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Swiss Chard Pkhali

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These lovely little sides dishes will adorn your table like flowers in a spring meadow. They are so pretty guests will hesitate to eat them!

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Some dishes I would cook only for their looks on the table. People from Persia to Turkey choose to cover their tables with a number of identical, beautifully decorated little dishes. This gives an impression of abundance and shows that the host went to great efforts, no matter if he is a wealthy merchant cooking with expensive ingredients or just some regular person with taste and a desire to receive his or her guests properly. Georgian tables are adorned with beautiful very unique salads or vegetable side dishes they call pkhali.

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Every autumn I transplant my seed-grown Swiss chard to a small glasshouse where they keep making leaves the whole winter until they bolt and die in the spring.

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Using a procedure for spinach pkhali I briefly blanch the leaves in boiling water...

... then cool them in a bowl of cold water.

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Remove the leaves to a blender...

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... and squeeze out as much water as you can.

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Blend or pound as you prefer...

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... then add a bit of garlic, some roasted walnuts and a sweet onion, as you prefer. Season with chopped parsley, paprika, turmeric, ground fenugreek, salt, pepper, some oil and vinegar as per your taste.

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Blend again...

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...until you get to this. Some people pound it until you get a paste - see which way you prefer.

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Spoon to form little mounds on as many saucers as possible so as to cover the whole table. Decorate with pomegranate seeds, yogurt and some walnuts.

Some dishes are not to be judged by their looks, they look plain but pack fantastic flavor. This is almost the opposite. Here the looks are so pretty (if I say so myself!) that guests are wary of even touching them!

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This is a personal way of preparing a pkhali with what I have in the garden - there are lot of other ways and I am sure that some Georgians will take exception at my use of certain ingredients. Let them, as I am hungry for more information about Georgian cuisine...


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Ah, finally a way to use all that neverending supply of chard that grows in my garden. Beautiful! Thank you for posting a vegetarian recipe. Definitely going to prepare this!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Jan, indeed Swiss chard is a lovely vegetable. Have fun!

  • #3
  • Comment by Mil
Wow! I've missed you my long lost unmet friend. Looking forward to more great food adventures!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Mil, your friend is lost no more!

  • #5
  • Comment by Chirag
It's good to see you back. I am from India and am your blog's fan since long. You lost since 2009 and suddenly you appear out of the blue in 2016.

Your long absence created a dent in my heart. I loved your big pictures of food items and other surroundings.

Indian culinary is too broad and we Indian love to cook so much. I hope to see some blogs from you consisting Indian dishes as well.

Now I hope you will not disappear lime you did in 2009. Please try to continue writing for your fans without any break now.

All good wishes. Bye.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks for remembering me! I hope my new articles will fill out the dent the blogging sabbatical left. I love Indian cuisine, today Chetinad Egg Curry is on the menu...

  • #7
  • Comment by Maree Crossman
Very glad to see you back, I enjoy your stories and recipes.
From Hobart Tasmania, Australia
  • FX's answer→ Thanks a lot Maree!

  • #9
  • Comment by Milagritos
I've been following your blog for years but have never commented. For years I have wondered as to your whereabouts. I'm so glad you made it back to our inboxes! Thank you for posting recipes that most of us find exciting and off the beaten path. It's always good to hear from you!

Milagritos from Sydney
  • FX's answer→ Thanks a lot for not forgetting me, Milagritos!

  • #11
  • Comment by Jennie Smith
I'd like to add my name to the chorus of fans who missed you. Welcome back! Blogging can be exhausting and I've started and stopped a few, so I can understand .. But I never stopped making your Sicilian dishes!  
  • FX's answer→ Indeed it is a lot of work... but receiving comments such as yours will keep me going! Very pleased to hear that my Sicilian recipes have been of some use

  • #13
  • Comment by Zeashan
So thrilled you are back FX! This looks delicious!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Zeashan!

