Saturday, October 22, 2011

Gluten-free Swiss chard and Mushroom Quiche

I normally enjoy the things I cook. And normally they come out about how I would have expected. But rarely am I ever as surprised as I was when I tried my first fresh-out-of-the-oven bite of this quiche.

It all started with an overload of vegetables. They desperately needed to be made into something more exciting than a soup or puree. A quiche, I thought. And then I realized that if I was making a quiche, I would need to make a pastry crust. And with that pastry crust I could make a little extra to make a mini sweet potato pie from leftover sweet potato wedges. And then it was a done deal.

The pastry crust was a simple combination of butter, corn flour, a bit of water, and a bit of rum. (The alcohol in the rum evaporates, leaving the crust nice and flaky.) It's the same that I used for the Gluten-free empanadas (, minus the sugar and plus the rum.

Then I sauteed, each separately, and in a generous amount of olive oil:
1 large onion (sauteed for a lonnnng time, letting the onion become sweet and caramelized)
Lots of Swiss chard, ripped into pieces, with the stalks removed
Lots of sliced mushrooms

I threw in a bit of salt and pepper to help them gather up some flavor while they cooked.

We had a lot of vegetables, and so I used them all, which produced a extremely veggie-laden quiche. By varying the amount of vegetables you put in, you can completely change the taste and texture. (Less vegetables, you notice the egg more (reminds me of a Spanish omelet), more vegetables and it feels less eggy.)

Then the cheese. I always feel like quiches don't have as much cheese as I want them to, and the cheese helps all the flavors wake up. So I grated a generous amount of Gouda and Parmesan.

Finally, the egg mixture. I whisked together until foamy:
5 eggs
A good amount (a cup or so?) of cream
Spot of olive oil

Then it all came together. First I pressed the crust into the baking dish, poking holes in the bottom and sides with a fork. Then I laid out the onions in a thin bottom layer. Next I mixed the mushrooms, Swiss chard, and cheese into the egg mixture, and all that happy eggy-cheesy-veggie goodness filled up the dish.

Into the pre-heated oven: about 200 Celsius for 30 minutes.

And the result, like I said, was surprising. I hadn't made a quiche in years, and consulted a couple internet recipes for a general idea of proportions. Of course, in the end I just threw things together and did it how I wanted to. But this quiche was something else. It got me so excited that I was talking about it in each Skype conversation I had that day and the next.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Gluten-free Lemon Avocado Cookies

For a lack of a nail, the horse lost the shoe... and down the line the whole war was lost. But sometimes lack can lead to invention which yields a far more exciting result. Were it not for a lack of egg, these would have been ordinary gluten-free lemon cookies, too plain to feature on my blog.

But due to some benevolent force, when I had my cookie craving and meandered into the kitchen to figure out what I could make, there were no eggs in the refrigerator. But I was determined to make cookies. I considered that many vegan cookie recipes call for banana instead of egg...but no banana. What did we have that had a similar consistency? Avocados. And so, lemon-avocado cookies were born.

First I blended:
1-2 avocado
Splash of milk

This made a nice, sweet, buttery avocado-butter. Depending on how ripe your avocados are, the milk may or may not be necessary. Mine weren't really quite ripe enough. I also tried to balance the sugar with the lemon juice. If you want a cookie that's not too lemony, just grate the rind into the butter mixture. If you want a bit of lemon punch, then add the juice too.

Then I mixed the flour - a blend of rice flour, corn startch, and corn flour, and added a pinch of salt and a bit of ground ginger. Then I mixed the flour into the butter mixture.

I spooned the cookies onto a greased cookie sheet and baked them at 200 C for about 10 minutes. I tried different sizes - having some rounds that were larger cookies, some that were smaller. The smaller ones are better, especially for tea.