freestyle friday
the morning after and its turkey sandwich

It is not time for mirth and laughter, the cold, gray dawn of the morning after. --George Ade

Oh my. Did I really eat all of that?! Tell me that I did not eat a plateful of starches covered in gravy, to which I added a sliver of protein, and the mere suggestion of a green vegetable, along with a roll the size of my dog's head.

The less I behave like Whistler's mother the night before, the more I look like her the morning after. --Tallulah Bankhead
Did I polish that off with a few adult beverages? A sliver (I'm dieting) of three different types of pies? A spoonful of something, anything!, with whipped cream. Did I moan when I got up from the table? Was I able to balance my glass on my stomach?

It reminded him of his Uncle Seamus, the notorious and poetic drunk, who would sit down at the breakfast table the morning after a bender, drain a bottle of stout and say 'Ah, the chill of consciousness returns". Molly O'Neill 

It wasn't pretty, was it?

Perhaps, today, moderation is in order. Here is my I'm-so-sorry-I-behaved-that-way note to my stomach.

the morning after turkey sandwich
you will need: 
  • some great lean leftover turkey (or ham or pork roast or standing rib roast or prime rib--whatever leftovers you have)
  • finely grated swiss cheese (or just a slice, or your favorite other cheese, like brie, or gouda or goat or whatever you have!)
  • cranberry sauce or chutney--we used from maggie's farm cranberry vanilla pear chutney
  • your favorite sandwich bread-- we've used a chewy from maggie's farm ciabatta loaf, quartered and sliced lengthwise.
  • a light spreading of mayonnaise, optionally
  • and roasted asparagus (see below)
Oh you didn't have asparagus?  My, I'm sorry.  Asparagus is my favorite fancy vegetable. Fancy, you ask?  Well, I kind of think of it as fancy.  I didn't eat it until I was well into my teens, and my stepmom took me to eat at The American in Kansas City.  It was fancy, y'all.  I had it for the first time, and it was cold, and crispy, and I thought if ever a vegetable were created just for me, surely it was asparagus.  But I digress....

If you have another green veggie to add to the sammich, that's okay. A chopped up handful of Monday's recipe for brussels sprouts would be delish. Some fresh green beans, steamed. A little bit of the leftover swiss chard gratinwe're making for the big day. Whatever you happen to have. However, if the roasted asparagus version sounds great to you, and you haven't any leftovers, well, here's the solution--

Yep, those are my old wrinkly hands.  I'm kind of proud of those wrinkles.  They are smile lines on my hands, I'm supposing.  Yeah, I'm going with that.

Rinse asparagus and pat dry. Trim by bending each stalk slightly and snapping off fibrous ends. Layer in roasting pan, seasoning with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and the zest and juice of half a lemon. (olive oil can be drizzled over, optionally. we've kept it light by omitting for our version, here.)

Roast in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until tender-crisp. toss, dispersing seasoning.

Prepare sandwich by layering ingredients. We like to spoon the chutney on top of the turkey, to keep it from getting the bread soggy if toting it for a later lunch. serve as is, or toast in a pan or panini grill, alternatively.

Your tummy thanks you.

tips for tuesday
carving the bird

Carving a turkey whole, tableside, can be an awkward and not altogether attractive proposition.  Bon Appetit shares their favorite way to get turkey to the table without muss or fuss, and a bit more elegance.

Turkey Carving 101

The bone structure that gives turkeys their signature silhouette can make carving a whole bird tricky. Why not start a new tradition this year: Break down your roast into manageable pieces of breast, thigh, and leg, then carve them into thin slices for a more refined presentation.

1. Put the turkey on a work surface. Using a boning or chef's knife, cut from the neck end to the tail end of the breast parallel to the breastbone. Continue cutting, keeping the knife against the breastbone. Then angle the knife, running it alongside the thin rib cage to free the meat.

2. Slice the breast meat crosswise against the grain using a Granton slicer or a chef's knife. Transfer meat to a warmed platter.

3. Pull the leg away from the carcass as you slice down the side of the thigh to expose the joint. Cut around the joint to free the whole leg. Repeat with the other leg. Remove the other side of the breast and slice according to Step 2.

4. Find the joint between the leg and thigh bone and separate them with the knife. Slice the thigh meat parallel to the thigh bone and transfer the meat to the platter. Repeat with other leg and thigh.

5. Trim the meat off the legs , if desired, by slicing lengthwise down the bone to free the meat. Cut around the wings to free them from the carcass. Save the carcass for making stock.