  • #15
  • Comment by Jo
So glad you're back, FX! Thank you for returning to the food blog world... Yours is the only one I really followed.
  • FX's answer→ Well thanks a lot Jo, more is on the way

  • #17
  • Comment by John Barrett
Welcome back!
I always have enjoyed your comments, photos, and recipes in the past and I'm glad to have you back....please stay around this time and keep "feeding" us over the internet :-)
  • FX's answer→ Thanks John I shall try not to disappoint!

Wow, it's great to see you back! I love that a blog can be a living thing that its host may return to throughout the years as it suits. I was thrilled to receive an e-mail alert about this post this morning and to see your blog again. This recipe looks absolutely delicious. These are ingredients I'm totally in love with at the moment. Thanks, FX!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Angela, you have a beautiful blog too with lots of very interesting recipes. Loved the one about searching your inner nonna!

  • #21
  • Comment by Roz
What a nice surprise to see this in my email today! I love your enthusiasm for adventure and food. Looking forward to seeing more.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Roz!

hello,welcome back,nice to see your culinary skills in action ! :)
  • FX's answer→ Thanks a lot Simona!

  • #25
  • Comment by Barbara Morgan
Thank you for the beautiful recipe and photos of Swiss chard, one of my favorite vegetables. I'm a little surprised that you used only green chard when it comes in other splendid colors. Perhaps you have recipes for chav and Borscht?
  • FX's answer→ Ah but Barbara I had to choose the few green-only chard in my glasshouse to get the color I wanted!

  • #27
  • Comment by Mimi
I am so glad to see you back, and I've shared your site with a few of my foodie friends, who are delighted to learn about it.

I have one minor quibble--when I share on Facebook, the link does not go to the specific article, nor does the post display one of your lovely pictures.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Mimi, may I ask which link you used? Social networks are new to me sorry about the bug

  • #29
  • Comment by Luke
Discovered your website in 2009, after getting back from Uzbekistan and looking for a plov recipe.  Since then, I've used your recipes regularly (your Raita has become a party favorite!).  Very glad to see you back and cooking, especially kicking off with Georgian, my favorite cuisine.

Luke -London
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Luke, glad you liked my raita, I just cooked one today myself actually!

  • #31
  • Comment by Jy
Welcome back! I have dipped into your blog posts since the time I lived in CH. Then moved to DE about a year ago. As a hobby, sometimes I teach folk here how to cook Malaysian dishes. Love your personal touch and fabulous pictures. Great way to eat chard! Must try it soon. Thanks.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks a lot, many interesting things in Malaysian cooking too!

  • #33
  • Comment by Nikki
Everything I know about Georgian cuisine came from the Russian volume of Time-Life's "Foods of the World". I am dying for more knowledge, too... I'd like to know more about their cuisine beyond khachapuri and chuchkella (sp?).
  • FX's answer→ Ah Nikki there are more things in heaven and earth than are written about in Time Life books!

  • #35
  • Comment by Tony
I am so grateful you are back and posting. I adore you and the beauty you provide.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks a lot Tony!

  • #37
  • Comment by Ben
I've only discovered your blog in the last few weeks, and that seems like some sort of moral failure on my part. I can count on one hand the number of websites that make the Internet worth the time; yours is an absolute treasure. Please keep up the great work!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Benjamin, this is quite an endorsement!

  • #39
  • Comment by Molin
Hi FX,

Missed your updates like crazy. where have you been? Whenever I missed you, I have cooked your toothless nawab kabab. Please stay there forever. You are unique and there's no one like you around.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Molin for these very kind words! Glad to hear the toothless nawab kebab was of use. Nothing happened - I just kept cooking but did not take pictures for a while. It is quite involved to come up with these articles, I wish all it took was to take the cellphone out and snap away!

  • #41
  • Comment by Spamalex
Wow that looks amazing! I'm with you on the chunky preference. Paste loses the awesome texture!
  • FX's answer→ Indeed!

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