Signs of the Season: Breakfast Quiche with Fresh Chives

After I made this breakfast quiche, I realized almost every ingredient was sourced locally!  The eggs and cheese curds I got at the farmer’s market, and the chives were from my front yard.  The only thing that isn’t local is the milk, s&p and breadcrumbs!  I love eggs, they are a source of comfort, a childhood favorite, and a quick source of protein in the morning.

When I moved back to Lethbridge, I was determined to find a local source of eggs.  I don’t want to support the factory farming system and I knew there are plenty of acreages and farms that have chickens.  So I put an ad on kijiji saying I was looking for some local, hopefully free-range eggs.  After the second bite, I found my source.  I order in bulk; often 8 or 10 dozen at a time since they are from out of town.  As I awaited my next big order, I still had a half dozen in the fridge that I picked up from the Exhibition Park Farmer’s Market so I decided I should use those up.  And I also had some wonderful cheese curds left over that I purchased there too.  Delighted I was, to find out there is some local cheese being produced in these parts (if I remember correctly, its made in Iron Springs).  I have 3 clumps of chives growing in different places in my yard, too- cheese, eggs and chives?  Sounds like a good breakfast to me!

Flowering Chives

This recipe is super easy, and can be altered in many different ways.  You can add different veggies and combinations of cheese and even veggie meats if you like that kinda thing.  The layer of breadcrumbs forms into a beautiful crust and is even better if you use homemade breadcrumbs (an easy way to use up loaf ends, and day-olds).  Its easy to mix up and perfect if you have company.  Add some toast, fresh fruit or hashbrowns and you’ll have one deluxe start to the day!

Breakfast Quiche with Fresh Chives

Preheat oven to 350 C
In a bowl lightly beat:

  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 c milk (as usual, i  used almond) or plain yogurt
  • s &p to taste
  • any other dry spices you fancy

In a standard pie plate prepare the crust & fillings:

  • lightly spray or coat the pie plate with oil or butter
  • sprinkle breadcrumbs generously- shake from side to side gently to distribute evenly.  My crust is usually a few mm thick
  • add your fillings- in this case about 3/4c  cheese curds and 2-3 Tbsp chopped chives

Then gently pour the egg mixture over the crust & fillings.  Cover with tinfoil and place in your pre-heated oven.
Bake for 20-25 min
then remove the tinfoil for the last 5-10 min of baking.
Quiche is done when eggs are set and quiche is slightly brown.

 

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Friend Feature: Mandi’s Amazing Salads

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of a very good friend, former Lethbian who now lives in Edmonton, Mandi.   She has slowly transitioned to become almost full time vegetarian for the health of her family. Way to go Mandi!  Below she shares a flexible recipe for salad… and its not your standard crappy lettuce salad.. this stuff’s a meal!

When my mom came to visit my family for the week she made all sorts of salad combinations. She use to do this while I still lived with her before I was married. I loved  all the combinations , you really can put anything in a salad – it doesn’t have to be a bowl of bland greens with a few chopped veggies. It doesn’t have to be greens, croutons and a pound of dressing.

This was an LP-PL salad remix. the base of it all was my mixture of ‘rice’ I find brown rice a hard to swallow sometimes so I mixed it up and added green lentils, buckwheat, quinoa, and pearl barley to it and mix it in a container. I find that in the rice cooker I have, a 1/2 cup of this grains mixture with 1 cup of water is perfect for making all grains soft and edible without being mushy.

With the grain mixture heated and in the bottom of the bowl acting as the base, we added rainbow slaw which is shredded broccoli and cauliflower stalks with shredded purple cabbage and carrots.
Then we added pumpkin seeds, pomegranate crasins, peanuts, black beans, catalina dressing, Vega EFA oil, and cracked black pepper. *mom used lemon juice and olive oil instead of catilina dressing*

Well it was a hit! we ate it for lunch and dinner then we experimented and made up so many different combinations but always keeping the above as our basics (until we ran out of pumpkin seeds and peanuts) each combination was so good. I have re-discovered that salad can be amazingly flavorful.
pickles
lettuce
taco chips
snap peas
green beans
crushed spelt pretzels
pineapple chunks
blueberry crasins
spinach

We would add one or more of these ingredients to give each dish a new hit of texture or flavor. I really liked the base salad with the crushed pretzels on top when we ran out of peanuts. And throwing in a few slices of pickles in there was a surprisingly good thing.

