Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Swiss Chard Quiche with Cream Cheese Crust

The Swiss Chard's been going (growing?) nuts and the two little hens I have left are laying their butts off (heh-heh), so when I decided to cook some goodies for a friend in the hospital, I looked at the largesse and thought, "Quiche!"

No ordinary quiche would do though.  Spending a month in the hospital sucks, so this one had to be special.  It had to be comfort food.  "Bacon!" I immediately thought.  Nope.  He's a vegetarian.  "Then cheese!"  Yep.  That'll do.

I've made quiche before.  Who hasn't?  But remember: I wanted this one to be special.  I didn't want it to be just meh like many of my previous attempts.  I had two dozen beautiful eggs and an armload of gorgeous organic chard.  How could I turn them into something other than glorious?  Not trusting my cooking skills, I immediately went to the intertubes for recipes.  Anybody ever Googled for a recipe?  Yeah, I can hear you laughing from here.

But a wonderful thing happened.  Driven by a desire to make something that would truly comfort my friend, something to make him feel hugged from the inside out, something he wouldn't have to just choke down to keep his belly button from rubbing his backbone, I didn't do what I usually do: search through recipe after recipe, page after page, hour after hour, then give up, let my laziness kick in and just go make the dang thing (which was why I usually ended up with meh).  Nope, I hung in there.

And I found Food.com, a place you can make recipes do everything but backflips.  With just a couple clicks, you can add recipes that look good to a personalized cookbook (or cookbooks you name yourself) so you can find them again later, a calendar to keep track of when you want to make them (called a meal planner), or a menu planner to collect all the recipes for a specific meal in one place where you can even set the number of people you plan to feed and it scales all the recipes for that many servings.  Handy!

No, it's not perfect: the help section is non-existent so you have to search the forums or do trial-and-error to learn how to navigate the site, and the recipe sifter's kind of buggy.  But I can deal in order to benefit from the other great things.

Like how you can click on "Add to shopping list" and put all the ingredients for each recipe along with their amounts on a list where you can then remove the items you already have and print the thing to take to the store with you.

This rivals redoing the spice cabinet as the best thing to happen to my cooking in ages.  I found lots of recipes that would work, but none sounded exactly right.  So I drew heavily from a handful that sounded close and made my own.  And what else did the site let me do?  Add my recipe so I wouldn't ever lose it!  *swoon*

Tada!  Introducing Silverbeet* Quiche with Cream Cheese Crust.  Nomnomnomnomnom.

Serves 10 ~ This freezes well, so make the whole big batch, eat as much as you can, then freeze individual servings for later.

8 leaves Swiss chard (aka Silverbeet)
18 eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup romano cheese (grated or shredded)
1/4 cup butter
12 garlic cloves
1 medium onion
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 pinch salt and pepper (or to taste ~ I used white pepper)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon herbes de provence

1. Melt butter in cast iron skillet. Add garlic and onion, diced fine.
2. Cut stem from chard leaves and chop into small pieces, about 3/4 of an inch long. Add to butter, et al, in skillet. Stir fry until translucent.
3. Chop the green portion of the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Add to the skillet and cook until wilted.
4. Mix up crust: Combine all dry crust ingredients (flour, salt, pepper, Herbs de Provence) in a bowl and combine well. Cut in butter and cream cheese. Mix well and set aside, covered.
5. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl (eggs, cream, Romano cheese, turmeric, salt and white pepper) and whisk until well blended. If the turmeric and other dry seasonings don't want to mix into the eggs, use an electric mixer.
6. Grease your baking pan (I used a 12x17x2.5 inch deep roasting pan) and press the crust into the pan evenly across the bottom. If you want to go up the sides of the pan, do. If you don't, don't. Just make sure the sides are well-greased.
7. Turn your oven to 350 degrees. Pour the filling into the baking pan and bake at 350 until all the eggs are set. If you want to, you can sprinkle more cheese on top right before baking.

*Yeah, I know.  It's Swiss Chard.  But "Silverbeet" just sounded so much fancier.  I like fancy.  Fancy's good.

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