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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

Kitchen Experiments – Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Happy Birthday to me!  Yes, it was my birthday this past week, plus father’s day, plus my nephew’s graduation from high school, plus my niece’s graduation from 8th grade.  This gave me the perfect excuse to bake the carrot cake that I had made for my sister’s birthday. I told you about it in my last post, but I don’t think I mentioned how delicious it was!

If you know me at all, you can imagine how picky I am when it comes to my birthday dessert.  I think that I have been baking my own birthday desserts for years now, and actually I would not have it any other way!  You know, it has to be gluten-free, no white sugar, nothing too sweet, and it has to be healthy enough that I can eat it for breakfast!  I think that this carrot cake fits that description. Gluten free – yep, it is made with almond flour.  No white sugar – yep, I use the coconut nectar which has a very low glycemic load ( which basically means that the sugar is not absorbed quickly into your blood stream making it a good choice for pre-diabetics or diabetics).

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It is definitely not too sweet and with the addition of carrots and pecans, plus the almond flour and eggs, it is packed with protein plus it has some vegetables, which fits my description for a healthy breakfast! OK, not everyday, but on my birthday – you bet!

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Carrot Cake

3 c. almond flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 Tbs. cinnamon

¾ tsp. nutmeg

5 eggs

½ c. coconut nectar

¼ c. sunflower oil

2 c. grated carrots (about 3 medium carrots)

1 c. pecan pieces

1.       Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Prepare either 2 9” round cake pans or a 13”X9” baking pan with cooking spray.

2.       In a large bowl, mix together almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.

3.       In a separate bowl, beat eggs, coconut nectar, and oil.

4.       Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until combined.

5.       Add the carrots and pecan pieces to the batter and mix together.

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6.       Pour batter into pan(s).

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7.       Bake for 40 minutes.

8.       Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing.

carrot cake

9.       Cool to room temperature and spread with Coconut Cream Frosting.

10.   Serve and enjoy!

Coconut Cream Frosting

1 can Coconut Cream

2

2 tsp. maple syrup

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1.  Empty contents of coconut cream into a mixing bowl.

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2. Beat on high slowly adding the maple syrup and vanilla.

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3.  Beat for 2-3 minutes.  It should be light and fluffy at the end.

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Now, the best part … Slice the cake and enjoy!

cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Experiment – Lentil Loaf with Zucchini Latkes

I love it when you forget about something that you used to cook all the time and it suddenly pops into your head again! That is what happened the other night. We are still doing a 4 day rotation for the ALCAT diet and it was lentil night. Suddenly, lentil loaf popped into my head! I used to make it all of the time and it works for day 2 of my rotation. It is so easy to make and you can vary it depending upon which vegetables you have on hand. On our diet, day 2 is celery, scallions, and beet greens – so that is what I used. Prior to the diet I may have added onions or carrots and often spinach. I am not good at measuring so it is a recipe that you just have to eye. I used 1 cup of dry lentils and cooked them with 2 cups of water, oregano and a bay leaf. I often would could the vegetables right in with the lentils but I was running behind so I quickly threw the lentils in the pot and while they were cooking, sautéed the scallions, celery and beet greens in a separate pan. Once the lentils were cooked, I combined the lentils and vegetables in a large bowl and added rolled oats, 2 eggs, grated almond cheese and salt and pepper. I mix it all together and cooked it in my cast iron skillet. Usually, as the name implies, I would have cooked it in a bread pan, but I was in a rush and wanted it to cook a little faster. I placed it in a preheated 375 degree oven and baked it for about 30 minutes. In a loaf pan it probably would have taken about 45 minutes.

While that was cooking in the oven, I moved onto the zucchini latkes. I shredded 1 potato and 2 small zucchini and added them to a small colander. I added a little salt and let them sit for about 15 minutes. I squeezed out as much of the liquid as I could and then placed them in a bowl. I added 2 tablespoons of oat flour, 3 tablespoons of oat bran, along with salt, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and 2 eggs. I mixed it all together and heated my skillet over medium heat. I dropped the batter by the spoonfuls and cooked them for about 8-10 minutes, flipping them after about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, I quickly sautéed some shiitake mushrooms in a pan with some olive oil and added a little tamari for salt. I had a gravy in the freezer that I had defrosted and added to the shiitake mushrooms. And there was dinner!

lentil loaf Lentil Loaf with Shiitake Mushroom Gravy

latkes Zucchini Latkes

lentil and latkesDinner!

It was quite tasty! Until next time … Good Eating!