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Take Chard of the Holidays
By Mark Mulcahy




Ah, the 12th month has rolled around which means whether you celebrate quietly or in grandiose fashion, you are most likely looking for something to make…something special for the holidays that is worthy of the occasion, yet healthy and tasty as well.



Perhaps you should consider a tart. While it could be a fruit tart like you make in the summer, substituting apples or pears for berries and peaches or a savory tart made with Melissa’s organic seasonal vegetables that are rich in flavor, yet healthy and delicious.



Try this Chard & Spinach Tart with Bacon that serves 6-8 and would be a wonderful complement to any dinner or a great lunch dish this holiday season. (Vegetarians can omit the bacon or add fakin’ bacon or smart bacon as a substitute.)

Chard & Spinach Tart with Bacon

1 ready-to-use piecrust
8 organic chard leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 bunch organic spinach
2 slices bacon
2 tablespoons minced organic onion
3 ounces soft goat cheese
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 egg
1/2-teaspoon pepper
1/2-tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the pie pastry in a 9- or 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Line the pastry with a sheet of aluminum foil and add pie weights, rice or dried beans. Place in the oven and bake until the edges are firm, but not golden, about 10 minutes. Remove the foil and the weights and bake until the bottom is opaque, about 2 or 3 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.

Reduce oven to 375°. Trim just the tips of the chard and spinach leaves. Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the chard leaves and 1 teaspoon of the salt, reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until the chard leaves are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the spinach and cook another few minutes until the spinach is thoroughly wilted, but still bright green. Remove to a colander and place under running cold water until cool enough to handle. Squeeze the chard and spinach dry with your hands, and then finely chop it. Set aside.

In a frying pan over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat and return the frying pan to the stove. Add the onions and the chopped chard and spinach and cook, stirring until there is no liquid, about 3 minutes. Add the goat cheese, stirring until it melts and blends with the greens, about 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.

In a bowl, combine the milk, egg, the remaining salt and pepper and mix well with a whisk. Add the spinach mixture. Crumble the bacon and add it as well. Pour the mixture into the pre-baked tart shell and place in the oven. Dot with butter and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

Bake until the top is deep golden and slightly puffed, about 30-35 minutes.

Remove to a rack and let stand 10-15 minutes before serving. To serve, cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

This dish would blend well with any of your other winter favorites like baked sweet potatoes, steamed and puréed winter squash, roasted roots, or a salad of winter greens. Now that you’ve got dinner covered how about dessert? If you are looking for a simple dessert or breakfast idea try some fried apples. Melissa’s organic apples are in full swing, crisp and full of flavor. And who can resist the smell of apples frying in butter as they stumble out of bed on a Saturday or post holiday morning. They are great with a little ice cream or on pancakes with a little non-fat maple or vanilla yogurt.

If you haven’t tried them before, here’s an easy recipe to start with:

Fried apples

Ingredients:

8 medium organic Granny Smith apples, chopped
1/4-cup organic butter
1/2-teaspoon cinnamon
1/8-teaspoon nutmeg

Preparation:

Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add apples, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sauté 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are tender. Serves 6.