July 29, 2013

Get Out of Town!

This past weekend I hightailed it out of the city for some peace and quiet.  And good food.

After my very city weekend last week, I felt the need for balance by having a follow-up rural weekend. Right after work on Saturday, I packed up and went south to my family home to spend time with my mom and to get away from it all.  No sirens, no street lights, no night clubs, no pollution, no arguments with the landlord, no cell phone reception... no gang fights down the block.  Just the mountains, fresh air, rain, and wholesome food.

I've credited my mother for my appreciation of cooking and food in previous posts.  What I may not have mentioned is that she is practically a self-taught nutritionist. I have learned from her more than I even realize about what we eat. When a friend exclaims to me how great it is that bananas are full of potassium or that flax seeds should be ground or soaked for better absorption in the body, I'm surprised that not everyone already knows these things.  In other words, I am very lucky for my food education I received from my mother.  Once again.

So what did we make for dinner?  Seasonal quiche, of course.  Gluten-free, with any and all fresh garden produce we felt like throwing in.  It's lighter than the traditional kind and wide open to adaptation, so it's one of those dishes that is self-contained like a casserole, but not boring.

This time, we used beautiful forbidden rice and white cheddar for the base/crust.  The turnips were from my garden, sweetened and balanced with carrots.  Swiss chard from someone else's local garden topped out our veg. We garnished with a perfect avocado and a slice from the first Japanese Black Trifele heirloom tomato to ripen on the vine.  We ate on the porch overlooking the mountains, enjoying the petrichor after a day of showers.  We did well for ourselves and we ate our vegetables.  And protein.

  • 2 cups cooked rice or quinoa (your choice of variety)
  • 4 oz. shredded cheese (cheddar or Monterey Jack are great)
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cups root vegetables, chopped, like turnips
  • 3 cups greens, trimmed and chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper
  • avocado, optional

Press rice or quinoa into the bottom of a quiche dish or deep pie plate (grease it first!).  Sprinkle cheese over it evenly and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Put olive oil and minced garlic in a cold saut√© pan and set to medium heat.  When the garlic barely starts to sizzle, add onions and stir a few times.  Add root vegetables and allow to cook for several minutes.  Add salt to season and to draw out some of the moisture.  Do not stir too frequently, in order to get some browning on the vegetables.  When the roots are almost cooked, toss in the greens and cook everything down until you start to see a little caramelization and sticking. This means that enough moisture has cooked out of the vegetables and your quiche won't be waterlogged.

Meanwhile, whisk together eggs and milk.  Add a pinch of salt and few grinds of pepper for good measure.  When the vegetables are cooked, scoop them into the prepared quiche dish and pour over the egg mixture.  Bake for about 45 minutes, until center is set.

Serve with slices of avocado.  And heirloom tomato slices, if you have them.  Next time, switch up your veg, swap out the cheese, and try a different grain.  I love options and renewal...which is the whole theme of a weekend away.

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