Yummy Bacon Quiche!

Quiche has sort of a clichéd reputation.  Something ladies eat for lunch. Something real men avoid.  A boring slice of eggy stuff. All NOT true. Well, except for it being a luncheon treat. I love a well crafted quiche. They can be pretty nasty though if not carefully made. I don’t want to go into negative details but what I aim for is a flaky crust, lots of fresh flavors and a creamy filling. I have an alternative crust if you are feeling lazy; you can butter the pie pan and lay down a single layer of buckwheat grouts (2/3 cup) and any left over go thinly over the first layer.  As it bakes they swell and create a sort of a crust. Nice, but today we are going for fantastic and that means real crust.  It is just like my fruit pie crust but minus the tablespoon of sugar.  You can use a store bought unbaked crust and no one will call you out.

To fill it I like mushroom slices, bacon and onions sautéed in the leftover bacon grease.   Totally yummy and a bit oinky especially when you add some cheese cubes. For this quiche I used fresh mushrooms which amped up the flavor quite a bit but generally the canned mushrooms are how I roll.

The egg/cheese part that holds it together; mine is a bit different than most. I use a mixture of cottage cheese, eggs and milk; blended in my blender. Easy peasy. I confess I never measure the cottage cheese but you might be more cautious so I gave an amount. My recipe adds cubes of cheese to amp up the cheese factor. I used Colby here but often I chose sharp cheddar, Swiss or Munster cheese.

If you are gluten free like me check the bacon package for a gf label as I have gotten quite ill from bacon that had gluten in it. I know…why would you put gluten in bacon? I guess it is in the brining solution? Or the spices?? No idea, but do be careful. I used four slices but if you are a bacon lover you could add two more slices and that will increase the pork factor a tad.

Sometimes I vary the filling a bit; sautéed chunks or slices of summer squash are nice.  Ham instead of bacon works nicely. Don’t use too much filling or it won’t hold together.

 

quiche sliceBacon and Mushroom Quiche  six servings

 Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 8-9 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of parchment or wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of parchment or wax paper and chill it all in your fridge for about 15 minutes. Make the filling while it chills.

Filling

4 slices gluten free bacon

1 small can mushroom slices or 1/3 lb fresh mushrooms

1 medium onion

1 ½ cup plain cottage cheese

3 eggs

1/3 cup whole milk or half and half

A chunk of bar cheese; about 2 inches of it: cheddar, Colby, muenster

Sprinkle thyme

Sprinkle paprika or smoked paprika

Filling preparation: cut the bacon into large dice; sauté in frying pan, stir often. Remove to a paper towel lined plate when nearly crisp.  Slice the onion in half rounds, not too thick and not thin and cook slowly in the bacon fat until soft but not browned; about 5-8 minutes.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain a bit.  If using canned mushrooms drain them. If fresh; slice and sauté  in a clean fry pan in about a tbsp of butter and a tbsp. of olive oil until fairly cooked; about 5 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. I use my bottom heat oven for this recipe to bake the crust nicely.

Put cottage cheese, eggs and milk in blender; put lid on. Blend 10-15 seconds or until well mixed.

quiche blender

Cut the cheese chunk into small cubes.

Assembly: Roll out the pie crust; fit into 9 inch pie pan. Flute or crimp the edge. If you don’t have a bottom heat oven bake it about 8 minutes before filling. Gently spread the onion then mushroom, then bacon on the raw or par-baked crust. Pour in the blender mixture. Spread evenly all the cheese cubes over the top. Sprinkle with just a bit of dried thyme and a touch of paprika.  Bake for 35-40 minutes until the center is just barely giggly when you bump it.  Cool at least 30 to 60 minutes before slicing. That is non negotiable; it will be a mess and not taste great if you cut it hot.

Keeps about 3 days in the fridge if it lasts that long; I cover it tightly with plastic wrap. To reheat, I warm a slice in the microwave about a minute until the cheese starts to bubble. Enjoy!

Leeks, Bacon, Creamy Sauce = Yummy

Lots of you probably have never ever eaten a leek.  You might not know what the heck it is.  Imagine an overgrown scallion with a mellow onion flavor.  It is a member of the allium family: more information can be found at this site: http://www.culinate.com/articles/culinate8/meet_the_alliums. Sold mostly in the fall and winter – as it takes a long time to grow one.  So now is the perfect time to try this great recipe which is built around the humble leek.  Generally the deep green leafy portions of a leek are not used.  I use the white and the lighter green. Leeks can be sandy or grimy; careful cleaning is critical. I rinse them a lot as I cut and pull off outer leaves. Cut off the root remnant and then slice into 1/3 inch slices. Discard the outer deep green leaves.  They are too tough and don’t have great flavor anyway.  I try to grow leeks but not too successfully as they seem rather too needy: long growing season, rich soil and lots of water all much required.  Buy them at a farm stand if possible; freshest source and probably cheaper. This recipe is the perfect way to introduce yourself to leeks; they will melt in your mouth and match perfectly with the creamy sauce and the bacon.

Anyway, enough of the wonder of leeks: this is a pasta sauce recipe too! Yes, the leeks are the predominant flavor but another major flavor is the Canadian bacon, you can use ham, prosciutto or thick cut bacon. I love it just as I made it with Canadian bacon; great flavor, easy to cut into strips and less fat than other choices.  Plus it was the only gluten free hammy choice I could find that day.  A lot of ham sold has gluten – used in the spices or the added liquids.  Annoying to have to read the labels of something you might think was naturally safe for celiacs like me.

