Alright, so I am a procrastinator!

Ok, ok!  Don’t get on my case about it, we have had quite the last few months!  As usual, I look at the last post on this blog and think “I have been cooking so much, why don’t I ever take photos?” I do have excuses, we have both been in the ER for various reasons, I had shingles, a holiday at my parents, then a few weeks later an unexpected holiday back in New York for a family death.  Tim went to Hungary and Ukraine with his dad for a family wedding, and while he was gone, I painted the kitchen (partially, see photo below) and have embarked upon a newly found desire for a very clean house… or at least for clean floors and much less cat hair all over the place!  Lots and lots of activity, and that all tempered with more and more stuff going on at work, and the hottest summer we have had in years!  Whew!  Each day I am SO thankful for central air conditioning.  So yes, lots going on.  But I have still been cooking a great deal.  As a matter of fact, I was making a batch of pretzel bread over the Memorial Day weekend, and our stove died!  I ended up that weekend with a newly minted respect for toaster ovens, and a beautiful new stove! (Isn’t she just gorgeous?)

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Painted Kitchen (I admit it looks half done, but I am living with it for a while.)

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Since it’s summertime, I have been getting a CSA box each week.  And, no publicity intended, we have been using Door to Door Organics, they are so fantastic, you can order other things, but also opt out of the stuff you don’t like.  My issue in years past with our CSA boxes has been that we always got stuff we either didn’t like (eggplant coming out our ears) or stuff we just wouldn’t eat much (overripe fruit/kale).  So this service is one I love and value a lot!  I have perfected my version of gazpacho with our recent boxes, but this week we got the most gorgeous bunch of rainbow chard I was determined to make something with it.  I also have been searching high and low for a local source for vegetable rennet, so I can make my own mozzarella, but alas, I ended up ordering a kit today.  So what to do with the organic full fat milk and half and half that I have in the fridge?  Make ricotta cheese!  I blogged about that earlier in this blog’s life (here) and it’s still fast and foolproof, and this time I remembered to take a photo of the finished product!  So, my recipe today is a savory ricotta and Swiss chard tart.  Using some  delicious homemade ricotta (with herb de Provence) and some of the loveliest rainbow chard I have seen in a while.  I am not making my own torte crust, but using filo, for a quick and easy crust with lots of crunch.

Beautiful Chard

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Savory Ricotta and Swiss Chard Tart

½ package of filo dough (usually comes with two rolls)

½ cup of bread crumbs

4 tablespoons of butter, melted

1 large leek (or one small onion and a clove of garlic) finely chopped

1 large bunch of rainbow chard, or regular Swiss chard (stems removed, chopped and reserved, leaves finely shredded)

1 tablespoon butter (unsalted)

1 ½ cups fresh ricotta

1 large egg (or two egg whites)

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese or heavy cream (also can use creme fraiche)

1/2 cup whole milk or half and half (if you use mascarpone, use water here instead)

1 link chorizo sausage, finely diced (optional, I used a vegetarian chorizo sausage)

salt and freshly-ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 350°

Butter a deep dish pie or tart pan.  Line it with alternating layers of filo, buttered, then sprinkled with the bread crumbs. Fold the sides under so it looks like a pie crust shape and set in the fridge to stay cool.

Saute the leek in the butter over medium heat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Once they are starting to turn translucent, add the chopped chard stalks.  Season again.

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When the chard stems and leeks are softened, add the shredded chard to the pan, and give a stir to combine, drop the heat to low and cover.  After about 10 minutes, the chard should have wilted down to practically nothing(see photo.)  Take it off the heat, give it a good stir and uncovered, allow it to cool down completely.

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While the vegetables and cooling, in a large bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, mascarpone/cream/milk/water, chorizo and a bit more salt and pepper. Mix to combine well.  I usually taste for seasoning here, but some people are not comfortable with raw egg.  As long as you have been seasoning at each step you should be fine.

Add in the chard/leek and mix well.  At this point, you can add shredded cheese, fresh herbs to taste, it’s up to you.  Just remember this will rise pretty high in the oven, so don’t overdue the additions.

Pour the filling into the filo and bake until just set and slightly-browned on top, 20-30 minutes.

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Now, to be fair, I made a double batch, so the photo above isn’t a pie plate, it’s a casserole.

Let the tart cool briefly, then serve either warm or at room temperature.  It works better cooler, since there isn’t much egg in this, the cheese tends to be more solid when it’s cooler.

I love a good tomato salad with this, and a lovely glass of cold white wine.

As an added treat, I’ll be posting the Gazpacho recipe tomorrow, although it’s really a cold tomato soup, along with some of my favorite things in the kitchen these days.  Should be fun!