Posts tagged ‘asparagus’
The inspiration for this quiche comes from an odd, quasi-French place called Las Vegas I visited a few years ago. Such a strange place, Las Vegas, an amusement park for grownups with something for everyone, from the drunken and licentious to the calmer breeds who like shopping, fountains, Cirque du Soleil, and quiet, pretty things.
One day, in search of lunch, I found a vegetarian quiche at the patisserie in my Parisian-themed hotel. I ate the quiche (delicious) while sitting in a white plastic lounger chair beside the pool, which had a perfect view of the fake Eiffel Tower. The taste of that cool, sunny November day has stayed with me, and I’ve tried to recreate it here as a crustless quiche, which is a great gluten-free thing to make. The missing pastry also saves calories that can be better directed into Santa-season cookies.
Asparagus & Chevre Crustless Quiche
1 leek, white and light green parts finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small bunch of asparagus
1/2 cup crumbled chevre
2 tablespoons chopped or dried dill
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon paprika
fresh ground pepper
Saute the leek in oil until softened, about five minutes. Add the asparagus and cook for just a minute or two until it turns bright green. Add vegetables to the bottom of a greased pie plate and sprinkle cheese on top along with dill and fresh ground pepper. Whisk together eggs and milk and pour over top of vegetables and cheese. Sprinkle the top with paprika and more pepper and bake in a 375F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the quiche has puffed up and started to brown in the centre.
When we were in Spain this summer I fell in love with the tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette) that were served at breakfast buffets and on tapas menus. I also really enjoy quiche, but often don’t have the time or motivation to make the crust. Plus, we’re gluten-free and if there is a way to cut out things like pastry, I’m all for that.
I concocted this egg dish as something in between a French quiche and a Spanish tortilla. The recipe is below, but the idea is simple. Grease a glass pie plate or casserole, pile in cooked potatoes and other vegetables until the dish is about three-quarters full, sprinkle cheese on top and then cover with eggs beaten together with a splash of milk. Bake until the eggs set and eat it hot or cold anytime during the day.
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 cups cooked potatoes, finely diced or thinly sliced
1/2 small onion, minced
1-1/2 cups chopped vegetables (I used asparagus and red pepper here)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon fresh dill
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup milk
Grease a glass pie plate with oil. Layer in potatoes, onion and vegetables and sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika and dill. Add cheese on top of the veggie mixture. Whisk the eggs and milk together and pour over top of the vegetables. Bake at 400F for about 30-40 minutes until the eggs are set and the top of the quiche is golden brown. Serve with fruit and muffins for breakfast or with salad for lunch or dinner.
Highwood Crossing produces some great organic local stuff that Calgarians need to get behind. We’ve switched over to their cold-pressed organic canola oil as an alternative to extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil, as you can imagine, is not a product native to Canada, and it usually ships in from a long, long way away. Why generate such a big carbon footprint when there’s a better quality local product available. Highwood’s canola oil tastes a million times better than the standard extra virgin olive oil you’d find at the grocery store and it’s not that much more – about $14 for a large bottle. It’s getting trendy and rightly so – I’ve seen it used in several high end local restaurants in salads, on grilled asparagus and similar things. Good choice!
Also at Highwood Crossing is the tastiest granola I’ve ever purchased. It tastes like homemade. What more do you need?
Tonight was one of those nights when I had to fight the urge to opt out of making dinner. We have an a couple of really good takeout options nearby that offer real food on the quick (the delicious handmade burritos with refried beans, lettuce, tomato, cilantro and fresh tortillas at Si Senor in Calgary’s Kensington neighbourhood are a particular favourite). But we try to reserve take out as a treat for the truly exhausted days only. I was just feeling lazy today, so there was no reason not to cook.
I decided to make a “whatever’s in the fridge” creation. This is actually my favourite way to cook. As long as you’ve got a few things, the result is usually pretty good, and more so because it’s something new and unexpected. We had potatoes and a bit of asparagus from last weekend’s trip to the farmer’s market, and we received a gorgeous bundle of rainbow chard from Hotchkiss Farms courtesy of this week’s order from Spud. There are lots of herbs growing on the deck and we also had asiago cheese from Springbank Cheese Company. I had the idea of a gratin in my head so I ran with that. It was a complete success – so delicious! Here’s the recipe. It’s perfect on its own for a simple supper. You could also serve it as a side dish with grilled fish and salad for something more substantial.
