Week 3 - Veggies Night Out

[Posted by Ruth]

Pickup day Thursday and things are getting interesting.  More variety, more items that can be cooked and more additional items for sale at Wakeman Farm.  I added in a box of strawberries and some shortbread for dessert.

Here is this week's haul:

2 bunches kale
2 bunches collard greens
2 bunches beet greens
1 bunch chioggia beets
2 bunches dandelion greens
1 large head lettuce
1 bag Asian mix
1 bag mixed lettuce
2 bunches radishes
1 bunch scallions
and my loaf of Wave Hill Bread which I froze for Father's Day

Since Thursday was such a nice night we decided it was the night to go see Shakespeare on the Sound so I needed a portable dinner that would make a dent in the vegetables.  I'd been looking in Coleman Andrews' book "Flavors of the Riviera" and saw some interesting pies featuring chard and kale.  There wasn't one that was exactly what I was after but I liked the idea of pairing the greens with ricotta and took off from there.

Kale (or Chard) Cheese Torta

1 9 or 10 inch deep dish pie crust (recipe and method are below or you can use a prepared crust)
2 bunches kale or chard - chopped chiffonade - (roll up leaves lengthwise and chop thin strips)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
4 scallions, white and a bit of the green, chopped.
Olive oil
Salt, Pepper
1 16 oz. container Ricotta cheese
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 tsp marjoram or oregano
2 oz Parmesan cheese - grated

Preheat oven to 400.  In large pan, heat 2-3 T olive oil and add the kale and garlic.  Cook over medium/low heat until garlic is fragrant and kale is reduced and softened and brightly colored.  About 5 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in scallions.

In separate bowl combine ricotta, eggs, marjoram or oregano and salt and pepper to taste.  

If making your own pie crust, remove dough from fridge, roll out and put into pie pan, fluting the edges.

Spread kale mixture in bottom of pie.  Top with ricotta mixture, spreading evenly.  Top with Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.  Turn oven down to 375 and continue baking until top is puffy and golden and seems firm to the touch, about another 30-40 minutes.  Remove, cool slightly on rack and serve.  (Or load in car and go to the show!)

 Basic Pie Crust:
 A lot of people are intimidated by pie crust but it really just takes a bit of practice and as little handling as possible to make a great/flaky pie crust.  Here is my basic recipe with some photos that I hope help with the process along the way.  It looks like a lot of steps at first but you can get a pie crust thrown together and chilling in well under 15 minutes.

This will make the bottom for a deep dish or top and bottom for a standard pie plate.

2 1/4 cups flour
generous pinch salt
2 sticks (1 cup) very cold butter, cut up
6-9 Tablespoons ice water

Place flour and salt in food processor and pulse briefly to blend.

Cut butter up into cubes.  If your kitchen is hot and the butter softens a bit, place the cubes back in the fridge to firm back up for a few minutes.

Add butter to food processor.

Pulse very briefly a few times, checking after 2 or 3, until the butter is incorporated in a bit but is still if fairly large bits - large pea size.

Add the smaller amount of water first (approx 6 T) all at once and pulse very briefly a couple of times.  Pinch a small amount of the still granular/powdery mixture and see if you can roll it between your fingers.  If not and it seems far to crumbly, add a couple more Tablespoons of ice water at a time and pulse very briefly until you can.  Different brands of flour can vary quite a bit in how much moisture they take up so you may find you need more or less water.  DO NOT pulse, as some recipes say, until the dough forms a ball.  It will be really tough if you do.  It should look like it might not go together yet but feel like it when you take the small pinch in your hands.  After a few crusts, you will get a feel for this and know right when it's ready.

Above:  Looking moistened but still crumbly.  A small amount can be rolled in your hands.

Spread several overlapping sheets of plastic wrap on a flat surface and dump the dough out.  It will still look like a crumbly mess.  Gently gather it up with your hands to loosely form a disk.  Tightly gather the wrap around and press more with your hands to form a fairly solid disk.  Continue to work quickly, you don't want the heat from your hands to melt the butter.

Top- after gathering up loosely.  Bottom, wrapped in plastic and compressed a bit more.

Below - you can still see the bits of butter in the dough - which will keep it very flaky.
Refrigerate wrapped dough for at least 1 hour.  Roll out on floured surface with a floured rolling pin.  (Marble is great for this.  We did this cheaply by buying a large discontinued marble tile sample from a tile store and putting some little rubber feet on the bottom to protect our table.) 

You may want to turn the dough over once or twice at the very beginning to distribute the dusting of flour evenly.  When rolled out to the desired size and thickness (use your pie plate to measure).  Check to make sure dough is not sticking and use a thin spatula to release if necessary.  Place rolling pin about half way across the dough, drape the dough over the pin and use the pin to carry the dough over the pan and set in.

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