WRITTEN BY Hunter Lewis
PHOTOGRAPH BY Marcus Nilsson
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monday, monday.....
give a little bit

"Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart."
Anne Frank 
We've an awful lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and it's put us in a mind to concentrate on the giving part of that holiday.  Giving thanks, by giving back.  Giving of one's time, talent, and resources.  Helping other's out in gratitude and honor for those who have helped us through trials.

And we need your help.  We're asking you to please take a moment to share your favorite ideas for giving back.  Maybe it's something you've done, something you'd like to do, something you've seen in your community.  Maybe it's a link to a story you read that impressed you.  Maybe it's something that's been written on your heart by what you've seen in the world.  It could be monetary support, it could be the gift of time, or it could be using your talents and skills to support those who need them.

What are your favorite charities and service organizations?
What need in the world are you passionate about assisting?
What are you, or someone you know, doing with the time, talents, or resources to which you have access?

I promise, I'm not asking you for anything other than ideas. Thoughtful and innovative ideas to share, creative ideas that motivate people to action.  Ideas both simple, like taking last month's magazines to a retirement home, and profound, like Royer's Round Top Cafe and their mission to deliver a little bit of the heart of Texas to Sandy victims in the form of pie, and more.

I'm looking forward to sharing some of my favorite charities and service opportunities, too, including Eternal Threads, an organization I became familiar with through church, whose vision is to bring hope and justice to poor women and children in developing countries.

These days, the fury of political wrangling between, and about candidates and parties, the daily reports of war-torn battlefields, the perfectly tacky antics of a celebrity-driven 'reality' television-supported pop culture, the media's emphasis on the sturm and drang of current events, can make one weary, and, if you're like me, feeling a little hopeless about the human condition. However, there is evidence, often not considered as newsworthy, but reality, nonetheless, to the contrary.  This video, below, recently circulating on social media sites, starts this week on a positive note.  Maybe it will encourage you to find ways to 'give a little bit'.

Please take a moment to leave a comment telling us your favorite ideas for giving a little, (or a lot!).  And have a great week!

About Town: Austin
Happy Hour: Takoba

Whether you're in town for the F1 races and looking for a hip, affordable spot, or simply a local in search of a sunny spot for that afternoon libation, Takoba, on East 7th, has it all.

My friend, the fabulous MadBetty, and I, hit Takoba, in Austin, recently for Happy Hour.  I loved everything about it.

Happy Hours in the big city are a rarity for this farmer, but I love them, because being notoriously cheap, I find them the perfect way to sample city fare, without laying down the car payment.  So I had high hopes for Takoba, though I knew, even aside from the food and drinks, I'd have fun giggling and gossiping with my bud, cause she's pretty neat.  If you haven't already, you should really check out her blog. She's creative and bold and the perfect mate with which to share a couple of slash-priced cocktails, on a patio (they call it a terrace) on a glorious afternoon (really, November is beautiful here!) in the uber-cool East Austin.

I won't pretend that I'm an ultra-knowledgeable restaurant critic. I won't be able to ascertain, for example, the exact spice combination that sat next to the grill upon which my food was prepared. I'm more of a restaurant suggester, and I know what I like.  Takoba is often referred to as mid-scale Mexican, and what I like in a mid-scale Mexican restaurant is a decent margarita, good chips and salsa (loved their molcajeta salsa!), fresh guacamole, and a nice patio.  Takoba met my expectations and then some.

MadBetty had the Mango-Habanero Margarita, El Jimador reposado, PatrĂ³n Citronge, fresh mango, habanero, lime juice, which registered it's advertised 'spicy kick' without burning and a I enjoyed a perfectly acceptable house frozen margarita--standard fare, affordable--no different than many around town, but better than a lot, without an overpowering flavor of cheap sweet and sour mix, like many frozen margaritas around town.  And the price was right.  I had a few.

We ordered guacamole, ceviche, queso fundido, and a soup of the day, which was a silky tomato bisque with blue cheese.  I wasn't sure I'd be keen with the blue cheese, but I was wrong.  It was divine.  I'll be back for more.  The guacamole was made of perfectly-ripe fruit--no brown spots or watery packaged avocado to spoil the dish.  The ceviche was bright and fresh--not too sweet, not too astringent--perfectly packed with vibrant pico de gallo.  The queso fundido is a thing of beauty, all stringy and melty with added roasted peppers and such--how could THAT be bad?  Along with the complimentary aforementioned basket of chips and salsa, the whole spread of food set us back only 15$ at Happy Hour, and the late 'snack' filled us up for the night.

