ah-ha-ha-come-and-take-my-hand Recipes

spinach quiche

After a week that felt nothing short of chaotic and angsty, this weekend was just what the over-tangled brain ordered. Saturday, we headed to the surprisingly-empty and orchre-tinted foliage deprived Brooklyn Botanic Garden for a few hours. Still, wandering around snapping up this and that to contribute my quota of flower pictures to the internet was turned out to be exactly the antidote my week called for.

brooklyn botanic

Alas, no day could be perfect without cooking for the people I love, I insisted upon pulling together dinner for my husband and sister-in-law before heading out to see The Prestige. Along with the reheated stinktastic galette leftovers and the best pantry staple, Caesar salad, in some sort of miracle I managed to get my favorite quiche together in under an hour. I’ve been making this spinach quiche for so long, I feel almost possessive of it, forgetting that that somewhere, other people must too, and now I am encouraging you, also. It’s fantastically simple, three everyday cheeses, some green onions and a box of frozen spinach, and keeps so well, it’s actually tastier the next day, with the flavors cool, settled and happily enmeshed. Don’t be put off by its overly-healthy and wholesome appearance, it tastes like a treat and I can’t wait to feast on it with a green salad for lunch this week.

from the oven

On Sunday, I finally peeled back the cover of the November Gourmet (I’ve had it a whole five days; I’m such a slacker) and became so over-excited, I nearly ate the pages. “Root vegetable gratin!” “Pumpkin muffins!” “S’more pie!” “Brussel sprouts with shallots and mushrooms!” I burst arrhythmically from the back seat of the car on the way out to my in-laws. “Breathe Debbie,” my husband feebly attempted. “Poppy seed sweet bread!” “Barbara Streisand!”

brooklyn botanic

Unable to restrain myself any longer — it had been a whole 45 minutes, you see — I simmered the Dominican beans at my in-laws to accompany our dinner, and while I have no pictures, you’ll have to trust me that they’re delicious, a recipe worth clipping. However, this still leftme with nearly a quarter of the page’s corners turned down, calling my name.

granola

If the world worked exactly the way I think it should, I would be able to take this whole week off from work just to try to have a go with all of them, but alas, reality always checks in Sunday night. I did manage to squeeze in one more treat, however: the fresh granola with pepitas from Calle Ocho in New York City. We fell asleep with all sorts of toasted deliciousness lingering in the air. I still had to get up and go to that whole day job thing, but somehow the prospect of something new and better on my morning yogurt made the whole thing a lot more bearable. That, and a promise that you, me and those pumpkin muffins are going to have some quality time together very very soon.

granola, a little stuck

[Soundtrack: All My Life, Paul Westerberg, Singles Soundtrack, because it refuses to leave my head.]

Spinach Quiche
Adapted from Bon Appetit, October 1991

One half-recipe of Martha Stewart’s Pâte Brisée, rolled out and pressed into either a pie dish or removable-bottom tart pan. If you are a dork like me, you might take the extra scraps, cut them into leaf shapes, and press them about on the top of your unbaked quiche. But then your husband might tease you for your fall theme. Might.

1 3-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup half and half
3 eggs
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup grated cheddar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
4 to 6 green onions, sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F. Beat cream cheese in medium bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in half and half and eggs. Mix in remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is set, about 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Dominican Beans
Adapted from Gourmet, November 2006

2 (14- to 15-oz.) cans pink or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups water
1 2-oz bunch cilantro (without roots)
1 large onion, chopped
2 large garlic gloves, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 Cubanelle or Italian frying pepper (not spicy; 4 oz) halved lengthwise, steam and seeds discarded
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Puree half of beans in a food processor with 1 cup water until smooth.

Tie cilantro into a tight bundle with string.

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened but not brown, about 8 minutes. Add tomato paste, vinegar, and 1 cup water, then bring to boil and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

Add pureed and whole beans, Cubanelle pepper halves, cilantro, bay leaves, salt oregano, pepper, and remaining 2 cups of water, then simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 1 1/2 hours (mixture will reduce and thicken). Remove and discard Cubanelle pepper halves, cilantro and bay leaves, then serve.

