Monday, June 6, 2011

Grow Your Food

Recipe: Farmer's Market Quiche

Farmer's Market Quiche
I planted my first garden a few weeks ago. Well technically not my first garden. I had an herb garden last summer, which did pretty well considering my thumb's serious lack of green. But that little garden was composed of planters and starter plants so I didn't have to think so hard about it. This year I actually dug soil out of the ground and threw some seeds in there and hoped for the best. Thank god it was such a cold spring, because I started digging a little late. Anyways, the seeds have been in gestation for a few weeks now and I can actually watch the progress. My carrots are doing the best but I have yet to see progress from my beets or the spring mix.

Fresh picked vegetables are my ultimate choice for eating. Lettuce will never taste as tender, carrots will never be as sweet. The longer the veggie is out of the ground worse the taste gets. Not that store bought vegetables are bad, but they are much much better fresh. I'm sure my carrots will turn out fine, but for the rest of my diet I will turn to the professionals. Which means, this summer I will be a frequent shopper at the farmer's market.

Purple and green asparagus and green garlic
I especially love the Green City Market because of the variety and quality of the produce and the great artisan products for sale. That is not the say that the other markets around town don't have the same stuff, but the first time I saw a purple carrot or radish with a tie-dye design was at the Green City Market. It's so much fun to wander around and look at all the familiar and rare produce. I get more inspiration from the veggies at the farmer's market than I do anywhere else. It refreshes my point of view and I get a jolt of creativity any time I shop there.

The last time I went I picked up some beautiful and tender purple asparagus, fresh and crinkly spinach, and fragrant green garlic. I had no idea what I was going to make, until I brought it home and examined my bags. In the end I decided to make a quiche. It seemed like the perfect way to join the three ingredients in a way that allows their flavor to shine.

Farmer's Market Quiche

For the crust:
6 oz flour
3/4 tsp salt
3 oz chilled butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg
2 tsp water

1. Preheat oven to 350. Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add butter and rub into the flour using your fingertips. Mix together until the flour looks like breadcrumbs. Make a well in the center.
2. Whisk eggs and water together. Pour in the middle of the flour mixture. Mix together to form a soft dough, working from the inside of the well outward.
3. After the dough has just come together place on a floured surface and lightly kneed the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes before using.

Slicing up green garlic
For the filling:
4 (or about 2 cups) eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
4 stalks asparagus, green or purple or both, sliced into 1" pieces and blanched
Good handful of spinach
1 stalk green garlic, minced
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

1. Roll out dough to 1/4" thickness. Place in a greased pie pan (about 9" in diameter). Trim off extra dough from edge. Crimp edge of dough and place in oven. Par cook for about 10 minutes.
2.  Turn oven down to 300. Whisk eggs, cream, milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper together until fully mixed. You can use a blender for this if you choose. Lightly saute green garlic in olive oil in a small pan. Arrange asparagus, spinach, garlic and cheese in par-cooked dough. Pour quiche mixture over the vegetable mixture.
3. Place quiche in oven and cook until eggs have set, about 30 minutes. To test place a small skewer or toothpick in the center of the quiche. If it comes out clean, the quiche is done. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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