Yesterday evening, while my husband and I were out admiring our highly productive (read: are you tired of lettuce yet?) raised vegetable gardens in the backyard, the neighbor called us over to ask us a very important question. “Say,” he started, beer in hand, “Would y’all mind it if my wife and I got us some backyard chickens?” It was everything I could do to remain composed; sheer giddiness was fast approaching. Since last spring when I first posed the backyard chickens question oh-so-timidly to my husband, well, things have changed. For one, we’ve met the neighbors and they’re all pretty nice folks. More importantly, my husband has come around to the idea that backyard chickens might actually be a good thing. But hey! Before we take the plunge, why not let the neighbors figure out how rewarding hen-tending actually is? With an all-knowing glance, he and I confirmed our agreement about the chickens and my hubs delivered the good news to our neighbor. We were promised a few eggs, should all go as planned. And then we went back to admiring our gardens. I in my gardening hat (ok, ok, it’s a sombrero I picked up at our friends’ fiesta-themed engagement party) and he with his shovel, we declared that we were officially backyard farmers. And boy, do we have a lot of greens to eat, despite this darned Texas drought. As spring beckons me to do, and with a nod to the chickens, I spent a lazy Sunday afternoon cookin’ up a spicy quiche laced with garden greens. Here’s a more exacting recipe than last time. We’ve also been serving up salads galore, and while the Texas weather is getting a little warm for these cool-weather crops, we have found that a little bit of water about an hour before harvesting helps perk up the greens. Have any greens recipes to share? Please do! Spicy Spring Greens Egg Pie (crust optional) 1 deep-dish pie crust (use your favorite recipe or purchase a pre-made one) 6 fresh eggs 2 cups milk 2 cups grated Swiss cheese 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley 6 cups roughly chopped Swiss chard 1 cup chopped asparagus 1/2 onion, diced 2-3 peppers (jalapeños work well), for as much heat as you can handle 2 tablespoons butter salt and pepper to taste Prebake the crust for about 10-12 minutes according to the package (or the recipe), just until browned. Adjust the oven temperature to 325°. Meanwhile, prepare the greens for the filling: melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the onions and pepper. Sauté until golden and fragrant. Add about 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, or to taste. Add the chard and asparagus, and then cover the pan while the greens cook down. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, cheese, salt, cayenne, and parsley together. Check on the greens, stirring to release from the bottom of the pan. Once all the greens have wilted, remove from the heat. To assemble the egg pie, fill the pie crust with the greens first (or simply dump the greens into a buttered baking dish) and then carefully add the egg and cheese mixture. Cook at 325° for about 40 minutes, until the middle is set. Let the egg pie cool before slicing. Serve just warm, with a garnish of parsley and a side salad.
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