Chard and Pistachio Tart

Chard and pistachio tart

Chard and pistachio tart

I don’t wait on lines very often. For one thing, I rarely leave my house. For another, I’m too impatient, it always seems like I could be doing something better with my time. I can’t think of all that much worth waiting on line for. I don’t mind waiting, in general, I never get bored; boredom is against my principles. But there’s something about a line of people I just can’t seem to tolerate. Today, however, I found myself on a line in the grocery store and I didn’t really mind. I clutched a box of moldy clementines, and I waited for the attention of the customer service representative. And when it was finally my turn, I had no proof that I’d bought the moldy clementines in this location. For all she knew I could go from store to store with moldy clementines, slowly building up my fortune $7.99 at a time. So she had to venture out into the store to find a price, or someone to help, I’m not sure. But I didn’t mind. I was avoiding something, or some things. I’ve started a new novel, I’ve started a new story, I’ve started a new Ordinary post. I want to write them, I feel like I should write them (why? I don’t know.) I wake up every morning and go to sleep every night determined to write them. But when I sit down to do it I get a heavy fog behind my eyes and I don’t know, maybe my time is better spent waiting on line clutching a box of moldy clementines. Maybe I’ll become one of those people who goes out of their way to complain about things just for a bit of attention or to pass away an afternoon. I’ll send food back at restaurants, even though it’s exactly what I ordered. I’ll call help desks and technical support lines just to chat for a bit. While I was waiting I noticed that the store offered a new feature: a beauty consultant. He was a young man who looked surprisingly elegant, even in his store-issued vest. He had a booth that looked like it could have been made for a high school science fair; a mirror, a stool, a glass jar of cotton balls. A sign said that if we brought in our makeup bag he’d help us make the best use of it. I thought about taking my lipstick out of my coat pocket and saying, “Here’s my makeup bag! Help me out!” And I caught a glimpse of my old face in his mirror in the flattering fluorescent lights of the grocery store and I thought about the women who must end up on his stool in a grocery store in this part of the world–the glamor! I wondered how he’d gotten this job, and I thought maybe he started out as a clerk or a stock boy, but he had this idea and the store let him try it. I hoped he was happy with it, even though he seemed to spend most of his time wondering up and down the aisles. Everyone seemed happy that he was there, everyone seemed to love him. It made me happy to see him there. I thought about how I’ve always said it was a good thing that I had sons because if I had daughters and they asked me how to apply mascara or any other makeup product I’d have to say, “F**k if I know!” But here was someone’s son who obviously knew all about these things. I got my $7.99 and I left the moldy clementines at the desk, and I wondered if they had a whole pile of moldy produce and spoiled milk back there, and maybe they came to life at night as spoiled-food spirits. I apologized for wasting the clerk’s time, and while I drove home I remembered a conversation last week in which somebody had said, “How do you kill a day?” How do you kill a day? It’s too easy, days are very fragile.

I apologize for the crappy picture on this post. The pie was good though. Normal sort of crust, topped with greens and rosemary, then a layer of cheese, then a savory pistachio frangipane. I thought it had nice flavors and textures…comforting for a cold day. And it wasn’t too hard to make.

Here’s Everybody Plays the Fool, which is a song I heard at the grocery store, and which I like a lot.


1 1/2 cups flour
1 t salt
1 stick (8 T) unsalted butter, frozen
ice water

Mix the salt and flour in a bowl. Grate in the frozen butter. Mix with a fork until coarse and crumbly. Add just enough ice water to for a workable dough. Knead for about a minute, to be sure that all the butter is incorporated. Form into a disk, wrap in foil and store in the fridge till you’re ready to use it.

1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 t freah rosemary
t basil dried, or small handful of fresh
1 bunch chard, cleaned and trimmed and finely chopped

1 1/2 cups mozzarella, graged

2 eggs
1/2 cup (heaping) pistachio kernels, toasted or roasted
1/2 cup milk
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425. Lightly butter a pie plate or tart pan. Roll out the dough and line the pan. Bake for about five or ten minutes, till it just loses it’s shine.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and herbs, and then the greens. Stir and cook until they’re wilted but still bright. Five or ten minutes. Season with salt and pepper

Spread the greens in the partially cooked pie shell. Scatter 1 cup of cheese over. In a food processor combine the nuts, eggs, milk and remaining half cup of cheese, and process until completely smooth. pour this over the greens and cheese, gently spreading with a knife or spatula. Cook until the top is firm to the touch and golden brown, 20 – 30 minutes.

Let cool and set slightly, slice and serve.


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