Leek and Potato Quiche

I’m breaking my own rule by not posting a photo, but I don’t want to write out the recipe by hand only to misplace it. So, I intend to rectify the situation next time I make this and squeeze the photo in here. In the meantime, here’s the recipe.

Note: The milk and cheese can be omitted to produce a dairy-free quiche, which would still be tasty.

Recipe from: me

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed
  • 1 leek, sliced, rinsed, and strained
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. terragon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 c. parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 6 eggs

Directions:

Thinly slice the unpeeled potatoes using a mandolin. Lightly salt the potatoes and the leeks and saute briefly in a cast iron skillet in a tsp. of butter. Mince the garlic and stir it in, allowing to cook for an additional minute. The potatoes should be just a tiny bit firm (ere on the side of caution–it’s better to overcook them than undercook them). Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the tarrgon, salt, pepper, and parmesan. Stir briefly. Add the eggs and milk, then lightly beat until the whites and yolks are fully combined. Pour on top of the potatoes and leeks. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

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Secret-Ingredient Chocolate Pudding

IMG_3126

Recipe from: me

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes. It makes a decadent breakfast or a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up, and it’s easy. It tastes creamy and luxurious and indulgent, and yet… it’s actually healthy for you as well as low-glycemic.

There is one little catch though, and that’s the secret ingredient. I wish I could make you taste it before I unveil this ingredient to avoid bias. See, the first time I made this I was doing it as a favor for my mom, and I was certain it would be absolutely nasty. But I tasted a little bite, and the rest is history.

So what is this mystery ingredient? Avocado. Seriously, just try it.

Ingredients: (all measurements approximate)

  • 1 just-ripe avocado, chilled in the refrigerator for several hours (you don’t want it firm, but if you wait until it is too soft the flavor tends to be more potent)
  • 1/2 c. coconut milk, chilled (for 100% raw, make your own by blending coconut meat and coconut water in a high-power blender)
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c. coconut sugar (can use agave nectar instead, or xylitol for the yeast cleanse diet)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • fresh berries for garnish

Directions:

Slice the avocado in half and carefully remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh into a blender. Add a little of the coconut milk– just enough to cover the blade of the blender. Puree the avocado until smooth and creamy with no lumps (this will take longer the less ripe the avocado). Add additional coconut milk as needed to help the blender run smoothly. However, adding too much at once can make it much more difficult for the blender to catch all the lumps in the avocado.

Now, spoon in the cocoa powder and coconut sugar, the vanilla, and the remainder of the coconut milk. (I sometimes add more coconut milk to make the consistency more milkshake-like instead of pudding-like. I recommend doing this the first time if you’re squeamish about the avocado, since the flavor of the coconut helps to conceal the flavor of the avocado.)

Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust cocoa powder and sweetner to desired chocolateyness and sweetness. Spoon into a glass or bowl and chill for 1/2 hour to an hour. (I skip that step, teehee)

I like to garnish mine with fresh berries and mint leaves if I have them. Bon appetite!

Butternut and Caulflower Soup

Butternut Squash Soup 2

Recipe from: me

This soup is so buttery and smooth, yet extremely low in fat. A rare find indeed! I loved it exactly as it came out, yet I still intend to play around with it and find other tasty versions. I’d like to omit the rosemary (which I overuse with squash and sweet potato recipes) and try some other things. Leeks? Red pepper flakes? Thyme? Sage? Oregano? Curry powder? Coriander seeds? And maybe add some more veggies in addition to the cauliflower, like peas or chunks of zucchini or other squash or parsnips or turnips. I love messing around with things.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp. Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute
  • 2 1/2 cups water, more or less

Directions:

Rinse, cut, and steam cauliflower. Set aside.

Saute the onion in a small saucepan. When it starts to become translucent, squeeze the garlic through a press and cook for one additional minute. Add the onion and garlic along with 1/2 cup water to a blender and puree. Return the the saucepan. Add the butternut squash and seasonings, along with water until the desired thickness is obtained. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low and add the cauliflower. Taste to check seasonings; refine if necessary. Simmer for several minutes or as long as is convenient.

Serve and enjoy.

Pumpkin Soup

This one is weird, because it was strange and exotic at the same time as tricking you into thinking it was comforting and familiar. I wasn’t sure I truly liked it, though. I think it was the cream. Maybe next time I can use almond milk instead, or just leave it out altogether.

Here is the basic flavor palette I worked with:

  • canned pumpkin
  • Rachel Ray chicken stock
  • onion
  • garlic
  • thyme
  • bay leaf
  • salt & pepper
  • cream
  • pepitas

Gives me something to work with and refine next pumpkin season.

Really Good Apple Butter

Recipe from: Changing My Destiny, altered by me

I am delighted to live only a couple miles away from a very sweet older gentlemen who runs his own orchard. Every fall I make it a point to drop by at least once to pick apples. In my desire to consecrate these handpicked apples to a special autumny use, I made a batch of this crockpot apple butter. It was amazing, and I mean a-mazing. Melt-in-your-mouth marvelous.

Ingredients:

  • 12 or so assorted apples, at least 50% granny smith
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. coconut sugar ( or 1/4 c. brown sugar)

Directions:

Peel and dice the apples, then place them in a crockpot. Add the water, butter and spices. Set aside the coconut sugar for now, unless you’re using brown sugar instead, in which case, add it now.

Turn the crockpot on high for 5 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Turn off the crockpot and remove the lid to let cool for an hour. Your house will smell absolutely incredible. When the mixture is still warm but not hot, pour it (with the coconut sugar, if using) into a vitamix or other high-power blender. Blend on high until very smooth and creamy.

Serve on vanilla ice cream, pancakes, oatmeal,  yogurt with granola, scones, crackers, or, if you’re like me, just dig into it as is. Yum.

Smoky Lentil Soup

This soup is really yummy, but it definitely needs time for the flavors to meld so it’s better to make ahead and save for the next day.

Recipe from: William’s Sonoma

Ingredients: (Measurements modified to serve 8)

  • 1 pkg. bacon, cut into small chunks and cooked
  • 2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, rinsed and sliced
  • 2 medium stalks of celery, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 c. canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 c. red lentils, sorted and soaked for 5-8 hours
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. salt + more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • sour cream for garnish

Directions:

see Williams Sonoma link above

Sausage, Spinach, and Swiss Casserole

This casserole is tasty and hearty and feels like good old fashioned home cooking.

Recipe from: me

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs hot Italian turkey sausage
  • 10 medium russet potatoes
  • 2-3 tbsp. butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pkg. frozen spinach
  • 8 slices swiss cheese
  • 1 c. chicken broth ??? (the jury’s still out on that one)

Directions:

Scrub your potatoes squeaky clean and cut into 1 in. cubes, skin on. Saute them in butter and salt and pepper to taste, until they become brown and crispy. Place in a very large mixing bowl

Meanwhile, squeeze the sausage out of its casings and brown. Drain sausage and empty into the bowl with the potatoes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Saute the onion in butter until translucent. Add garlic and cook an additional minute. Add to potato and sausage bowl. Smash the frozen spinach package against the counter to loosen, then break any very large chunks up with your fingers, feeling through the bag. Empty the spinach into the mixing bowl with everything else. Stir everything until well combined, then pour out into a very large, greased casserole dish. (Possibly add chicken broth at this point. I did this past time and it didn’t fully absorb, so in the future I’d experiment with leaving it out altogether.)

Top the mixture with all of the swiss cheese slices, then place in the oven and bake 25 min. or until golden brown.