Monday, May 27, 2013

Spring Vegetable Quiche

Home is a great place to be. Sleeping in my nice big bed, seeing all my friends and coworkers, and my mother buying groceries are certainly the main reasons I love being here!

There's a Whole Foods in my town, and we do the majority of our grocery shopping there. My parents, while extremely healthy to begin with, have just read Salt Sugar Fat (available here) and are becoming more conscious of the food they eat.

We eat a lot of vegetables at home and make whatever we can from scratch. Therefore this slightly modified recipe for spring quiche (from this great food blog) is an instant hit in our house. While it is slightly involved when it comes to making the dough, it's an extremely simple recipe that yields delicious results.

You will need:
 -1 and 1/4 cups of flour
 -6 tablespoons of unsalted margarine (any solid fat will do!)
 -salt and pepper to taste
 -approximately 1/3 of a cup of water
 -9 or 10 asparagus stalks, with ends removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
 -4 cups spinach
 -4 green onions (scallions)
 -5 large eggs
 -1 cup milk
 -approximately 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
 -3/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese
 -1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese
 -9-inch pie pan

For the crust:

Grab a mixing bowl (ours is two quarts), flour, margarine, salt, and pepper.

Start by measuring out a cup and a quarter of flour, and put it in your mixing bowl.

Cut up your margarine into small chunks, pop them in the bowl, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Mum did this part, since she is the undisputed pie crust queen.

 Get a pastry cutter (or a knife/fork/something sharpish) and mash your butter into the flour.

Keep cutting it all together until it looks like this: there should be no chunks of butter left in the mixture. It should resemble coarse meal.

Here's where it gets a bit intuitive: pouring a little bit of water in at a time, combine the flour/margarine mixture with the water until it barely starts to stick together. It should resemble the above picture and you will probably think it is too dry. Trust me, it's done when it juuuuust sticks together. For this batch, we added just about 1/3 of a cup of water.

Still mum!

Pick the dough up with your (clean) hands and make a loose ball with it. Wrap it in saran wrap/clingfilm and pop it in the fridge while you prepare the filling. See? Isn't that easy?

You begin the next steps by turning your oven onto 375˚F and...

Start by laying out your vegetables in neat, easily photographed rows... then chop them up! The spinach stays whole, but the asparagus need the ends removed and then need to be chopped into inch-long pieces. Once they're cut up, throw them in the bowl with the spinach.

Remove the roots/hairy bits of the green onion, then chop them up finely. Keep these off to the side.

In a pan over medium-high heat, pour in about a half-tablespoon of olive oil (though I tend to eyeball it), then throw the spinach and asparagus in. All you want to do is wilt the spinach and slightly soften the asparagus.

While the vegetables are cooking, whisk together the eggs and the milk. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Then, add the feta cheese and 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese. When your vegetables are done, move them into a strainer and gently press out the excess liquid.

Once you've mixed the eggs and milk together, you can start to roll out your pie crust. Remove the dough ball from the fridge and saran wrap, then place on a very well-floured surface. Sprinkle more flour over the top, and using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until it's about twelve inches in diameter. It's going to have to fit into a 9-inch pie pan, so make sure it's enough!

Transport your dough to the pie pan. We do it by folding the dough in half, then in half again, then picking it up, plonking it in the pan, and unfolding it. Lightly press the dough into the corners of the pan, then trim off the excess hanging over the edges.

What we like to do is sprinkle a light layer of mozzarella cheese (about half of what's left) on the bottom, so that the crust doesn't get soggy. Once that layer is down, lay your vegetables (the cooked ones and the raw green onion) evenly over the dough, then pour the egg, milk, and cheese mixture over the top. Sprinkle with the rest of your mozzarella cheese.

Now, place the quiche into the oven. Congratulations! You're almost there!

Bake the quiche for about forty minutes, when the filling is set and the top starts to turn golden-brown.

Let it sit for about fifteen minutes, since it will deflate a bit as it cools.

We generally serve this quiche with baked potatoes and peas. Delicious, nutritious, and healthy!

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