Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook



Rainbow Swiss Chard Crisps on Potato Velvet

Rainbow Swiss Chard Crisps

Loin Pork Chops with Maple Dijon Sauce and Pecans

Fresh Fruit Compote-Spiked (or not)

Here's to another week of satisfying bowl food within an entire menu. Happily, I see that kale, and swiss chard chips (as they may be called) are turning up everywhere and that’s a great thing because even the kids will eat them. The key to the Swiss chard crisps are absolutely dry leaves so the oil will stick. You also need to keep you eye on the baking time for they go from crisp to charred quickly. Now don’t think about getting rid of the stems. They’re loaded with nutrients and we should use every part of vegetable and meat possible! The crispy texture is the best contrast to the smooth thick potato soup.

For the pork chops, I skewered them together for ease of turning, gave them a really nice sear on both sides, dabbled with lots of the maple Dijon sauce and then cooked them through.

For the sweet finale, offer some fresh fruit sliced or tossed gently with orange juice or a liqueur as in a compote.



Potato Velvet Soup

Serves 4

The velvet soup has a lovely golden glow because of the yukon gold potatoes which also add a buttery essence.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks,white parts on chopped and washed


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth (or enough to just cover potatoes)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Heat a large saucepan over medium high until hot and then add the olive oil and leeks or onions. Cook, stirring, until limp and just slightly brown.

Add the potatoes to saucepan then pour in enough chicken broth to just barely cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil and continue cooking gently until potatoes are very tender-about 25 minutes.

Let the mixture cool slightly and process in a food processor until smooth. Do not process long as you will develop too much starch and the potatoes can get gummy. Add one cup of heavy cream (or more if you like) and  adjust salt and black pepper to taste. Cook 15 minutes more over low heat, stirring frequently, then remove from heat and serve.

Ladle the soup into a soup bowl, place a few crisp Swiss chard leaves on each serving. Top with some of the Swiss chard stems.

Rainbow Swiss Chard Crisps


  • 1 large bunch fresh rainbow (sometimes called Bright Lights) Swiss chard
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Wash and dry the Swiss chard. Cut off the stems, slice into 1/2-inch pieces and reserve.

Preheat the over to 400F.

Wrap the leaves in a clean tea towel to remove every drop of moisture.

Place the swiss chard leaves on a flat baking pan and brush each side thoroughly with olive oil. Spread leaves so they do not overlap. Place the baking pan with chard on the top 1/3 of the oven and bake about 7-10 minutes. Check for slight browning and crispness. Bake for a few more minutes if needed.

Place on paper towel to cool, crisp and soak up excess oil.

Now place the chopped stems on the baking pan, toss lightly with olive oil and bake about 10 minutes.

Loin Pork Chops with Maple Dijon Sauce and Pecans

Serves 4

So simple yet rich and fulfilling. I grill year round as the fresh air and smokey aroma are invigorating enough to rouse that apetite.

  • 4 (6 ounce) pork loin chops, 1 1/4-inch thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 medium clove fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2  cup toasted chopped pecan halves

Dry the chops with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper. Insert a long skewer width-wise through each pork chop, as you see in the photo.

Heat the grill to medium-high.

Grill chops over direct heat for 6-7 minutes; turn and  slather with the maple Dijon sauce and sprinkle with pecans. Close the lid and grill 5-6 minutes more for medium doneness.

Remove the pork chops from the grill-being careful not to spill the sauce and nuts. Place each one on a serving plate and top with a final crowning of pecans.

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