Archive for November, 2012

Spinach and Potato Quiche

The quiche is a dish that I always struggle with. Not because they’re difficult to make, but because I always want it to be something new and different and interesting. I’m happy to throw together a plain cheese quiche if I want to play with a good strong cheese, but since I have a bad habit of just snarfing down good strong cheeses with apple cider and maybe a few crackers, this is rarely an option.

Adding Indian spices and a great big heap of spinach, on the other hand, is always an option. As usual, I tailor the tart crust to the filling, so the dough is made with garam masala. Chile powder would be a nice addition as well.

Ingredients

For the crust:

1 1/4 cups flour

1 t salt

2 t garam masala

8 T (1 stick) cold butter

3 T ice water

 

For the filling:

1 large potato

2 cloves garlic

about 4 cups spinach leaves

3 eggs

3/4 cup milk

6 oz mozzarella cheese

1 T garam masala

2 t turmeric

1 t salt

1 T dried chiles (pequins, or chopped other peppers, optional)

Directions

For the crust:

Combine the flour, salt, and garam masala in the bowl of a food processor.

Pulse the dry ingredients briefly to combine. Add the butter in chunks.

Process the butter and flour mixture until it looks like damp sand. Add the water bit by bit and process just until the dough comes together in a ball.

Chill the dough for 30 minutes or so. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Roll out the dough and press it  into a buttered tart pan.

Bake, lined with foil and pie weights, for 15 minutes. Set aside.

For the filling:

Chop the potato into bite-sized pieces and boil them for 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat a heavy skillet (I love cast iron) over medium heat and cook the garlic until it is aromatic and toasty.

Add the spinach and spices and cook 5-7 minutes.

You’ll know it’s ready when it has cooked down thoroughly.

Add the potatoes and toss to coat with spices and add just a touch of crispiness to the edges. Set aside to cool.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs and milk.

Whisk to combine, and stir in the cheese and salt.

Add the potato and spinach, and peppers if using.

Stir to combine.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust.

Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes.

Serve immediately.

I know it’s not traditional to any cuisine. It’s fun and delicious. Mr. B slathers his with Sriracha and has cold leftovers for breakfast. I can’t stand a cold quiche (or pizza or anything else meant to be served hot) but apparently this is just a guy thing that I have to get used to.

In any case, this was a fantastic experiment. I’ll be making it again soon.

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Maple Pumpkin Cornbread

Thanksgiving is almost upon us. Normally this means a two-hour drive to see the in-laws, but we’ve moved now. I suppose if we were diligent young people we would make the drive this year as well, either back to Texas for his family or down to Florida for mine.

We are staying in New Orleans. The original plan was a low-key Thanksgiving dinner at home, just us corvids and our cats. But people are really nice here. A pair of our new friends discovered we were planning to spend Thanksgiving alone and invited us to join them.

Obviously we’re bringing food. Lime pie. Biscuits. And this corn bread.

The best thing about this is how moist the pumpkin makes the finished bread. I wasn’t even remotely tempted to add butter or more maple syrup to serve. It’s also unbelievably easy to put together, but don’t tell our new friends that. I want them to be impressed.

This recipe is adapted from the Comfort of Cooking.

Ingredients (makes two 9-inch round loaves. serves 12-16)

8 T butter

2/3 C sugar

3 T maple syrup

2 eggs

3/4 t baking soda

1/2 C milk

2/3 C pumpkin puree

1/2 t salt

1 C corn meal

1 C flour

Directions

Melt the butter.

Add sugar and maple syrup to the butter.

Whisk to combine.

Add milk and eggs.

Whisk again and add the pumpkin.

More whisking. Such a lovely shade of orange.

Add the dry ingredients.

Do not whisk. Fold the flour and corn meal and baking soda salt into the batter. Do not over-mix.

Scoop the batter into two buttered 9-inch cake pans.

Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes.

This is perfect unadorned. Mr. B likes to dunk his cornbread in milk. I like mine with a side of simmered greens. And of course it goes perfectly with Thanksgiving dinner.

 

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Succotash

Every time I drive down to New Orleans proper, I regret leaving my camera at home. I’ll find myself pulling over to write down the intersection of a building whose cracks seem held together only by the lacing shut of climbing ivy, another house so splintered and broken it’s hard to imagine people once lived there. I have always been fond of broken things, and a great deal of the city is just that. In less broken places, I stare at trees. There’s so much green here. Combine the effects of general clumsiness (made worse by my petulant insistence on wearing heels), the crevasses and undulations of local sidewalks, and this new habit of staring up to follow whorls of bark and twists of branches, and there’s no doubt I’m going to end up falling rather horribly one of these days. But somehow, whenever I step out I think I’ll be too busy to take pictures; better leave the camera at home till next time.

Yeah. That needs to stop.

 

Succotash is a simple Southern dish. I like to pair it with black bean burgers, using the same spices for both and letting the sweetness of the corn balance the savory burgers.

Ingredients (serves 4 as a side)

2 T butter

1 cup frozen lima beans

1 cup frozen corn

2 T mustard

2 t paprika

juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup cream

Directions

This is so easy. Pop the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

Melt it.

Add the lima beans and corn.

Then add mustard, paprika, and lime

Stir and cook for 5-7 minutes to ensure that the vegetables are no longer frozen. Add the cream and stir briefly.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until most of the liquid has reduced and the lima beans are tender through.

Serve with black bean burgers.

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