Snow Day Kitchen Experiments: Quiche with Cauliflower Crust

snow

I must admit that I am really tired of winter and snow.  However, having a snow day does give me time to be in the kitchen and make delicious food for my family.  Anita called me yesterday morning and said, “What are you cooking?”  It took me off guard because I didn’t think I was making any noise when I picked up the phone. I said, “why do you think that I am cooking?”  She said, “because what else would you be doing on a day like today!”  I guess she really does know me.  Sisters!  So, yes, yesterday I spent the morning in the kitchen, that is after I spent time shoveling!  I never plan for what I am going to cook, it is more likely that I open my refrigerator, see what is in there, and then decide.  There was a beautiful cauliflower staring me in the face when I opened the refrigerator door, so I was inspired to try a recipe that I have seen floating around – quiche made with a cauliflower crust.  I love to make quiche ever since I got back from living in France.  Honestly it is more like a vegetable tart than a true quiche, but I find them easy to make and nice to have around for a breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

The other thing that I must admit is that I have a difficult time following a recipe.  I will often look at the recipe and follow some or most of it, but generally I am always thinking, even before I make a recipe for the first time, how I can change it.  So the cauliflower crust was no different.  The recipe called for placing the cauliflower in a food processor, pulsing it until it resembled a fine crumb, then cooking it, and finally squeezing out all of the water so that it would resemble flour.  So as long as I am confessing things, I will also say that I am often looking for shortcuts.  These directions just seemed too labor intensive, so I changed them.

cauliflower

The crust

I used a medium sized head of cauliflower and pulsed it in my food processor until it resembled course crumbs.  Here is where I deviated the recipe.  I did not want to cook the cauliflower with water only to squeeze it out again, so I sprayed a shallow tray with olive oil and roasted the cauliflower at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes, until they were slightly browned and soft.

crust

I placed the crumbs back in the food processor without squeezing out any water, because they were pretty dry from the roasting, added an egg and some salt and spices and turned it on to mix everything together.

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I sprayed my pie plate with olive oil and pressed the crust into the pan.

crust2

I decided to precook the crust so that it would not be too soft when I added the vegetables and the eggs. I put it back in the 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes.

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You can see that it was just slightly browned.  While the crust was cooking, I started to cook my vegetables.  My favorite quiche is leek and onion.  However, yesterday I only had one leek so I added asparagus as well.  Basically I chop my vegetables and cook them in a pan with olive oil until they are soft.  I usually lightly salt them as they are cooking.  When they are cooked I place them in the crust.

quiche

I usually fill the crust almost to the top with vegetables.  I will then add 4-5 eggs depending upon how many vegetables are in the crust.  If it is filled to the top, I will only use 4 eggs.  I did not have as many vegetables in this crust, so I used 5 eggs.  I beat the eggs and added some non-dairy milk with salt and herbs.  My secret ingredient is Herbamare.  It is a salt substitute that I think makes all the difference. I often add a non-dairy cheese but I did not have any yesterday so it was just plain vegetables.

quiche21

I put the quiche back in the oven at 375 degrees F and cooked it until it was brown on top and it puffed up in the middle.  It could take 30-40 minutes.  My quiches are not an exact science but that’s what makes them easy.  You can add any vegetables, any meat, any cheese, you can be as creative as you want, and they will still be delicious!

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The edges on the quiche were a little darker than I normally would like but they were not burnt so I was fine.  It is best to let the quiche cool down slightly before you serve it.  It will collapse down, that is normal.  Cut and serve with a salad and you have a great dinner.  Tomorrow morning you have breakfast and the next day you have lunch.  Enjoy!

slice

 

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Spring Time Recipes for the Wood Element

Spring is a time of growth, when the shoots that have been sleeping all winter, begin to awaken. In order for those shoots to survive, they must have within them the ability to bend and stay supple. Any rigidity in the plant will cause the new growth to break off and die. The wood element gives us the flexibility in life to grow, but if we hold on too tightly and become rigid, nothing happens. The liver and the gallbladder are the organs associated with the wood element. We must feed them the right food in order for them to stay in balance. In winter, our food was heavy and warm, in spring we begin to lighten up, and may even fast on occasion to get rid of the excess baggage of winter.