I used penne as I was serving it to an elderly lady who couldn’t manage linguine or fettuccini as the original recipe suggested. Use whatever pasta floats your boat; the peas were cute as they stuck inside the pasta tubes so I think it worked great.  If you are not needing to eat gluten free use your favorite pasta by all means.

leeks with canadian bacon 003

Best quality Parmesan means it is a chunk you have to grate fresh; small grater side.  Jarred grated cheese will not do, this recipe depends on high quality ingredients to show off the delicate flavors it is chock full of. If you are a shroom hater; by all means leave them out but I loved the earthy meaty flavor contrasting against the cream and leeks. Can you tell I adore this dish? It is going to be a favorite of mine for sure.  The original recipe came from Epicurious but I jiggered it a bit with the peas and mushrooms and subbed in Canadian bacon for more fatty traditional bacon.

leeks with canadian bacon 008

Angie’s Leek and Bacon Sauce with Pasta

Ingredients

3 tbsp. EVOL

2 tbsp. butter

3 leeks cut crosswise into 1/3 inch rounds; white and pale green only

1 8 ounce package Canadian bacon cut across into 1/3 inch wide strips

6-8 oz fresh mushrooms sliced (not too thin)

¾ to 1 cup frozen tiny peas

2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves pulled off stems

¾ cup heavy cream

1 box gf penne or linguine (12 ounces)

¾ to 1 cup just finely grated good quality Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Start a big pot of water to boil for pasta, add salt.

Melt 1 tbsp. butter and 2 tbsp. EVOL, add the leeks, saute slowly until soft; may take 10 plus minutes. It should practically melt in your mouth. Set aside; can put them in a container and store in fridge a day or two.  If making dish right away, in a clean pan add rest of EVOL and rest of butter.  Add sliced mushrooms and saute until cooked fully, 5-8 minutes.  While that cooks make the pasta in that pot of boiling salted water.  Do not overcook; try to time it so it gets done when you add the peas to the dish. Reserve a cup of the pasta water for thinning the sauce. Add bacon, stir a couple minutes.  Add the peas and thyme. Stir well.  Add the cream, stir and when it is warm but not boiling add the leeks and the cooked pasta.  Stir well, add some of the pasta water, stir more to blend. Add enough water to make the sauce the thickness you desire; I didn’t need more than half the water but you know how you like your sauce. Taste and make sure your peas are done then add three fourths of the Parmesan cheese.  Serve the rest of the cheese to sprinkle on top.  Dive into leek and bacon loveliness!

Spaghetti Bacon Primavera, the Bacon Fest Continues!

The tomato season is winding down but I have a few around and I thought I would enjoy them with pasta at least once more.  This recipe is a blending of two different recipes from two different cookbooks. One is a pasta primavera which has a creamy tomato sauce and fresh veggies and the other is a classical pasta carbonara with bacon and parmesan cheese.  This is their offspring! Bacon primavera pasta, ta da!  I have made and love both recipes but I wanted to have all their flavors together in one dish so I threw this together earlier this summer for the first time. It turned really quite yummy.  I made it again tonight and my three year old grandson ate lots of it; he loves veggies.  It was just so tasty that I had to have seconds.  The photograph is of that second portion before I dove into its creamy, bacony goodness.

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So round up some garden veggies, a block of real Parmesan cheese, bacon and a decent box of spaghetti and whip this recipe up for a late summer treat. I used spaghetti but you could use any shape of pasta that floats your boat!  If you are a wheat lover this is easy to make with your standard pasta off the shelf.  Of course, I made it with GF pasta, Barilla to be exact and it really tasted like regular flour pasta when made with this sauce.

Spaghetti Bacon Primavera

Ingredients:

4 slices bacon, cut into ½ inch lengths

1 medium onion chopped

½-2/3 cup sliced yellow squash, 1/3-1/2 inch thick

½ to 2/3 cup sliced zucchini, same thickness

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 egg yolks

1 whole egg

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ lb GF spaghetti

1 tbsp. unsalted butter (optional)

Directions:

Heat a large pan of salted water and cook the pasta until just barely al dente, drain.  I do this cooking while I am cooking the veggies.

Saute the bacon in a large frying pan.  I used my mini wok which is great for many frying projects.  Cook while stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes until rendering the fat is well underway; say half done bacon.  Add the onion and continue cooking while it softens. Stir often. After 3-4 minutes add the two kinds of squash. If you couldn’t get yellow squash just green is okay.  Keep stirring!  Cook a few more minutes until the squash is close to done.  Stir in the tomato halves and cook 1 minute. Mix the cream, eggs and cheese in a bowl.  Add the hot pasta to the frying pan and dump in the liquid from the bowl, stirring well.  Turn off the heat as soon as you dump it in.  Add the tablespoon butter, some sea salt and freshly grated pepper and stir a bit more.  Serve immediately.  If you like to guild the lily top with a good sprinkle of more grated Parmesan cheese.

Last time I made it I used some sliced red bell pepper, sweet onion and green squash. Yes on tomatoes, no on bacon; vegetarian style for my god daughter.  It was good but I think I prefer the bacon version.  So it is totally up to you as to which version you prefer to create.  I have also made it with half and half instead of heavy cream; works pretty well too.  Last time I used 3 whole eggs as I didn’t want to waste the whites. I left out the butter this last time, forgot it; still good. I slightly overcooked my tomatoes in the latest version but they were tasty non-the-less. I think it is a very flexible recipe, just the kind I like!  Enjoy an easy to throw together late summer Italian veggie feast!