Tomato, Spinach, Sharp Cheddar, and Chicken Sausage Quiche with and Herbed Hash Brown Crust

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This past weekend, my mom and cousin, Shainee, came to Philadelphia for a visit. We decided to go to Talula’s Garden for dinner on Saturday night, which never, ever disappoints. I love it year-round, but it is particularly magical in the summer if you’re lucky enough to snag outdoor seating. We later hit up Independence Beer Garden and the PHS Pop-Up Garden on South Street. Between the amazing company, incredible food and drink, and ideal weather, it couldn’t have been a more perfect night.

The following morning, we agreed to have brunch at my apartment prior to checking out the new Discovering the Impressionists exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Being that both my mom and Shainee played significant roles in me developing such a love of gourmet food, I knew I had to make them something special. Convenietly enough, I recently saw a recipe for quiche with hash brown crust and was determined to give it a try.

Well, it’s like the CSA gods knew what I had in mind, because last week’s share included two pounds of potatoes. I’m so happy that it all fell into place because hash brown crust is incredible. I find myself working around traditional crust in quiches, anyway. Furthermore, while not being huge into breakfast foods, I’ve always been a sucker for hash browns. Lastly, given that my mom is experimenting with a gluten-free diet, this made for a great alternative to traditional crust.

I think it’s safe to say that we all loved this dish, and I’m sure it was largely due to the fact that its ingredients were so fresh. The new potatoes, heirloom tomato, Roma tomato, and cage-free eggs were from my CSA share, while the fresh herbs were from my garden. It ended up being the perfect amount of food to fuel us through hours of admiring incredible art. The exhibit is a must-see and runs through September 13, 2015, so be sure to check it out!

Mom and Shainee, I love you lots and couldn’t have asked for a better weekend with you. It was truly a highlight of this summer!

PART 1: THE CRUST

What you’ll need:

  • 2 lbs. potatoes
  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • Himalayan salt to taste
  • Cracked black pepper to taste

What you’ll do:

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F
  • Wash potatoes and, using a mandoline slicer, julienne the potatoes to 1/8″ thickness; add to a large mixing bowl along with the grape seed oil, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper; mix thoroughly
  • Add the potato mixture to a pie pan, ensuring an even layer on both the bottom and the sides of the pan; cook in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden brown

PART 2: THE QUICHE

What you’ll need:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 2%, but any variety will do)
  • Himalayan salt to taste
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar, grated
  • 2 large chicken sausages, chopped (I used spinach and garlic, but again, any variety will do)
  • 1 cup packed fresh spinach
  • 2 small or 1 large slicing tomatoes, sliced

What you’ll do:

  • While the hash brown crust is in the oven, thoroughly whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a small mixing bowl
  • Next, gently stir in the cheese, sausage, and spinach
  • Once the hash brown crust is finished, add the egg mixture to the pie pan and top with tomato slices
  • Turn the oven down to 350°F and cook the quiche for approximately 40 minutes, or until the egg mixture is cooked through

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Slow Cooker Pork Banh Mi

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Have you ever made something you’re just so dang proud of that all modesty goes out the window? Well, ladies and gents, for me, this is that dish. While all the components are simple to prepare, they’re all from scratch and packed with tons of flavor. The best part of this dish is that it can be prepped in its entirety the night before, making it perfect for parties in which you want low-maintence, yet impressive food.

For those of you familiar with banh mi, your mouth is probably watering. For those of you unfamiliar with banh mi, do yourself a favor and get some in your belly ASAP.

But seriously, for those of you unfamiliar with banh mi, it’s a Vietnamese sandwich consisting of a flavorful protein, homemade mayo, and pickled Asian veggies served on a crusty baguette. Top all of that off with fresh cilantro and jalapeño slices and – BOOM – you’ve got a party in your mouth. The combination of sweet, spice, and crunch is just delightful. What started as Vietnamese street food is finally taking the American food scene by storm.

