Pancetta & Leek Quiche

I know, I can’t stop posting about quiches and tarts and things that are technically veggie oriented but are really just carbo-loaded vehicles for cheese consumption.  Guilty as charged.

On the other hand, when the Husband told me this was “the best ever,” obvi it’s going on the blog.  Sorry I’m not sorry.

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how does this end up looking like a pizza?!

Pancetta & Leek Quiche

  • 1 premade pie dough, brought to room temperature
  • about 4 oz diced pancetta
  • 4 large leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • salt, pepper, crushed red pepper
  • about 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup or so heavy cream (or milk, or half and half, or whatever you have)
  • about 8 oz shredded Gruyere
  • optional: handful cherry tomatoes, halved, chopped green onions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Unroll the pie dough and press into a pie plate.  Prick lightly with a fork and bake for about 5-6 minutes, just to get the color nice and light golden.  Bonus if you can use a  crust protector.
  2. In a saute pan, over medium high heat, cook the pancetta until it starts to crisp up.  Reduce heat to medium low, and in that nice bacon-y fat, add your sliced leeks.  (Note: it will look like a LOT of leeks.  Don’t worry – they’ll all fit!).  Add salt, pepper, crushed reds, and parsley and let the leeks cook down a good while – about 10-12 minutes, until they’re nice and translucent.
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whip together eggs, cream, and a pinch of salt/pepper/crushed reds.
  4. In your (lightly) baked pie dough, spread the bacon and leek mixture evenly.  Top with a generous amount of cheese, and then carefully pour the egg/cream mix over the top.  Top, as desired, with cherry tomatoes for an extra pop of color.
  5. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is nice and golden, and the eggs are cooked all the way through.  Top with additional parsley and serve with a side salad.
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less pizza, more leek.

The Verdict:

I think we already established the Husband’s verdict.  As for me, any day I get to use the crust protector, that’s a good day.

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Tomato and Corn Tart with Olive Oil Sesame Crust

After a week of gorging on my mom’s amazing beef stew, I’ve gone back to my non-protein ways.

Sorry, Husband.

(Veggie) tarts are just so GOOD.  And sometimes, they’re even good for you.  Or at least not terrible.

Inspiration by Martha Stewart…and my friend Kate.

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Tomato and Corn Tart with Olive Oil Crust

for the crust

  • a little less than 1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • about 1/3 cup olive oil, plus a little more
  • about 1/3 cup water, plus a little more

for the filling

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • salt, pepper & crushed reds
  • about a cup Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked together
  • 1 can corn kernels, rinsed (Note: this would be SO much better with fresh corn, but sadly, we’re not quite to that season yet!)
  • 1 big handful grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  In  medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, & sesame seeds; slowly pour in the water and olive, forming a large ball.  You may need to add a touch more water or olive oil to help it stick together.
  2. Roll the dough out on a floured surface and press into an 8 or 9 inch pie shell.  Prick all over with a fork and then bake for about 10 minutes; remove and cover the crusts, so they don’t burn.  Reduce the heat to about 375 and bake another 10 minutes or so, until lightly golden brown.
  3. While the crust bakes, heat olive oil over medium low heat in a saute pan, add onion and shallot.  Add salt, pepper and crushed reds, and cook down – until golden and/or translucent.  Finally, add the corn and just give the whole thing a quick toss.
  4. When the crust is done pre-baking, sprinkle the bottom with a health layer of Parmesan cheese.  Add the onion/shallot/corn mixture, then top with the tomatoes.  Season with a little salt and pepper, lightly pour the egg mixture over it (this just helps it to stick together), and add the rest of the Parmesan to the top.
  5. Bake for about 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees; serve with a little Parsley and a light side salad.  Think about how awesome this will taste when you make it with New Jersey corn, straight from the roadside stand.

IMG_3231The Verdict:

The crust does take a little getting used to – it’s “healthy,” after all, and the taste of the olive oil shines through.  As with any dish, the fresher the veggies, the tastier it’ll be.  Still, it’s been a while since I joined the ladies (and a few good gentlemen) over at Fiesta Friday, but I think this is good enough to bring.  What’s more fiesta-y than corn?

Warm Quinoa Chickpea Salad

It’s official: I’m starting to feel like a human being again.  After nearly five days of not changing out of my pajamas, I finally put on real people clothes this morning and even dragged myself to work. I do feel sort of sorry for my colleagues, who are giving me a wide berth.  I promise…I’m packing Purell.

Feeling human again started with making this salad.  There are so many strong flavors in here you can’t help but wake up the taste buds.  And let’s face it: when you start tasting again – you start feeling and thinking again.  Or at least I do.  Recipe inspired by Food and Wine, but really, you can do this with anything you have in your fridge.

