Tag Archives: cool weather crops

A Quick and Crustless Quiche Recipe

17 May

A photo of the quiche and slawIt’s said that something can be as easy as pie (or maybe it’s as easy as pi {π}).  But pie isn’t very easy to make (or that easy to recite), but this quiche is quick and easy to make!   You could say it’s as easy as quiche.  ;)

We prepared it yesterday for our FarmerChef special. 

We used freshly harvested spinach from our garden and goat cheese from a local goat farmer.  But you could use any cheese or vegetable you have on hand.  We served it with a side of radish relish (recipe coming soon).

It was a treat to have quiche for lunch. And we’re delighted by the simplicity of the recipe we were able to develop.  There’s no crust to worry about preparing…the cheese simply becomes the crust!

Early in the Season Vegetable Quiche (Crustless)

(makes one quiche)
Wet ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 5 eggs (we used farm fresh eggs)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 scallions, diced
  • 2 cup spinach, blanched then diced
  • 1 cup feta cheese (we used fresh goat cheese from a local farmer)
 Dry ingredients:
  • 3 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of black pepper
A photo of the quicheDirections:

Put butter in a frying pan and slowly caramelize onions. Transfer onions to a plate and set aside once caramelized.

Wash spinach and boil a pot of water.  Once boiling, put the spinach in the boiling water for 30 seconds. (This is called blanching.)  Remove the spinach quickly (you don’t want it to cook)!  Immediately rinse the spinach in cold water.  Then squeeze water from the spinach. You will be left with a green spinach ball.  Now dice the blanched spinach and set aside.

In a large bowl mix eggs, cream, butter, scallions, blanched spinach and caramelized onions.

In a smaller bowl mix dry ingredients.  Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.

Crumble feta cheese in the bottom of a greased pie pan (we sprayed ours with pan release).

Pour the egg mixture (which has the dry ingredients mixed in) over the cheese. Spread lightly to make an even surface.

Bake at 350 F for 35 min.  The top of the quiche will be lightly browned.



Purple Sprouting Carbonara

9 May
by Francine

After watching the carbonara recipe on GamerKitchen, I was inspired to make it in our English kitchen.

A photo of purple sprouting broccoliInstead of using asparagus, I decided to use purple sprouting broccoli. It’s a lovely variety grown in the UK that seems to be the vegetable that helps the folks here get through the late winter period…when root vegetables are on their way out and cabbage type of plants take a rest until the spring sunshine warms them up again. 

I’ve come across a number of posts written by Brits in which they express their love for this first crunchy vegetable of the year…

Purple sprouting broccoli is one of the vegetable wonders of later winter. There it stands whatever the weather throws at it, and come spring it sprouts forth endless florets that have all the sweetness of a cold winter and yet the tenderness of summer to come. Alys Fowler

Instead of using ground Italian sausage, which I was unable to find at our A photo of the sausages I usedlocal supermarket, I decided to use some wholesome British raised pork sausages.  Perhaps the packaging persuaded me, as I was wearing my own red wellies (rainboots) to do the shopping. 

I cut the sausages into bite-sized pieces and sautéed them in a bit of butter.

I used gluten free fusilli pasta that was made with rice flour, tomatoes and spinach.

I took the advice of the recipe maker to get creative with the ingredients….I used a different vegetable, meat and pasta, but otherwise I followed his recipe exactly. 

It was a lovely supper for two on a rainy evening.

A photo of the dish

One day sunny, windy snow the next…

11 Jan

Yesterday was the last in a series of spring-like days here in Minnesota (at least for a few days).  The days have been so spring-like that tiny green spinach leaves could be found close to the soil, under the dead and dried out leaves.Photo from Jan 10And today it’s like the abominable snow monster moved into the neighborhood, began blowing up his air mattress and knocking on our doors, trying to introduce himself.

Oh Minnesota winter, you’re always full of surprises…not that I mind, riding my bicycle in January is always a treat. I just feel bad for our cool weather crops, they don’t know if they should grow or sleep.

What’s the winter weather like in your neck of the woods? Has he paid you a visit this winter?

The White House Kitchen Garden

30 Dec

This article has some great information about the First Lady’s garden and its somewhat-recently installed hoop houses.

This garden is every cook/gardener’s dream…there are fresh ingredients year round (thanks to the hoop houses), a third of the harvest is donated to a local food bank and it provides an outdoor classroom to help kids and (and adults) understand the importance and simplicity of growing their own food.

Have you ever grown anything in a hoop house? It sounds like an excellent way to keep cool weather crops on your plate all winter long.

A Recipe for a Saturday Afternoon

3 Dec
by Francine

Hello there!

We hope your weekend has gotten off to a great start. It’s a grey day here with a whisper of snow in the air.

Spicy smells fill our house as I’m preparing spinach (the last of our bowlful) and lentils with cloves, turmeric and other yummy spices.  I was inspired by this recipe on Not Eating Out…Consuming Less, Eating More.