Granola
Adapted from Calle Ocho, New York City via Gourmet Magazine

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup vegetable oil*
1/3 cup sliced almonds (1 oz)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup green (hulled) pumpkin seeds, sometimes called pepitas (1 1/2 oz; not roasted) **
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup mild honey
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch salt
1 cup tart dried cherries ***
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup dried pears (1/4-inch dice)
1/2 cup diced dried apricots (1/4 inch dice)
1/3 cup golden raisins

Accompaniment: Sliced bananas; plain yogurt flavored with vanilla extract.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Stir together all ingredients except the fruit in a large bowl until combined. Spread mixture evenly on a large (17-by 12-inch) shallow baking pan**** and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer granola, in pan, to rack to cool stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Stir in dried fruit.

Granola keeps, frozen (the fruit’s moisture softens granola if not kept frozen) in an airtight container, 1 month.

* I got away with 1/3 cup.
** I accidentally bought the roasted ones – which are by the way, so tasty, can’t stop snacking on them – so I mixed them in just as I took it out of the oven, when the sugars were still melted and they gummed to the granola as if they’d been there the whole time.
*** From the picture, you can tell I just use whichever dried fruits I’m craving. Actually, this isn’t entirely true. The store was out of dried cranberries, my favorite, so I substituted cherries. I’m still short a lot of dried fruit, but plan to remedy that soon.
**** Next time I do this, I’m lining it with foil. When the granola came out of the oven, it’s soft and in smaller pieces. When I returned 15 minutes later, it was like one giant, loosely-packed granola bar. This is wonderful as you can break it up into whatever size chunks you like, but bad because it had stuck a bit to the pan, making for an annoying cleanup.

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60 comments on spinach quiche

  1. I love love love the Singles soundtrack. Ah the soundtrack of my life for most of the early 90s. I’m a wee bit skeptical at the cream cheese in a quiche, but if you say its great, then I’m willing to try it.

  2. oh my! i need the granola recipe. was it quite crunchy? i worked at a bakery for a while and we did granola, but it was always slightly chewy/ almost stale texture and reheating it in the oven didn’t help. but it did taste yummy…..

  3. Brilynn – As soon as I opened it, I kicked myself for not doing so sooner. Those pumpkin muffins and I would be together already! I promise to make up for lost time this week.

    Traci – It’s a cinch – you should. And let us know what you think of it.

    Dahlia – We watched it on Friday night. I hadn’t seen it in over a decade. The clothes! The bad hair! I can’t believe I kept away so long. I know cream cheese sound weird, but, you beat it into the eggs and cream (which I have replaced before with whole milk and one time, evaporated skim milk, both which work fine) so it more adds flavor and creaminess to the base. I actually didn’t have it in the apt. on Saturday and thought that I did, so ended up replacing it with a few tablespoons of machego I’d forgotten we had. It was great, but I did miss that extra creaminess.

    Lela – Yes! So crunchy. Good clumping. Very light. I’ve made a lot of granola recipes and this will now be my favorite. The others, like you said, were either too oily and got soggy, or very crunchy but did not clump. I left this one to cool, and it became one giant granola bar, which I broke up. I’ll put the recipe up when I get break later, since it’s not online yet.

  4. Hey Deb, can you point me in the direction of your pizza dough recipe? I know you’ve posted it before, but I can’t find it. Thanks!

  5. Barbara Steisand? You know that bitch promised she would move out of the country if Bush was re-elected. It was the only solice I had …. “damn, Bush won, but that annoying bitch Babs is leaving”

    SHE’S STILL HERE? WTF?

    Sigh

  6. Great post – I had a craving myself for pumpkin bread this weekend and Friday evening, cinnamon-pumpkiny vapors were wafting through the air. I love fall food – now if only Starbucks would debut the egg nog latte for this year…

    What did you think of The Prestige? My husband and I also saw it this weekend. I’m curious to see what you thought of it.

  7. Candice – Thank you.

    M – Found it!
    PIZZA CRUST
    3 c. flour (I use 1 cup whole wheat, 2 a-p)
    2 t. salt
    1.5 t. active dry yeast
    1 c. water
    1 T. olive oil

    I whirl all the dry ingredients in the food processor, and then drizzle in the oil and water. I pulse it the on dough setting until it comes together in a ball. (You can add more water, 1 T at a time if it doesn’t come together, though I’ve never had to.) Take it out of the food processor and knead it on a floured surface for a couple minutes. Put the kneaded dough in a olive oil-ed bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and put it in a draft-free place for 1-2 hours.

