Friday, April 22, 2011

Asparagus Quiche

The weather last week was quite Spring-like, so I decided to make some Asparagus Quiche! (Although the weather as I am writing this is decidedly not spring-like.)
Quiche, as I am sure you all know, is a French dish that is at the intersection of Frittata and custard tart. It has a pastry shell and is filled with a savory egg based custard. The traditional Quiche Lorraine has bacon and gruyère, but I made this quiche vegetarian with asparagus, onions, and gruyère.

First I browned the onions in olive oil with some red thai curry paste.

And then I added the garlic and cooked it for about 30 seconds.

And then I added the asparagus (first I cooked the stalks, and then I added the tops, because the tender tops cook more quickly)

To cook the asparagus I added some water to the pan and let the asparagus simmer until it was soft, adding water as necessary. I wanted it to be soft rather than al dente to meld better with the texture of the custard.

Then I made the custard with 5 eggs and a cup of milk. I then added about a cup of freshly grated gruyère as well as some salt and pepper (and a little bit of chili pepper).

I poured the custard into my blind baked pastry dough, and added the asparagus to it.

I then baked the quiche for about 20-30 minutes.

The quiche was quite tasty, although it could have used either a bit more salt or some more cheese. I served with a bright salad to contrast with the butteryness of the crust.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Carrot Ribbon Salad

I am a big fan of carrots, and I am a big fan of salad, but I could never figure out how to combine them in a satisfying way. Cutting the carrots into round slices just made them too thick and woody in comparison with the lettuce, and shredded carrots tend to clump up unattractively. But, when I was peeling carrots, I realized that the peels were the perfect thickness for a salad. So I just kept peeling, even after the skin was long gone, to make carrot ribbons.

I used 2 carrots to get about 1-1.5cups of loosely packed ribbons (I would use a third carrot if I made this again). To continue my salad, I decided to add a small handful of cranberries and toasted pecans to add a bit of interest, and I topped it with a box of spring greens.

For the dressing, I made a mustard vinaigrette with a large spoonful of mustard, a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, a larger spoonful of red wine vinegar (too much balsamic makes a salad cloyingly sweet instead of light and refreshing), an equal amount of olive oil, and a crank of freshly ground pepper.

I brought this salad to a Track pasta feed (where we feast on carbs the night before a race) and it was a nice change from all of the pasta and cookies. At the pasta feed, my friend and I actually ended up making a lemon-olive oil dressing with the hosts home-grown lemons for some of the plain pasta people had brought, and it was delicious: lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, mustard, and "italian seasoning" tossed with pasta.