Monday, January 26, 2009

So, what's with the chard?

Swiss Chard and Mushroom Quiche

Swiss Chard and Mushroom QuichePrior to last summer, I had cooked Swiss chard once, maybe twice. It's a pretty vegetable -- especially the Ruby variety, with its red stem and veins against dark green leaves -- but not one that I ever sought out. And yet, there it was, week after week, in our CSA basket.

Now, The Programmer will eat just about anything I cook, but Kit and Caboodle are more, shall we say, particular. And Swiss chard was met with particular resistance. It became a running joke all summer. Kit went off to three weeks of overnight camp, but she couldn't escape the Swiss chard; we found ways to mention it in every letter to camp.

The girls never came around to chard, but The Programmer and I found that it's a decent substitute for spinach or other greens. It's especially yummy sauteed in olive oil with a bit of fresh garlic. Plus, it's easy to steam and freeze chard -- a fact that saved us from overload mid-summer.

I had a pie crust in the freezer, along with some chard, so I made this quiche recently on a cold night:

Swiss Chard and Mushroom Quiche


1 9-inch pie crust (deep dish)
1 bunch Swiss chard, steamed and chopped (defrosted, if frozen)
5 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup chopped onion
olive oil, for sauteeing
1 cup milk (I use fat-free)
2 whole eggs
2 egg whites
1 tsp basil
dash nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese


Heat oven to 450 degrees. Bake the pie crust on a baking sheet for 7 minutes, then set aside to cool slightly. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Saute mushrooms and onion in a small amount of olive oil until soft and liquid from mushrooms has evaporated. Mix in Swiss chard and set aside.

In a small bowl, beat together the milk, eggs, egg whites, and spices.

Layer in the pie crust the Swiss chard mixture, followed by the cheese, and then the milk/egg mixture. Bake 30 to 45 minutes or until the top has browned and the custard has set. Cool slightly before slicing.

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