Rainbow chard potato bake
Slice potatoes into thin rounds and pile into a microwave / oven safe baking dish (I used a 12″ round Corningware dish). The potatoes should fill the dish about halfway (4-5 medium potatoes). Microwave them for 10 minutes to soften while you’re chopping the other vegetables.
Finely chop one small to medium sized onion and 2-3 cloves of garlic. Saute with a splash of oil until onion is soft. Add in 1 cup chopped mushroom and continue cooking until mushrooms are soft and onion is golden brown. Pour in 1 cup of white wine (or 1/2 cup wine and 1/2 cup of water if you’d rather drink more of the wine) to deglaze the pan. Cook for a minute or two until everything has bubbled together. Add in 1 cup of asparagus chopped into 2″ pieces and 3 cups of coarsely chopped rainbow or swiss chard. Cook for 2-3 minutes until chard has wilted. Stir in 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley, oregano and thyme). Pour vegetables over potatoes, season with fresh ground pepper and mix together.
Top potato mixture with 1/2 cup grated asiago cheese (cheddar or gouda would probably also be great) and sprinkle some fresh chives over top of the cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375F.
Asparagus is a delightful vegetable. It’s in season now and we’ve been buying Alberta-grown asparagus from Edgar Farms for the past few weeks from the Calgary Farmers’ Market. I’ve been trying to eat as much of it as possible now – the season is short and the tender, tasty spears we’re enjoying now are incomparably better than the imported variety. My preference is to feast now, freeze some and then wait until next year to enjoy it again. In honour of feast time, here are a few recipe ideas. If you have a great recipe that belongs on this list, please list it in the comments below.
Straight up and simple. Drizzle oil over a bundle of freshly washed asparagus and then saute or grill it for a few minutes until tender. Pile in a long, shallow bowl or serving dish and garnish with fresh cracked black pepper and a generous helping of shaved parmesan. We had local asparagus prepared this way at the River Cafe recently and it was wonderful!
With pasta. Cook enough pasta for 4 people. Linguini or penne are both good (the pasta pictured above is made with gluten free penne). Saute 1 pound of asparagus in 3 tablespoons of oil along with 2 cups of peas, 1 small zucchini, coarsely chopped. 1 cup of fresh spinach and 3 cloves of garlic for about 3 minutes. Add in fresh chives and any other herbs like basil, oregano or thyme that you have on hand. Finely chop 1 cup of almonds and mix in with vegetables. Toss the asparagus mixture with pasta and top with a squeeze of lemon juice, fresh cracked pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and plenty of crumbled goat cheese or grated parmesan cheese.
Omelets. Making omelets is an every weekend brunch or lunch ritual in our house. The omelets I made recently with some leftover steamed asparagus, finely diced mushrooms, red pepper, garden chives and cheddar cheese were excellent and a great way to use up a bit of asparagus from the previous evening’s dinner. Portobello burgers are a favourite dinner and I often have portobello stems leftover – these are perfect chopped up in omelets. Here’s a basic recipe:
Saute vegetables in a generous amount of oil. Whisk together 2 eggs with 1-2 tablespoons of water. We have been buying organic, local eggs from Sunworks Farm, which are available at the Calgary Farmers’ Market. Pour egg mixture into pan over top of vegetables. Cook until egg is no longer runny. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flax seeds over top of omelet along with snipped chives, fresh cracked pepper and grated or thinly sliced cheddar cheese. Fold over the omelet and serve with fresh fruit.
Risotto. Asparagus risotto is one of my favorite things to make for a simple but special supper at home with family and friends. I usually freeze summer asparagus so we can enjoy this a couple of times in the winter months as well. To freeze, just wrap a bundle of fresh, uncooked asparagus in a plastic bag (a bread bag works well) – no need to worry about washing or cooking it until you’re ready to use it.