30 August 2010

Cleaning out the crisper

I am bad at follow-through.  I have excellent intentions about a lot of things: my prayer life, my exercise regimen, my writing, and most definitely my intake of fresh vegetables.  Thus, the state of my crisper drawer is usually quite sad. 

I had a bunch of beautiful rainbow chard that needed to be used quickly and I had no brains left in my head, so last night for dinner we had the rainbow chard version of clean out the crisper tart. 

Olive oil whole wheat crust with rainbow chard and Romano cheese

The key is the crust, a super simple whole wheat olive oil concoction I found at Chocolate and Zucchini.  I've used it multiple times and it has never failed me.  Are you afraid of pie crust?  I've never made a proper pie crust in my life and will shamelessly admit that I buy them in a box in the refrigerator case, but this crust is so easy even I can make it, which means you can make it, too.   Now, the elegant Clothilde makes her tarts in elegant tart pans with fluted sides.  I am less elegant and prefer a more rustic tart so I roll mine out into a big circle, fill and then fold over the sides before baking.  No matter how you make yours, I think you'll love this crust as much as I do.  It's her recipe, so I'm not going to reprint it here, since I do nothing to it.  It is perfection.

Once you've made the crust and set it to rest in your refrigerator, open your crisper and remove whatever lovely things you bought with excellent intentions last week.  Is is greens, starting to wilt?  Wash and saut√© with a bit of onion and garlic, not too long as they'll keep cooking with the crust.  Is there some broccoli or asparagus starting to wrinkle at the base?  Cut off the bottom of the stalk, chop into bit sized pieces and toss with olive oil and some salt and pepper.  Is there a scrap of goat cheese in your dairy drawer?  Marvelous.  One egg all alone in the box?  Beat it gently and add it to the filling.  A lonesome sausage link?  Chop it up and crisp it in a hot pan before adding.  Is the potato looking back at you?  Scrub, trim and cube, then boil until tender in salted water, and in it goes.  Are there bunches of fresh herbs that you only needed a tiny bit of?  Marvelous!  In they go.  (I prefer to sprinkle fresh basil over the top after it comes out of the oven, but other herbs cook along with everything else.)

It's a highly virtuous meal for the day before market day, full of good-for-you vegetables and follow-through. 

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