Happy Hour is 3-6pm, Monday through Friday, and 3-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.  Takoba offers brunch on the weekends, and serves lunch and dinner every day. Check out their menu, and perhaps make a reservation to ensure you're seated in the most bustling of times.  We left, around 7pm, both the terrace and the interior were filling up, tables of singles, intimate dates, families, seniors, and kiddos, hipsters and the lesser-hip--all were well represented, and huddled happily over steaming plates.  I'm looking forward to joining them on a return visit, soon.

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
An Evening with Michael Pollan

I was recently graciously given the opportunity by my friend, Rachelle King, of Blinded by the Bite, to attend a discussion given by Michael Pollan, bestselling author of Second Nature, A Place of My Own, The Botany of Desire, The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food, and most recently, the highly-acclaimed Food Rules. The event took place at the grand old dame, the Paramount Theatre in Austin, and was moderated by my whip-smart friend, Addie Broyles, of the Austin American Statesman.  It promised to be an interesting and informative evening, and it did not disappoint.

Mr. Pollan is surprisingly self-effacing and down to earth, letting it slip that he has a weakness for candy, and admitting that the ideologies of Emerson and Thoreau did not exactly serve the realities of growing vegetables successfully--weeds, were, indeed, not all that virtuous, and that fence-less gardens were simply gardens for moles and the like.  And as a struggling Thoreau and Emerson-loving farmer-met-with-the-cruel-reality-of-nature, well, he had me.  I was all ears. This fella had some truths to share.
“The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway.” ― Michael Pollan
And during his entire discussion, as I furtively scribbled notes in the darkened theater, I could not help but think that what Mr. Pollan was getting at, among the questions and answers about sustainable agriculture, genetically-modified foods, the politics of Big Ag, the affordability of non-industrial food, and all the other hot topics of food supply, was one simple truth:  We should eat like our ancestors.
“The shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community, from the mere animal biology to an act of culture.” ― Michael Pollan
We should take a little time preparing our meals. We should take a little time eating them. Together, perhaps. We should grow a few vegetables, and then learn how to prepare them. We should base our meals around plants, in season, not from the industrial plant, without any season. We should eat wisely.
“Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.” ― Michael Pollan
I think he's onto something there.  And according to book sales, and speaking engagements, and newspaper columns, millions others seem to, too.

My mother, years ago, told my brother and I, as we pinched our noses and forced down the canned beets forced upon us, that those were her grandmother's favorite food.  We couldn't imagine why. She must have been penniless, our poor great grandmother, we thought. Who in their right mind would love beets?

She went on to tell us how much she enjoyed watching her grandmother working in the gardens, harvesting the beets that would be dinner that evening.  Her grandmother slathered them with lard, and wrapped them in tinfoil, and tossed them into the ashes of her potbellied stove. They were a precious treat, so said my mother.
“... the way we eat represents our most profound engagement with the natural world. Daily, our eating turns nature into culture, transforming the body of the world into our bodies and minds.” ― Michael Pollan,
And it would be some forty several years later before I found out why they were so precious.  They were precious because they had no connection whatsoever to the canned pickled beets we'd choked down as children.  Perhaps it is true, that the food you raise yourself tastes better than anything you buy in the store, or perhaps the freshness of beets straight from the garden are much superior to those that are canned.  Whatever the reason, magically, roasted beets have become one of our (though I can't speak for my brother) favorite vegetables.

My great grandmother would be awfully tickled.

Fennel-Roasted Beets on Mixed Greens

with blue cheese and spiced candied almonds

Infuse oil by toasting 1 tablespoon fennel seed in a dry skillet or saucepan just until fragrance is released, then add one cup of extra-virgin olive oil, and steep over low heat for thirty minutes. You may use infused oil at this point, or keep bottled, refrigerated, for up to a week. When refrigerated, oil will solidify, so you will want to either bring it back to room temperature, or slowly drizzle warm water on the bottle, in the sink, to liquefy.  The longer the oil is stored, the stronger the infusion flavor will be.

