Sunday, November 29, 2009

I made my go-to quiche

It almost feels silly to post a quiche recipe on this blog. All of you who contribute to this blog have probably made quiche at one point or another, because it is so easy to make and so tasty, and you probably have your own go-to recipes for it. Well, this is mine! But, I figured, since I took some photos of it, why not share it with you all. Maybe one day you will want to make a quiche and try this method out.

One reason that I like this particular recipe is because compared to many other quiche recipes I have seen, this is slightly healthier. No cream or cream cheese or other heavy foods. Just some milk and a bit of Parmesan (and in this case, goat cheese!) I also like using a combo of parm and swiss.

Quiche is a great thing to bring to a potluck or a brunch, but I actually made this quiche a few weeks ago for no reason at all. I just felt like cooking something easy and delicious. So I did!

Here you go:

This recipe is modified from one by Sara Moulten, via the Food Network website.

1 frozen prepared pie shell (or of course feel free to make your own! I have never done that, but I bet a lot of you have, so totally use your favorite recipe, if you'd like.)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 chopped shallots or 1 medium chopped onion (or a mixture of both!)
1 russet potato, peeled and sliced thinly
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach - thawed, excess liquid drained. (Draining out all the liquid is key! You don't want a watery quiche.)
1 pound cremini mushrooms, chopped (I think a pound is maybe about a dozen or so mushrooms?)
3 large eggs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup milk
2/3 cup (3 ounces) crumbled goat cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Blind bake the crust: Line the pie shell with aluminum foil and weigh it with pie weights or beans (I actually never weigh it down, and it's fine. If the crust puffs up a bit, just poke a few holes in it with a fork and it will deflate).

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until light golden brown.

Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

In a large skillet, heat oil over moderate heat. Add onion or shallots and cook until softened. Turn up heat to moderately high. Add garlic, mushrooms, and potato and cook until the mushrooms begin to brown and release some of their moisture. Add spinach and continue cooking until it is heated through. Drain off any excess liquid.

Beat the eggs in a bowl and add the Parmesan, half the goat cheese and milk. Add the spinach mixture and pour into the pie shell. Sprinkle remaining goat cheese on top. Bake on a sheet pan in the middle of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until just set.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

We Made Pumpkin Cashew Curry ON HALLOWEEN!

On Halloween this year, Alena, Martha and I (Sarah G.) had the idea to carve a jack-o-lantern AND make something with actual, real, not-from-a-can pumpkin. (Take a look at our aquatic jack-o-lantern, pictured above!) Originally, I had envisioned that a single pumpkin could serve both purposes, but DUH--the pumpkin meat is attached to the skin, so a second pumpkin was needed.

Cooking with pumpkin isn't that different from cooking with any other kind of winter squash. Peeling it is a pain in the ass, but once you're over that hurdle, it's pretty easy. Also, I think pumpkin is tougher than other kinds of winter squash, so you have make sure to cook it until it's soft enough.

When Hill, Martha, Annie and I were in Cambodia, we had some really great pumpkin dishes. I remember one had pan fried tofu with pumpkin, scallions and ginger. There were also some amazing pumpkin curries. I've thought about making similar dishes for the past couple years, so we searched the web and found this recipe on Epicurious.

Creamy Pumpkin and Cashew Curry
Bon Appetite October 2009

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 1/2 cups 3/4-inch cubes peeled seeded sugar pumpkin or butternut squash (from about one 1 3/4-pound whole pumpkin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds*
  • 8 curry leaves** (Just used regular old curry powder.)
  • 2 small red onions, cut into 1/3-inch wedges
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 dried chiles de √°rbol*** (Couldn't find this--just used a ton of cayenne.)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted roasted cashews
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 11/2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk****
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro plus additional for garnish (We also garnished with scallions and sliced almonds.)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Steamed basmati rice

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add pumpkin and cook until golden, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to same skillet. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves; cook until seeds pop and leaves sizzle, 30 seconds. Add onions, garlic, and ginger. Sauté until onions are golden, 4 minutes. Add chiles, cashews, turmeric, and cumin; stir-fry 1 minute. Add coconut milk and coconut cream. Increase heat to mediumhigh. Boil until thickened, 2 minutes. Return pumpkin to pan; reduce heat to medium. Simmer until pumpkin is tender, 4 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup cilantro and lime juice. Spoon over rice; garnish with additional cilantro.

* Sold at specialty foods stores, Indian and Asian markets, and If unavailable, use brown mustard seeds.

