Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Farm Box Fun

At the home show about a month ago I signed up for delivery every other week of a box of fruits and veggies. The company is called Farm Fresh to You and they deliver from the Sacramento area. I will probably cancel once my own veggies start coming in, but for now it is encouraging me to eat more whole foods. The produce is wonderfully fresh, organic, abundant and delicious. Over the weekend I made both a veggie quiche and some chicken soup chock full of vegetables. Yesterday's lunch included a handful of small Nantes carrots. They were crisp and sweet and so good. Yesterday we enjoyed the broccoli from the box and tonight we are having stir-fry which will include some red peppers, onions, and asparagus, the latter two from the box. I've also been eating some very juicy tangerines from the box as well as navel oranges. We still are shopping at the market for our melons and garlic and potatoes, but it really is nice to have really fresh produce right on hand to inspire me.

Sweetie continues to heal and he and I have become very expert at doing the dressing changes. He still has about another 4 weeks before he can play tennis but we are grateful that he did no long-term damage.

Still playing with kitchen designs and researching appliances. Do any of you dear readers have experience with Samsung gas ranges or with their refrigerators or dishwashers? How about Bertazonni?

For now I'm having fun with my current kitchen and appliances. This baking spree over the weekend was the first time since mid-January that I really wanted to cook and bake. There will be a new bread showing up here on the 16th. I'm looking forward to playing with yeast dough again!

Here is the quiche recipe. It is just a variation of my usual one. If you use evaporated milk as I do, be sure to shake it well before opening. I forgot to do that this time and it took some doing to get it all mixed up in the bowl (which also had the eggs in it). I think this is the perfect quiche for the spring...savory, flaky, full of asparagus and onions and cheese. Now I want another slice...and it's all gone. It went so fast that I didn't really get great photos...but if you make one yourself you can see how beautiful it looks with the green asparagus spears on top.

Spring Quiche with Asparagus and Swiss Cheese and OnionServes 4 - 6

1 9-inch pie shell, blind baked at 425 degrees F for 10-12 minutes (recipe follows)
1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup Swiss cheese, cut into ¼ inch dice
3 eggs (or equivalent egg substitute)
1 ½ cups evaporated milk (I used non-fat) or light cream
¼ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
dash pepper
Dash nutmeg
2-3 spears asparagus, tough bottoms trimmed off and sliced in half through the length of the spear
1 - 2 large mushrooms, sliced thinly

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small skillet, saute the onion and celery in the olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring often.

Sprinkle the bottom of the pie shell with the sauteed onion/celery mixture and Swiss cheese, distributing evenly. Set aside.

In a bowl, beat the eggs lightly, then add the milk and beat with a fork to combine, add the salt, thyme, pepper and nutmeg and beat with a fork or whisk to combine.

Arrange the half asparagus spears in a nice pattern on top of the onions and cheese in the pie shell. Place the mushroom slices near them where space permits between the spears.

Pour the egg/milk mixture over the ingredients in the pie shell. Place in the preheated oven and bake 30-45 minutes, or until set and lightly browned. I find that setting on a parchment-lined small baking sheet is a good idea in case some of the filling spills over. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting to serve.

Pastry Pie Shell

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chilled butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons ice water
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender, or two knives, until particles the size of dried peas are formed.

In a small bowl mix together the egg, ice water and lemon juice (if using). Sprinkle over the flour mixture and toss with a fork lightly. Do not over mix. Gather the particles together in a ball. Wrap airtight and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. Roll out with a rolling pin on a floured surface until large enough to fill a 9 inch pie pan with some overlap.

Fit into a 9 inch pie pan, smooth to fit, trip excess , tuck edges under and crimp as for any pie crust. Prick lightly all over the surface with a fork. Freeze 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and cover with a circle of parchment paper or foil. Fill the paper with beans or pie weights (blind baking the crust).

Bake at 425 degrees F for 10 – 12 minutes. Cool slightly. Remove and save the beans or pie weights. Fill with filling as called for in recipes needing a pie shell.

Tip: If you use a pound of dried beans as pie weights as I do, save them once they have cooled off and you can use them again and again as pie weights...just don't plan on cooking them to eat. At about a dollar and a half for a bag of dried beans, it sure beats the almost $9 you would pay for Pie Weights from King Arthur or a similar amount at Sur la Table.


  1. How wonderful that there was no permanent damage in your man's recent accident. This is the best news.

    And your quiche looks brilliant! Local asparagus hasn't appeared here yet but we do have the most amazing eggs from friends who have a farm not far from here. Until the asparagus appears, we'll use your idea to add mushrooms.

  2. Amazing! Tennis! In a month, super good.

    And asparagus quiche, I just made one for the first time last weekend for company. Use quark in it which I'd never found here before ... not one photo did I take.