Vegetable Quiche with Potato Crust

From Dr. Andrew Weil, this quiche can be made vegetarian or not.
This fresh vegetable quiche makes a wonderful brunch, or dinner when served with a salad. If you want to avoid egg yolks, it can be made with egg whites only. I have varied the vegetables and it is always delicious. Today’s quiche was bacon, onion, broccoli, sun-dried tomato, pepper jack and cheddar cheeses. If your sun-dried tomatoes are in oil, just blot them off and chop them. I used my mandolin to slice the potatoes thinly for the crust.

1/2 cup purified water
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 pound asparagus (about 2 cups chopped) or broccoli florets
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 carrot, cut in small cubes (about 1 cup)
5 mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon chili flakes
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 small red potatoes, washed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated cheese, Pepper Jack or Swiss
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
6 eggs
1 medium tomato, sliced (seeds squeezed out)
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375º F.

2. Boil the water, pour over the sun-dried tomatoes, and allow to soak for about 15 minutes until they become soft and plump. Strain off any remaining liquid, and coarsely chop.

3. Cut off about 1 inch of the coarse ends of the asparagus stalks and discard or save them for soup. Cut the remaining stalks into about 6 pieces or chop coarsely. (If you are using broccoli, cut into florets.)

4. Blanch the asparagus by boiling it in a medium pot of water for 2 minutes or less. Asparagus should be bright green and firm to the bite. Drain, rinse the asparagus in cold water, and drain again in a colander.

5. Sauté the onions and the garlic in the olive oil over low heat until the onions are transparent, approximately 10 minutes. Add the carrots, mushrooms, basil, parsley, chili flakes, nutmeg, salt and pepper and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Remove from the heat.

6. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Line the bottom with the potato slices, overlapping them slightly.

7. Whisk together the cheese, milk, sun-dried tomatoes, sour cream and the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the sautéed vegetables and the blanched asparagus, coating everything with the cheese, milk and egg liquid, then pour into the potato-lined pie pan. Arrange the tomato slices on top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

7. Bake for 1 hour, covering after 45 minutes if top browns. Completely baked quiche should be very firm.

8. Let cool 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Leftovers can be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Tips from Rosie’s Kitchen:

Try to grate fresh nutmeg and Parmesan cheese yourself because it makes a noticeable difference in the flavor.
Drop the potato slices in cold water to prevent them from discoloring.
To blanch fruits and vegetables, boil them for about 2 minutes and then plunge them into cold water – this stops the cooking and sets the color. Blanching is also done to loosen the skins of fruits or vegetables such as plums or tomatoes.
Read more tips, recipes, and insights on a wide variety of topics from Dr. Weil here.

Double Chocolate Cookie

Another winner from Flour: A Baker’s Collection of Spectacular Recipes (Bakery in Boston)! There is a lot of chocolate and chopping but it is well worth it. I use a small scoop for all of my cookies as I prefer that size of cookie. This recipe makes about 4 dozen or less cookies of my scoop size. The author uses a 1/4 cup size cookie for her bakeries in Boston and yields 15 from this recipe. I think you can vary the nut from walnuts to pecans or even almonds.

4 oz. (114 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 oz. (56 grams) unsweetened chocolate, finely shaved
5 oz. (140 grams) bittersweet chocolate (62-70% cacao) chopped
4 oz. (112 grams) bittersweet chocolate chopped 1/2″ pieces
1/2 c. (1 stick/114 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c.(300 grams) sugar
4 eggs
1/2 c. (70 grams) unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1/4 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. instant espresso powder or instant coffee powder
3/4 c. (75 grams) walnuts, toasted and chopped

In a heatproof bowl, combine the 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, the 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate and the butter. Place over (not touching) barely simmering water in a saucepan and heat, stirring occasionally, until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat together the sugar and eggs on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until light thick and pale yellow. On low speed,, slowly add the chocolate mixture and mix for about 15 seconds. The mixture will not be well mixed at this point but that’s okay-you will finish combining all of the ingredients by hand.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, espresso powder, the remaining 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, the remaining 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate and the walnuts. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the sugar-butter mixture, just until the flour mixture is totally incorporated and the dough is evenly mixed.
For best results, scrape the dough into an airtight container and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight (or for at least 4 hours)before baking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop dough in balls onto a baking sheet and bake for 16 minutes or until the cookies are cracked on top and soft but not liquid when you press them in the middle. Let cool 10-15 minutes.

Fresh Corn Carbonara

From Epicurious It is a winner!
It’s the end of our corn season in Colorado but I had four ears left and was excited to try this recipe. I love that half of the corn kernels and corn milk and cream are puréed to make the sauce. I got wonderful thick bacon from a new stand at the farmer’s market called The Noble Hog. I added a roasted, peeled and chopped poblano Chile because we like spice. Very simple to make and delicious! I always reserve a cup of pasta water incase the sauce is too thick and I added about 1/2 c. pasta water to the finished dish.