** Also known as kari patta; available at Indian markets.

*** Thin, red, hot three-inch-long chiles; available at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and Latin markets.

**** Available at supermarkets and at Indian, Southeast Asian, and Latin markets.

It was the perfect Halloween meal. Rich, spicy, sweet, yummy, SPOOKY!!! Not really. But still.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I made a hearty vegan brunch!

I made a hearty vegan brunch (salivate at the above picture) consisting of scrambled tofu (recipe will follow), fake ham from some Asian brand of Buddhist products bought from Flushing, LightLife Gimme Lean ground-style "meat," and rustic bread with Smart Balance.

I got the recipe for the scrambled tofu from Ira Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan with a Vengance:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped into 1/2-inch chunks
2 cups thinly sliced cremini mushrooms
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 carrot, peeled (optional, grate it in at the end, mostly for color)
For spice blend
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried thyme, crushed wiht your fingers
1 tsp ground paprika
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onions for 3 minutes, until softened; add the mushrooms, saute for 5 minutes; add the garlic, saute for 2 minutes. Add teh spice blend and mix it up for 15 seconds or so. Add 1/4 cup of water to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom to get all the garlic and spices.
Crumble in the tofu and mix well. Don't crush the tofu, just kind of lift it and mix it around. You want it to remain chunky. Let cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding splashes of water if necessary to keep it from sticking too much. Lower the heat a bit if you find that the tofu is sticking. Add the lemon juice. Add the nutritional yeast and mix it up. If the mixture is sticking to the pan, add splashes of water. The moistness really depends on how much water the tofu was retaining before you added it.
Grate the carrot into the tofu mixture and fold. Serve with guacamole and salsa and potatoes and toast and tempeh bacon.
For the "sausages," I took the LightLife Gimme Lean pack of "ground meat" (I find myself making the quote gestures whenever I talk about fake meats, by the way), and rolled it into shape with my hands. This product has great texture and great shape-ability for making un-meatballs, etc. but it is kinda sticky. Sauteed it in a pan with hot olive oil until browned. Did the same with the sliced fake ham. Serve everything with toast and Smart Balance.

I had a glass of Silk soy milk to complete my meal.

Perfect vegan hearty brunch!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Made a Coconut Water Cocktail (from Canada) !

(Disclaimer: This recipe has been sitting in the drafts folder for months! I don't know why. Now it is fall and it seems silly to drink cold, fruity cocktails. I suppose that is OK. You can just crank up the heat and pretend it is summer if you make this.)

SO, here is what I wrote a while back:

Over the summer my parents spent a few weeks in Vancouver, BC. When they came back, my mom was telling me about this cocktail that she had at a really good Thai restaurant there, Maenam, that combined coconut water, vodka, ginger, and chile. It sounded good to me, so one night when I was hanging out at my parents house, I did some internet searching to see if the recipe could be found anywhere. I didn't find the exact recipe, but I found something close and decided to try my hand at being a mixologist.

Of course, it wasn't until after I made the cocktail that I had the idea to see if the recipe was posted on the restaurant's website.

It was! Here is how it is described on the Maenam menu:

Siam sun ray:
wyborowa vodka, lime,
chile and ginger infused toasted coconut juice, soda

"Toasted coconut juice" is a new thing to me. I did more research. I think it may be this. "Roasted" is sorta like "toasted".

(Another disclaimer: I actually found a can of this stuff in Woodside, Queens recently. It was definitely toasty and SO SWEET. Maybe too sweet on it's own, but I can see it being good mixed with Vodka. Seek it out if you want to!)

In any case, roasted/toasted aside, here is what I used to make the drink.

2 parts coconut water
1 part vodka
juice of approx. 1 lime (to taste)
agave nectar (or simple syrup, to taste) - Though if you use the "roasted coconut juice, it will definitely be sweet enough.
small piece of ginger
small piece of a mild chile pepper (Optional).
soda water (Optional).

To prepare:
In a glass (or cocktail shaker if you have one), muddle the ginger (and chile, if using) into the coconut water. Add lime juice, agave or simple syrup (if using) and vodka. If using a cocktail shaker, add ice, cover and shake. Strain into a chilled glass. (If no cocktail shaker, simply remove the ginger and strain into a chilled glass). Add more lime juice/sweetener if needed, or a splash of soda water for some fizz.

We ate this with some fruit! I also put a piece of pineapple in my drink, because it tasted good.

That is my mom holding the drink. She said it was different than the one she had at the restaurant, but still good. I will definitely make this again. And if I ever go to Vancouver, I can try the real thing.