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Monday, January 27, 2014

Arugula and Mushroom Quiche with Almond Crust

I love a good quiche.  It's comforting.  It's versatile - you can really throw anything you have on hand in one.  So it's a great way to use up leftover produce - which means it's also a great way to eat your veggies.  It's not time-consuming to make.  It reheats fantastically.  I could probably come up with more reasons to love quiche, but I don't have all night..

I stumbled upon this recipe for a quiche with an almond crust and had to try it immediately since the one thing I dislike about quiche is that the crust is not really actually exactly sorta the absolute healthiest thing to consume.   It's got a ton of butter and white flour - yes it's delicious, but if it were healthier, I would eat it a hell of a lot more often and not feel any guilt doing so.  This almond crust is flourless and butterless, which made me extremely dubious.  Yet it was amazingly good.  I wouldn't change a thing and now I feel like I have license to eat quiche all the time because instead of butter and white flour, I'm consuming almonds and olive oil.  That's a pretty damn good trade and it doesn't sacrifice taste.  Hooray!

Arugula and Mushroom Quiche with Almond Crust
adapted from Cookie + Kate

 2 cups almond meal or almond flour (I used the Bob's Red Mill brand which called it meal/flour)
3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon water
3 cups baby arugula
1-1/2 cups cleaned and sliced Cremini mushrooms
olive oil
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 10-inch tart pan with cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, stir together the almond meal, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour in the olive oil and water and stir until the mixture is thoroughly combined.  Press the dough into your prepared pan until it is evenly dispersed across the bottom and up the sides (My crust only made it about 3/4 of the way up the sides and I was a little nervous the filling would overwhelm it, but it ending up working out perfectly.)  Prick the bottom of the crust a couple of times with a fork.  Bake until the crust is lightly golden and firm to the touch, about 18 to 20 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm enough olive oil to lightly coat the pan. Cook the mushrooms with some salt to taste, stirring often, until tender. Toss in the arugula and let it wilt, while stirring, about 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a plate to cool.  In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and red pepper. Stir in the goat cheese and the slightly cooled mushroom and arugula mixture.

Once the crust is done baking, pour in the egg mixture.  Using a fork, spread out the mushrooms and greens so they're evenly distributed over the crust and bake for 30 minutes, or until the center is firm to the touch and cooked through. 

Let the quiche cool for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Serve immediately.

Hyper Smash

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Homemade Whole Grain Tortillas

 Okay, so I haven't been able to stomach those supermarket tortillas in a very long time.  I've tried every brand imaginable, of all varieties - white, wheat, corn...They all smell funny to me.  Am I crazy???  Probably's probably from the chemicals and preservatives that go into them - how else could they have a shelf life of two months or more???  Well I haven't been able to get past it lately.  My repulsion has kind of escalated slowly, and although I can sorta stomach one particular brand of corn tortilla, it's merely a tolerance rather than actual enjoyment...and so with my disdain for the store-bought tortilla reaching an all time high, I finally made my own from scratch.  Now I really never want to eat a packaged tortilla ever again.

It was super easy...easier than any bread recipe I've every made.  It took 5 minutes to prepare the dough - no waiting, no resting - and 10 minutes to roll out and cook them.  The only annoyance was that I needed to lug out my big bad-ass of a baking board for such a short amount of time.  (First world problems, right?  Exactly my point.)  As you can see from my picture, I could not get them to be very circular...each tortilla took on a different shape...some were uglier than others, but even the ugly ones tasted delicious!  They may not have been much to look at (perhaps I will get better at it with practice), but regardless, it was 15 very well spent minutes invested in making a delicious and nutritious dinner.  I opted out of using lard (found in many tortilla recipes) and replaced half of the white flour with spelt flour (my favorite whole grain flour).  The result was a perfect tortilla.  I warmed up the leftover tortillas in a skillet the next day and they were just as delicious as the first day.  I will be attempting to freeze them in the future and will update with my results.  For now, these smell and taste uber-delicious and are worth every second of extra effort.

