Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bringing It All Together

I am not a very positive person.  I may have mentioned this once or twice in past posts.  It's a fight I have with myself not see the negative in things, to not see the glass as half empty, to not think of the worst that can happen.  There are days when I manage to push it all away (or at least to the side), but it rarely lasts.  Sometimes I think I'm doing serious damage to my ch'i with this way of thinking.

But when I'm in my kitchen, fiddling around with ingredients, thinking about how certain flavours will play against others...all those negative thoughts go flying right out the window.  Here in my kitchen, I focus on measuring ingredients, sprinkling salt in a pot of water, peeling the skin off an onion, or kneading the dough for a crust.  Nothing else matters, except watching the outcome of what I'm making.

This is why I made a quiche a couple of Sundays ago.  Reading the Sunday paper could only divert my attention for so long, even watching hockey didn't fully encompass my interest.  Off to the kitchen I went, in search of something to eat.  I wasn't necessarily looking for something quick, but I wanted something to satisfy me...and satisfy more than hunger.  The more involved the recipe, the longer my mind would focus on what was in front of me and not what was in my head.

I don't usually make quiche with a crust, but sometimes it's worth having the whole package, so to speak.  The best part?  This quiche is delicious hot, warm, and room temperature.  It served as breakfast, lunch, and dinner over the span of a few days.

Cauliflower, Leek, and Rainbow Chard Quiche
Serves 6-8 or 1-2 for a few days

1 cup cauliflower florets, broken into small pieces
1 cup rainbow chard, stems and leaves, chopped
1 leek, sliced thin (white and light green parts)
2 tbsp clarified butter
2 tsp green za'tar
1 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp crumbled bacon (optional)
1/4 tsp pepper
pinch of salt
6 eggs
1/2 heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Grana Padano

For the crust:

8 tbsp unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups flour
pinch of salt
5-6 tbsp ice water

In a large bowl, add the butter, flour, and salt.  With a pastry blender, combine the ingredients until it resembles pea-size bits.  Add the ice water tablespoon by tablespoon, until a dough comes together and can be formed into a ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

When ready to make the crust, pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.  Roll dough out into a circle to about 1/4 inch thick.  Lay in 9-inch pie plate and prick dough with a fork. Lay foil in the center and fill with beans.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove beans and bake for an additional 5 minutes.  

For the filling:

Steam the cauliflower for a minute or so and set aside.  In a skillet, melt the clarified butter and saute the leeks until translucent.  Add the garlic and chard and saute for 3-4 minutes.  Add the steamed cauliflower and sprinkle the bacon, salt, pepper, and za'tar in and mix thoroughly, allowing the flavours to mingle for a few minutes.  Remove from heat.  

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, and milk together.  Add the cheeses and vegetables and mix thoroughly.  Pour mixture into pie pan with crust, making sure everything is evenly distributed.  Bake in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes or  until center is set.  Remove from oven and let set for 5-10 minutes before serving.

You can leave the bacon out and have a perfectly lovely vegetable quiche, but the bacon adds a note of smokiness that, well, rocked my little world.

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