Kale Glut? Make Easy Tart with Fancy Name

A few days ago we left Athens on a sunny 80°F day, warm enough to welcome airport air-conditioning. Thirty-six hours later, back in Anchorage, the sun still shone, but the temperature was only 40°F. A chill north wind cut through the lightweight clothing I’d donned on another continent.

When we arrived home, the first order of business was inspecting the garden. We’d heard there’d been a killing frost in Anchorage, so expected the worst. Zucchini, peas, Swiss chard, and most lettuce had been taken out by the cold. Broccoli and cauliflower had gone to seed. Cabbages were perfect and ready to harvest, as were arugula, garlic, onion, herbs, and a small second planting of Lau’s pointed leaf lettuce that inexplicably was unaffected by frost.

Our garden’s overall success this year was due, in no small part, to fortifying the 8’-10’ fence that encircles our garden, a height necessary to keep out marauding moose. Moose handily hop over any fence shorter than 8’, and like nothing better than grazing through a carefully tended garden smorgasbord.

For whatever reason, perhaps the large pond that serves as a watering hole, our yard is a moose hotspot. In the first 40 minutes after arriving home from the airport, we saw five different moose in the yard, including the giant bull pictured above. With this many moose, if we didn’t have a fence, we wouldn’t have a garden.

The garden’s best producer this year was Tuscan/Lacinato/dinosaur kale. The blue-green strappy kale leaves are lush and healthy despite nighttime temperatures well below freezing. Its perfect condition is remarkable; nearly every other garden plant was plagued by a horde of slugs brought forth by this year’s record-breaking rainy summer.

One of my favorite ways to use greens of every kind is in savory pies. Spanakopita and hortopita, Greek spinach pie and greens pie, are two particularly good ones. I needed to bring a dish to a potluck on Friday and thought of making a traditional hortopita with kale. However, to do so I would have either had to go to the store to buy filo or mess around with making my own. Proper home-made Greek filo was too big of a task for my jet-lagged mind, as was grocery shopping.

A couple months ago, I had a wonderful spicy meat pie made by Ayse Gilbert, an Anchorage friend of Turkish heritage. Ayse is an excellent and creative cook. To encase her pie, she’d used a crunchy, flaky, sour cream pastry. Her recipe in its entirety: “2 1/4 cup flour (use 1/2 cup semolina flour for crunch), 12 Tbsp. butter, 1/2 cup sour cream, and 1 egg.”

Having a kale glut seemed like the perfect opportunity to try Ayse’s crust recipe. I used Greek yogurt, an ingredient I always have on hand, rather than sour cream. Both ingredients are acidic, and work equally well to tenderize the crust. The dough mixed up easily and was a pleasure to roll out. It didn’t tear or stick to the rolling pin and was easy to move from the pastry cloth to the baking sheet. This is a good crust recipe for beginners; it’s much easier to work with than standard pie crust dough.

With the tangy crust, I wanted a little sweetness to complement kale’s earthy flavor, so included dried currants and lightly sautéed onions in the filling mix. Feta always goes well with greens and I’d just brought some back from Greece that’d been mauled by a customs agent (don’t get me started) and needed to be used right away. So feta went in the mix, along with some garlic and Aleppo pepper.

Having never made either the crust or filling before, I nonetheless brought it to the Friday potluck. I warned longtime friends that my offering was experimental. Luckily, the gamble paid off. The filling was well-balanced and its flavors worked well with the deliciously crunchy, flaky crust. Best of all, my friends liked it, the true measure of a recipe’s success.

I made the recipe a second time yesterday, freezing half the crust dough and cutting the filling recipe in half. It was just as good the second time, and certainly more attractive. I figured out big flat pleats are the best way to get dough to lay flat around corners. I could’ve called this a pita or a pie or a tart. But I’ve called it a galette because the pleating technique I settled on is one the French use when forming galettes.

Three kale plants down. Twenty-seven to go. Maybe more. Lucky we both like greens.

Be sure to check out the recipes mentioned in this post:


18 Responses to Kale Glut? Make Easy Tart with Fancy Name

  1. Patrice Helmar says:

    Kale is the best! This looks great. Hope you had a great time in Greece.

  2. What a great recipe!! I'm saving it now. Thank you.

  3. I think you might have just changed my life with this recipe! Wow wow wow! I am making this soon.

  4. Thanks Patrice, we had a great time. And we're waiting for the year when you and Matt come to visit us!

    Thanks Anh!

