Thursday, May 9, 2013

Kale, Grilled Vegetables and Goat Cheese Quiche

One of my most favourite cooking experiences is the demand for creativity when the fridge receives an audit and the leftovers get evicted.  Out of respect for this food, we want to use it and use it well. However, its due date is now.

Last night's culprits included:
  • 1/2 bag of Roots and Shoots Farm's young kale, purchased at the Ottawa Farmers' Market on Sunday. Although exceptionally fresh still, I have another bag on hand.  We are (over)loaded in kale.
  • leftover grilled vegetables from dinner the night before (red and yellow pepper, green zucchini, an onion and a handful of mushrooms were grilled in the BBQ basket with olive oil, salt and pepper.)
  • 1 cup of caramelized onions from two nights before.  I need sautéed onions for my pasta dish. I realized after they were sweated off and caramelized that I had way too many for my pasta dish so I siphoned off a pile.
  • 1/2 round of soft ripened goat cheese, leftover from my March book club meeting 6 weeks ago.  It was still in great shape but I was pushing my luck.
  • 10 oven-roasted tomato halves
  • 1 cup of homo milk.  Our son was home from university. He is thin, thin, thin and insists on drinking high fat milk. Because he can.  The expiry date for the last dregs of milk was May 9. It has been sitting there since he left a week ago.
I was quick to pick quiche despite the warm weather.  I wanted comfort food.  As it turns out, I was also down to the last bits of lard to use in the pastry. The fridge really was getting lighter!

Goat cheese can be a strong cheese to use in cooking, 6 ounces is plenty for a 9"quiche. The grilled vegetables, especially the red peppers and mushrooms, helped to give it balance.

Sometimes I make a quiche with just 3 eggs for the 1 1/2 of milk and cream.  But because my vegetables were on the juicy side, I added an extra egg for firmness.

I used the kale raw.  Had I steamed it first, I may have been able to extract some of its liquid by wringing it out, much like I do with spinach - although it doesn't hold as much water as spinach. I went the lazy way instead this time since everything else was ready to go.

If you want to do a 'kitchen eviction' quiche, you just need to keep in mind flavours that go well together. Fill the pie shell full up with your favourites. The egg mixture usually remains constant - 3 or 4 eggs to 1 1/2 cup rich milk, plus seasonings.  It easily fills into the nooks and crannies.  Cheese is great, just don't overdue it.

Here is a little secret about quiche. It is better the next day.  I like to eat it cold, right from the fridge.

If that had been your list of ingredients for a Foodie Face-Off, what would you have made?

Kale, Grilled Vegetables and Goat Cheese Quiche
Servings: 6

1 9-inch pie shell * see pastry recipe below (use half)
1 cup of caramelized onion (may include one minced garlic clove)

2 cups fresh young kale, stemmed and rough chopped
1 1/2 cups grilled vegetables (green zucchini, red and yellow pepper, mushrooms)
10 oven-roasted tomato slices
6 oz Chevrita (A soft cheese made from 100% goat's milk), thin wedges (12 - 15)
4 Eggs
1/2 cup cream (10%)
1 cup Milk
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Dry Mustard
1 pinch Cayenne Pepper

Spread caramelized onion over the bottom of pricked, unbaked pie shell. Cover with roughly chopped kale. Cover with the grilled vegetable mix.  Lay on the tomato slices and goat cheese in a pattern.

Beat the egg and whisk in the milk and cream.  Then whisk in the salt, pepper, dry mustard and cayenne pepper.

Bake at 375ºF for 45 minutes, till golden brown and bubbly and the egg has set. Consider covering it loosely with tin foil in the last 10 minutes if it has full colour but is not fully set.


2 cups all-purpose flour (I use 5 Roses)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup lard (I use Tenderflake)
1/4 cup water

Sift flour and salt together in a bowl.

Remove 1/3 cup of this mixture and place it in a small bowl or cup.

Stir water into it to form a smooth paste. (I usually add the water to this small bowl of flour after I have cut in the lard, in order to keep it moist.)

Cut lard into the flour mixture in the first bowl with a pastry blender until the grain is the size of small peas. It works best when the lard is still chilled and not fully at room temperature.

Stir the flour paste into the dough. Work it with your hand until well incorporated and the dough forms a ball. It is important not to over work the dough or it will become tough.

Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

This recipe makes enough dough for a double crust pie.

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