Posts Tagged egg

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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Kale and Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Anyone who prefers to eat seasonally should probably look away until autumn. July is no time for casseroles, surely. No time for pumpkin and kale, or the heady scent of nutmeg.

Sometimes I’m ready for fall before it’s ready for me. Sometimes you need a deep dish of savory bread pudding, and who cares if it’s 90 degrees outside after dark? Greens are good all year round, and this recipe prefers silky canned pumpkin to the fresh little ones we won’t be able to find at the shops until September, so it can be made anytime.  If you can bear to turn on your oven in this heat, this is the dish to do it for.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

1/2 of a baguette, sliced

1 lb kale

4 eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 1/2 cups milk

4 oz cheese (I used half Gruyère and half Drunken Goat)

white pepper, nutmeg, and salt to taste

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

Directions

Trim away the kale stems, tear the leaves into manageable chunks, and boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain well.

Arrange the baguette slices in an oval pan or an 8×8 inch brownie pan.

Stuff kale between the slices.

Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top.

Combine the eggs, pumpkin, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a bowl.

Mix them together thoroughly.

Pour the mixture over the bread and kale and sprinkle the Parmesan over the top.

Wait 5-10 minutes to let the liquid soak completely into the bread. Turn the oven to 375°F while you wait. When ready, bake the bread pudding for 40-45 minutes.

Serve immediately. This would be good with a light salad, but I had no difficulty eating this on its own and justifying seconds by telling myself it had kale in it, so it’s practically health food.

How could anyone say no to that?

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Stracciatella. . .sort of

Have I mentioned that I don’t eat soup? I just have a problem with food that you drink. That’s not called food, it’s called drinks. I don’t have drinks for dinner, I have them with dinner.

And yes, everyone else thinks I’m crazy, too.

I tried to get out of this one. I called it “tortellini in brodo.” Mr. B. retaliated by eating with a spoon. I insisted it was just a different way of eating pasta. He pointed out the delicate bits of egg and kale that could only be accessed by also eating the liquid. I tried to use a fork. It was too messy. I tried blaming the painkillers, but I haven’t actually been taking them.

So I made this. . . soup. (There, I said it.) Because my teeth have been pulled out, and my mouth hurts, and solid food isn’t completely an option yet.

Because I bought a jar of applesauce when I didn’t feel well enough to make applesauce, and there was mold inside. So clearly, that wasn’t an option, either.

Because I’m tired of mashed potatoes for the first time in my life.

I, the soup-hating corvid, made soup. For dinner, not with dinner.

But I put pasta in it so I could still eat it with a fork.

The pasta kind of hurt the places my teeth aren’t anymore.

The stracciatella? Pretty darn good. Salty and savory and full of things that aren’t supposed to be in stracciatella, because a thin, watery soup isn’t worth looking at, much less drinking. And why shouldn’t a stracciatella have shreds of kale along with egg, and tortellini as well?

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

3 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 cup water

1 large bunch kale

8 oz tortellini or other pasta

about 1/2 cup (1 oz) of Parmesan cheese, finely grated

1-2 eggs

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Combine broth and water in a deep pot and bring to a boil.

Remove the ribs from the kale, roll it up, and slice it into 1/4 inch chiffonade.

Grate the Parmesan.

Add the kale and Parmesan to the boiling broth.

Simmer 5-6 minutes, stirring well. You don’t want giant Parmesan clumps, if only because that means somewhere in your soup there are cheese-free zones, and that’s just terrible.

Add the tortellini and simmer an additional 2-3 minutes. Fresh pasta doesn’t take long to cook.

Whisk your egg(s) in a small bowl and pour them into the stracciatella in a slow stream, whisking the soup as you pour.

It will look very cloudy briefly, but clarify after just a few seconds.

Serve hot, with crusty bread if your teeth allow it and a few slivers of grated Parmesan over the top.

The best thing about this is that the pasta absorbs a huge amount of flavor from the broth. Even I broke down and ate this with a spoon, because all that rich, eggy liquid could not be allowed to go to waste.

The kale brought its usual bitter tones to to table, making the soup more aromatic and hearty that it would have been. I loved the little shards of cooked egg that kept popping up unexpectedly, and though I only used one egg for this volume, two would have been better.

Now I just need a few more semi-solid meals to get through the next few days before my doctor clears me for people food again!

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The Half-Baked Meringue

I am a bit of a meringue freak. I don’t make it often, though, for a variety of reasons. First of all, meringues use plenty of egg white, but not the yolks. If “m making meringue, I’m not going to do it by halves and just use two or three eggs. No sir. I used a whole dozen. Now there are twelve yolks sitting in my fridge waiting for Passover to end so that they can become lime pie. Do you see now why I don’t do this more often? It’s dangerous!

But meringue can be had so many ways. Soft and fluffy over a pie, crisp and crunch in a small cookie to dip in hot chocolate or slater with peanut butter, and of course, half-baked. A half-baked meringue is crispy on the outside, but a delicate sponge inside. The texture is almost that of an angel food cake with a crust. And it is delightful.

Ingredients (makes three monster sized half baked meringues, or two monsters plus two littler ones, or a lot of eensy little ones.)

vinegar to wipe down bowl*

12 egg whites

2 3/4 cups sugar

pinch of salt from a very possessive salt owl

*wiping down the bowl with vinegar is a bit of a superstition of mine. If your bowl is not 100% dry or has a smidge of oil in it, the world will not end, nor will your egg foam. I do it because my grandmother used to, and because I kind of like the smell of vinegar. I’m weird like that.

Directions

Break and separate a lot of eggs. Incidentally, this:

is why you shouldn’t be too impressed with the architectural skills of honeybees. When tightly packed circles (or bees) press on each other, the circles become hexagons all on their own. It’s just physics. Now stop distracting me and break some more eggs!

That is a lot of yolks. Cover them with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge. I’ll teach you how to make lime pie in a few days.

The egg whites need a  nice big bowl, as they are about to start taking up a lot more volume. Toss in a pinch of salt and start whipping.

Then whip some more.

Then add the sugar in a slow stream and whip until the whole mass is thick and fluffy and the surface holds a certain amount of definition. Remember, overwhipping is just as disastrous as underwhipping, and much harder to fix!

I honestly just scooped with a 1-cup measuring cup onto a sheet of parchment paper. I drew circles on the paper first, then flipped it over, to get the bobs at least round. You could get all kinds of fancy with piping tips, but I honestly think it’s more fun to eat a blob. Plus I didn’t want to wash the fiddly little pastry nozzles.

Toss them in the oven at 250F for an hour and a half.  When you pull them out, they’ll have a delightful eggshell color and sound hollow if you tap on them gently. Tap hard, and they will explode.

Sometimes a bit of egg ends up not quite whipped enough and leaks out a bit at the bottom. That bit is fun, too–it tastes like hard candy!

If you want them crisp all the way through, leave them in the oven for a full two and a half hours, then turn the oven off but don’t remove the meringues until they’re cool. This is less fun because you have to wait like three hours for dessert, and also it bears no resemblance to angel food cake. I didn’t actually check the internal temperature of the half baked ones, so theoretically I suppose the presence of Salmonella is possible. Of course, the small carnivores probably carry Toxoplasmosis on their disgusting paws, and the even smaller carnivores,

those girls, definitely carry Salmonella, but that doesn’t stop me letting them clamber on me when they feel like it. It takes a really large and impressive salmonella culture to infect a healthy person, and and hour and a half at 250F should probably kill any bacterial cells. Still, if you don’t want to risk it, crisp them all the way through. Or, you know, stop eating eggs.

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