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?
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 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.