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4 kids. 3 dogs. 1 amazing wife. 1 great job. And a huge passion for food. Cooking it, tasting it, growing it. An abiding love and respect for the farmers, artisans and other individuals committed to bringing the best to your table and mine.

Come along for the ride. You can never be quite sure of where we're going, but it will almost always be delicious.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Thursday's Market Revisited (Or Why Culinary Inspiration Can Be a Pain In The ASS)

With the kids away today, I gave some thought to a nice dinner for the two of us. I still had a few things left from my trip to the East Gwillimbury Farmer's Market on Thursday, most notably some beautiful rainbow swiss chard from Cooper's Farms.

At this point, an idea popped into my head. What about making a potato cake, or something like it, with a filling of sauteed swiss chard and ham? My first thought was, "That's a hell of a lot of work for a light supper on your day off. Just cook the chard and make potato cakes and be done with it."  I probably should have listened to that thought. But I didn't.

So, off to the kitchen to try and make this dish a reality. (What follows really isn't a recipe per se, and you won't find any measurements included. This is simply documenting the ridiculous lengths I sometimes go to to satisfy my culinary curiosities.)

1. I sauteed off the washed and chopped swiss chard leaves with garlic, onions, butter and a bit of diced smoked German ham. It was important to cook the leaves until no more moisture was being released. Any excess water would have made for a soggy cake. Once the mixture was completely dry, I stirred in a bit of fresh Ontario goat cheese and then chilled the mixture in the fridge. When it was completely chilled, I placed it between 2 layers of cling film and rolled it out to a disc, roughly the same size as my pan, and transferred it back to the fridge.

2. Now on to the potato cake. I steamed some potatoes until 3/4 cooked and let them cool before peeling and grating them. I tossed in an egg and some fresh picked rosemary and thyme from the garden. A few grinds of black pepper and some sea salt and our mixture was ready.

3. Time to execute. I fried up 1/2 the mixture, taking care to press it out to the full size of the pan. Once it was golden brown, I placed a plate on top of the pan and flipped out the cake. I then slid it back into the pan and cooked the opposite side.(An old trick I learned making tortilla espaƱola in an unlicensed tapas bar in beneath a convent in London.) I set this cake aside and prepared another in exactly the same way.

4. Now, I slid the goat cheese disc onto the 1st cake and topped it with the second. Another 5 minutes on the stove to heat through and it was done.

It took an awful lot of work, but I have to admit it was absolutely delicious. It would have been a lot easier to make something simpler, BUT WHERE'S THE FUN IN THAT?!?!?!

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