It’s certainly been bumpy around here in Japan since yesterday evening. We had a 7.1-magnitude after shock (causing me to run outside in my house slippers, twice), which triggered a series of after shocks from the after shock (after-after shocks?). Since the original 7.1 after shock yesterday evening, there has been one 6-magnitude after shock, seven 5-magnitude after shocks, and countless 4-magnitude after shocks. I somehow managed to get a good night’s sleep, so maybe I’m getting used to all this shaking. Who knows.
In other news, the weather here has been beautiful the past few days. The sakura (cherry blossom) trees are in full bloom now, so Sunday saw hanami (flower viewing) parties going on all over town. My husband, Hisa, and I rode around on our bicycles all afternoon enjoying the lovely weather, the beautiful sakura blossoms, and observing all the parties going on.
I love spring. It’s without a doubt my favorite season of the year. It’s not always fun, because I have horrible allergies, and everything blooming can cause severe discomfort to myself, but I love spring none-the-less.
Something I love to make in the spring time is quiche.
Actually, that’s a lie. I love to make quiche any season of the year. But quiche just somehow seems appropriate for spring, don’t you think? It’s light, but can be decadent, and you can fill it with lovely spring vegetables. It works for any season though, as you can put whatever vegetables are in season in it. It also works for any meal; breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner. Take your pick. It’s super easy to make, but just about everyone loves it, and works great for dinner or as party food (mini-quiche anyone?). It is therefore, in my opinion, an essential dish to have in your cooking repertoire.
You can use your favorite pastry recipe, or if you don’t want to bother or simply don’t have time, you can just buy some frozen pie crusts (just check the ingredients before you buy it to make sure you’re getting one with simple ingredients and not a lot of weird additives). Throw in some vegetables that are in season (or whatever happens to be lying in the veggie drawer of your fridge), crack some eggs, pour in some milk/cream, and your good to go.
When I made this quiche, I used a yogurt pastry dough recipe from Nourishing Traditions. If you want a good whole-wheat flour pastry, this one is quite nice.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a circle large enough to fit in your pie dish. Cut off any extra dough, and flute the outer edge of the crust (or just use the back of a fork like I did).
Add whatever cooked veggies, meat, and spices you want. For mine, I used cooked diced onion, garlic, and eggplant; and some diced deli chicken meat. Always cook your meat and vegetables before you add it to the quiche. A lot of vegetables release water while baking (ex. spinach, mushroom, etc.)so if you don’t bake your veggies first, then you may end up with a watery quiche (and no one likes a watery quiche).
Add about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (more or less, depending on your taste). In a small bowl, whisk 4 large eggs, 1 cup of milk or cream, and a good dash of salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the pie crust over the meat/veggies/cheese, then carefully pop the whole thing in the oven, and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Eggplant Quiche with Whole Wheat Crust
(makes one, 9-inch quiche)
- 1/2 c. yogurt
- 1/2 c. (1/4 lb) butter, softened
- 1 3/4 c. whole-wheat flour
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 of a large onion, diced
- 1 – 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 c. chicken deli meat, diced
- 1/2 American eggplant, cubbed (or 2 Japanese eggplants, sliced)
- 1/2 c. shredded cheese
- 4 large eggs
- 1 c. milk or cream
- salt & pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 360 degrees F (180 degrees C). In a large bowl, cream together yogurt and butter. Add flour and salt, and mix until large clumps of dough form. Squeeze together clumps with hand, until you have a large ball of dough.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry dough into a large circle (about 10 – 11 inches). Place in a non-greased pie dish, making sure the crust is flush against the pie dish (i.e. there are no air bubbles), then cut off any excess dough hanging over the edge of the dish. Flute the edge of the pie crust with fingers or back of fork.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over med. heat. Add onion and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add the eggplant and cook until the eggplant is soft (about 5 – 7 minutes). Add a dash of salt and pepper.
- Scoop the onion,garlic, eggplant mix into the pie crust. Add the deli chicken meat and spread everything around evenly. Sprinkle the cheese on top.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and the milk/cream. Add a little salt and pepper and whisk again. Pour mixture over the veggies/meat/cheese in the pie dish.
- Carefully place in oven, and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.