Prepare fresh beets by scrubbing, and trimming tops. Leaving about 1/2" of the stems will keep the beet from 'bleeding' as profusely as they sometimes do, although care should be taken to avoid beet stains. Beet stains are for life. Okay, not that long. But they are stubborn. Another way to avoid 'excessive bleeding', is to roast the beets unpeeled.  In fact, I even eat the beet unpeeled, and recommend you try them that way. They keep their body and shape, and much of the fiber and vitamins are found in the peeling.  With a good pre-scrubbing, I can't even taste a difference. Cut beets in halves or quarters, depending upon your mood.  Half mood or quarter mood?  You decide.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Drizzle a small amount of infused oil in the bottom of a baking pan that will accommodate as many beets as you are roasting (we used one large, or two baby beets per salad) in a single layer.  Add beets, and drizzle more infused oil to coat beets. Cover with aluminum foil. Roast for about 45 minutes (depending on your mood--that is more for half mood, less for quarter mood), or until fork inserts easily into the middle.  Remove, and allow to cool.  Peel at this stage, if you prefer.  Set aside.

Combine 2T butter, 1tsp garam masala, 1/4 cup brown sugar in a saucepan.  Allow butter to melt and combine with ingredients.  Stir in one cup sliced almonds.  Watching carefully, Stir and cook over medium high heat until sticky and slightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Spoon onto silicone-lined baking sheet to cool (they will slightly 'harden' into sheets).  Carefully break into bite-sized pieces.

Prepare salad by plating your favorite seasonal mixed greens (love this time of year when we get to grow salads in the cool weather!), roasted beets, sprinkled with crumbled blue cheese, and spiced candied almonds.

You could certainly make up a classic vinaigrette, seasoned with anything from fennel frond, stone-ground mustard, a little maple syrup, a pinch of cayenne pepper--oh you could do a whole lot.  But why gild the lily when there are so many beautiful Meyer lemons on our trees?  A simple squeeze of a lemon half, and an additional drizzle with the fennel-infused oil, plus a sprinkle of sea salt is all that's required to dress this beauty.  And a beauty it is!  The joy of eating a diverse, wholesome, plant-based diet is the fragrant vibrancy that is this plate.  Farm-fancy, I like to think of it.  And to think of how hard my mother had to work to force these upon us......
“Culture, when it comes to food, is of course a fancy word for your mom.” ― Michael Pollan

Read More:
Michael Pollan Answers Readers' Questions
"Food Rules": A Completely Different Way To Fix The Health Care Crisis
New York Times Interactive: Michael Pollan's Favorite Food Rules
New York Times Well Blog: Michael Pollan Offers 64 Ways to Eat Food
“Daily, our eating turns nature into culture, transforming the body of the world into our bodies and minds.” ― Michael Pollan

about town: austin
austin food and wine alliance's wine & swine 2012
at jourdan-bachman pioneer farms

For more information, visit
Austin Food and Wine Alliance
Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms
Thirsty Thursday, Cocktail Nibble: Bacon Crackers and Dill Horseradish Dip

thirsty thursday
cocktail nibbles: bacon crackers & dill horseradish dip

Whether for a quick bite to tide over the appetites of ravenous holiday dinner guests, or a satiating snack mid-game for those enraptured by late-day football, these simple, deliciously retro nibbles are sure to satisfy the most carniverous among the crowd.

It's really very simple.  The "more official" recipe can be found at Garden and Gun Magazine's website, and references the original Martha Foose, author of A Southerly Course. (Both capture the charm of the South and are worth a long look.)  This is how we tackled the little beauties:

Cut a pound or so of bacon (this is the 'party size' recipe.) into thirds crosswise. (Naturally, I made it more difficult by trimming each piece a bit thinner to wrap around little wheat thin-style crackers instead of the traditional club crackers most people use...)  

Wrap each slice around your choice of cracker, without overlapping. Lay each about 1/2" apart on a baking sheet in which you've placed a rack.  (a boiler pan would work just fine, if you don't have a handy rack)  Bake in 250 degree, preheated oven, for about an hour and a half, or until bacon begins to 'tug in' the sides of the cracker.  Cool on a rack.  Eat.  Lots of 'em.

Our friend Steve, who is now likely the world's greatest fan of Bacon Crackers, served his with a makeshift horseradish dip of  store-bought french onion dip, which is genius.  Like he is.  (Remember that bacon horseradish dip you used to buy in the dairy section?  That was my favorite.)  He inspired this dressed-up version that we dipped our crackers in with delight, and then licked the bowl clean of the little that was left.  

Dill Horseradish Dip

1 8 oz carton sour cream
1 T, or more, to taste, bottled grated horseradish
1/2 t each, or more, to taste, dill weed, onion salt, and powdered worcestershire  (the liquid will do fine, if that's what you have on hand)

Stir together, refrigerate for 30 minutes for flavors to meld.  Yeah. That's all.  It's easy.  Which is required for these days of feasting. Or football-cheering. Or napping. Whatever.

