kale and ricotta quiche, #17 of 52

while wandering through my little backyard garden last week, i could see it was time to pick the kale.  we have two varieties growing and they had begun to send out flower stalks-in other words, they were going to seed.  we had overwintered them and it was time to harvest the plants.  unfortunately, our red cabbage had chosen the same route.  we never got any heads on the plants, just leaves and now flower stalks.  we love to eat cooked greens but there is only so much you can eat in one weekend.

while perusing through food52.com, i saw that the weekly challenge was winter tarts-sweet and savory.  they post links and invite members to test the recipes and then report back to them.  by the time i had looked at the list, almost all were claimed and i decided not to participate.  on closer inspection, i spied a link to a spinach and ricotta pie.  suddenly, the light bulb blinked on and i realized i had a use for some of that kale and cabbage!

using my new red pie dish, i mixed up a blue cornmeal pie crust.  i recently found a bag of blue cornmeal lurking in the freezer.  using a non hydrogenated shortening, i made a flaky pie crust that appears slightly grey and flecked with little bits of blue cornmeal.

there are two types of kale and some red cabbage in the mix.  looking at the center of the photo you will see a flower stalk from the red cabbage.  to the left of it is the kale we received from jeff poppen, the barefoot farmer and to the right is red russian kale.  all of the flower stalks i cut off were added and they taste a lot like broccoli raab

off to the garden i went-i picked a large bowl full and after washing it thoroughly, i cut it into thin strips.  the total amount ended up being about 5 cups of raw greens.   once sauteed with onions and garlic, it is hard to tell which is which.  the greens and the cabbage looked about the same.

kale and ricotta quiche
1 (9″) quiche serving 8
recipe adapted from lizthechef on food52.com
1 (9″) pie shell, homemade or purchased and partially baked
fresh kale or other greens-see above for amount
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 pound ricotta-i used a 15 ounce tub from the grocery store
3 eggs
1/2 cup half and half (could use sour cream, yogurt or buttermilk to help cut the richness of the cheese)
1/2-3/4 cup grated cheese-the sharper the better
salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
preheat the oven to 350.  heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  saute the onions until translucent, add the garlic and saute for a minute or two.  add the kale and saute until tender.  season the mixture with the salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg-season a little more than you think is necessary since the rich cheese custard will be on the bland side.  spread the mixture in the pie shell.  in a mixing bowl, whisk the ricotta with the eggs until smooth.  add the half and half and whisk to combine.  top the kale with the grated cheese and pour the custard into the dish.  stir up the kale a little so that some is on top of the pie-this is a thick custard and the kale will not float to the top.  bake until the custard  is set, about 45 minutes.  allow it to rest for about 10-15 minutes before serving and serve it with an acidic side dish such as a salad dressed in a vinaigrette or citrus dressing.
and as always, bake one, send me a photo and see it here.  bakinbabe116@aol.com

spinach, artichoke and mushroom quiche-#7 of 52

it’s cold and dreary and that’s typical of winter. what’s not typical is all of the snow we have had lately-just one look at the view from our front door and you can see what i am talking about. before you start snickering and laughing that this isn’t enough snow to whine about, think about this-that little bit of snow and the slush and ice it created was enough to keep schools in nashville closed for an entire week. now let’s get back to the cold and dreary theme i was working on…meals made of comfort food were the only thing that lightened the mood. way back when, we had a bakery cafe and quiche was often on the menu. darry would make them two at a time and we would generally run out every time. looking back at those days brings a bit of melancholy-oh the stress, the never ending taxes, the drama of employees…how i miss it all (NOT!!!) and yet i do sometimes. the quiet mornings baking breads and breakfast pastries, decorating cookies and wedding cakes. fresh soups and salads and panini sandwiches. and friends-other business owners/employees located in the building as well as some of our own employees. it has been 6+ years and we have all moved on but the quiches still make an appearance on our dining room table. each year on thanksgiving, we host the dinner at our house and our tradition for the morning after is to serve a quiche breakfast for our guests before they start the trip back home. with this in mind, last monday while the snow blanketed the neighborhood, i baked a quiche to brighten the day.
anyone who knows darry, knows his love of mushrooms. we have them growing in the yard on inoculated logs and there are several houses around us with yards where they grow wild. darry picks them whenever he finds them (with permission of course) and we eat mushrooms in all kinds of dishes. for this quiche, i combined baby portabella bella mushrooms with spinach and artichoke hearts. to save some time, use frozen spinach crumbles and while it is still slightly frozen, chop it a little to make it a bit finer in size. if you can find frozen artichoke hearts, use those rather than the ones packed in a jar or can. for one, they will not be marinated or brined and will taste more like a fresh artichoke. the other plus is that your quiche will not be dominated by the flavor of a brine or marinade.
spinach, artichoke and mushroom quiche
yields 1 (10″) quiche serving 8-10
to make the best and easiest quiche to serve, use a quiche dish. they tend to be shallower than a pie dish and a little larger. i found my 10″ corning ware quiche dish in the thrift store for $2.99!

pie dough-use your favorite recipe or purchase some and make a pie shell. this filling recipe will work in a deep (9″) pie shell as well but make sure it is one of the really deep ones such as a pyrex deep glass dish found in most supermarkets and stores. once the pie dough is lining the dish, you will need to prebake it. place parchment, foil or coffee filters into the pie shell, fill it with dried beans or weights and prebake it at 325 until it is no longer shiny on the bottom but is not yet coloring at the edges probably about 18-20 minutes. for more hints on this, see my previous post.
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup diced onion, about 1/2 of a large onion
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces baby portobella mushrooms, sliced
1-2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 cups frozen spinach crumbles
2 cups frozen artichoke hearts
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 -1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups good quality grated swiss cheese-gruyere, jarlsberg or other favorite
1/2 cup freshly grated hard cheese such as parmesan, asiago or romano
8 eggs
2 cups heavy cream
in a large saute pan, heat the olive oil and saute the onions. when they are beginning to look translucent, about 3 minutes, add the garlic. saute the garlic while stirring frequently for a minute. add the mushrooms and the herbs de provence. after the mushrooms are heated through and are beginning to sizzle a little, add the wine and cover the pan to force them to release their juices. after a minute or two, remove the cover and stir to prevent sticking. add the spinach and the artichokes as well as the salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir to combine. reduce the heat a bit, cover the pan and cook to thaw the spinach and artichokes. after a few minutes, remove the lid and continue sauteing the vegetables to prevent sticking and to dry out the water that is being released by the frozen ingredients-a crucial step to a good quiche since watery vegetables will make a loose quiche that will not set properly. when the water has been dried out enough, the vegetables will begin to stick to the bottom of the pan. remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool in the pan. at this point, you will be able to see if you have cooked it enough; as it sits, liquid will pool at the bottom if it was not dried out sufficiently and you can return it to the stove if necessary. preheat the oven to 350. once cooled, spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of the crust. sprinkle the cheeses evenly over the vegetables. in a small bowl, whisk the eggs to combine them and then whisk in the eggs. only mix to incorporate, try not to add lots of air or you will have bubbles in the custard and the results will be a less creamy quiche. place the quiche dish on a sturdy baking tray and slowly pour the custard over the filling. allow the quiche to sit for a minute or two so the custard can become distributed evenly throughout the filling leaving. bake until the quiche is firm around the edges and the center is not jiggly, about an hour for a shallow 10″ quiche dish. allow the quiche to sit for 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.
any of you adventurous sorts out there that want to try this at home, please do and then send me a picture(bakinbabe116@aol.com) and i will post it here, a round up if you will for anyone who dares…