Chard, Leek and Chevre Tart

I now have just a few moments to breath deeply and not ponder too hard or too long about what needs to be done as soon as my feet hit the floor tomorrow morning.
For those of you who have been following me for a little while now you may have noted my penchant (nice word) for lists.  You might say that I'm addicted.  Lists are soothing.  Lists give me a sense of accomplishment.

Some of the things that have gotten me through this week are:
1. This song seems to hold no end of inspiration for me while I'm running.  It's been months now and I'm still on it hard.  It even moves me to ridiculous gestures while I'm running the streets - SAD.
2. I think that just maybe I'm starting to get this Pinterest thing.  I've gone there just to see if there is inspiration just a couple of times.  I always leave it knowing exactly why North Americans are grossly over weight.  If Pinterest is any indication as to how most of us are eating then about 90 percent of us are eating sweets or baked goods pretty much all the time.  The rest of us 10 percent seem to be consuming some kind of mexican pasta dish.  Weird.  Random.  Embarrassingly compelling.
3. The sun.  It came out to play this week.  Things warmed up to a balmy 15 degrees or so at one point.  The sun is also sticking around until about 7:45 in the evening these days.
4. The fact that by the end of this weekend I will be looking out of clean windows.
5. I have so much fun reading this blog and getting inspired by her writing style.  I can't wait to support her by purchasing her book when it comes out.

Some things that made the above list seem especially precious:
1. 4 day work weeks sound wonderful but they suck when you have to fit 5 days work into 4.
2. Monday's flat bike tire has somehow jacked up my bike and now there is something obstructing the back tire making it twice as hard to peddle.  My ass is in some serious pain. And I hate my bike right now.
3. This forever juggle that we adults do (most of us) between what we want to do and what we can accomplish in reality.
It is this last thing, this last item on my ick list that I will dwell on briefly.
I have a lot of lists and most of them are short term but there are also some mid-term and long term lists as well.  Getting a Masters Degree - Long Term.  Deconstructing my back deck area - Mid Term.  Making cookies - Short Term.  You get the idea.  My short term lists this week went out the window completely.  One thing after another crowded the lists completely out of reality.  Can't even begin to tell you what those things were at the moment but there it is.  I'm sure that you've had those weeks too and therefor you can well imagine what some of those things might have been.  I managed to squeeze this little gem in though and subsequently crossed one little tiny thing off one of my 'short term' lists.
Savoury tarts are a funny thing and to be honest I couldn't tell you why this is a tart and not a quiche save that it's made in a tart shell.  This got made because I recently acquired a tart shell and I wanted to use it.  It also came to life because I had chard.  It also exists because it's pretty easy to put together once you have the requisite ingredients (milk/eggs/cheese/veggies).  I made my own crust but I wouldn't diss you for buying a ready made instead, I would just tell you to watch how much you can pour into your crust size.

 I've got a couple more 'short term' lists on the go for this weekend and cooking is definitely a list of it's own.  I'm glad though that even in the middle of a massive juggle week it's still possible to find a way to knock a thing or two off the list without too much effort.

Chard, Leek and Chevre (goat cheese) Tart
adapted from Simply Organic

Crust (I tried this stupid, weird, Amazingly easy crust from David Lebovitz)


3 cups chard, chopped
1 cup chard stems, chopped
2 cups leeks, thinly sliced
1 cup button mushrooms (I had them and needed to use them - you could easily leave them out), quartered
3 med cloves garlic, minced
1 cup milk
5 eggs
2 tbsp italian seasoning (basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, parsley)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp pepper sauce (optional)
1 cup medium cheddar, grated
1 cup chevre

Heat a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat.  Once hot add in about 3 tbsp of oil or butter (might need a little bit more) and add the leeks and chard stems.  Cook together for about 5 minutes.  Turn the heat down a little and add in the garlic, chard leaves and garlic.  Cook together for another 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the milk and the eggs together.  Whisk until thoroughly mixed.  Add in the seasoning, salt, paprika, nutmeg and pepper sauce.
Sprinkle half of the cheddar onto the bottom of the tart crust.  Spoon the veggie mixture on top of that and spread it evenly around the tart shell.  Plot the chevre in large tbsp dollops throughout the tart.  Pour the egg mixture into the tart shell.  Sprinkle the last of the cheddar over the top.
Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until the centre of the tart is not jiggling.
Cool for about 7 - 10 minutes before slicing.

Pear Cake and how quickly things can turn.

Story of a cooking week turned upside down:
I mostly cook on Sunday or Monday.  It's a thing.  I usually have just enough time to get done what needs to get done without it being a terrible rush.  I take full advantage and do the bulk of my cooking and baking on one (or both) of those days.  This week however...
D's Mom has arrived back from her winter stint in Trinidad.  It's wonderful.  It meant that Saturday evening was the first date night that D and I have had together since, well,  a long time.  We both stared at each other a bit.  Didn't know exactly what to say.  Once we got used to not having two smaller versions of ourselves pulling, asking, tugging, complaining and generally making noise around us, we were off and running.  Wonderful night.  Went to long.  Slept in the next morning.

Sleeping in isn't a problem usually.  In fact, it's quite wonderful.  This Sunday though, I had a shower to attend.  Not one where you get wet and soapy but one where you bring a gift and somebody makes a ridiculous hat and there's lots of cooing and mimosa's.  Then we had kids to pick up.  And then it was rainy and gross and my cooking window closed for that day. No food - D made a kick ass stew.
On to Monday.  Of course there was work.  No problem.  As you know I bike to work.  Back in the fall I had this weird stint where once a week for 3 weeks in a row I blew a tire.  The same day each time.  Not the same tire.  It was totally weird.  Since then I've been biking regularly with no more tire incidents... until Monday.  I hustled out of work to find my back tire totally flat.  Dead.  Absolutely nothing remotely resembling air in that back tire.  Well that changed everything.  Just like that I was taking the TTC home, driving Kid #1 to her choir rehearsal so that I could end up back at my school to pick up my bike, dropping my bike off to get a new back tire, running back home to put this cake together, popping said cake into the oven for D to watch over, going out for a run at the end of which I stop to pick up my bike and ride it the rest of the way home.  I'm tired just writing all of that.  No proper food was made that day by me.  D made spaghetti sauce.  Somehow though in the midst of that ridiculously run on sentence you might have seen that a cake got assembled and popped into an oven.

Here is the cake made after 2 days of weird circumstances seemed to conspire against any food being concocted at all.  It's like a miracle cake.

Tomorrow I will be cooking because I have this chard tart that is burning a hole in my pocket so to speak.  For now though I am happily munching on this pear cake - even took some to work.  If you want something sweet and icingy then this isn't your cake.  If you want something more like a loaf than a cake that will go perfectly with your morning or afternoon snack time pretty damn close to perfect then this is the cake for you.  The batter was kinda gloppy for me and I was scared that it would turn out but I absolutely love this cake.  It's just sweet enough.  It's just dense enough adn it gets better with age.  And it comes together pretty darn quickly and easily.

Pear Cake adapted from Smitten Kitchen
makes on tube pan cake

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 lg eggs
2 cups pear or apple shredded, finely chopped or even pureed
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan.
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg together in a bowl and mix.  Set aside.
Beat together the softened butter and the sugar.  Mix until light and fluffy.  Add in the eggs until the mixture is quite frothy - about 4 minutes.  Mix in the pear and vanilla.  Stir until mixed.
Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture.  Stir until combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for about 65  - 75 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the cake tin to cool completely.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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