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March 24, 2011

Living in the CSA: Mmm, chard. Ewww, pine mouth

Thanks for all the tips last week about what to do with turnips. We ended up doing a potato and turnip mash, and it was SO good. I'm looking forward to the next batch of turnips so we can try some of your other recommendations.

I experimented with the red chard and made this really yummy recipe below -- a mixture of chard, onions and golden raisins topped with pine nuts. (They were supposed to be toasted, but I ran out of time/patience and just ate them plain.)

I had a huge serving of leftovers for lunch yesterday, and late last night I started to notice that my mouth tasted foul. I was worried I was getting sick, and then I remembered a story I edited a couple of years ago about pine mouth. It's a weird, temporary condition, thought to be caused by some varieties of non-domestic pine nuts, in which your mouth develops this weird, bitter taste, and most foods taste awful. I thought I'd been so smart and checked and saw a U.S. address on the package of pine nuts when I bought them. What I failed to notice: "Product of China."

This morning, the flavor persists. One of my coworkers who experienced this before had a couple of suggestions: Artificial sweeteners seem to taste OK. Sugars and starches seem to taste the worst. A dose of Maalox that I took when I thought I was feeling ill last night tasted like the worst thing ever. Mint toothpaste was pretty awful too. 

So ... this is going to be fun. 

Anyway, if you make the recipe below, check your pine nuts carefully! It tasted great before the dreaded pine mouth.

Swiss Chard with Raisins and Pine Nuts

From One Cake, Two Cake and adapted from Epicurious

1 1/2 pounds Swiss chard (preferably rainbow or red; from 2 bunches)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 cup water
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

Tear chard leaves from stems, then coarsely chop stems and leaves separately.

Heat oil in a heavy pot over medium heat, and then sauté onion, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Add chard stems and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Add raisins and 1/2 cup water and simmer, covered, until stems are softened, about 3 minutes. Add chard leaves and remaining 1/2 cup water and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until leaves are tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve sprinkled with nuts.

(Photo by me)

Posted by Sarah Kickler Kelber at 1:07 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: CSA, Living in the CSA, Recipes


Mebbe you can brush with baking soda until it passes.

From the pine mouth diaries: BBQ chips are terrible, candy is terrible, raw carrots cleared my palate and made food taste normal for like an hour, mint gum and Coke Zero are the only things that taste kind of like they usually do, and chicken salad was OK. Some things start out tasting all right and then the pine mouth takes over.

Darn you, pine nuts!

But look on the bright side, SKK--this is sure to help you meet your fitness goal of fewer calories, right?

I recently tried a topical ointment for a skin condition and stopped after two applications because my tongue was tingling. It just so happened that I had an appointment with my dermatologist the next day and she said that I could have lost my sense of taste if I had persisted with the cream.

P.S. Thanks for the reminder about the pine nut syndrome. I checked the container I bought recently and was relieved to see "Product of Italy."

I never knew about this and freaked out earlier this week when I read this b/c I made a cabbage/leek casserole w/ pine nuts but hadn't eaten it yet. I'm happy to report that I did not suffer from pine nut mouth =)

I bought them @Wegmans in the bulk food aisle.

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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner blog.
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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