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Archive for the ‘quiche’ Category

springcomb

A client, local to Toronto, once joked with me that spring in Ontario was not so much a soft and gentle, new born lamb frolicking in a pretty green meadow, chasing little yellow butterflies as it is a stripper suddenly removing all her clothes.  I know, the image is rather vivid and lewd, but you get the idea and it’s pretty much spot on.  The end of Winter here is a long, shuffling commute of faceless pedestrians huddled into long, dark grey coats walking down an endless road and boarded by tall, dark buildings under a heavy, humourless sky.  Suddenly, through a little break in the clouds, a single ray of watery sunlight shines down on one of those faceless coats and exposes a slither of pretty ankle escaping out past the hem.  The crowd stops.  The shuffling dwindles and every face in that homogeneous, grey sea lifts from the folds of their coat and turns to look at that bit of humanity exposed in the sun.  Then, without warning, the sky breaks open and the woman of the ankle flings open her coat to reveal a body, young and lithe, wrapped only in shimmering, translucent, fuchsia silk.  The coat falls around her feet like a dust cloth removed from a painting and she steps away from that dead, lifeless garment without looking back, her face in the sun, her limbs exposed and dancing now, in slow fluid movements. As she dances on, moving down the street, her joie de vivre infects those around her like a contagious disease and one by one the coats fall to the floor until the street is alive with dancing and colour and sunshine.

Welcome to Toronto, the Caberet of Spring.

And to celebrate a little Quiche, yes?

quiche-mush-leek-ham-combo

Leek, Mushroom and Ham Quiche

For the Pastry:
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
¼ tsp tarragon
¼ tsp thyme
½ cup cold butter, chopped into 1cm cubes
80ml cold water

for the filling:
1Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 large leak, thinly sliced
1 brown onion, finely chopped
150g mushrooms, sliced (I used shitake and portobello)
3 or 4 slices ham, chopped (I used black forest ham)
½ cup cream
½ cup milk
3 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup Gruyer, grated

– to make the pastry: whisk the dry ingredients together

– rub the butter into the flour until it looks like course oatmeal

– add the cold water and mix just long enough to form a dough

– wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least a half hour

– preheat the oven to 350˚F

– roll the dough out on a floured surface to line a 25cm quiche tin

– bake blind for 10 mins

– while the quiche shell is cooling, heat the oil and butter in a frying pan and saute the leeks, onions and mushrooms until soft

– Beat the eggs with the milk, salt and pepper and then add the cream

– fill the quiche shell with the onion-mushroom mixture, the ham and then top up with the eggy cream.

– sprinkle the Gruyere cheese over the top

– bake at 350˚F for about 35 mins, until the cream is just set

– allow to cool for 10 mins before serving, preferably with a light salad

quicke-mush-leek-ham1

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Asparagus, spinach and Danish Blue cheese tart

A little something for lunch.

During the Summer, here in Toronto, there’s a Farmer’s Market on a Tuesday afternoons in the Trinity Bellwoods Park. I popped in a week ago and bought all sorts of fresh, seasonal and organically grown produce. Stuff thathasn’t been sitting in a van for a day on it’s way to a store, stuff that hasn’t been packaged in useless, throw-away, environmentally infriendly packaging. Despite the fact that today’s show was rained out by a tremendous, cleansing thunderstorm, I had wanted to make sure I had used up all the remainders before restocking. Voila, a gorgeous, easy little set of quiche-style tarts to eat for lunch, or a starter for a Summer picnic in the park.

Asparagus, Spinache and Danish Blue Quiche

1 Portion of whole wheat savory tart shell pastry

15 ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 large shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 bunch fresh spinach, chopped (about 300g)
1/2 tsp castor sugar
salt and pepper
15 ml plain flour
4 large eggs
3 tbsp crem frais
280 ml low fat milk
100g Danish Blue cheese
60 ml grated Parmesan

-Heat oven to 375˚F

-Make pastry ; blind bake individual tarts ; cool

-Heat oil and butter gently in a skillet and sautè onion and garlic until translucent, about 5 mins. Add spinach and thyme and sugar and cook another 5 mins until soft. Let cool slightly.

-Beat eggs, crem frais and milk in a large bowl

-Fold flour into spinach mix, season to taste ; mix into egg mixture

-stir in aparagus, blue cheese and half parmesan

-fill tart shells with mixture, sprinkle with remaining parmesan and bake ±30 mins until set

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