And should you be of a like mind, try a few of these bacon-friendly bites:
photo courtesy of South Austin Foodie
The event took place at Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms, a living history museum, which is worthy of a visit all on it's own, replete with period costumes and buildings, a general store, five themed historic areas to explore: a Tonkawa Indian Encampment, a German Emigrant Farm, a Texian Farm, a Cotton Planter's Farm and a rural village called Sprinkle Corner. In each area you can see real Texas history. Explore more than 90 beautiful, wooded acres, and discover exciting, memorable ways to experience Texas' past with your family. Don’t miss the Scaborough Barn where you can get up close with your favorite farm animal friends! (from

We will ink this event in on our calendar for next year, and, if you find yourself in Austin around that time, which is beautiful here and the perfect time for a visit, I might add, we recommend wholeheartedly that you meet us there!

(almost) wordless wednesday
meet me at the market

About the Sustainable Food Center: From seed to table, SFC creates opportunities for individuals to make healthy food choices and to participate in a vibrant local food system. Through organic food gardening, relationships with area farmers, interactive cooking classes and nutrition education, children and adults have increased access to locally grown food and are empowered to improve the long-term health of Central Texans and our environment. (from SustainableFoodCenter.Org)

Next month, we'll be visiting the folks at Swede Farm, for a closer look of their goat dairy and cheesemaking operation.  Stop by their website, and see the treat that awaits us!  

We'll also share more about our 'Meet Me At The Market' event with Austin Food Blogger Alliance, in support of the capital campaign for The Sustainable Food Center

We're excited about the opportunity to give a closer look at area farmers markets, and look forward to sharing them with you on Notes From Maggie's Farm.  Until then, let us encourage you to spend a little of your time, and a few dollars, supporting your local farmers and producers at your own local farmers market.  Your health, community, heart and soul will be the better for it, I promise!

Won't you Meet Me at the Market? 

a thanksgiving potluck
swiss chard gratin with bacon & caramelized onions

The season of giving thanks is underway, and today, I am thankful for swiss chard.

Yeah, really.  Swiss Chard.  Swiss chard is the workhorse of the garden. Swiss Chard is indestructible.  Swiss Chard is chockful of wholesome, healthy goodness, and my entire family loves (at least this particular magic with) Swiss Chard.  

Swiss Chard makes me look good.
Swiss Chard: This is the only vegetable we consider fool-proof. You would have a hard time killing swiss chard with a black thumb. Really. Plant it in the fall or early spring. Swiss chard can live through freezing weather or boiling summer heat. You will have to water it in the summer. Most insects don't like it. Most diseases don't affect it. We have had all the plants around it eaten by pests, while the swiss chard lived on unaffected. You may be wondering what to do with it. Use it in salads or lightly steam it like spinach. It is good for you too. Swiss chard can live several years. Don't pull up the whole plant; just harvest the leaves you want and it will make more leaves for the next time. Swiss chard sometimes will develop a stalk and can get a few feet high in a couple of years. --courtesy of
You really should get yourself some swiss chard.  And when you do......

swiss chard gratin 
with bacon and caramelized onions

  • 4 bunches swiss chard
  • 1/2-1 pound bacon, thickly sliced
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms
  • 4 large yellow onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4T apple cider vinegar
  • salt, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, all to taste
  • swiss gruyere mornay sauce
  • toasted pecan bread crumb topping (recipes, below)
To prepare: mise en place

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter, or grease individual gratin or souffle dishes, or one large gratin or casserole.  
  • De-stem chard by grasping leaves in one hand, and pulling stem up (see picture below).  Some small stem will remain, and that is fine. (Reserve the stems for a quick saute for another time, or compost. (Chickens and goats love them!) They will not lend themselves well to a vegetable stock, as they have a strong flavor.  Leaves, however, will.)  Rinse chard in two or three changes of cool water.  Dry well, by wrapping in paper toweling.

