Potato Leek Quiche

Warning: Do not make this on an empty stomach! The smell will drive you crazy while it bakes.

This recipe is from the Squiche2pring Quiche Trio pages of Simply in Season. I’ve noticed that many of the vegetables available in the spring are also prevalent in the fall. In fact, the leeks were from today’s CSA pickup! The last pickup of the season, sniff.

I used the potato crust recipe, which is super easy – coarsely grate 3 C of potatoes, mix with 3 T of olive oil, and spread it on the bottom and up the sides of a pie pan. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes.

While it’s baking, you can make the filling, which is 1 1/2 C of leeks (or ramps, as wild leeks are called) and 1 C of cheese mixed together. The egg mixture is made in a separate bowl – beat together 3 eggs, 1 C of evaporated milk (or 1 C milk + 1/3 C dry milk powder), and a dash or two of salt and pepper.

When the crust is ready, put the leek/cheese mixture on first, then dump the egg mixture on top of that. I noticed the egg mixture was a bit on the stingy side so I didn’t feel the need to put MORE cheese on top (I know, what was I thinking). Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 325F and cook for another 25-30 minutes. If you can stand the wait, you really should let it cool for 10-15 minutes.

The verdict: A huge thumbs up from DH. “This is good! It would be great for breakfast, with bacon crumbled on top.” Yes, it was savory indeed. Lots of leeks but leeks are very mild, making this a very tasty dish.

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Cranberry Nut Loaf – GUEST BLOGGER

NUTLOAFA huge thank you to Cathy at Cathy’s Kitchen Journey! Doesn’t this cranberry nut loaf look delish? After seeing some of these recipes reviewed and photographed by my fellow bloggers, I’m starting to despise this cranberry allergy of mine. Click on over to read her review!

Roasted Cauliflower and Sprouts

romanescaFor this recipe, I used a romanesca cauliflower. It’s a fascinating looking vegetable, and DH couldn’t wait to try it. Since I still have brussels sprouts coming out of my ears, I decided to use it in this recipe.

The night before, cut the cauliflower into 1 inch florets, halve the brussels sprouts, drizzle with 2 T olive oil and mix. Then, add 3 cloves of thinly sliced garlic, 1/2 tsp of rosemary, and 1/2 tsp pepper.

The next evening, preheat the oven to 450F, sprinkle with salt, and bake in a single layer for 15-20 minutes (until they’re crisp-tender and beginning to brown at the edges). Stir occasionally (if you take the pan out to stir and close the door while stirring, you won’t lose the oven heat).

The verdict: The flavor is very light, but thorough – perhaps as a result of the “marinating” overnight? It went really well with a chicken that I threw in the crock pot this morning and drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with rosemary and garlic salt. I apologized to DH for not having a very fancy dinner tonight. He said “it doesn’t have to be fancy, this is good!”

For more info about romanesca, click here:
Broccoflower on Foodista

Liberian Pumpkin with Cock Sauce

liberianEven though I’ve been cooking for two months now, my idea of what is “a cinch to throw together” is still miles away from what the editors at Simply in Season consider “a cinch to throw together.”

First, for this recipe, one must peel and cube 2-3 C of butternut squash (or you can use pumpkin). I usually peel my butternuts with a vegetable peeler, as a knife is tricky to maneuver.

Then, you have to chop an onion and saute’ along with the butternut squash “until translucent.” This is the second recipe today where it’s supposed to get translucent. Problem is, it’s kind of hard to tell when it’s translucent when the other stuff is in there (it also calls for either hot chili peppers or hot sauce; I took this occasion to try out my new bottle of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce).  Plus it started to burn so I went ahead and added a little of the chicken broth so it didn’t burn while it was cooking, covered. When the butternut squash was tender, I added the rest of the cup of broth and covered again and cooked for the 10 minutes it called for. Meanwhile I browned the 1 lb of sausage (the recipe calls for 1 C but hey, might as well use the whole package) and started on the egg noodles.

While I’m waiting, let me tell you about Sriracha Hot Sauce. I first learned about it at an Indian cooking class at my CSA, and quickly discovered that it’s quite well known among foodies, and is nicknamed cock sauce because of the rooster on the front. I’ve since noticed it at lots of restaurants.

OK, so the 10 minutes is up, and it says to now add the sausage and cook uncovered until all the liquid is absorbed. It’s absorbed. So I put the pot on simmer until the egg noodles are done. You can serve this over any kind of noodle or rice, but DH and I were in the mood for egg noodles tonight.