I choose crazy home made salads to any of the salads on any fast food menu any day.

Friend Feature: SweetSugarBean

Salted Caramel and Vanilla Ice Cream Sundaes

I have been lucky enough to work with some very talented and inspiring people during my short stint in the restaurant industry.

Renee is one of those people- we met at the Rutherford House Historic Site where we both worked.  She was the head chef in the tiny little kitchen that serves the equally tiny (but super busy) Arbour Restaurant.  Think high tea, scones, quiche, sandwiches, and an incredible dessert menu, of course, all kinds of tea.  Though it was not a vegetarian restaurant, the Arbour did have some great options.  And Renee always would fix something special up for me if I wanted something different.

Well, we have both moved on since then, she, moving back home to Saskatoon, and I, of course, moving back home to Lethbridge.  But through the magic of facebook, we’ve kept in touch.  Renee continues to work in the culinary industry and has recently started her own blog at the request of many of her friends.  She just has way too many good recipes not to share!  That, combined with her artistic approach to food styling and eye for photography has created SweetSugarBean. I was lucky enough to assist a little in formation of the blog, and it’s so exciting to see how it’s grown in the short time it’s been around.

She really has a special touch when it comes to desserts, as well as yummy (but healthy) comfort food.  Renee has posted a number of vegetarian and vegan recipes and I thought I would share some of these today (and thank you for creating a separate vegetarian & vegan label!)  Click on the pictures for the recipes!

curried butternut squash soup with coconut milk

Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk

Swiss Chard and Feta Phyllo Pizza

Swiss Chard and Feta Phyllo Pizza

And be sure to check out the rest of the SweetSugarBean’s recipe index on the side of the page.  Of course, don’t forget to snoop the chocolate section!

Veggie Lentil Pot Pie

I recently had a hankering for a good ‘ol pot pie.  Something savoury, filling and hot; nothing like those salty, frozen, single-serve types- which I’m pretty sure don’t come vegetarian anyway.

I always thought you needed a pie crust to make one so I would shy away from the idea.  But then I looked around for some recipes, and many just had a biscuit-type crust on the top.  Voila, how easy could that be?!  Basically, you just fry your fave veggies, add a protein (I used green lentils as I think they take on ‘poultry’ type seasonings well), make a gravy and top it with your biscuit dough and pop it in the oven!  Coupled with a fresh salad, you’re good to go!  I had some left over brown rice in the fridge, so I added some of that too.

Veggie Lentil Pot Pie

Preheat oven to 400F

Filling:
Fry over medium heat:

  • 2 carrots, peeled & diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced

When onions turn clear, add:

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1.5 c cooked green lentils (I used canned)
  • 1/2c brown rice

Fry Lightly.
Then add:

  • 1/4c flour
  • 1/2 tsp of each dried rosemary, sage and thyme
  • salt & pepper

Fry lightly for 3 minutes.
Then add:

  • 1c veggie broth
  • 1.5c milk (I used almond)

Lower heat, stir and wait for your gravy to thicken.  Once thickened, remove from heat and spoon into a pie dish.

Crust:

Combine:

  • 1 3/4 c flour (I like to use a mix of white and whole wheat)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Cut in (using a pastry blender or 2 knives):

  • 4-6 Tbsp cold butter or margarine

Once the mixture is well combined and butter is the size of small peas, pour in:

  • 1 c milk (again, I used almond)

and stir until combined.

Drop walnut sized pieces on top the filling in pie dish so that pie is almost entirely covered.

Place pie dish on a cookie sheet before putting in oven to prevent the filling possibly boiling over (I learned this one the hard way) and bake for 30-40 min until filling bubbles and dough is golden brown.

Before baking

After- golden brown!

Mulligatawny Veggie Soup

Lethbridge got about 20cm of snow in the last 24 hours.  So when I got home, I decided it was a soup night.

So out comes the good ‘ol Joy of Cooking; which practically lives on the kitchen counter now- we reference it often.  I highly recommend it, though it does have lots of meat recipes in it, these can simply be ignored or improvised.  Hmmm.. black bean soup, U.S. Senate bean soup (uh.. no!), lentil soup with greens… nope.

Mulligatawny.  I’ve always been curious- I’ve never been able to try it since it always seems to have meat in it.

