Sunday, August 28, 2011

Swiss Chard Pie

This is the first year that I have grown swiss chard.  I have green chard and also 'Bright Lights' swiss chard.  Bright lights is fun to grow because the stems are bright pink, yellow, and white.  As with many of my veggie crops, once the swill chard was ready to harvest, I had more than I knew what to do with, harvesting a couple pounds per week.  So I went on a search for recipes that used a large amount of chard.  My friend, Katie Endicott, introduced me to a delicious recipe from Martha Stewart for Swiss Chard Pie.  I have made this many times and it always turns out great!  It works as a side dish, main dish, or breakfast.

Below are directions from Martha Stewart.  I haven't tried to freeze it before cooking like she suggests, so I reduce my cooking time to 40 minutes.

Swiss Chard Pie


  • For the Olive Oil Dough

    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 cup cold water
    • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • For the Swiss Chard Pie

    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium red onion, cut into small dice
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 1/2 pounds Swiss chard, stems cut into small dice and leaves torn
    • 3/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • Grated zest of 1 large lemon, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 1 large egg yolk


  • Make the Olive Oil Dough

    1. In a bowl, combine all-purpose flour, extra-virgin olive oil, cold water, and coarse salt. Stir with a fork to combine, then turn out onto a work surface and knead 1 minute. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature, 30 minutes.
  • Make the Swiss Chard Pie

    1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add chard stems and red-pepper flakes; cook until stems begin to soften, about 2 minutes.
      Bright Lights Swiss Chard stems with onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

    2. Pack chard leaves into pot; season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until chard leaves wilt, about 4 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until chard is soft, about 4 minutes. Drain, pressing out as much liquid as possible. Place chard mixture in a large bowl and toss with Parmesan, flour, lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper.
      Chard leaves packed in the pan.  They cook down a lot, so it is okay if you have to smash them down with the lid of the pot like I did.

    3. Roll two-thirds the dough to a 12 1/2-inch round; fit into an 8-inch round cake pan (2 inches deep). Fill bottom crust with chard mixture. Roll remaining dough to a 9 1/2-inch round; place over filling. Pinch edges of dough together and tuck in to seal; cut several vents into center of pie. Combine yolk with 1 teaspoon water and brush over dough, avoiding edge of pan. Freeze pie.
      The assembled pie before I brushed with egg yolk.  I baked it right away for 40 mins rather that freezing it like Martha Stewart suggests.

    4. To serve, preheat oven to 400, with rack in lowest position. Bake frozen pie until crust is deep golden brown, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

A few weeks ago, I visited the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, VA.

The mission of LGBG is:  "Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden enlightens and inspires its constituents through its outstanding botanical collections, horticultural displays and landscape design. We engage our constituents with the natural world through interpretation, programs, educational resources and outreach. We advocate for sustainability and stewardship of our planet."

The botanical garden has over 40 acres of formally managed garden areas, including a rose garden, children's garden, Asian garden, conservatory, perennial garden, and meadow, among others.  I visited at the peak of the Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia sp.) bloom and I got many great new photos of fantastic tree bark.  As I have mentioned in a previous post, I'm a huge fan of tree bark, so all of the new bark photos from LGBG will be featured in a future post.
Pond in the West Island Garden
Walls around the Four Seasons Garden
Fountain in the Four Seasons Garden
View into the Rose Garden from the Asian Valley Gate

"Diamonds in the Rough"- Stick sculpture by Patrick Dougherty; a Meadowmorphosis
View of the Conservatory from the Rose Garden

Orchid collection in the Conservatory
Justin and Grace on the bridge in front of the Conservatory

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