    After it has risen, punch it down on the floured counter, and divide it into two smaller rounds (if you like thin crust) or keep it in one big ball (if you like thick). Cover it with a towel and let it rise for 20 more minutes, then it’s ready to roll out onto your pizza stone or tray (both sprinkled first with cornmeal).

    Add whatever pleases you atop, then bake it at your oven’s top temperature for 10 min or until it looks dreamy.

    Jocelyn – Don’t you remember that part at the end of the South Park movie, where Cartman says all the bad words he knows at once to get this implant or something to go haywire? He’s yelling this and that, and then he climaxes with “Barbaraaaa Streissssaaaaand!” I watched it with Really Gay Dave and we almost died laughing that this was the worst curse word he knew.

    Jessica – What I think of The Prestige seems inexplicably tied with what I thought of The Illusionist, which I was sorely, sorely disappointed in. This, in contract, I liked when I expected that I wouldn’t. I was engrossed the whole time. That said, I still needed a couple things explained after, because I’m not very bright. But that’s not really news.

    Ellie – Hooray for rummaging – if you find flaked coconut, almonds, walnuts, oats and dried fruit, you should be set on the granola. And yes, I know I still haven’t put the recipe up. I’m slack-tastic today.

    Maura – I think I got them at Williams-Sonoma a bunch of years ago. But, it looks like you can by them here, here or here. I have a sort of unhealthy interest in cookie cutters, but that story for another time. And to my husband: No, there is NOT such a thing as having too many.

  8. Why do you have to keep posting these recipes?!?! Between you, Racheal Ray and the rest of the Food Network peeps, I am never going to stop cooking. May I PPPPPPPPPPPPLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSEEEEEE have the granola recipe? I’ve been buying mine for a while and haven’t attempted to make some homemade. Much thanks from the mid-south!

  9. Your picture keep me happy happy! I love that bowl of granola! Quiche is a friday night staple at our house and I am delighted to find another great recipe here. Thank you for sharing!

  10. On an entirely unrelated topic, how do you cook lamb chops? It’s a little chilly up here in the great white north to bbq, and I’ve got two beautiful chops to make. If any of you industrious, intelligent and delicious foodies have any suggestions, I would love it!

    Thanks,
    Rebecca

    P.S. The challah (from the NY Times) was amazing! thanks so much.

  11. Deb – I stumbled onto your site sheerly by accident. I’m a foodie too, and a newspaper editor by day, and was toying with the whole blog concept, and your’s is an awesome example! Keep up the great work! Your photographs are inspiring!

  12. Jenifer – Cooking is a wonderful thing, and you should never stop! I finally added the recipe, above.

    Owlhaven – I’m sure you had this experience, too, the first time you made it: that was so easy and better than any I have ever bought. Plus, you only have to put in exactly what you like.

    Helene – Enjoy!

    Rebecca – I don’t cook them (but my mother, if lingering in the comments, loves them so must have some ideas). I’m glad you liked the challah. I didn’t get a chance to try it myself, but am glad it got a seal of approval so I know I should.

    Farmer Beth – Thank you! You’d be surprised how many of us work in newsrooms during the day. ;)

  13. ha, yeah, chalk one up for another newsroom pixel-stained wretch!!
    what is it with the reality of spending all day grinding away editing other people’s crap prose that causes us to turn at night into doestic goddesses with twitchy typing fingers?
    to sound perfectly stupid, it’s kinda retarded!

    i haven’t picked up the new gourmet yet… i’m headed up to my mom’s this weekend, maybe i’ll save it for the train ride and make her a delcious supper!

  14. I kind of think of it as a release. A stupid release, maybe. In my “professional” world, it’s all about the business of agriculture and economics. The good, the bad and the ugly. The notion of a warm fuzzy, recreational outlet is the ONLY way I can keep ahold of my sanity!

  15. Hi deb,

    just wondering if you’d be able to help. i’ve been scouring for kosher parmesan everywhere. i live in toronto, canada, but will be visiting NYC next week.. is there a kosher brand u know abt? what grocery store should i look out for it in? there is a shop rite close to the place where i’ll be staying at. thnx for all ur help!

  16. I use parchment paper to prevent my granola from sticking. When it’s done cooking I just lift the paper up and funnel the granola into a bowl. Candied ginger lends a nice sweetness and a little heat to the granola.