IMG_3179Warm Quinoa Chickpea Salad

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 bunches bok choy, chopped
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
  • olive oil
  • 2 oz feta cheese (goat also works)
  • 3-4 scallions, chopped
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • a large handful parsley, chopped
  • simple vinaigrette – I like a dash of olive oil, balsamic, garlic powder, cumin, lemon juice, salt, pepper, crushed reds and just a splash of apple cider vinegar, whisked together
  1. Rinse quinoa well; cook according to directions.
  2. While quinoa cooks, prepare and chop all of your vegetables.  Whisk together your vinaigrette and set aside.
  3. With about 3-5 minutes to go on your quinoa, heat olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan.  Add minced garlic and chickpeas, cook about 2 minutes, or until chickpeas are warm.  Add bok choy and cook for a minute, then turn off the heat.
  4. In a large bowl, add all of your ingredients together – quinoa, veggies, chickpea, etc.  Squeeze the lemon juice over the salad. Add the vinaigrette last and serve warm.

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The Verdict:

This is the perfect meal.  It’s healthy, delicious, and oh-so-easy to make.  And the Husband, no quinoa lover, had TWO bowls.

One Pot Pasta: Sausage & Sage Vegetable Rigatoni

Let’s just say we won’t have high electricity bills stemming from time spent in the kitchen this month.  I’ve had more important things to worry about…like, HOW in the world are we going to keep up with a bunch of 25 year olds this weekend?

And, almost as important, what do you wear while doing it? Full disclosure: I shop at Talbot’s and I LOVE it.  But I’m guessing they haven’t necessarily penetrated the 25 year old market segment.  (To the 25 year old’s detriment, to be quite frank.  Talbot’s is amazing.  And Talbot’s sale rack? Don’t even get me started.)

In the meantime, I did take a break from these important questions to whip this up last night.
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Sausage and Sage Vegetable Rigatoni

  • half box pasta
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt, pepper & crushed reds
  • 8-10 leaves fresh sage, roughly chopped
  • 1 big handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 carton mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 links hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup pasta water, reserved
  • most of a bag of baby spinach
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions, a bit of salt, pepper and crushed reds, and lower the temp; cook for about 8-10 minutes to get them nice and translucent.
  2. While the onions cook, boil water for the pasta and cook pasta according to the directions for al dente.  Reserve a little bit of the starchy water for making a sauce.
  3. Add the tomatoes, mushrooms and sage to the onions.  Cook down 3-4 minutes before adding the garlic.  Add the apple cider vinegar and a bit off wine; cook of the alcohol.
  4. Add the sausage, crumble it in the pan, and cook all the way through.  You may want to drain off a little bit of fat – if you do, you might consider adding more wine for a little bit of a sauce.  Pasta water will also work well, if you want to add that.  When the sausage is cooked through, add the pasta and give the mixture a toss.  Add Parmesan and spinach and cover, letting the spinach wilt into the mixture a bit.
  5. Season to taste and serve, maybe top with a little more sage and Parmesan.

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The Verdict:

According to the Husband – someone who actually doesn’t like sausage – this was “awesome.”  Make it from any combination of pasta, meat and veggies in your fridge for a little frost living action.  And it made plenty for lunch…giving me more time to prep for our weekend in Cincinnati!

Very Veggie Not-Quite-Tart

Last week, I had epic plans to make Ottolenghi’s Very Full Tart.

Which I did, sort of.  There were (obviously, because why can’t I just follow a recipe, why why why) some tweaks.  (I guess because when recipes call for things like zucchini, which I hate, you know there have to be some adjustments…& one adjustment, leads to another, and another…)

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if only i could follow directions…

Very Veggie Not-Quite-Tart

  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 smallish eggplant, diced
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced (or 2 medium onions)
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • about 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • leaves from about 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/3 cup ricotta (full fat works best)
  • about 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • a handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 eggs
  • about a cup heavy cream or milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Remove the stem and seeds from the bell pepper, place in ovenproof dish, drizzle a bit of olive oil over it and stick in the oven.
  2. Toss the diced eggplant with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little bit of crushed reds on a large baking dish; stick in the oven for about 10-12 minutes.
  3. Add the sweet potato to the eggplant pan and roast another 20 minutes.  In a large saute pan, heat some olive oil and saute the onions with bay leaves and a pinch of salt for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove all the vegetables (including the pepper) from the oven.  Reduce the temperature to about 325 degrees F.  Cover the pepper with foil and let cool.  When cool enough to handle, peel and chop into smaller slices.
  5. Grease the bottom of a pie or tart pan.  Spread out the panko bread crumbs on the bottom and halfway up the sides.
  6. Scatter the onion over the panko, cover with roasted vegetables (eggplant, sweet potato, bell pepper), and top with about half the thyme leaves.  Dot the veggies with both types of cheeses.  Scatter the halved tomatoes about the top.
  7. Whisk the eggs and cream in a small bowl with salt, pepper and some crushed red peppers.  Carefully pour the mix over the veggies and top with the remaining thyme leaves.
  8. Bake the tart for about 40 minutes or until the filling sets.  Admire your handiwork and serve with a small salad, (topped with any roasted vegetables that didn’t fit into your tart).
layers of veggie flavor
layers of veggie flavor

The Verdict:

This came out deliciously, and was great for a number of tasty, subsequent lunches. However, it won’t become a staple around here anytime soon, given that it took 2+ hours to make.  This is more of a snow day kind of meal.  Which, speaking of, where IS my snow day?!