The verdict: Definitely not “a cinch to throw together,” but not much chopping. The taste is definitely different, the sweet butternut plays off the spicy sausage and cock sauce. As DH said, the sauce makes your tongue tingly. Not sure if I’ll make this again soon, but it’s not a bad way to use up butternut squash.

Broccoli Gratin

broccgratinToday I brought the ingredients to make Simply in Season’s Broccoli Gratin to my mom’s house for Sunday dinner. Imagine my surprise to arrive and discover that her main dish was very similar to this – she was making a broccoli/chicken bake. I decided to go ahead and make my side dish so that we could compare the two.

For my version:

5-6 C broccoli or cauliflower (I used broccoli). Steam until just crisp-tender and set aside. I did this in the microwave.

Thinly slice an onion and mince a clove of garlic, and saute’ in a small saucepan until fragrant and tender, about 5 minutes. Then, sprinkle 1/4 C f lour on the onions and garlic and cook for 3 minutes (you’ll want to stir constantly to keep from browning). Whisk in 2 C of milk and bring to a boil. Add in 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and a pinch each of nutmeg and ground red pepper, and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in 1 C shredded cheddar cheese and remove from heat. Combine with broccoli and put everything in a 2 qt casserole dish.

Combine 1 C bread crumbs, 1 T butter, 1/4 C Parmesan cheese, and 1 T dried parsley and sprinkle on top of the broccoli mixture. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, or until heated through.

The verdict: While everyone liked this version, some felt that my mom’s was creamier. She had used canned cream of chicken soup. Some did like my fresh topping better than her Stove Top topping, though. This led to an interesting discussion. Is it any cheaper to make things like cream of soup? Is it really any healthier? My sister thought that making the cream sauce from scratch was too much work, but I didn’t really mind it. One of the benefits I saw to making things from scratch is that I don’t have to keep things like Stove Top or canned cream of soups on hand. I’m sure that as I continue this project I’ll form more of an opinion. What’s yours?

Broccoli Salad

Potlucks are funny. You never know what you’re gonna get, which I guess is the point. There is a garbage disposal service in our area called “Potluck Pickup.” At my old church, which had lots of older ladies, the potlucks were divine. At my current church, which is mostly 20 & 30 somethings, chips and dip and potato salad from the deli are more common.

DH was invited to a party tonight, and he asked me to make the pumpkin bread from the other night. I will oblige, but I’ll also be taking this opportunity to make Simply in Season’s Broccoli Salad. There are a million versions of this out there, but I have never actually made it.

In a large bobroccsaladwl, mix 3 C broccoli florets, 1 C raisins, 10 slices cooked & crumbled bacon (ok, I cheated and used the option of 1/2 C bacon bits, sometimes ya gotta take shortcuts to keep your sanity), 1/2 C diced red onion, 1/2 C raw sunflower seeds, and 1/2 C cheese (the book says optional but who in the world turns down CHEESE?!?!).

In a small bowl, combine 2 T sugar and 1 T apple cider vinegar and dissolve; stir in 3/4 C plain yogurt or mayonnaise until well blended (I used lowfat yogurt). Pour over the broccoli and stir together.

The verdict: I’ll admit the photo looks like someone vomited bacon bits and broccoli. But the salad was as good as any version I’ve had over my many years of having broccoli salad at potlucks. For some reason it was a bit hidden at the food table. Not many people took it, so I was worried that maybe it wasn’t good. As we were leaving, someone noticed it and said “oh no, I didn’t even see that! And that looks great! Much better than the store bought salad crap!” So that made me feel better.

And when we got home, DH helped himself to a nice big bowl of it. Which made me wonder if he had placed it on an inconspicuous part of the buffet table on purpose. Ha!

Herbed Broccoli Sandwich

I know, a BROCCOLI sandwich? This is another one of those Simply in Season recipes that made me think “you’ve got to be kidding me, Gladys in Pennsylvania. ” But since I had a lot of broccoli from the farmer’s market I thought why not give it a try. Besides, I needed something to go with the gingery butternut soup.

I halved the recipe just in case. I chopped 1 C of broccoli in the food chopper, 1/4 C of onion, and sauted in some olive oil in a skillet until it turned bright green. Then I added a dash of basil, thyme, salt and pepper. The directions say to add cheese andbroccolisandwich broil on french bread, but I picked up some cheddar-filled bilays at the farmer’s market this morning and I knew they would go perfectly.

The verdict: They were very, very good. Substantial, not like you’d expect from a broccoli sandwich. DH thought that a slice of heirloom tomato would have made this perfection.