Monday, April 21, 2014

The "Bigger Picture" Quiche

Quiche is probably one of the most uninspired dishes in the history of the kitchen.

It is an ingredient catch-all, and therefore, incredibly easy to execute. This particular quiche, however, was inspired by a picture bigger than the fridge from which it came. Each ingredient has a storied excuse for it's inclusion and for that, it is a worthy meal.

This post is maybe a deconstructed quiche recipe. Instead of a recipe for how to take all of the ingredients in your fridge and turn them into a quiche, I will tell you why I made this quiche. Then I will tell you about the ingredients and what you might want to do with them, should you find them lying around your house. Besides making a quiche, of course.

Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge that I have been a bad blog mommy. I have been neglectful. I will not bore you with tales of woe, I will not tell you I have been busy or overwhelmed. I will just say that I have been learning.

I have been learning to eat healthier, more affordably, and more proportionately.

All of this, and the quiche, has been inspired by a very close friend, KB's journey to health and happiness, and my wonderful, kind roommate, A's newly discovered kitchen gusto. I love having amazing, talented, beautiful friends who are wonderful people that love to eat too.

My roommate A, will tell you that I inspired her to start cooking, but truthfully she has reinvigorated my interest in cooking and in eating. She loves healthy food and has begun to cook with complete abandon. She comes into our kitchen and just throws spices and ingredients together to make the most flavorful healthy meals I have ever seen. A, likes to bring home ingredients I would never purchase, and do things with them that I would never do. I get to watch and soak it in, and then I go purchase the same ingredients and make something totally different from them.

My very good friend KB has taken her self down 30+ pounds since January, and couldn't look more phenomenal. She is eating healthy, exercising regularly and is super enthusiastic about how all of it has changed her body and her demeanor. She has inspired close friends and complete strangers to do the same thing. If you are interested, check out her whole story on her FB page.

Inspired by these women, I went into the kitchen to cook.

When A left for church this Easter Sunday, I began to thing about Easter foods and Easter eggs, which was where the Bigger Picture Quiche began. I have a bakers dozen eggs sitting in my fridge and I need to use them up. So, I started with a bowl of 5 eggs.

To make the Bigger Picture Quiche I started with a spelt crust (no, I didn't make this from scratch). A introduced me to spelt via her spelt flour pizza. I enjoy spelt because something in it's flavor reminds me of sourdough, and it's slightly more toothsome than white flour.  Frozen pie crusts are always good to have around, and this is what I decided to try. If you haven't yet, I encourage every one of you to try spelt. Suzie's Multiseed Spelt Flatbreads are perhaps one of my favorite discoveries. They are crackers, no weird texture or flavor great with anything. If you try them you will love them. If you try spelt you will also be diversifying your diet with a new grain. Why not diversify?

This next "ingredient" is the vegan equivalent of crack. Vegan Crack is actually a recipe for Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto from the blog My New Roots. A showed me this blog and I am hooked. Vegan Crack is one of the most amazing and versatile items I have ever added to my kitchen repertoire. You take a clove of garlic and throw it in your food processor with toasted pumpkin seeds and sun-dried tomatoes. Pulse this until it's as coarse or smooth as you wish. I prefer to keep it pretty coarse but it's fun to try it smoother or coarser depending on how you intend it to be used. This stuff stays in my fridge at all times. I threw it over some hummus and put out spelt crackers at my last dinner party and my guests loved it. I like to eat it with "arugula salad", which is what I call it when I take arugula and lemon juice, and a little bit of the oil from the tomatoes and toss them together with walnuts. Vegan Crack is also awesome over grilled or sautéed polenta cakes with a sprinkle of parmesan and fresh basil. I have thrown it in with some left over rice noodles or tri-color quinoa and acted like tomato sauce was out-dated. It's impossible to resist.

Recently, I came home and A was making dinner. She chopped kale, drizzled it with salt and olive oil, and toasted it under the broiler on a cookie sheet. It came out smelling wonderful and as she knocked it into her bowl, the crispy sound it made was indescribably mouth-watering. I realize now that is because it sounded reminiscent of pulling the little crumbs out of a bag of potato chips...exhilarating. Both KB, and A eat a lot of green things and it makes me feel guilty. I love greens, but I don't really like salad. When I make salad, I feel like I only end up with enough food for that night,  and I don't have leftovers for work, and that annoys me. I also feel like I made a lot of effort for not a lot of food. I get bored of chewing kale, but it is the only green with enough turgidity for me to keep in the fridge (that means it stays crisp longer than other greens). Usually I will sauté it with garlic and white wine, which is yummy, but it gets old. Since A showed me toasted kale, I cannot buy it fast enough. I like to pick up a bag at the store, toast it, and throw it in a bowl with some rotisserie chicken, Sun-dried Tomato Crack, and quinoa. It's good on sandwiches, and its so good I can hardly get it off of the cookie sheet before stuffing it in my mouth.

KB is always telling me that lean protein is good so I have been trying to substitute the bacon in my diet for more lean protein. My coworker showed me Spicy Jalapeño Chicken Sausages from Trader Joes. Since, I have a package in my fridge I toasted one up, chopped it into bites, and threw it in the quiche too. Tomorrow night I will put it in my Pad Thai.

I love onion, and I love to add it to dishes because it always makes them more interesting. Nothing new or fancy here, but I threw in some caramelized onions because while my crust defrosted I had 20+min to let them melt to a beautiful golden brown. If you make a ton, they can spruce up EVERYTHING. Even that dull salad.

Last, were some button mushrooms I had because I keep them around to fill me up. I sliced and sautéed them and added them to the quiche. Half will hang around and go into dinner tomorrow.

So let's recap...

1. Spelt Pie Crust, defrosted, docked, and blind baked for 10min.
2. Caramelized Onions
3. Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto aka Vegan Crack
4. Sautéed Mushrooms
5. Toasted Kale
6. Lean Protein (optional) I chose Chicken Sausage
7. 5 eggs, salt and pepper.

Less than ten ingredients. Whisked together and poured into the crust and cooked for 30-45min, or until the egg is still a little wiggly, but set.

This will be lunch for a few days. And the leftovers will go into dozens of different healthy dishes that I can eat the rest of the week.

I hope you enjoyed this post and are feeling inspired to fool around with at least one of these ingredients.

I'll try to cook for you more. I miss this more than I realized.

Happy Easter!