Marj at WaGaThaGa, charcoal on paper, 22 x 30 inches (from a photo circa 1948)
Bud’s mother, and my beloved mother-in-law, Marjorie Shark, age 101, died last week. Zoë, Bud and I flew to Minneapolis to join the family in mourning her passing and celebrating her long life. We stayed in a hotel for the week and ate many meals in restaurants.
On arriving home, I was eager to cook with the summer bounty to be found at the Zweck farm. And Dorothy at Steamboat Mountain Natural Foods in Lyons had left a message saying my box of peaches had arrived. Yeah! First though, I visited my garden, kept watered for the week by Roseanne, and found ripe tomatoes, yellow beets, shishito peppers and of course, wild arugula. I couldn’t wait to cook.
I decided to make a chard tart. To go with it, we must, of course, have corn on the cob and tomatoes and cucumbers and, and… Okay, I’ll save the eggplant, peppers, and okra for another day.
For the tart, I use a wonderfully simple recipe for the crust, devised by Patricia Wells and shared in her book, Vegetable Harvest.
Combine 1 cup unbleached flour, a heaping tablespoon of wheat germ, (my addition), and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir in 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup cold water.
Press the dough into a tart or pie pan, making the sides a bit thicker than the bottom. (No need to prebake but if a recipe does call for baking blind, this dough doesn’t require weights to prevent shrinking. I use it for all my savory tarts/quiches.) Put in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
Wash the chard, striping the leaves from the stems. Chop the stems into 1/4 inch pieces and the leaves into 1/2 inch shreds. Keep separate.
Sauté a chopped, small onion and a minced clove or two of garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil. When the onion begins to soften, add the chopped stems and cook until tender. Pile the chard leaves on top of the stems and onions, cover and cook until wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let the veggies cool a bit, then spread in the pie shell.
In a measuring cup, beat together 1/2 cup of milk or half-and-half and 3 eggs, then stir in 1/2 cup of finely grated parmesan. (Other cheeses to use include cheddar, goat cheese or gruyere.) Pour this evenly over the chard mixture.
Bake at 375° for 30 – 40 minutes or until set and brown. Cool for 10 minutes or so before cutting into wedges. This is good hot or at room temperature.
To accompany the tart I made a tomato and Colorado peach salad, duplicating a not great one I had ordered in a restaurant. Both fruits must be ripe and flavorful.
Chop the tomatoes, slice the peaches and dress with olive oil, salt, pepper and chopped basil.
And then the cukes – Kirby cucumbers are not just for making pickles.
I chopped them with some sweet onion, added a splash of olive oil, a dollop of nonfat Icelandic yogurt, a little salt and some chopped cilantro.
With corn on the cob, this made a delicious welcome home dinner, eaten on the front porch with a view of our valley and Mt. Audubon. Ahh, home.
And cheers to Marj – Mom – Grammy!
In the Fall, 1990, oil on canvas, 22 x 30 inches (Marjorie Shark and her grandson Ben Frisch)