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PART 1: SLOW COOKER PORK

What you’ll need:

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 a yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • Approx. 3 lb. boneless pork butt

What you’ll do:

  • Combine all ingredients, minus the pork, in a food processor; blend until smooth and transfer to a freezer bag
  • Add the pork to the freezer bag, zip, and ensure that the pork is coated with the marinade; refrigerate overnight
  • The following morning, add the pork and any remaining marinade to your slow cooker; cook on low for 6 hours and rotate the pork halfway through if possible
  • Once 6 hours has elapsed, remove the pork and slice into small pieces; discard any remaining marinade

PART 2: GARLIC CHILI MAYO

What you’ll need:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp. garlic chili oil
  • 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Himalayan salt to taste
  • 1.5 cups grape seed oil

What you’ll do:

  • Using a hand mixer, whisk together all ingredients, minus the grape seed oil
  • Next, over about 5 minutes, slowly add the grape seed oil, thoroughly mixing between additions 
  • Once the mixture thickens to a mayo-like consistency, transfer to a squeeze bottle and chill overnight

PART 3: PICKLED ASIAN VEGGIES

What you’ll need:

  • 1 bunch rainbow carrots, julienned
  • 5 pickling cucumbers, julienned
  • 6 rainbow radishes, julienned
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups rice wine vinegar
  • 2 cups pure cane sugar

What you’ll do:

  • Split the prepped veggies between two quart-sized mason jars
  • Add the water, vinegar, and sugar to a medium pot; bring to a boil
  • Cover the veggies with the pickling liquid and refrigerate overnight

PART 4: ASSEMBLY

What you’ll need:

  • The above components, prepped
  • 2 baguettes, sliced into 8 pieces and lightly toasted
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, sliced
  • 1 bunch cilantro

What you’ll do:

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Step 1: Gather all ingredients.

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Step 2: Add desired amount of garlic chili mayo.

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Step 3: Add desired amount of slow cooker pork.

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Step 4: Add desired amount of pickled Asian veggies.

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Step 5: Top with desired amount of fresh cilantro and sliced jalapeño.

Blueberry-Basil Vinagrette

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As promised in yesterday’s post, I’m back with a yummy salad dressing that incorporates blueberries from my most recent CSA share. I’m a big fan of making my own salad dressings for countless reasons. The most important reason, however, is that I know exactly what’s going into them.

Feel free to check out some of my other salad dressing recipes via the following links:

Anyway, back to the star of this post. Between its beautiful, deep-purple coloring and the fact that it tastes like summer, what’s not to love? If I haven’t sold you on its awesomeness just yet, keep in mind that it takes a mere five minutes to prepare.

I paired it with crumbled goat cheese, lightly salted pistachios, and a spring mix/spinach blend. The sweetness of the dressing worked fabulously with the tartness of the goat cheese and the crunch of the pistachios. Sometimes, less is more when when it comes to salads, and this preparation is a prime example of that.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup EVOO
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 a shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil, de-stemmed
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • Cracked black pepper to taste

What you’ll do:

  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor; blend until smooth
  • Funnel into a salad dressing bottle, and viola!

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Blueberry, Lemon, and Oat Muffins

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My most recent CSA share included two pints of blueberries. While I could have easily eaten them right out of the container in a matter of days, I decided that they deserved better. One pint was dedicated to these muffins, while the other was used in a yummy salad dressing (post to come in the near future).

I will start off by saying that if you’re into light, fluffy muffins, this recipe is most likely not for you. However, if you’re into dense muffins that serve as a breakfast supplement of sorts, look no further. As I’ve said many times before, I’m not a “breakfast person,” despite how hard I try. That’s why these are perfect; they’re the ideal size for a quick, early-morning meal that will fuel me until I work up an appetite around lunchtime.

Further, I’ve had classic blueberry muffins countless times, so I added oats and lemon juice/zest to give them an extra-special flair. The oats make them a touch more hearty, while their subtle lemon flavor contributes to complexity of flavor. For being a self-proclaimed non-baker, I must admit that I’m pretty dang proud of this recipe.

Note: This recipe yields 24 muffins.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup instant oats
  • The juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup pure cane sugar
  • 2.5 tsp. baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1.5 cups grape seed oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • Coconut oil spray

What you’ll do:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F
  • In a small bowl, combine the oats and lemon juice/zest
  • In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; thoroughly mix together with a whisk
  • In a medium bowl, combine the oil and eggs; thoroughly mix together with a whisk
  • Gradually add the oil mixture to the flour mixture, using a handheld mixer to thoroughly combine
  • Next, using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the oat mixture, followed by the blueberries
  • Generously spray a muffin tin with coconut oil and fill each cup about halfway
  • Bake for approximately 18 minutes, or until golden brown
  • Allow to cool for roughly 10 minutes prior to serving, and ENJOY! :)

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