Archive for October, 2010

Caramelized Onion, Tomato, Basil, and Goat Cheese Quiche

October 22, 2010

Does it feel like Fall to all of you?  Yes, there are the pumpkin patches inviting everyone to make jack-o-lanterns.  And yes, pie recipes are featured in every cooking magazine.  And sure, you can feel the holiday season approaching.  But where I am, it’s 75 degrees.  The leaves are, well, green.  And wearing boots makes me feel a bit overheated.

I need the fall weather!  I need the crisp air and the chilly mornings and the smell of snow approaching.  I need that!  Mostly to justify making comforting fall foods.  Soup is calling my name!  I’ve had chili ingredients for a couple of weeks.  Sweet potatoes must be roasted.

So I did what anyone would do in this situation.  I pretended.  I turned on the AC and made what I believe is one of the coziest foods of the season: quiche.  Okay, arguably, quiche is summer food.  But let’s discuss.  A cheesy, savory, egg-based cream custard baked at high temperatures that you eat while still piping hot!  How can this be summer food??  Sure, it can use fresh herbs and vegetables that may only be available in the summer time, but quiche is cold-weather food at heart.  Believe it.

With this said, I used fresh basil and tomatoes in my quiche.  But, I had an excuse: I had a lovely gift of a a mixed herb bouquet with extremely fresh green and opal basil, so I had to use one of the greatest flavor combinations in history: tomato, basil, and goat cheese.  I am predicting that the thermostat will inspire more fall-like foods…and hoping that the outside temperatures will soon catch up.

Caramelized Onion, Tomato, Basil and Goat Cheese Quiche (adapted from every tomato-basil-goat cheese recipe that I’ve found)

This quiche is infinitely adaptable to anything that is readily available.  I used a store-bought crust for an extremely quick meal, but the crust used in the fig galette would be quite scrumptious with this filling.  Just press into a tart pan and omit the sugar.

Ingredients:

1 onion, sliced

1 tbsp. olive oil

4-5 basil leaves, sliced thinly

1 tomato, sliced

4 ounces herbed or plain goat cheese, crumbled

6 eggs

1/4 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup 2% milk

2 tbsp. parmesan cheese, shredded

salt and pepper, to taste

1 nine inch store bought or homemade crust

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat a pan over medium-low heat and add olive oil.  Once the oil is hot, add onions and slowly saute them until caramelized and light brown in color, about 20 minutes.  Add salt, to taste, and set aside.

2. Spread the onions onto the bottom of the crust.  Sprinkle basil leaves and goat cheese evenly over onions.  Arrange sliced tomatoes on top of the filling.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, cream and milk.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Carefully pour the egg mixture into crust. Sprinkle parmesan on top of the egg mixture.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Turn the oven up to 425.  Bake for an additional 15 minutes until the filling is set and browned on top.  Let rest and cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

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Fresh Apple Layer Cake

October 12, 2010

A game that I like to play with my Indian Gujarati grandmother is the “How do you say this in Gujarati” game.  It’s quite fun, actually.  I get to learn ridiculous Gujarati words that I would never use in everyday language, while simultaneously hangin’ out with my awesome g-ma.  A win, win.  One day, as we were playing and thinking of the most obscure words, I realized that I had no idea how to say the word “apple” in Gujarati.  How strange.  So I asked my grandmother for the translation.  She looked at me thoughtfully, slowly took a deep breath,  and deliberately said, “ap-ple.”

Oh.


This is when I had the apple epiphany: there is something so quintessentially American about apples.  Apple pie is served at Thanksgiving, the true American holiday.  State fair wouldn’t be complete without caramel apples, and apple bobbing is a real…American past time.  Okay, that may be a stretch.  But apples are ingrained in our American culture.  That’s why I’ve noticed that so many people have a family apple cake recipe that is passed down for generations that is made at just about this time every year.

I, however, do not have a family apple cake recipe for obvious reasons.  But after going apple picking and coming back with over 30 lbs. of apples (eh..oops), I realized that it is time for me to find one.  I wanted to make an apple cake that had an apple punch to it.  I do love cinnamon cakes with a slight addition of apples, but I wanted something to really bring out the apple flavor.  With five sliced apples, this recipe was perfect – amazingly moist and deliciously spiced with a lovely apple flavor.  Try it, love it, take it to your grandmother, and add it to your family recipe collection.

Fresh Apple Layer Cake (adapted from here)

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour a tube or bundt pan.

5 apples, of mixed variety, peeled, cored and sliced
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1.5 tsp. nutmeg

Toss all ingredients together and set aside.

2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup apple cider

Blend all of the ingredients together with an electric mixer until combined.

Sift in:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

Continue to blend with mixer for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is thick and well combined.

Pour 1/3 of the cake batter into the prepared pan.  Evenly spread 1/2 of the apples onto the cake batter.  Continue with another third layer of cake, the remaining apples, and ending with the cake batter.  Bake in center rack for about 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for 45 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.  Let cool completely.  Serve, sprinkled with powdered sugar.