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New Kids on the Block

November 4, 2015


So, I picked up a few goodies at the florist around the corner from my apartment.  I'm not one who can show any kind of self-control around a display of succulents... especially when they're on sale (or "Aktion!" as it is called here.)  I was so excited to bring some new life into my 'green' family.  They really did bring something fresh to my garden... and even gave me a bit of pep in my step!


The starburst shaped succulent is of the Echeveria family.  The plant with the pink flowers is the Sedum Sieboldii Dragon.

Getting these new plants inspired me to make a veggie quiche for dinner.  A quiche has been long overdue on the dinner table!  I went over to the grocery store to see what vegetables were quiche-worthy.  I decided on zucchini and mushrooms. 



Vegetable Quiche

* Adapted from this recipe by Celeste
* Pate Brisee from Michel Roux and this recipe


Ingredients:

pate brisee*
dijon mustard
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup + extra Milk
1 Tbsp oil
1 medium onion, sliced
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 large zucchini, sliced thinly
2 handfuls of frozen peas
2 Tbsp speck, or bacon, diced
1 1/2C Gruyere or Emmenthaler, grated
1Tbsp flour
salt & pepper


Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Roll out the chilled pate brisee to cover your quiche/pie pan.  Prick holes all over the bottom of the dough.  Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and allow to cool. 

Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and garlic.  Soften til translucent.

Add the speck/bacon.

Add the zucchini slices.  Cook until softened... about ten minutes.  Add the mushrooms and frozen peas... 

Brush a thin layer of Dijon mustard along the bottom of the pre-baked dough.

In a bowl, beat the three eggs and milk... and a pinch of salt.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour into the shredded cheese.

Pour the veggies into the tart pan.  Then layer the cheese over the veggies. 

Pour the egg/milk mixture into the pan.  If the liquid level seems a bit low, add some of the extra milk.  Too much liquid and the quiche runs the risk of being a bit soggy... so add slowly.

Pop into the oven and bake for approximately 50-60 minutes... or until nicely browned.

Remove the quiche from the oven and let it cool for 20 minutes before slicing.  It can be served warm or at room temperature with a simple salad.

 

Simple Green Salad with Simple Lemon Vinaigrette

* Adapted from this recipe from Epicurious


Ingredients:

1/2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp fine sea salt, or to taste
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
freshly ground pepper

A few handfuls of mache salad
apple slices

Directions:

Toss everything into a small jar and shake with wild abandon.  Lightly drizzle over the salad and enjoy.  Where has this vinaigrette been all my life?  This recipe has moved to the top of My Favorite Vinaigrettes list.




I really enjoy looking at these new kids in my garden.  Oh, I forgot to mention Sempervium Tectorum. What a looker... and she even came with two chicks by her side!  Babies and me, make THREE!!  This is my favorite thing about succulents - how they easily propagate... oh, and how they can survive any kind of neglect.  They are true survivors!





After dinner, came die Nachspeise... or the dessert.  The husband's colleague was so kind to give us some fresh pears from his garden... unfortunately, I let them sit on the counter all weekend... and not being ones to stop living for any reason, the pears got a bit over ripe.  But, have no fear!  I decided to make the husband's favorite dessert with these pears - Pear Tatin.

Pear Tatin

* Adapted from this recipe from Sweet Gastronomy
* Pate Brisee from this recipe from Michel Roux

100g unsalted butter
250g sugar
8 ripe pears
splash of vanilla extract
pate brisee


Directions:

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Roll out the pate brisee to desired diameter to cover the oven proof pan.  Chill in the fridge until needed.  Luckily, I still had almost half of my pate brisee leftover from the quiche - score!

In a heat proof pan, melt the butter over medium high heat.  Add the sugar and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook the sugar/butter mixture until it bubbles.  Stir it around with a wooden spoon.

At this point, add the fruit.  This step is to soften the fruit a bit (if your pears are a bit on the firm side).  I like the fruit to be soft but not mushy.  You want to be able to bite into something in the end.

For my over ripe pears, I took them out after a few short minutes, because if I continued, they would have, indeed, become mush.  And, because they were so ripe and juicy, I got more liquid than necessary in the pan.  If you also have too much liquid, separate out the fruit, and continue cooking the liquid at medium-high heat.  Keep cooking until you get to a nice saucy consistency and the color of maple syrup.  Ahh, the smell!!!

Arrange the fruit into a small oven proof pan and pour the caramelly goodness on top.  I used a second smaller cast iron pan because my pears reduced in size... and the original larger size just seemed like too much.  A smaller, more intimate size pan worked wonders! Pears with uniform slices would be appropriate here... so excuse my pears that look like scallops that were cut into random shapes.  Random because remember my pears were past their peak ripeness and had
a bit of bruising here and there.  So, what you see is what I could save that I thought was still edible and could survive a brutal beating in the pan AND the oven!



Take out the pre-rolled and chilled pate brisee and lay it on top of the pan.  Fold the edges under and tuck in.  Prick with a fork a few vent holes.

Toss into your preheated oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes...  Remove and let cool for 10 minutes before flipping onto a plate.  Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.   Devour... and we did so quickly that I didn't even get a picture of the whole dessert.  But, who am I kidding, a corner of the crust broke off... but that didn't stop the madness.

A lovely dessert... and this time, I didn't use store bought puff pastry.  I did it the French way... and made my own pate brisee.  And, to be honest, I enjoyed it this way much more. 

. . .




Ahh, an inspiring day from the start to the finish!  Hope everyone is enjoying the Autumn season so far!  Servus!!

2 comments on "New Kids on the Block"
  1. Wow, lovely! I love succulents, and I just wrote a blog post about them!

    Grüße aus Innsbruck :-)

    wwww.lillagreen.at

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    Replies
    1. Hello Lilla! I discovered succulents (and the joy of planting) only when I moved to the Alps... and succulents have definitely been my favorites. When I see one I don't already have, I want to have it right away! Seems I have traded my tech gadget/gizmo obsession for a more nature-inspired one!

      Servus!

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