Ok, now that I’ve dazzled you with my Sunday night cooking for the entire week, I want to be perfectly clear that I am not a superhero or a Stepford wife. I produce culinary disasters just like everybody else. Let me tell you about the latest flop.

H is the gardener in the family and I’ve been raving about our sweet carrots, summery beets, and tomatoes from heaven. I do not, however, share his love of beet greens and Swiss chard. Blech.

But he grew those greens, they won’t last as the nights are getting frosty, and I hate waste. So I wanted to find a recipe that H would enjoy and that D and I wouldn’t completely hate. How hard could it be?

Jamie Oliver rocks with Meals in Minutes.

I remembered a delicious spinach feta phyllo pie recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes cookbook. (I’ll sing Jamie’s high praises in another post – he’s such a passionate advocate for real food, I think he’s my food hero.) I started hunting for a similar recipe that called for beet greens and Swiss chard.

I found one that used puff pastry and looked simple enough. The danger, though, was that it wasn’t precise about volumes. It called for a large bunch of beet greens and a medium bunch of chard. My medium could be your large, so how could I know how much to pick from the garden?

Skeptical, I washed all the greens and chopped the leafy parts as well as the stems. This was labour intensive and while I was doing it, D asked what was for dinner. I told her and she said, “That sounds awful.” I had to agree, but I persevered in the hopes of something half-way tasty in the end. Boy, was I wrong.

I sautéd the greens with zucchini and garlic, mixed them with egg and feta, and dumped it all into the puff pastry. It was already looking kind of pink. Skeptical. I folded the pastry over top, shoved it in the oven, and crossed my fingers.

The most hideous dish I’ve ever made.

The pastry got nice and golden. That’s about the only good thing I can say about it. I served up a slice for each of us, pink juice trailing after each one, and set them on the table. I felt like Brigit Jones serving blue soup.

H sat down and said, “We’d better dig in right away because we want it at its best.” This is when I burst out laughing and said, “Because we sure as hell don’t want it at its worst!”

And I continued to laugh so hard (my out-of-control laugh that’s silent and ridiculous with shoulders shaking, mouth gaping, eyes closed, and tears running) that it took quite a while before I even managed to taste the darn thing. And it tasted…not awful, but not good either.

It was just so hideous, what could I do but laugh?

All in all, here’s my advice to you…make Jamie Oliver’s spinach feta phyllo pie. You’ll love it. His tomato salad is fantastic, too. I hope your laughter while eating it is the normal kind shared around the table with folks you love.


ps – For the record, H liked it. Enough to have more a couple nights later. Chacun son goût.