Thursday, January 31

Veggie Tart with Solar Crust – a Mainstream Energy Mix

Like the rest of the country, we've been dealing with unseasonal mid-winter high-temp days. We know it's temporary and some of you have already felt the high winds, storms, and sudden drop. We expect some serious weather tonight but, for now, the midday sun is shining and that's all that's needed to take advantage of free solar energy. However, this is definitely a time when I fully expect to finish cooking in my conventional oven. What I do when that happens is use the same temperature at the highest the solar oven reached so that the timing isn't off.

I was late in pruning my trees, this year. Yes, I know that's wrong but the weather is confusing things. There were BUDS on the fruit trees and that's just wrong… in my opinion. So, pruning accomplished, I checked the yard for loose items that might become missiles in the high winds to come. How serendipitous! There were foods that simply won't stop producing -- onions, purslane, Swiss chard, rosemary, thyme, and mint. Not a lot, mind you, but enough to add to something else to make a complete meal. Something like a tart. Oh, yeah.

Purslane is very high in omega fats and good for you, but the tiny leaves and stems don't make for the best eating experience, if you're used to larger leaves like spinach, kale, etc. It's all good for you and I don't strip the leaves from the succulent stems – I chop the whole mess and add them to other greens or recipes. This was going to be a real winter meal, using foods I've found with foods I've put by from the garden.

First step was to make basic pie dough, using lard because I like my crusts very flaky, and prebake the shell for the tart. The solar oven had reached 275F and the shell was done in under an hour. By the time it cooled, some veggies had been chopped, others rehydrated, and sautéed items cooled, ready for baking. I saved the bigger (and NOT by much) chard leaves for layering, chopping the rest to add to the purslane.

You just want it softened and still very green. You can't turn your back when doing this or they'll brown in a second.

I like my tarts layered, whenever possible. Grated cheese on the bottom, followed by sautéed mushrooms, carmelized onions, softened purslane and chard, kernel corn, chard leaves. The chard leaves were softened in the microwave by placed them in a wet paper towel sandwich and zapped for a minute.

The egg mixture was poured over all and topped with a sprinkling of parsley before going into the 275F conventional oven. By now, the clouds had made their entrance and, at 2:30pm, it was dark outside. So, I let the sun rest…

An hour and a half later, the tart was done. You can almost see the knife line where I checked for doneness.

Tart filling: green onions, purslane, Swiss chard, rehydrated Portobello button mushrooms, rehydrated kernel corn, 4 rehydrated eggs, half and half cream, shredded smoked cheddar cheese, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, fresh mint, mace, turmeric, salt and pepper. Unfortunately, I have no measurements because I was in a hurry and just threw it together.

Folks, it's really hard to mess up a tart so let your creative side loose and it will be done when the eggs are set and the knife comes out clean!

I almost put some leftover chicken in the tart but, at the last minute, decided to just use the veggies and it was not only delicious but very filling. Hope you give it a try and let us know what you think.



  1. Looks delicious!

    Apples and pears can be pruned any time of year so one is never late with those trees :-)

    We're having a more normal winter even though we have short påeriods with warmer weather in between like these last days, now the temperature is dropping like a stone again so tomorrow will be cold. I'm happy about that as long as we don't get snow :-)

    Have a great day!

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