Friday, June 24, 2011

Crazy Quick Quiche

I have a stash of versatile BASIC recipes that are quick and easy, and most importantly, ADAPTABLE. This Crazy Quick Quiche is actually a savoury tart masquerading as a quiche.

Remember, as the Queen of Leftovers, I absolutely adore any recipe that uses up those little bits of meat or vegetables that are lurking in the fridge, or a recipe that successfully handles a glut of vegetables from the garden, and this is one of them. This is creative cooking at it's best. The art is in finding the tastiest combinations of ingredients. I go by the philosophy of FOOD FAMILIES. There are just some foods that are meant to be put together -

like chicken and broccoli ,
or how about butternut, feta and toasted sunflower seeds,
or straight sweetcorn and tuna,
or even bacon, mushrooms and tomato with italian herbs,
or pumpkin, walnuts and leeks,
or what about olives, tomato and pesto,
or bacon, peas and potato,
or try going mexican with cooked beans, green pepper, tomato, chili, cumin and oregano
or standard spinach and feta with a sprinkling of nutmeg...

... the combinations are as endless as your imagination.

Today I am using broccoli, sweetcorn and sliced jerusalem artichokes. I often only use vegetables in my quiche as there is already plenty of protein in the meal thanks to the eggs and cheese. This saves any leftover meat for another meal. Yep, Elastic Mom streeeeeeeeetching those resources again.

Another flavourful idea is to shake up some milk in an almost empty jar of chutney, mayonnaise or relish  and use it in this recipe. This uses up every last tasty drop from the jar, making washing up easier,  and adds zing to your quiche. Today I cleaned out a yummy jar of coriander chutney.

Heat the oven  to 180"C or 350'F depending on where you live.
Take a casserole dish and grease it well.
Fry up an onion and put it in the bottom of your dish.
Cover the onion with your exciting combination of chopped vegetables - fresh or cooked.
broccoli /sweetcorn/ spinach / mushrooms, asparagus / butternut / potato / tomato ....etc.
Add in any bits of meat - bacon / chicken / tuna / nuts or whatever takes your fancy.
Sprinkle grated tasty cheese over the top.

In a separate bowl whisk together:

6 eggs
1/2 cup flour
2 t mustard - powder or paste
1/2 t salt
2 c milk (sour milk will also do, as will leftover yoghurt, buttermilk or cream.)
1/3 c oil
some herbs or spices to compliment your tasty combo.

Pour this mixture over your veggie combo.

Bake until set and golden. Serve hot or cold with some bread or potatoes on the side and a fresh salad or cooked vegetables depending on the weather.

I hope you enjoy giving this recipe a try. Keep a lookout for more of my BACK TO BASICS recipes over the next while.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Crying Over Spoiled Milk?

When the milk starts to smell a little on the sour side, do you pour it down the sink? Do you feed it to your dog? Well, in the spirit of Elastic Mom stretching precious resources, here are some excellent sour milk user-upper ideas:

Bake it into anything.... cakes, breads, puddings, muffins and whatever else you can think of. I most often substitute it for yoghurt in my basic bread recipe. Or how about some bread and butter pudding. Spread slices of bread with butter and jam and arrange them in a baking dish. Beat the milk with some eggs and sugar. Pour this over the bread and leave to soak for a good hour or so. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake until puffed and golden. Yummy.

Instead of serving the baked or roast potatoes you had planned to make for dinner, mash them up with the sour milk, a bit of butter, crushed garlic and some seasoning.

Warm your family's tummies with a nourishing soup made with whatever meat and veggies you have, and of course that darned milk. How about making a basic white sauce with it and then adding fried onions, some stock, sweetcorn and tuna or chicken. Topped with cheese it makes for a delicious chowder.

Speaking of white sauce. Any slightly soured milk makes great cheese sauce for pasta dishes.

Serve oats porridge cooked up with half water, half milk ( the one you're getting rid of), some raisins, a cinnamon stick, grated apple, and nuts if you like. Served with honey on top your family will think you are spoiling them and not realize you're really swindling them.

As the cliché goes: Prevention is better than cure. USE IT BEFORE YOU LOSE IT.  If I have vast quantities of milk that is not being used up fast enough, then I try to make yoghurt with it before it goes sour. Otherwise, I plan a dessert that needs generous helpings of custard. And then there is always milk tart - a traditional South African Dessert - baked custard flavoured with cinnamon.

I could carry on until the cows come home. Speaking of cows. What do you do with your leftover milk?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thanks Aesop

All Summer and Autumn long, as I busily scurried harvesting, jamming, pickling and preserving, stocking up for Winter, I was spurred on by Aesop's ant who was wiser than the grasshopper. She made the most of the harvest and smiled through Winter, while the fun-loving grasshopper played the Summer away.

Now, as my frosted vegetable patch is yielding just a few salad leaves, some herbs, a few radishes and carrots, I too am smiling. A lot of our current meals are painless and fast, the nearest thing to take-aways around here. I just defrost a tub of broccoli soup base and fiddle it a bit for a delicious meal, thaw some tomato sauce for a pasta dish, spread sweet jam onto hot scones, slap some delicious pickles on a toasted cheese, toss some pesto into a salad, stir-fry an assortment of my prepared frozen veggies, or toss them under a chicken that is roasting...

 Today I am under the weather, mom-down in bed, yet there is plenty of food for my family thanks to the hard work during the warmer months. Last month I was also able to plan meals and feed my family for two weeks just using food that I had stored up in the freezer and pantry.

So this cold season is my chance for rest and comfort. I am settling into the rhythm of the climate here. I have picked up my crochet with renewed enthusiasm. This is a time for warm fires, stories and movies, creative hands and comfort food. What is more comforting than effortless, nourishing food on the table.

Lately I have even been seen soaking the occasional warm rays on my tiny patio as I read a magazine, cup of tea close at hand, kitty on my lap. Best of all, there is no guilt as I enjoy my rest. I darn well earned it.

So thank you Aesop for the motivation.