Friday, May 27, 2011

Spinach Mushroom Quiche

Quiche (pronounced Keesh) is a savoury, delicious egg filling baked in a pie crust. I used to make this very often and would use the store bought pre-made pie crusts which just need to be filled and baked - (Make sure there is no lard in the ingredients if you are vegetarian). But this time, I thought I'd try my hand at making the pie crust myself. It came together very easily I thought - the only mistake I made is that instead of weighing the crust down with some beans (in order to blind bake), I just decided to dock them (prick them) with a fork and that was not a good substitution apparently because it puffed up in some places. Otherwise this is an easy, delicious recipe.

Play around with the stuff you add to the quiche.. i stuck to spinach and mushroom and added a top layer of parmesan crusted tomatoes but you can add whatever floats your boat to get a different version each time.

SPINACH MUSHROOM QUICHE


INGREDIENTS:

For the Pie crust
All purpose flour - 1.25 cups
Cold Butter - 7 tbsp, cubed
Cold water - 2 to 3 tbsp
Salt - half tsp



For the Filling


Spinach - 3 to 4 cups, fresh leaves, chopped (or use frozen)
Fresh White Mushroom - 1 (8oz) pack, cleaned and sliced

Red onion - 1 medium, chopped
Garlic - 4 to 5 cloves, chopped
Red Chilli flakes - 1 tsp
Tomato slices - 5 (optional)
Eggs - 4
Milk - 1 cup (whole milk preferred)
Shredded Cheese - 1.25 cups (I used pepper jack)
Parmesan Cheese - 2 to 3 tbsp (optional)
Salt & Pepper - to taste
Nutmeg powder - 1/4 tsp
Dried Italian herbs - 1/2 tsp
Olive oil - 1 tbsp, divided

Method:
1) For the crust: I used my food processor. Combined the flour and salt. Make sure that the butter is super cold (put them in the freezer for about 10 mins) . Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add water a tablespoon at a time & continue pulsing until it just becomes to come together. Remove from the food processor, bring the dough together gently, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for atleast an hour.

For the filling:

2) Heat half tbsp olive oil in a pan, add garlic flakes and chopped onion with some red chilli flakes and saute till softened. . Add a pinch of salt and the chopped spinach at this time and cook until wilted.


3) Heat the remaining olive oil, add the sliced mushrooms and allow them to cook down without stirring too much. Flip and cook until browned with a bit of salt. Cooking them separately makes them nice and caramelized.


4) Beat the eggs in a bowl and whisk in the milk, nutmeg powder, salt & pepper to taste & dried italian herbs. Stir in the cooled down spinach mixture and the mushroom with about a cup of the shredded cheese.

5) Roll out the refrigerated pie crust to a thickness of 1/4 inch, to a circle slightly bigger than a pie pan. Transfer to the pie pan and crimp the edges... Blind bake this (Cover pie with parchment paper and add uncooked rice or dried beans to about 2/3rds - this will make sure that the crust doesn't puff up too much. Please note that the rice/beans cannot be cooked once used for blind baking, however it can be stored and re-used for blind baking at a later date) at 375 F for about 15 to 20 minutes or until half baked and not moist.



6) Allow to cool a bit and remove the beans or rice used. Now pour the egg-vegetable mixture to nearly the top. I added a layer of sliced tomatoes and sprinkled parmesan cheese on them. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of remaining shredded cheese uniformly over the quiche.


7) Return this to the preheated oven at 350F and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 15-20 minutes before slicing in.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Mother's Day Treat - Chocolate Pudding

Here's a super easy recipe that kids and dads can make as a treat on Mother's Day (or any other day for that matter). The first time I had chocolate pudding I loved it because it tasted like cool, melted chocolate.... so very luscious, silky and tasty... This recipe is an eggless one and comes together with simple ingredients... it's also comparitively lighter than most other desserts.. no eggs, cream, butter etc.

I followed this recipe but with some slight modifications. I started off with the double boiler method but lost patience after a while and switched to the stove top method... it still turned out good. Another important note is to not forget the salt (especially for chocolate based desserts) since it brings out their sweetness & flavour.

EGGLESS CHOCOLATE PUDDING


Ingredients:
Whole milk - 3 cups
Sugar - half cup
Cornstarch - 1/4 cup
Semi-sweet chocolate - 3/4 cup
Salt -1/8 tsp
Vanilla extract - 1/4 tsp

Method:
1) Dissolve the cornstarch completely in 1/4 cup cold milk and keep aside.


2) Heat the remaining milk in the microwave for about 3 to 4 minutes.


3) Set up a double boiler - I used 2 saucepans that sit on top of each other. To the lower pan, add water until it's about quarter of the pan, bring to a boil and keep the flame on medium. To the top pan, add the hot milk, the dissolved cornstarch, sugar & salt & continue stirring with a whisk.



4) Continue to cook this until it is thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon - this can take about 20 minutes using this method but ensure that the mixture does not get burnt.



5) Like I mentioned earlier, I lost my patience so after about 10 minutes or so, I removed the top sauce pan to the direct flame (on low) and it started to thicken in a few minutes.



6) Add the chocolate chips at this stage and continue whisking until the mixture turns dark brown and thickens. Immediately remove from the stove and stir in the vanilla extract.



7) Strain (to remove lumps, if any) & pour into invidual serving dishes and once cooled a bit, refrigerate for an hour or two until chilled.

Put your feet up, dig in & be transported to a blissful state....


Here's another picture after several tasty spoons... :)




Happy Mother's Day! My daughter wrote 2 poems for me and gave me a handpainted flower pot with a pretty red flowered plant :)