Ah summer! Never have I looked forward to the warmer season as I have this year and for a reason. I did not enjoy my first Missouri winter, they say this last one proved to be a mild one and so it couldn't even compare to the winters I knew in Minnesota. On the other hand, I have been watching the warmth's arrival with spring showers and, to my delight, one bloom after another - daffodils in April, followed by tulips and now irises.
Among other news, we survived another semester of finals and juries though we are still wrapping our heads around the fact that there is no homework to do tonight. Fio and I celebrated our first year of married bliss last weekend - long distance style with him in Texas and I at home in Missouri. As for the baby, we are counting the days until its arrival in less than two weeks - why did I ever think nine months was a long time away?! Speaking of which, the pregnancy has been going well in every way and I have been munching away on veggies and fruits by the bag and box. Things like fresh salad greens, cucumbers by the handful, apples, sweet little tomatoes, spicy radishes and especially juicy, deep red strawberries, have been rotating through my kitchen non-stop. I am not usually a very good or dedicated eater of vegetables and so I think my efforts are due to the season's fresh arrivals and my efforts to eat better for the growing baby but the majority of this lies in our new endeavor to go "sugar-free".
We've taken to this new change in lifestyle quite literally and it's simple, really. As it implies, Fio and I have decided to rid our lives completely of all refined and natural sugars, except fresh fruit, for an indefinite amount of time. I had attempted to do this same plan with my sister about a year ago and we only lasted about three weeks. After talking about trying again for months now, Fio suggested we simply do it and so we jumped right into it as of the first of the month. There is a lot to be said on this topic and choice of lifestyle, all of which I am excited to talk about throughout my upcoming blog posts.
Going sugar free isn't completely out of this world or mind boggling; it still involves cooking perfectly 'normal" foods - such as quiches. I had started making the traditional quiche Lorraine for my family's visits in the last few weeks and it was a hit every single time. I loved how tasty and filling the dish was for breakfast and decided to try out my own version. I invited a friend of mine over just to help me eat it afterwards since Fio is out of town; we managed to eat half of it between just the two of us - it was that good! After browsing Julia Child's book with its numerous traditional versions, I decided that since spinach was a popular one and the mushroom one sounded like something my husband would appreciate more, I would make a combination. With a tender and flaky crust, the mushrooms and shallots create a delicious and savory base for this creamy dish which means it is a perfect brunch dish if preparing any part of this recipe ahead of time is not possible. I like to make and freeze the crust the night before though you could even blind bake it and store it tightly wrapped in plastic wrap until ready to use.
Until next time!
Cremini Mushroom & Arugula Quiche
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cubed and chilled (preferably European)
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
- 4 cups arugula (lightly packed)
- 2 1/2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Make the dough: In a small saucepan or skillet, combine water and cornstarch and heat until the edges begin to simmer. Stir constantly until mixture begins to form a gel-like mass and is translucent in color. Transfer mixture to a small bowl and set into the freezer to cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine flour and salt in a food processor with a couple of pulses. Add the chilled cornstarch mixture to the flour and incorporate into the flour with a few more pulses. Add the chilled butter and continue using pulses to incorporate the ingredients into the flour until the mixture takes on a sandy look. Add the sour cream and allow for the food processor to mix on high until the ingredients come together to form a ball of dough, 20-30 seconds. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for an hour.
- Prepare the crust: roll out dough on a well-floured surface to fit your chosen pan for the quiche (a 9" or 10" round tart pan or pie plate is ideal). If using a tart pan, I like to make the walls a bit thicker that way I can push them a bit higher once I trim the dough. This helps with keeping the walls of the tart high even if the dough is to shrink a bit during baking. Chill the dough-lined pan in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Blind bake the crust: heat your oven to 375℉. Line the chilled crust with foil and fill with pie weights or dry beans to prevent the dough from rising. Bake for 25 minutes rotating halfway through. Remove the foil with weights and continue baking until the crust begins to color, 5-7 minutes. Allow for the crust to cool at least slightly before filling though it is ideal to cool completely before filling.
- Make the filling: in a medium skillet, on medium heat, melt butter and add the chopped shallots. Cook until fragrant and golden, 2-3 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until they release their juices. Once the liquid begins to reduce, add the arugula, stirring until the greens have wilted and released their liquid as well. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated (3-5 minutes) though the ingredients should still be moist. Set aside until ready to fill the quiche.
- Grate cheese and set aside if not already prepared. Whisk eggs and yolks to break them up and then combine with dairy salt, and spices. Set aside until ready to fill quiche.
- Assemble and bake: sprinkle half of the grated cheese on the bottom of the baked crust, add the mushroom mixture, spreading evenly over the bottom, followed by the remaining cheese. Add the egg mixture to the filling in a drizzle so that the ingredients stay evenly distributed. Fill the crust just a 1/4"-1/2" from the edge. If using a tart pan, you might find that you have some egg mixture left over. Bake in a 375 oven for 30-35 minutes until starting to brown on top. The sides will be set, though the center should still be pretty soft because it will continue to set as it cools. Allow for the quiche to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.