What To Do To Survive The Worst Jet Lag Possible.

Re-entry sucked. It blew. It was without a doubt the worst jet lag I have ever experienced aggravated by a most rude awakening when I came home and a tough decision to execute. But first things first…

Here’s my ace-in-the-hole treatment for jet lag that has worked pretty well for me up until now – once you get off the plane, STAY AWAKE AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. So if a flight from Delhi reaches NYC at 4:30A, try not to go to sleep until 9 or 10P. It’s hard, don’t get me wrong, but I am usually so jacked up with things to do that it’s not really a problem. Like right when I walked in the door, I saw this…

…some really fun leaks in my ceiling that had developed while I was gone. A call to my landlord is sure to keep me fuming for a few hours. That puts us at 8:30 or 9A but I was already tired. What else to do? Laundry – check, cleaning – check, shower – check, unpacking – NOT check , wallow away missing this one…

… CHECK!! And then I remembered while in India I checked in with Deb at Smitten Kitchen and saw this. I miraculously had quite a few of the ingredients standing by, even after 4 weeks of traveling (note, raw kale freezes miraculously well), so after a quick trip to my local grocery store, I was ready to cook my first real meal in weeks!


I swapped chard for kale (as Deb did in reverse from the original recipe) and added some bits of Christmas ham that I had in my freezer from way back when (note: ???). I was all set to eat delicious soup and was just getting ready to poach the egg for the top a la Deb when I thought that this toast/egg combo looked reallllllllly good too.

Side note: if I were stranded on a desert island and could only bring one food item from the outside world, it would be eggs. They are so versatile, so cheap, so beautiful, so tasty poached with the yokes left runny, lovingly plopped onto a piece of buttered roommate toast (thanks Megan!) and then pierced to allow for maximum ooze-age.

But what’s a girl to do? She just made soup! This once, just this once, as it was my first meal back, I had two times the fun:

And how was it?

Yeah. That good. So good that I used the left over toast to scrape every morsel out of the bottom of the bowl and then picked the little melted pieces of parmesan cheese off the spoon. That good. And it kept me up until I couldn’t stay up any longer – 3P. The jet lag was HORRIBLY bad this time round but I felt that with every bowl of soup I was rejuvenated just a bit and could last until my next cup of coffee, tea, crack cocaine – anything to keep me awake. I didn’t shake it until I went to Northampton to visit Ilana (next post) where, shocker of shockers, she had made almost the exact recipe. sans kale. Great minds think alike.

Recipe re-posted from SmittenKitchen.com in case you are lazy. I replaced the chard with kale, because I over-did it on some GreenMarket kale in December – chopped in up and froze it raw – defrosted like a dream!

Chard and White Bean Stew
Adapted a bit generously from Dan Barber

1 pound Swiss chard (can also swap kale, spinach or another green), ribs and stems removed and cleaned
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup (5 1/4 ounces) chopped carrots
1 cup (5 ounces) chopped celery
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) chopped shallots, about 4 medium
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 15-ounce cans (or about 3 3/4 cups) white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups (or more to taste) vegetable broth
1 cup pureed tomatoes (from a can/carton/your jarred summer supply)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

Toasted bread slices, poached eggs, chopped herbs such as tarragon, parsley or chives or grated Parmesan or Romano to serve (optional)

Bring medium pot of salted water to boil. Cook chard (or any heavier green; no need to precook baby spinach) for one minute, then drain and squeeze out as much extra water as possible. Coarsely chop chard.

Wipe out medium pot to dry it, and heat olive oil over medium. Add carrots, celery, shallots and garlic and saute for 15 minutes. Barber warns not to brown them but I didn’t mind a light golden color on them. Add wine (scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pot) and cook it until it reduced by three-fourths. Add beans, broth, tomatoes, a few pinches of salt, freshly ground black pepper, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add chard and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove thyme and bay leaf. Add more broth if you’d like a thinner stew and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Serve as is drizzled with sherry vinegar. Or you can ladle the stew over thick piece of toasted country bread or baguette that has been rubbed lightly with half a clove of garlic, top that with a poached egg and a few drops of sherry vinegar and/or some grated cheese.


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