Elizabeth Baer is a teacher who loves to spend time in the kitchen. She also posts recipes and musings about food on her blog, culinursa.com/blog and can be reached at culinursa@gmail.com.

Baked Chard Cake

This baked chard "cake" is not quite a frittata as there are not as many eggs, but it can be cut into wedges and frozen.

When I first saw my husband’s birthday present for me this year I swooned. Not clothes. Not jewelry. Rather, he bought me a stand-up freezer for the attached garage!

When we first thought about such a thing more than a decade ago, any freezer that would work in the cooler environment of a garage was marketed for commercial use and extremely expensive so we gave up on the idea. Instead we filled the bottom freezer of our French door refrigerator and the top freezer of an old refrigerator we kept when we bought the new one. And when I say filled, I mean filled to the brim. Not only am I always making things for the freezer, not only do I always freeze chicken backs from cut up or spatchcock chickens to make stock, but also my husband can never resist a good-looking piece of meat on sale, wrapped for the freezer. We all have our weaknesses!

With a bumper crop of tomatoes from our tiny garden this year (yielding a lot of tomato purée and oven-roasted tomatoes) on top of everything else, there was not a millimeter of space left. I just got tired of unpacking one of the freezers — or sometimes both — when I was looking for something I knew I had.

So I pulled into the garage one day, saw that a freezer had been delivered, and I literally swooned. My husband teases me that few people would be so happy with an appliance for a birthday gift, but I am thrilled!

Meanwhile, it’s that time of the growing season when we again are getting some dark green leafy vegetables, and that’s not something my husband can eat, so I am always looking for recipes where I can enjoy some now, and freeze some for school lunches. One of my favorites is an Italian recipe for Swiss or rainbow chard that makes a sort of cake in a springform pan with raisins and pine nuts. It’s not quite a frittata as there are not as many eggs, but it can be cut into wedges and frozen, ready for me to grab out of my freezer (where I can now see and find everything!) when I need something for lunch.

BAKED CHARD 'CAKE'

Serves 2-4

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup golden raisins

3 tablespoons white wine or water

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 1/2-2 pounds Swiss or rainbow chard, stems chopped into small pieces and leaves roughly cut into strips

1 small onion, minced

1 teaspoon salt, divided

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Pinch ground nutmeg

1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment and spray the sides lightly. If your pan is a different size, that is fine. It will only affect the height of the finished “cake.”

Place the raisins and wine or water into a small saucepan that has a lid. Heat, uncovered, over medium heat until the liquid begins to boil. Turn off heat, cover, and let sit to hydrate and plump the raisins.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped chard stems and onion, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sauté until the stem pieces are softened and the onions are just beginning to brown. Add the strips of chard leaves with the remaining salt. Depending on the amount of chard, you may have to add it in stages, and if so, sauté the first batch until cooked down, and then add another bunch of chard leaves until all of it has wilted and any liquid given off is mostly gone.

Place the chard mixture into a large bowl. Drain the raisins of any liquid that has not been absorbed and add them to the bowl. Add the eggs, Parmesan, pine nuts, pepper and nutmeg. Stir to combine well and place in prepared pan, smoothing the top to make it even. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the top and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon olive oil.

Bake for 40 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature or slightly warmer before running a knife around the sides and removing from the pan. Cut in wedges to serve. If there are any leftovers, wrap wedges individually and freeze, to defrost for a quick meal or side dish another day.

Elizabeth Baer is a teacher who loves to spend time in the kitchen. She also posts recipes and musings about food on her blog, culinursa.com/blog and can be reached at culinursa@gmail.com.