12 ounces spaghetti or linguine
Kosher salt
3-6 slices thick-cut bacon (about 6 ounces), cut into 1/4″ strips
4 ears of corn, kernels cut off (about 3 cups), cobs reserved
1/2 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (about 2 ounces), plus more to serve
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped, divided

Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente; drain.
Meanwhile, fry bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain (reserve fat). Scrape excess corn milk from cobs into a blender by firmly running the back of a chef’s knife down the sides. Add cream, half of the corn kernels, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and 2 Tbsp. reserved bacon fat. Purée until a smooth sauce forms.
Toss hot pasta with corn sauce, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and half each of the remaining corn kernels, bacon, and basil in a large bowl.
Divide pasta among bowls and top with remaining corn kernels, bacon, and basil. Season with pepper and top with Parmesan.

Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

From the wonderful Flour Bakery in Boston. I would think you could substitute semi-sweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolates if you prefer those-it is delicious with milk chocolate. I always make my cookie doughs a day or two ahead of when I want to bake them. Trader Joe’s sells toasted and skinned (mostly) hazelnuts. I use my scale in baking and find it essential.
Makes about 30 cookies.

3/4 c. plus 1 T (1 1/2 sticks plus 1 T.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 c. (140 grams) granulated sugar
2/3 c. (150 grams) packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. (210 grams) blanched whole hazelnuts, toasted
1 1/2 c. (210 grams) unbleached flour
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. kosher salt
12 oz. (340 grams) milk chocolate, chopped into 1/2″ pieces

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and both sugars on medium speed for 5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Stop and scrape the sides down occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape the bowl again.
In a food processor, pulse 1/2 c. (70 grams) of the hazelnuts until ground to a fine powder.Be careful as it will turn into a paste if you over do it. Roughly chop the remaining hazelnuts. In a medium bowl, stir together the ground and chopped hazelnuts, flour, baking soda, slat and chocolate. On low speed, slowly blend the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture. Mix until totally incorporated and the dough is evenly mixed. Wrap in an airtight container and chill 3-4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Drop the dough into 1/4 c. balls onto cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cookies are golden brown on the edges and pale and slightly soft in the center. Cool for 5-10 minuets.Store cookies in an airtight container for 3 days. The unbaked dough can be kept airtight for up to a week.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

I have an abundance of tomatoes this year because we got snow at the end of May and I was not sure my plants would survive the weather (but they did!) so I double planted! I used what I had that was ripe and needed to be used. My yield was 1.5 cups of sauce and it is the sweetest, velvety sauce ever!! I caramelized some fennel and onion to go with it tomorrow but it would be fine on it’s own. From the NY Times

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced or thinly sliced (to taste)
3 pounds ripe tomatoes, quartered if you have a food mill, peeled, seeded, and diced if you don’t
⅛ teaspoon sugar
2 sprigs of fresh basil, or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon slivered fresh basil
Freshly ground pepper

In a wide, nonstick frying pan, or in a 3-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, basil or thyme sprig, and salt (begin with 1/2 teaspoon and add more later), and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring often, until thick. Pulpy tomatoes like romas will usually take 20 to 30 minutes. However, if the tomatoes are very juicy, it will take longer for them to cook down. The longer you cook the sauce, the sweeter it will be. You can speed up the process by turning up the heat, but stir often so the sauce doesn’t scorch. Towards the end of cooking, stir in the slivered fresh basil and some freshly ground pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.
If using quartered tomatoes, put through the medium blade of a food mill. If you used peeled seeded tomatoes but want a sauce with a smooth, even texture, remove the basil sprigs and discard. Pulse the sauce in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.

Laurie Colwin’s Tomato Pie

Laurie Colwin was a wonderful writer who died too young. My mother and I both loved her recipes and two cookbooks. Her tomato pie is a classic. She uses a biscuit dough which is the perfect texture for the tomato pie. I added corn off the cob because I had it and like the combination. I used a bed of fresh basil and chives from my garden and 4 chopped scallions below the layer of tomatoes. You can bake this ahead and reheat it at 350 degrees or eat right out of the oven. It gets better the next day.

2 pounds homegrown tomatoes, thinly sliced (enough for one layer in your pan), cut 1/4″ thick
2 cups flour
1 stick butter
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Chopped basil, chives or scallions to taste

Make the biscuit-dough crust by blending flour, butter, baking powder and milk either by hand or in a food processor.

Roll out half the dough on a floured surface and line a 9-inch pie plate with it. This dough is thicker than a normal pie crust.

Layer the tomatoes on top, scarttering with scallions and/or herbs.

Sprinkle 1 cup of the cheddar over the tomatoes. Thin mayonnaise with lemon juice and drizzle on top, followed by remaining cheddar.

Roll out remaining dough, fit it over the filling and pinch the edges of the dough together to seal them.

Cut several steam vents in the top crust and bake the pie at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Pair this with a salad and glass of wine, and you have an awesome, easy summer supper. Or you can serve it as an appetizer or a side-dish! (Good-quality chopped tomatoes from a can will do in the off-season, too.)

This is one of those dishes that tastes even better as leftovers the next day. Reheat in a 350-degree oven till the cheese is soft and gooey.