  • Remove largest amount of visible fat from 1/2 to 1 pound of thick-sliced bacon (you know that whole 2 inches they seem to throw in there on the ends.....).  I'm going to leave you with the decision on the amount, but it IS the holidays, darnit, and I'm using a pound.  Slice crosswise across slab into 1/4" wide lardons.  
  • Wash mushrooms by wiping with wet toweling, and slice about 1/4 to 1/2'' thick.  If you're a mushroom lover like myself, consider quartering them instead, for a larger, meatier mushroom bite.
  • Slice onions and use caramelize according to the method in this post. I used a nonstick pan to reduce the amount of fat used to about 2 teaspoons of olive oil.  A certain farmer requested they be kept al dente (okay, he said 'a little crisp') so I've stopped short of the complete caramelization with about half of them. If it were just me, they'd all be that luscious golden brown.
  • Peel and mince garlic.  Measure and set aside cider vinegar.  Collect seasonings.
  • Prepare Swiss-Gruyere Mornay sauce:  This quantity will make enough for your gratin, and about 1 and 1/2 cups left to do with as you will.  We'll use the leftovers later this week. 

ingredients: *1/2 stick of unsalted butter, *1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, * 1 quart half and half, (I've used fat-free half and half and it's not half bad.  Haha...see what I did there?), *1 cup heavy cream (yeah, there's no fat-free version of that, but if you must, you can reduce the fat {and flavor!} okay, I'll stop.) with a substitution of whole milk, *1/4 teaspoon salt, or more, to taste (cream eats up salt.), *1/4 teaspoon white pepper, *a few pinches freshly grated nutmeg (optional, but enhances any cream sauce), *8 oz grated gruyere cheese, and *8 oz grated swiss cheese.   
And now, we're going to hand the mic over to Emeril, who's a whizz at all things saucy:  In a medium saucepan  melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the roux is pale yellow and frothy, about 1 minute. Do not allow the roux to brown. Slowly whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens and comes to a boil, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Allow to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. This is now called a bechamel sauce, and may be used as is to top any number of dishes. Stir in the cheese and whisk until melted. If the sauce seems to thick, thin with a little milk heavy cream.  Okay, milk if you insist  (cream, cream, cream, cream......) The sauce is now called a mornay sauce . Pour over vegetables and serve immediately. If not using right away, cool, cover surface with plastic wrap  and refrigerate for several days.

  • Prepare toasted herb bread crumb topping.  This is another component that I like to double, triple, make more of, to use with dishes made later in the week.  (Make your macaroni and cheese SING with this topping.)

Slowly melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet.  Add 1 cup plain bread crumbs, and 1 cup panko bread crumbs.  Season with 1 teaspoon herbes de provence, or dried herbs of your choice, such as thyme, marjoram, chervil, tarragon, basil, sage, or any combination, thereof.  Add 1/4-1/2 cup chopped pecans.  Toss frequently, under medium heat, until crumbs are golden and crisp. 

Okay, you're ready.  This part goes pretty fast.  Render bacon lardon in a dutch oven.  Remove. Reserve all but one tablespoon bacon drippings to a dish, set aside.  Saute mushrooms over medium high heat (too low, and they'll steam, too high, and they'll burn) in the remaining 1T bacon drippings until slightly softened and brown.  Remove.  Adding more bacon drippings if necessary, saute garlic for 1-2 minutes (Don't burn the garlic! It will ruin the whole dish. Sound like I've burned the garlic before?). Wilt chard, adding drippings as necessary, in 2 tablespoons bacon drippings, adding chard by large handfuls as they cook down in the dutch oven.  When all have fit and wilted, add cider vinegar, and season to taste with salt, cayenne, and a pinch of nutmeg.  Stir in all caramelized onions (alternatively, you may use them as topping, or stir in half, and use the remaining for topping--see below), then 3 cups, more or less, of mornay sauce.  (More or less?  What do I mean by more or less?  Well, you know how ingredients behave.  What we're going for is to be well-blended, but not overly soupy.  You don't want this swimming in sauce.)  Transfer to prepared casserole dish(es).

If making one large casserole, bake for 45 minutes, or until bubbling.  If individual dishes are prepared, 25 minutes should be sufficient.  Top with toasted bread crumb mixture, and dot with caramelized onion if you chose to omit stirring them in, above.  Optionally, grate a little parmesan cheese atop.  Return to oven and bake until golden brown.  Remove, and let cool approximately 15 minutes, to allow sauce to thicken, prior to serving.

Voila!  It's not really difficult. Don't be put off by the length of all this.  I've been rather wordy (surprise, surprise).  Pat yourself on the back.  The greens lovers, and those that aren't quite sold, too, well, they are going to love it!  And, most importantly, so are you!

This post is a contribution to You're Invited: A Thanksgiving Potluck, hosted by our friend, Michelle, at The Kid Can Cook.  Be sure to stop over and see all of the clever offerings created by our blogging friends.  Looks like one delicious feast!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

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