Mulligatawny, a curried soup brought back from India by British colonists, is the Anglicized name of two words for “pepper water,” molegoo (pepper) and tunee (water).The real Mulligatawny is a traditional curry-flavored pea and lentil peasant dish. Indian restaurants today serve it as a vegetarian soup and appetizer. The Anglicized version adds chicken so it’s more like a stew and suitable as a meal in itself. Originally the soup was enriched with coconut milk and embellished with almonds and apples. It can also contain rice, eggs, cream, and other meats besides chicken.

from global gourmet

Strangely, this mulligatawny recipe had no lentils, peas or almonds.  It’s the sort of dish you can improvise on- as long as you have the basics down (the rich, spicy broth being paramount) Which is exactly what I did to make it vegetarian.  I also had a few things kicking around from my garden, the last of the carrots and the apples I chopped and froze back in the fall.  Perfect!

This took less than half an hour to prepare and cook; perfect for a weekday night when you have little energy left for cooking.  It can also be made vegan very simply; just use coconut milk instead of cream and vegetable oil instead of butter.

Vegetarian Mulligatawny Soup
adapted from the Joy of Cooking

Heat in a soup pot over medium heat:

  • 1/4c (1/2 stick) butter or vegetable oil

Add and cook, stirring until softened:

  • 1/2c diced onion
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced

Add and cook, stirring about 3 mins:

  • 1.5 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp curry powder (i used medium)

After the mixture dries out a bit and coats the veggies add

  • 4c  veggie broth
  • 1 bay leaf

Boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 mins.  Add:

  • 1/4c diced tart apples
  • 1/2c cooked rice (I used quinoa instead for more nutrition)
  • 1/2c veggie chicken, diced (I used some TVP and added a little extra liquid.  You could also use crumbled tofu, lentils, or your favorite protein filled meat substitute.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp grated fresh lemon zest.  This is an important ingredient!  Make sure you use fresh!

Simmer for 15 minutes, remove bay leaf.  then add:

  • 1/2c heavy cream or unsweetened coconut milk

Heat through, do not boil.

Serve & enjoy!

Nutritional Yeast Dressing

Many vegetarians and vegans are fond of Nutritional Yeast. It’s high in B vitamins (which vegetarians need) and tastes good.  It can be used many ways, but mostly as a type of seasoning or condiment-  sprinkled on food or mixed into sauces or dressings.  And for those vegans who miss cheese- it tastes like cheese!

If you’ve never tried or seen nutritional yeast before, it’s a yellow, flaky or powdery substance.  According to wikipedia, it is produced by culturing the yeast with a mixture of sugarcane and beet molasses, then harvesting, washing, drying and packaging the yeast.  If you’ve ever tried marmite or vegemite, it has a similar taste (less salty though).  Keep in mind, it is not a live yeast. And you can get it in Lethbridge- try the natural foods section at save on, superstore, or nutters.  I know for sure Bob’s red mill makes it, but there are many different brands.

Back when I worked at a certain organic eatery/grocery store  in Edmonton (which has now been downscaled drastically), the Nutritional Yeast Dressing was a customer favorite.  Us workers constantly had to replenish the container of it in the salad bar.  (On a side note, the salad bar was awesome: you got a bowl, and you filled it up with whatever you want in the salad bar- organic greens, veggies, nuts, pre-made pasta & noodle salads, and everyone’s favorite organic goat feta). 

Luckily, I still have the recipe and use it often.  I don’t know where it came from, or who made it up, but it’s too good to keep a secret any longer!  Just get a  clean, empty salad dressing bottle (preferably glass), a funnel and all your ingredients, and you’re good to go!

Its good on more than just salads- think warm veggies, lentils or noodles…

Nutritional Yeast Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 c nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 c tamari (or soy sauce or braggs.. but I like tamari best)
  • 4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c water
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1.5 c flax seed oil or olive oil (or a mixture of  both)

Pour all ingredients into a bottle using a funnel.  Leave a couple inches of headspace.  Shake until mixed.

I find in the  bottle I use I can only fit about a cup of oil in, which works fine for me.  You can top it up with more oil as you begin to use it.

It is normal for the dressing to separate, therefore give it a quick shake before using it.  I also found that the olive oil goes slightly solid when I put this in the fridge (and please do store in the fridge) so you just have to remember to take it out of the fridge for a few minutes before using.