Whole Grain Tortillas
makes 8 medium sized tortillas
1 cup spelt flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil

Combine the flours, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Add the water and oil and mix with a fork until the dough can be formed into a cohesive mass.  Dump this out onto a floured work surface and knead a few times until it all comes together.  Divide into 8 equal balls.  One at a time, press each ball of dough down flat and roll out evenly just to the edges, turning it over a few times as you go.

Heat an ungreased skillet over medium-high heat.  Once the pan is hot, cook each tortilla for 45 on one side (it will be speckled with brown spots when it's ready to be flipped.)  Flip the tortilla and cook it for another 45 seconds (it will have larger brown splotches on this side when it's done.)

Remove each tortilla to a warm plate and keep covered with a dish towel so that they stay warm as you finish cooking.

The most amazing meal ever = these tortillas + this shredded beef + these pickled red onions and peppers.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Lighter Spinach Artichoke Dip

If I'm going to stuff my face with dip while watching a football game, I really prefer that it's packed with vegetables.  It makes me feel like I'm at least doing something nice for my body while I'm also enjoying a what appears to be a guilty pleasure.  This dip is not only packed with healthy spinach and artichokes, but it's also made with reduced fat cheeses and sour cream.  It's honestly the best spinach artichoke dip I've ever had.  It's better than anything I've ever had at a restaurant.  I omitted the mayo that most recipes seem to call for (not only because I hate mayo, but also because it doesn't seem to add anything other than extra oil).  I also went with scallions instead of the usual yellow onion and that seemed to add a nice touch.  Along with a combination of mozzarella, cheddar, and parmesan, this dip was amazingly flavorful and ridiculously delicious.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  I seriously can't wait to make it again.

1 bunch scallions, light green and white parts only, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 10-oz box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and water squeezed out completely
1 8-oz can artichoke hearts, rinsed and roughly chopped
4-oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (+ additional 2 Tbsp for the top)
1/4 cup shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar  (+ additional 2 Tbsp for the top)
2 Tbsp grated parmagiano reggiano (NOT the stuff from the green can)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
a few dashes of hot sauce

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  In a skillet over medium-low heat, cook the scallions until softened - about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.  In a large bowl, combine this scallion mixture with the rest of your ingredient.  Place the dip into a lightly greased baking dish and top with the reserved cheeses.  Bake covered for 20 minutes and then uncover it and broil for an additional 5 minutes so the cheese browns a bit.  Enjoy with some crusty bread or pita chips!

Hyper Smash

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Curried Lentil Soup

One day last year I came down with a stomach bug after having a delicious bowl of lentil soup.  I swear it had nothing to do with the was just terrible, terrible timing.  Since then, I have not wanted anything to do with lentil soup even though I truly do love a good bowl of lentil soup - so healthy and tasty.  In fact, this mushroom lentil soup is one of my favorites.  So in order to get over that bad and unfortunate association my brain is now making between pain and lentil soup, I need to make one with an entirely different flavor profile.  So goodbye mushrooms and thyme and hello curry and chickpeas!  This recipe did just the trick.  I made a few small changes.  I added a little bit of chicken broth for some more flavor and I halved the butter.  Other than that, it was perfection.  Adding pureed chickpeas to thicken it is genius.  You could easily make this vegan by replacing the butter and chicken broth with vegan alternatives.  I know I'm over the stomach bug connection because I didn't want to stop eating it and I just can't wait for lunch tomorrow.

Curried Lentil Soup
adapted slightly from Bon Appetit

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced and divided
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 cup green lentils, rinsed
4-1/4 cups of water
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 15.5 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and carrot and season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add half of chopped garlic and stir until vegetables are soft but not brown, about 4 minutes longer. Add the curry powder and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add lentils, 4 cups of the water, and the chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat and bring to a boil.  Then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes (taste them to make sure they are done - if they aren't, then let them go longer until they are).  Meanwhile, puree chickpeas, lemon juice, remaining 1/4 cup water, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and remaining garlic in a food processor.  Add this chickpea puree to the soup and stir until incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the butter.  Serve hot with some naan bread.