are an interesting beast to deal with. For me, I really like the look of old, faded photos, which was part of the reason I decided to go with a hint of sepia tone and then fade them with a little offset exposure in Photoshop. I actually tried going true greyscale with them at first, but I didn’t really like how they looked completely devoid of any warmth at all.

        Thank you for the tips though, Teresa. :) I’ve always been very curious about B&W food/drink photography, because you have to make up for so much when you remove the color from the image. Perhaps it will be something to play around with more in the future!

  6. says

    I’m so excited to see that you have the same silver pattern as me! I was recently digging through piles of silver in Frederick, Maryland to find pieces to add to my collection, but even in the 100s of pieces, I couldn’t find Memory Hiawatha. I’m on the look out for the weighted-handled knives.

    http://thejunkdrunk.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/deep-stir-chicken-tequila-tortilla-soup/

    http://thejunkdrunk.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/deep-stir-sausage-and-kale-pasta-bake/

    • says

      Oh my gosh, that’s so awesome!! We’ve had that silver ever since I was little. I actually had to call my mom to find out of she remembered where they got them, and she said she had no idea……”probably a garage sale or something.” :) We only have one of the knives though, and it’s still in my parents’ collection. Now you’ve got me wanting to hunt some down!

  7. says

    I think your pictures are lovely! I got a copy of Jerusalem for holidays, but have not actually made anything from it yet–what is wrong with me? Especially since this slaw and fritter combination looks really delicious.

  8. says

    Oh, they’re all pretty! I thought the color photos seemed very elegant and the colors are gorgeous. But, I hear you, I hate when bright colors look beautiful through the lens and then just don’t… pop when they show up in Lightroom. I have so much to learn.

    Have a nice weekend lovely lady! (and, I must make this whipped feta!)

    • says

      Thanks, Sarah! :) These photos were a nice reminder that my camera is nowhere near as good as my own two eyes, but that I shouldn’t give up on something so quickly out of frustration. I’m so glad I went back made a color set, because now I really love them.

      Have a great weekend, and I can’t wait to see the new site design! (And whipped feta — yes. 1,000 times yes!)

  9. says

    I really like the b&w and the color photos! I think the beets still pop quite beautifully in your color ones, but I know what you mean about the difficulty of capturing the color of beets. I was taking some pictures of them a couple weeks ago and it was kind of frustrating for me, too. Darn crazy shade of magenta not registering on our cameras! I’ve been dying to get a canon 5d but they’re just too expensive. Someday, though…someday…

    And omg! Both of these recipes sound completely amazing. I really want to try out this root vegetable slaw, it sounds super healthy but also delicious as heck. I adore beets and carrots, and have recently been trying to get more into turnips as they are surprisingly tasty too. I hadn’t ever had one until this past year (sad, I know. I just never knew what to do with them!) but really enjoyed their flavor when they were roasted.

    • says

      Hehe! I actually don’t know if I’ve ever made turnips myself. I’ve had them in some dishes at restaurants here and there, but I think that’s about it. It’s the same thing with parsnips too.

      Everything in the Jerusalem cookbook looks so amazing. I’m aching for garden season now though, so I can have fresh herbs whenever I need them. Nothing drives me crazier than having to buy an enormous bunch of dill just to use a little bit of it, then hoping that I’ll use more of it before it goes gross in the fridge. :(

      Oy, I yearn hard for a full frame. I’ve actually been considering turning coat and going for the D800! (Although I started out on a Nikon D100 that I borrowed from a friend, so I guess I’d technically be going back to my “roots.”) But yeah, so expensive… It’s one of those situations where I could justify buying it if I did professional photography, but I can’t really do professional photography until I have the fancy camera!

  10. says

    Ottolenghi’s recipes are SO GOOOOOD! (I literally ate an Ottolenghi dish yesterday)

    I saw that whipped feta on Jessica’s site, and mentally bookmarked it for Summer, so I can go crazy with it on salads. But by putting it a) with this dish and b) on jacket potatoes (um, remember my whole cheesy twice baked potato confession??) you’re making me WANT IT NOW; screw the salads, I want it on fritters and hot carbs!

    and on the photo front: I totally get where you’re coming from – I hate it when I go in to edit my photos in Lr, that I am so psyched to see, and then I can’t seem to make them look how I want (no matter how many times I use the stupid brush tool). But regardless, I love ALL these photos (I can never get black and white to work for me, but yours are gorgeous!!!)

    • says

      Yes!!! It is seriously so ridiculous. I made a second batch yeterday, and it’s already pretty much gone. We did a taco night last night and used it in place of sour cream — holy smokes. One of my friends liked it so much I actually sent him home with some of it. :)

      OK, so this is going to sound kind of absurd, but can you believe that I had no idea that the brush tool (or the filter) existed in Lightroom until this morning? I figured there had to be something like that in there, but I just never really got around to checking out those last two tools in the upper right-hand corner…… Then I decided to watch some Lightroom videos while I drank my coffee this morning, and I was like, “oh, I’m dumb, and this is THE COOLEST.” And thanks re: the b&w photos! :) I do a little bit of concert photography here and there because Johnny and a few other friends are in bands, and I’ve gotten fairly familiar with converting stuff to b&w from that (since any concert photo taken on my 60D looks like total butt in color). It’s fun to mess around with, but it’s really tricky for food! You just lose so much once those colors are gone. The fritters could be little dirt pancakes, and the slaw could be floppy oily potato strings. :D

  11. says

    I think both sets of photos are absolutely stunning, and I love that you went ahead and posted both! When I was reading through the color descriptions in the post, I was desperately longing to see them in color, so I was thrilled to have my wish come true.

    That plate looks amazing! I’m all for multi-appetizer meals. Maybe that’s because I’m so damn indecisive. (Mars in libra ;))

    • says

      Ah ha! Libras! Now it totally makes sense why we’re so same-page. :)

      I’m so glad I decided to make color photos, and then include both sets anyway. The color ones weren’t bad at all once I messed around with them a little. I need to learn to not get so frustrated, especially when I’m trying to showcase really delicious food!

      • says

        I just love the textures, somber tone and muted colors, and I want to eat that background. :) But I get the frustration of the colors looking less vibrant on the screen than in person – I very much get it.

  12. says

    I’m actually so stoked that my ramblings led you to an “F it” moment! And I’m even more grateful that you included both sets of photos. Equally stunning. Always such a good vibe surrounding your work, Carey. I wanna be RIGHT THERE at your table every time I come here.

    I’m with you on the mind flitting all over the place this time of year too. I can’t commit to one recipe for my blog for even 10 minutes. Editing photos is long, interrupted by frequent tea breaks, punctuated by exasperated grunting, gazing out the window… If spring could just get here, I feel like I could be more chill about the whole thing.

    • says

      Thanks, Laura! :)

      Ugh, this winter/spring time. I hope you guys didn’t get buried in snow up there! The blizzard that came through last night and kept on going for all of today left us with a little under a foot. At least I can say all that snow has dampened my mania. Now I’m just grumpy and focused on snow-hate!

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