    Anna, you just really made me laugh! Wouldn't it be nice if it were so easy to change someone's life? But seriously, I'm so glad you like the recipe!

  5. Mediterranean kiwi says:

    i love the look of the pastry – looks simple and doesnt require perfect rolling

    must look around for kale here – i dont think i have ever seen it sold, but it must be available in seed form

    yesterday i made pie (little pies actually) and thought of you – the filling was made with light green vegetables (leeks, zucchini, herbs), and it went down very well with the family

  6. AKmamaOf6 says:

    Dear Laurie…

    I saw your post on Laura's blog today about the chevre. I wanted to let you know that we make that with our goats milk.

    I don't know if you know Vash Bunde but she's my neighbor out here in Wasilla next to St. Herman's church…what a small world.

    Anyway, I'd love to talk to you privately more about it, I'm just not sure how to connect through these blogs very well, I'm new at this. -Anna

  7. This is a very good recipe. I see in your comments that many of you grow your own. How very jealous I am. I live in Manhattan and the closest I get to farm fresh is when the farmers come into town and we can buy fresh produce. Other alternatine, is the horrible supermarkeks. Woe is me. I really enjoy your blog. Thank you.

  8. bellini valli says:

    This is one of those show stopper meals Laurie. Seasonal as well which makes it perfect with a little feta thrown in to make sure I will make it for my family.

  9. I live in Homer and my Kale is still going strong and produces more than I can eat. I need to drop some off at the food bank I guess. Even if you are a bad gardner like my husband and I are you can grow spectacular kale in Alaska. My son sent me your blog link so I'm happy to have found you. Nan

  10. Maria, I can't tell you how happy it makes me that when you think of pie you think of me! I do love my pies and would love to eat yours. Especially the little fried cheesy ones with honey. Mmmmmm. As for kale, if you're going to grow it, look for the kind pictured here, it's an Italian variety and I think has the best flavor. It's also called Cavolo Nero and I've seen the seeds for it being sold in Athens so you may be able to find it under that name.

    AKmama, I've written you.

    Oh but Norma, you have access to all the wonderful greenmarkets and specialty/ethnic food stores in Manhattan (not to mention the restaurants), so I can't feel too sorry for you!

    Val, hope you like it! BTW, I've been really enjoying your blog lately. You've been inspired since returning from your conference.

    Nan, welcome! As it happens, I've been reading your blog for awhile and watching you build your beautiful house. Nice to meet you!

  11. I always love to look at the scenic pictures of your yard, and the animals that wander it!! It sounds like you have a fantastic garden. I would love to begin planting more extensively in our own but really have to get around to reading and researching it all.

    The pita sounds delicious–even better considering the homegrown ingredients. Fantastic!

  12. Oh dear God! Does this ever look amazing! I have to make this! Are you still on the island Laurie? My mom didn't go this summer. She had some health issues and the doctor advised her not to travel.

  13. Oops! Never mind. I can see you are back in Alaska. I went back to read your post after drooling over the food photos first! Hope you had a great time on the island!

  14. my little expat kitchen says:

    I love your galette. Yoghurt crusts are the best aren't they? I make kreatopitakia with that type of crust.

  15. I was fixing a (my) birthday dinner. I discovered your blog while searching for some seafood soup by means of google images! From there I just had to keep on reading and searching for interesting recipes. In the end I prepared the following dishes from your blog (along with others from other sources):
    1. the Rouille seafood stew
    2. the kale galette
    3. the roasted eggplant with bell pepper
    4. the marinated beets
    5. the "gazelle" pilaf

    To sum up: superb! Everything came out great. Fish stew won a standing ovation. Gazelle pilaf came in close behind. I was little surprised that the beets were not likely acknowledged as true works of art (and took offense in their name).
    Mediterranean cooking just went up a notch in complexity and richness (and I live in Tel-Aviv so am no stranger to these tastes).

    Intelligent writing, great pictures (luckily…), and superb recipes! Thank you, and keep up the creative spirit.

  16. karinoelle says:

    This looks great and I have everything I need to make it here at Stonewall Place. We have beautiful kale growing in the greenhouse (Red Russian). Can't wait to give it a try! Thanks!!

  17. mangocheeks says:

    I discovered that I enjoyed eating kale a couple of years after I grew some. Now I am always lookign for delicious ways of enjoying it and I have found one recipe. Thank you for sharing.

  18. Dinetonite says:

    I enjoyed your blog very much. The information was interest to me. Thanks for sharing the recipe

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