  17. Spinach Quiche was delicious! I made it Saturday and my husband wouldn’t stop raving about it! I think it will become part of Christmas morning brunch for years and years to come.

    Thanks for the food inspiration. I have been a long-time reader and love the new site – the pics make it less scary to attempt some of your culinary creations, too. Next up – bread! It’s the perfect weather for spending the day covered in flour, watching dough rise.

  18. I made the quiche yesterday, and wow it was great!! I substituted gruyere for the cream cheese, and it was so decadent! I really enjoy your blog… it gives me the confidence to try out new techniques and ingredients. Thank you!

    Oh, and great job with the new plug-ins. I’m will be using the email and printing feature for sure.

  19. Holy weirdness batman! Like nancy above, I made this quiche yesterday for the first time–it was awesome! My husband was very skeptical that I try a new-to-me recipe for guests, but he was won over after the first bite :). Thanks Deb! And BTW, those nifty new plugins allowed me to see that nancy had recently made a comment on this very same post–isn’t technology wonderful?

  20. Hmmm… I made the granola last night, followed the instructions, gave it a stir after ten minutes–and when I came back eight minutes later it was burned! Did you adjust your temperature from 375 as it baked? I wonder if it’s because I substituted a little agave syrup in place of some of the honey, but it was so minute! Really! Oopsie.

  21. I finally, after bookmarking the recipe for months, made this granola (part of the eat breakfast in ’08 initiative) and I adore it. I used what I had on hand (too cold to go back out to shop!) which involved extra walnuts, no almonds, and dried apples, figs, and apricots and I am in love. I’m already planning for the next time I make it (which, at the rate I’m consuming it, will be next week).

  22. hi deb , have been a big fan of your blog for awhile. my family will be forever grateful to you for the chocolate guinness cake ( the cake for which i wheeled my 2 year old and 4 month old into the shadiest of neighborhood bars) just a question about the cream cheese in the quiche recipe – does cream cheese really come in 3 oz packages or is that supposed to be 8 oz? i guess i ‘ll just use what i have – about 2/3rds of a 16 oz tub, wish me luck!

  23. Jen — I see the 3 ounce Philadelphia Cream Cheese packages all of the time by us, and sometimes at bagel stores (like H&H, which doesn’t package their own cream cheese). 3 ounces is the correct amount.

  24. Hi Deb, I know so many people tell you – but please know from me too – you are fantastic, wonderful, and unbelievably energetic. (You do all this domestic magic and work full time too!)
    I’m just a bit confused about the quiche recipe above. The second item says “1/3 cup half and half” What is this? I hope being Australian is an excuse not to know. I’ve been looking in the comments to see if someone else has asked but perhaps I missed it.
    Thank you thank you thank you for your blog!

  25. I’ve been making granola for a while now and was trying to find a way to make it with as minimal oil as possible (my husband is trying to lose some weight :) so instead of oil, I whisk 3 egg whites (to about 6 c. of oatmeal) and add 1/3 c. honey or maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla and then I bake it until it’s golden brown and crunchy – the egg whites get the granola to clump together without the need for oil – it’s amazing on chopped fruit and yoghurt!

  26. Is the temperature right for this recipe? I assume so, but when I made it (1/2 recipe) it started getting burnt about 20 minutes in. Maybe because I made less, it needed less time in the oven? It smelled great before I noticed the burning smell though. I think I’ll try this again at a lower temperature. Thanks.

  27. If the dried fruit is what makes the granola soften- can I add it in as I eat it and store it seperately? Thanks!!

  28. Please can someone tell me if I could use smoked Gouda cheese for the quiche, if not, what other can I use (other than cheddar )?

