February is my least favorite month for cooking. Oh sure, there is plenty of chocolate for Valentine’s Day, and little else to do besides putter in the kitchen all month. Even so, every year, right about the middle of February, I lose steam. With minimal produce for inspiration, and the holiday festivities a faded memory, I cave to take-out and frozen pizza more often than I’d like to admit.
Do the winter blues hit you too?
As I sit here wishing for spring, planning my vegetable garden and dreaming of tiny strawberries, I’m attempting to jump start spring with a round of spring cleaning. Today we tackled the basement and the kitchen cabinets. And do you know what I found lurking at the back of my pantry? A can of pumpkin. It may not be a farmer’s market basket, but this vitamin-filled little can really jazzed up our quick winter supper.
You already know about my love of pumpkin. Layered in a yogurt parfait, swirled into oatmeal, stuffed in ravioli, or baked in a cupcake, you really can’t go wrong with canned pumpkin. The slightly sweet earthy pumpkin works wonderfully with the salty tang of the feta and the nutty flavor of the swiss chard in this simple tart. A sliver of this tart would probably be a very nice appetizer for a fancy dinner party, but a big wedge also works well as a main course served with a big arugula salad dressed in good olive oil and lemon juice.
I like this Easy Olive Oil Tart Crust recipe from the wonderful Chocolate & Zucchini but you can use any tart crust you like. You could even use refrigerated pie crust dough here and I’m sure the tart would still turn out wonderfully. I do think that a good tart pan, with a removable bottom, is pretty important, though. Before investing in a tart pan (really, not a very big expenditure) I made many mediocre tarts in a pie plate. The too-deep, flat sides of the pie dish result in a soggy crust, and an unpleasant filling-to-crust ratio. If you don’t have a tart pan, you might be better off making a rustic crostada – just roll out the dough on a baking sheet, spread the filling in the middle, leaving a two-inch border. Fold the crust edges into the middle, brush with a bit of oil, and bake until golden.
Pumpkin Feta Tart
Serves 6 (as a main course)
1 recipe of tart crust dough
3/4 cup thinly sliced onion
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced fresh swiss chard
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 cups canned pumpkin
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Carefully press the crust into a 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the filling. Saute the onion in oil over medium heat until soft and just beginning to darken. Add in the swiss chard and cook 1 minute more. Season liberally with salt and pepper and stir in the rosemary. Remove from the heat. In a medium sized bowl, stir the pumpkin and the eggs well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the crust from the refrigerator. Spread the pumpkin mixture evenly in the crust. Sprinkle the swiss chard mixture evenly over the pumpkin mixture and top with the feta cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.