Do you have any recipes lined up for this weekend?

PS. Isn’t this print of lovely? You can buy it (any many other seasonal food prints) from redcruiser on etsy.com.

Lessons from a Spinach Salad

30 Nov
by Deanne

With a beautiful bowlful of spinach sitting in the fridge, I decided to try making a spinach salad with warm bacon dressing. If you love bacon like I do, you’ll agree this is an excellent way to eat your spinach.

The recipe that looked the most interesting is from The Pioneer Woman. The recipe appealed to me because the onions and mushrooms were cooked rather than served raw as they are in most recipes for this salad. I also appreciated the step by step pictures Ree, the Pioneer Woman, took while she was preparing the dressing and salad.

I read the recipe a few times, gathered up my ingredients and put the bacon in a small frying pan to start cooking. It wasn’t long before I noticed the bacon had burned while I was cutting the mushrooms and onions. :( (But I would not be defeated!)

I discarded the bacon and started over. My son came into the kitchen and told me that I needed to cook the bacon on medium heat. (Silly me, I had the heat too high and the bacon burned because I wasn’t watching it.) I remembered his advice when it was time to cook the onions.  I cooked them gently over medium heat and they caramelized very nicely, so nicely that my chef husband complimented me. Before I knew it, I was munching on a lovely bacon-y salad.A photo of the salad

While eating my salad I pondered, “What lessons have I learned that can help me in my future cooking adventures?” I reflected on 2 lessons that apply to cooking in general not just to preparing spinach salads.

1.   Cook at the appropriate temperature…not too high and not too low.

Starting with the burner on high is a bad habit that started when I began cooking as a teenager. I did it then because I was impatient and didn’t really care that much about the food or ingredients.

Now, I know I can preheat the pan and adjust as I go. Also it’s important to cook at medium to medium-high heat when using non-stick cookware. And now I’m more careful with my ingredients because I don’t want to be wasteful.

2.   Start again, if a misstep will affect the overall taste of the dish.

This is a habit I picked up as a young wife—I would just keep going if I made a mistake in the cooking process. I suppose I didn’t want to throw out food because of the cost/ waste or admit that I’d made a mistake (because I wanted to be a perfect wife…who cooked perfectly all the time).  Unfortunately this led to sorry tasting dishes and a bad attitude about my cooking abilities.

Back then, if had taken the time to start over a few times, I would have felt success instead of failure. This time, because I truly wanted to learn (which involves learning from one’s mistakes), I discarded the burnt bacon and started over, cooking it to crispy perfection. Here is an encouraging tip that shows me others have made the same mistake.


Reviewing The (39) Most Common Cooking Mistakes on Cooking Light gives me hope. I did do a few things right when I was making my spinach salad—I carefully caramelized the onions rather than trying to speed up the process and I read the recipe all the way through before I began.

I look forward to my next cooking adventure, even if there are a few mistakes along the way. I feel a bit more competent because the salad tasted great and satisfied my craving for warm bacon dressing.

Are there any bad habits you’ve had to overcome as you’ve learned something new?

What a week for our leafy greens!

28 Nov
by Francine

Saturday and Sunday (Nov 19 & 20) our greens were covered by a fluffy snow blanket.A photo of our snowy lettuce

By Monday the snow was melting and the sun was shining, but the temperatures were still in the 40s.

Then Thanksgiving arrived with lots of sunshine and warmth.

A photo of the lettuce bed(In this photo, you can see that some of the lettuce is wilted and brown, while the rest is full and green.)

There are lots of dry tree leaves that blew into the raised beds throughout our windy fall. As I was cutting lettuce, I discovered that as I pulled away the dry tree leaves, the lettuce was green and perfect. Perhaps the dry leaves acted like an insulation.  A photo of me cutting lettuce

Another theory as to why our leafy greens have held up so well after the snow is that they needed a drink, and they didn’t mind if it was a slushy snow drink. We had a very dry summer and fall…the snow, melting snow and warmer temperatures were probably just what the plants needed to give us pickers some gorgeous late November greens.

A photo of the leafy greens

A closeup of the lettuce

I picked another big bowlful! (And I was sure thankful to spend a lovely afternoon in the garden.)

A photo of the lettuce I picked

Since Thanksgiving a frigid wind has blown through, some freezing stuff has fallen from the sky, grey clouds have hung thick in the sky and this morning the sun rose without a cloud in the sky(…ah yes, life on the open prairie of MN).

A photo of the morning frost

A photo of the frosty greens

Every time I take scissors and a big bowl into the garden I think, this will definitely be the last time I pick lettuce, and yet time and time again I fill a bowl full.  I’m very glad that Dad didn’t dig up the garden at the first sign of chilly weather…we would have missed out an a wonderful autumn of leafy green salads.  It’s been such a treat to see what these leafy greens have done.

There’s still a bit of sunshine left in the day. I think I’ll head back to the garden and see what I find today.  Maybe today will be the last day for picking leafy greens…or maybe not. :)