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For instance, imagine a few of these chard transplants in your garden beds snuggled up next to some of your favorite red and white flowering plants. Lovely, right?
Lucky for us, these edible greens are high in vitamins C and A, as well as flavonoids, antioxidants and several B-complex vitamins. Chard also has healthy amounts of minerals like calcium, iron and phosphorus. Plus, it tastes good, and can be used in a many different culinary dishes.
Typically, I grow my chard in the summer, and sow the seeds in the garden right after the last frost date. But after I moved back to California I began sowing Swiss chard seeds earlier, by February and March. In fact, this leafy vegetable grows all year long here, if you keep it watered and well tended.
In my garden, I’m growing ‘Neon Glow’ Swiss chard, which is a mix of ‘Golden Sunrise’ and ‘Magenta Sunset’. The names come from the rainbow colors of the stems, which I eat along with the leaves. Chard is a pretty forgiving plant, and grows in different conditions rather well. But it prefers well-draining soils that have been amended with compost, worm castings or other types of organic matter.
Swiss chard starts easily from seeds sown directly in a sunny spot in the garden. Or you can buy small transplants from local garden centers. The birds like the little leaves too, so I’ll sometimes cover my little seedlings with bird netting. Fortunately, when you pick chard leaves back to the ground, the plant grows new leaves. This means you’ll enjoy lots of delicious harvests, starting in about 50 to 60 days, from only a few plants.
Regular feedings of compost tea or fish emulsion will keep your chard producing well all season long, so you’ll have plenty of chard for this Crustless Chard Quiche recipe.
I’m a big fan of quiches, because you can use whatever seasonal ingredients are on hand. But I’m also trying to reduce my consumption of carbohydrates, so I’m making this quiche without a crust. I’ve borrowed from recipes at Food.com and the Boston Globe, while adding and revising the ingredients to suit our family’s needs. Give it a try, and let us know how it works for you.
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch of Swiss chard
2 ½ cups shredded cheese
1 cup milk (or almond milk)
Sprinkle of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of dried thyme or 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves (pulled from stems)
Salt and pepper to taste
Sprinkle of paprika
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Wash and dry chard. Cut a bit off the ends, and discard. Then pull leaves from the stems. Roughly chop the stems and leaves; keep separate.
3) Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil. Cook until they soften and start to become translucent. Add Swiss chard stems, and cook like celery pieces until they soften. Then add the leaves and cook about 3-4 minutes at medium heat until they get limp. Don’t overcook, or the leaves will nearly disappear. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4) Grate the cheeses, and put in a big bowl. Use your creativity with the cheeses. We used about ½ cup of parmesan cheese, and 1 cup each of shredded cheddar and gruyere.
5) Wisk the eggs, and add the cheeses and milk. Then add the thyme and cayenne. Fold in the Swiss chard mixture. Stir well, and add more salt and pepper, if desired.
6) Pour the quiche mixture into a pie pan that has been buttered, or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. I didn’t have a pie pan, so I used this square casserole dish. Dust the quiche with a sprinkle of paprika.
7) Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes until the quiche is golden brown. It’s ready when no liquid seeps out when the quiche is poked with a toothpick or knife. Let your quiche sit for at least a half hour, so it can set properly. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!