October 25, 2011

Bacon and Broccoli Quiche

A quiche seems like one of the quintessential French dishes adopted by American cuisine during the 20th century, savory cream and egg custard filling in an open face pastry crust. However pastries filled with savory custard date back to at the Romans and the term quiche comes from the German word kuchen for cake, as the modern idea of quiche came about in medieval German cuisine. Any number of different meat, cheese and vegetable variations may be made into a quiche, though bacon and cheese is especially classic given the popularity of quiche Lorraine. I am fond of quiches with vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, leek, onion or mushrooms in addition to desired meats and/or cheeses.

The bacon and broccoli can easily be substituted for any number of alternative meats, cheese or vegetables depending upon availability and personal preference.

1 c flour

½ c butter, cubed

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 tsp fresh herbs, finely chopped

cold water

3 eggs

1 c cream

1 head broccoli

2 strips bacon, thinly sliced

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1. Combine flour, salt, pepper and herbs in food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until well combined with flour. Add water 1 tbsp at a time while pulsing until flour mixture just begins to hold together. Remove from processor, form dough into ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

2. Place flattened dough in between two sheets of parchment paper and roll dough into a 12" circle. Place rolled dough on a 9" pie pan, gently press dough into the shape of the pan and form edge of dough as desired. Refrigerate the dough in the pie pan for 30 minutes before baking.

3. Place bacon in a medium frying pan over medium heat and brown bacon, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Once bacon has browned, combine bacon with broccoli and set aside. Whisk cream, eggs, salt and pepper until thoroughly combined and set aside.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pre-bake crust until set and lightly golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Once crust has set, remove from oven, leaving oven on. Arrange broccoli and bacon evenly along the bottom of the crust. Pour egg mixture over broccoli and bacon. Return quiche to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until firm and clean to a knife. Remove quiche from the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

5. Serve quiche warm, room temperature or chilled.

Makes one 9" quiche

October 19, 2011

Sprouted Lentils

As a child, my parents co-owned a small sprout business based in Montana and only recently have I revisited the culinary practice of sprouting seeds. Germinating seeds into sprouts for consumption, either raw or cooked, is most commonly known as sprouting. Sprouting has a long history of use among humans, recorded by Chinese physicians thousands of years ago; sprouting continues to be a popular culinary tool in present day societies. To sprout any seed, two basic steps need to be followed including soaking the seed in water for a period of time and draining the seed thus exposing the sprout to oxygen required for continued growth. Seeds germinate best at temperatures around 60-75 degrees out of direct sunlight. Different seeds have different soaking and draining requirements, depending upon the dormancy of each seed. Sprouted seeds are a versatile ingredient and may be consumed raw or cooked depending upon the seed sprouted and personal preference. For more information on sprouting any number of nuts, seeds and grains, visit sprout people.

½ c lentils


1 quart glass jar

cheese cloth

rubber band

1. Place the lentils in the quart glass jar. Add about 3 c water. Cover the opening of the container with cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band. Keep the container at room temperature out of direct sunlight. Soak the lentil for 8-10 hours.

2. Leaving the cheesecloth and rubber band intact, drain the lentils, thoroughly rinse them and drain again. Place the drained lentils at an upside down angle, to allow proper and thorough drainage (e.g. on an angled dish rack). Keep the upside down container at room temperature and out of direct sunlight for 24 hours, allowing the lentils to sprout.

3. Drained and mostly dry sprouted lentils may be kept in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

Makes about 1 c sprouted lentils

October 12, 2011

Potato Pancakes

Potatoes were most likely introduced to Europe by Spanish explorer during the 16th century, so potato pancakes were born after their introduction. Potato pancakes are a staple of many traditional European cuisines especially in Eastern and Northern Europe and one of my favorite ways to eat potatoes. The vegetable pancakes are made using any number of different ingredients depending upon the culinary tradition followed, though all contain either raw or pre-cooked potatoes. I love them because they are reminiscent of the hash browns I loved as a child and can be eaten warm, room temperature or chilled with any number of toppings. Potato pancakes are delicious served with dark greens including collard or kale and bacon braised chicken.

1 lb new potatoes, grated

1 yellow onion, trimmed and grated

2 scallions, finely sliced

1 stalk celery, finely sliced

1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

2 eggs

1 tsp starch, potato or corn

¼ tsp pepper

½ tsp salt

1-2 tbsp olive oil

1. Combine the grated potatoes and salt in a medium-mixing bowl, set potatoes aside for about 10-15 minutes. Drain liquid from potatoes by squeezing them and tightly wrapping them in a clean towel, removing as much excess water as possible. Return drained potatoes to original mixing bowl.

2. Next, combine the potatoes with the scallions, parsley, onions and celery. Add the eggs, starch and pepper and thoroughly combine with the vegetables creating the batter for the pancakes.

3. In a medium frying pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium-low heat. Place a tablespoon of batter in the pan, flatten into a pancake and fry each side until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Repeat process with remaining batter, adding additional oil as necessary.

4. Serve pancakes warm or room temperature, with sour cream or applesauce if desired.

Serves 3-4

October 6, 2011

Vegetarian Borscht

Beets were initially domesticated along the Mediterranean for their edible leaves and later for their sweet colorful roots. Though borscht may be served hot or cold, spelled any number of ways and made with a great variety of ingredients, the essential ingredient of borscht is beet. Borscht originated in Eastern Europe, likely in the Ukraine where the greatest number of variations on the soup are found and was predominately a peasant dish as beets were inexpensive. Eastern European and Middle Eastern immigrants introduced borscht into American cuisine and it continues to be a commonly served soup. Borscht is delicious served with a leek galette and arugula salad.

4 medium beets

2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

2 stalks celery, trimmed and roughly chopped

1 medium onion, trimmed and roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 sprig rosemary

1 sprig parsley

1 sprig oregano

3 tbsp butter

3-4 c water

salt and pepper

sour cream


1. In a large pot and steamer basket, steam beets until tender, 30-45 minutes. Peel beets while still warm and roughly chop. Set beets aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a large heavy bottomed pot, heat butter over medium low heat. Add onion, garlic, celery, carrot and herbs. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, 15-20 minutes.

3. Once vegetables are tender, add steamed beets and 3 c water. Return to a simmer, remove from heat and cool slightly. Using a blender, food processor or immersion blender, purée ingredients until smooth, adding additional water as desired.

4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add sour cream and fresh parsley as desired. Serve borscht warm, room temperature or chilled.

Serves 3-4