Monday, October 14, 2019

Spinach Bacon Quiche with Tomatoes

I love a good quiche served anytime of the day. I came across this recipe originally posted by friend Sharon who is the author of the blog, Grits and Pinecones. Sharon and I have been friends since high school and she is an extremely accomplished cook and food blogger. She also has a weekly column in our local food section of our newspaper. I knew when I first read this recipe that it was definitely a keeper. I also knew that even Mr. Picky Eater would love it as well and that is often a real challenge.
I began by gathering my ingredients. I sliced the tomatoes, sprinkled a little salt on them, and set them on a doubled paper towel so some of the juices could be absorbed in the paper toweling. Just to ensure that there won't be any excess liquid.
In a separate container I whisked together all of my liquid ingredients with the salt and nutmeg.

In my opinion, the key to an excellent quiche is the cheese you use and if you want a tasty quiche don't skimp on the gruyere. Know the gruyere you are using, it can make
all the difference in the world for a tasty quiche. There are so many different levels of gruyere and the one I used was a little bit of a softer gruyere. It gave a creamier consistency to the quiche than any I had used before. Another thing I loved about this recipe was the use of the bacon. Oh my, who can argue with that, it just put it over the top for me.
Spinach Bacon Quiche with Tomatoes

1 pie crust, pre-baked deep dish (9-inch)
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 cups Gruyere, shredded
1 cup fresh baby spinach, stems removed and chopped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
4 large eggs
1 3/4 cups half-and-half
1/4 teaspoons nutmeg, freshly ground
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Blind bake the pie crust for 10 minutes using a parchment round in the bottom and add pie weights.  Cool completely and turn oven down to 375 degrees.

Combine the eggs, half-and-half, nutmeg, and salt in a medium size bowl and whisk with a wire whisk and set aside.

Place the chopped spinach and shredded cheese in the pie crust. Spread out evenly and sprinkle the sliced tomatoes over the top. Pour the egg mixture over the spinach, cheese and tomatoes. Top with the crumbled bacon and place the quiche on a rimmed baking sheet covered with aluminum foil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the filling is puffed and set.

Set baked quiche on a wire rack and cool briefly.

This quiche was amazingly delicious and pared well with a mixed green salad for a quick and easy dinner. I loved the use of the fresh baby spinach with the cherry tomatoes.
Try this, you won't be disappointed and you can click HERE to access other fabulous recipes shared at Grits and Pinecones.
This is a recipe that I will use over and over again and I am so glad to have it in my own repertoire. Thanks Sharon for sharing this wonderful recipe.
 Enjoy your afternoon to all, Carolyn

Friday, October 4, 2019

Leek and Asparagus Soup

I'm in the mood for soup most any time of year and especially now that we are anticipating Fall, a key word, anticipating. We are experiencing a heat wave at the moment but no matter I dearly LOVE an asparagus soup and I prepare it year round. It can be served warm, room temperature or cold. Here in N FL we are fortunate to be able to get asparagus year round and an Asparagus Soup is one of my favorite soups. I have tried many variations of an Asparagus Soup and this recipe is a combination of all the things I most liked of all those soups I have tried over the years. I think I have come up with an amazing soup in my humble opinion.

Gathering all of the ingredients before hand is a MUST. I dearly love the use of leeks, they are so much milder than onions and the lemon gives this soup an added freshness. Of course, I always enjoy using fresh herbs from my Herb Garden and a bouquet of fresh lemon thyme tied together in a bundle is perfect for this soup. If I don't have homemade chicken stock this one in the background is perhaps my most favorite. I have tried them all and have found this brand to come the closest to homemade.
Begin by sautéing the prepared leeks on medium heat, just long enough to wilt them, add in the garlic for only about a minute. You don't want to burn the garlic so I usually turn my heat down just a bit.

Add the prepped asparagus and thyme bundle for a couple of minutes and then add in your chicken stock, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes until the asparagus are very tender. Let the soup cool slightly and blend thoroughly with an immersion blender.
The smell is heavenly. Often you will see a recipe that tells you to put it through a sieve before serving but I like this texture. It's a matter of personal preference. If you don't have an immersion blender then you can use a regular blender in batches. Being careful, of course, not to burn your self. One other thing that was very appealing to me is that I used no cream. Instead I used Parmigiona-Reggiano and I did not miss the cream at all, it was a delight.
Leek and Asparagus Soup
2 bunches asparagus (about 2-pounds), bottoms trimmed and chopped
1 large leek, white portion only, thoroughly washed, halved and chopped
2 Thyme sprigs, tied in a bundle
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 cups a good chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiona-Reggiano
Black Truffle Oil
Fresh thyme and/or croutons (whichever you desire)
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks stirring until softened. Lower the heat and add the garlic watching carefully that the garlic does not burn. Add in the chopped asparagus pieces, thyme sprigs, salt and pepper to taste and cook stirring for 5 minutes. Add the 6 cups of broth and simmer, covered, until the asparagus are very tender, simmer for 30 minutes.
Purée the soup with an immersion blender until completely smooth. Bring the soup back to a simmer and stir in the lemon juice and Parmigiona-Reggiano. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Ladle the soup into bowls, top each bowl with a drizzle of black truffle oil and a few sprinkles of fresh thyme if desired or croutons.
In my opinion the black truffle oil puts this soup over the top, restaurant quality. It's keeps in the refrigerator for several days and I love warming it for lunch. I am addicted to this soup.
I hope you'll try it, I feel certain you won't be disappointed if you like asparagus as much as I do.
Enjoy your weekend, thank you for dropping by and I do love it when you leave a comment.