Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Commence Eating

Now we begin my favorite part of all this vegetable business--the eating! We purchased a share in a local organic farm this year, so I'm preparing to meet the challenge of eating very seasonally. We like this in theory, but it's a bit more difficult in practice. We've got greens coming out of our ears right now, and I suspect for the next month, so tonight I concocted something a little different to use the gorgeous bounty that's started coming in. Almost everything in these recipes is from the farm. Love it!

Spring Greens Tart with Smoked Cheese


2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
3 leeks (I used 2 leeks and some garlic greens)
6 cups of cooking greens (chard, mustard greens, spinach, or similar)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (1 large sprig)
salt & pepper
6 oz smoked gouda
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 cup heavy cream
3 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

    Preheat oven to 400°F. Let pie crust stand at room temperature 15 minutes to soften. Press into pie plate and fold crust edge in, forming double-thick sides. Pierce dough all over with fork. Bake until light golden, about 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.

    Split leeks in half lengthwise and cut into half-moons. You may need to soak them to remove all the grit. Melt butter in a dutch oven over medium heat and sauté leeks for 5 minutes. Rinse and coarsely chop greens and rosemary, then add to the pot. Mix the greens and let them cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Layer ½ the vegetable mixture on the bottom of the crust. Grate the cheese and scatter over the vegetables, then layer the rest of the greens and leeks on top.

    Whisk cream, eggs, salt and pepper in medium bowl to blend. Pour custard over vegetables. Bake in bottom third of oven until custard sets, 20-25 minutes. Cool tart 5-10 minutes in pan on rack. Cut tart into wedges and serve warm.

    Serves 8 (or 4-6 as a main course for dinner)

    Quintessential Spring Salad

    1 small head red lettuce
    4 radishes
    1 carrot
    ½ can chickpeas

    lemon-infused olive oil
    sherry vinegar
    salt & pepper

    Tear or coarsely chop the lettuce. Slice the radishes and carrot as thinly as you can—a mandoline comes in handy. Chop the chives, and combine all of the vegetables in a bowl. Drizzle over the lemon oil and sherry vinegar to your liking. Season with salt and pepper, toss, and enjoy.

    Serves 4

    Note: If you can find lemon oil, you should snag it. The flavor is wonderful. If you can’t find it, substitute highest-quality olive oil and some lemon juice or zest.

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