  29. Ohhhhh Deb – let me just say when I found your website last week it changed my life. I’ve been your personal PR assistant since telling all cooks and noncooks everywhere about smitten kitchen. I spent the entire week clicking Surprise Me! for my next food inspiration by Thursday I’d narrowed it down to five, the Spinach Quiche, your version of Martha Stewart’s Pâté Brisée (ohh I love Vodka even more), the Granola, the light and airy Pound Cake, and those blessed Dominican Beans. My heart is now torn on who is my personal domestic goddess, you or Martha? ohhhh who am I kidding, trying to reach the perfectionist standards of Martha drive me to drink Vodka rather than cook with it lol. All things Quiche related came out with smashing success. My Granola on the other hand was a little crisper than I like simply b/c I substituted 1 cup of old fashioned oats for Irish Oats for extra crunch, but didn’t adjust the vegetable oil but I’m eating it as I type b/c dried blueberries are not to be wasted. The light and airy pound cake decadent so much so that my mom took it home along with quiche as she noted that I had another disc of dough which I could make another one with. Ohhh and let’s discuss those beans……….had it not been for my stomachs inability to expand I could have eaten the entire pot Yummy. While I didn’t have a recipe photo to compare to I don’t think anything could be better. So on to this week’s menu what will I “Surprise Me!” this week.

  30. This recipe is so great ~ not that I would expect anything less. This is the first time I have commented on SK but I have been an enthusiastic follower since discovering you a couple years ago while searching the web for a zucchini bread recipe. The last couple weeks I have been having quiche at various cafes and yesterday was craving more. I thought I better start cooking my own because it’s pricey to keep buying it by the slice. I was confident I could find a good recipe here, and I was not let down :) I even got a little creative and used manchego cheese in place of parmesean, and added spare red bell pepper bits and carrot shreds to the mix. Next time I am going to try mushrooms. Yum!

  31. Oh yum! I just made the granola (well, a variation, close enough) and want to eat it all right now it is so good. Thanks for the tip about the tinfoil — it really stuck, and that would have been a total PITA. By the way, my brown sugar clumped into balls when I added the oil, and wouldn’t really unclump. So I have brown sugar morsels throughout. Do you know why, or how to not have that happen?

  32. Why don’t these recipes appear in recipe index? I found them by clicking on my favorite granola recipe on pumpkin seed granola recipe- but then I can’t seem to get back to them directly from recipe index?

    My favorite chocolate cake recipe came from your site, but I’ve never been able to find it again in the recipe index. Despite very intensive searching. Is recipe index incomplete for some reason?

  33. Quick question about the quiche–my bottom crust was not fully baked–should you prebake it before adding the filling–I didn’t see that anyone else had that problem. Maybe I rolled it too thick. Otherwise the filling was delicious, and so was the remainder of the crust. I used fresh spinach and it turned out wonderful. Thanks for a wonderful site. I come here often! Brigitte

  34. I made the spinach quiche yesterday and it was so yumm! Super easy, and I’ll definitely make this again! Deb, you’re 3 for 3 so far! You have the best recipes!

  35. This quiche was delicious and easy to make – I’ve made it twice now, once with spinach and once with a chard/kale mix, and it turned out great both times. Thanks for all the great recipes!

  36. I’ve made this quiche twice — it’s the best spinach quiche I’ve ever had. Delish! And my husband loves it too. :) I substitute half a yellow onion for the green onions because I never manage to finish using all the green onions that come in a bunch and then they go all limp and gross in my fridge within a few days. It’s so easy!

    I use the wheat crust recipe from this quiche recipe, but would not recommend the quiche the recipe is actually for:
    http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/asparagus-morel-quiche-10000001973701/

  37. Made your delicious quiche today…for our church cafe…we opened early before lunch so called it a “Brunch Tart”..lol…went down a treat. Did a bacon, egg and tomato version too…tart style bacon and egg breakfast..that was my thinking…thanks for sharing…enjoying reading your blog…found thru pinterest :)
    ciao bella!
    jessie, nelson, new zealand

  38. I made the granola today, and it started to burn about 20 minutes into baking. I noticed in the comments section that a couple of other people have had this problem. Any thoughts? I followed the recipe exactly (except for using unsweetened coconut)

  39. Re: granola burning/sticking– My trick is to stir every five minutes, especially towards the end; it will look for a while like no cooking is occurring but then all of a sudden it is done (or if you leave it for too long, burnt!). I don’t use foil or parchment but I do stir the granola immediately after it comes out, which seems to help it come off the pan later, but still be in big fun chunks.

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  41. Interesting to hear you have a thing for cookie cutters. I have a huge collection accumulated over twenty years of thrift shops and garage sales. I have probably 200.

    My favourites are the different leaves. I sometimes lightly mix a chocolate butter cookie dough with a vanilla dough…and cut out marble cookies in leaf shapes. They are so beautiful.