The color of wood is green as I mentioned earlier, the odor is rancid, the sound is shouting, the emotion is anger and the taste or flavor is sour. You may notice in spring, the tendency towards irritation in yourself or in others. Choosing the appropriate foods can help to lighten your moods. There still tends to be a chill in the air during this time of year and it is therefore still appropriate to eat mainly cooked foods. The heavy oils and nuts of winter are replaced with spring greens, sprouts and fresh herbs and spices. Quickly sautéing food or lightly steaming is the preferred method of cooking. Below you will find some recipes to help smooth the liver and aid in your personal spring growth.

Grilled Asparagus and Shitake over Pasta

*Depending on the variety, asparagus can be slightly warming in nature, with a bitter and mildly pungent flavor. It can help to reduce phlegm and mucus, which are often side effects of spring allergies. Shitake mushrooms strengthen, detoxify and restore. Another great addition to the diet if prone to allergies. The addition of the vinegar helps to energize liver meridian and aids in digestion.

1 1/2 Tbs. sesame oil
1 Tbs. fresh ginger
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2-c. shitake mushrooms
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1/4 c. tamari
1/4 c. parsley
1/4 c. pineapple juice
1 1/2 Tbs. maple syrup
1 pound asparagus spears
4 cups cooked pasta

     Heat oil in non-stick skillet. Add ginger, pepper, and garlic. Cook 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook for two minutes. Add vinegar, tamari, parsley, juice and maple syrup. Cook for 5 minutes and remove from heat.  Soak the asparagus in mushroom-vinegar for 5-10 minutes. Grill (or broil) the asparagus for 3 minutes. Place on pasta and top off with sauce.

Hummus

*Everyone has his or her own version of hummus. I like mine with lots of lemon and just a tad of garlic. Lemon is perfect for spring – with its sour flavor and acidic nature – it helps to support liver function. Parsley can also help to support the gallbladder by preventing gallstones.

2 c. chick peas
1-2 Tbs. tahini
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 c. fresh parsley
1/4 c. cooking liquid from beans or water to desired consistency

     Place cooked chickpeas in food processor or blender with tahini, salt, lemon, garlic, and olive oil; blend until smooth. Add cooking liquid from beans or a little water to get desired consistency. It will store well in the refrigerator for at least one week.

Carrot Salad

*This salad is great as a starter to a meal. The carrots help to smooth the liver and the green apple aids in the cleansing of the liver and gallbladder and can help to soften gallstones.

1 clove garlic, minced                                     3 Tbs. minced fresh parsley
1/8 tsp. pepper                                                 3 large carrots, coarsely shredded
1 Tbs. lemon juice                                           2 Tbs. olive oil
1 green apple, chopped                                   1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard to dressing

     Combine dressing ingredients.  Add parsley and carrots. Mix well.

Detox Lemonade

*If you are feeling a little congested from the heavy winter foods, try a simple fast or add this detoxifying lemonade into your diet. Remember to lighten up on your foods at the same time for a more beneficial cleanse.

1 lemon, juiced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp. maple syrup or small amount of stevia
8 oz. water

            Mix above ingredients together and drink. Use as few or as many glasses per day as you want. Recommended dosage: one glass before each meal.

 

Kitchen Experiments – Rice Pasta with Tofu Pesto Sauce

Sometimes when I am thinking about what to make for dinner, I will remember a recipe that I have not made in a long time and if I am lucky, the recipe will actually fit in with our Alcat diet plan.

Well, I was lucky this week!  Years ago my brother Gregory made up this recipe using tofu, basil and miso – he called it a tofu pesto!  I remember him making it that first time – it was so creamy and delicious.  He served it over rice with big broccoli spears.  I always thought of it like a pesto alfredo sauce.  Well, however you want to think about it, it is just plain delicious!

pesto

I had since found a similar recipe in my Ayurvedic cookbook and had used it in the past.  With a little tweaking this go round, it fit perfectly into our daily plan. I love when something comes together so brilliantly!  My pesto sauce contained silken tofu, basil, miso, homemade walnut, sunflower, hazelnut butter, tamari and water.  That’s it!  I served it over rice pasta with mushrooms and asparagus!  I can’t wait to make it again!