This is what happens when I’ve got a lot of time on my hands and a lot of fresh ingredients

I went on something of a cooking bender this weekend, which might have something to do with the fact that spring is in the air and the Farmer’s Markets are starting to reappear in the city. My produce share from Edible Alchemy this week was overflowing with delicious goodies and since I’ve got a busy week coming up, I wanted to make sure none of it would go to waste. Also, I found out they’ve started carrying whole hazelnuts (in shell). So I decided to tackle making my very first quiche and homemade nutella.

First, the quiche. I don’t have any explanation for why it took me so long to attempt making a quiche, other than being under the impression that it was tricky and required a lot of time and effort (and since the husbeast is an ova-vegetarian – no dairy, no meat – well, my enthusiasm for a quiche sans cheese wasn’t quite so high). However, it turns out that quiche is actually rather easy to make and it’s a great way to use a good deal of fresh produce in one dish.

Traditionally, a quiche is an oven-baked dish utilizing a pastry crust and a filling made from eggs, cheese, milk and whatever meat/vegetables you happen to have on-hand. Since I’ve got the husbeast to consider, I had to make a dairy-free substitution for the milk and omitted the cheese, but in all honesty, I didn’t miss either and by omitting the cheese, I avoided having to deal with consistency issues that often plague neophyte attempts at quiche-making.

The most time-consuming part was making the crust from scratch because once the dough’s been mixed, it needs to sit in the fridge for at least 30 min (1 hr is better). Of course, you can always cheat by using pre-made crust, but making your own is pretty easy, especially if you make several at once and freeze those you don’t immediately need. Plus you get the advantage of customizing your dough by adding herbs or a spice mix for that extra touch.

So here’s my very first quiche, using a simple pie crust (flour, Earth Balance, salt, water), with wilted spinach, portabello mushrooms sauteed with garlic greens, sliced tomato and a dairy-free egg custard (eggs, oat milk, herbes de provence, truffle salt, black pepper).

While I was extremely happy with the results, there are a few tweaks to the recipe that I want to make before writing a “how to” recipe post for the quiche, but it shouldn’t be too long before I do.

As for the nutella – yes, I will most definitely be doing a post on how to make your very own at home. Again, while I was happy with the results of V1.0, there are some tweaks I need to make to the proportions before I post directions. I will say this though – while buying in-shell hazelnuts (approx. $4/lb) is decidedly cheaper than buying shelled ($9/lb), the amount of work it takes to crack enough of those suckers open to make a jar full of nutella almost makes the prospect of paying that extra $5/lb worth it. Almost.

Here’s a picture of the finished product, using 5 simple ingredients: whole hazelnuts (shelled, roasted, skins rubbed off), a little confectioner’s sugar, unsweetened cocoa, canola oil and a few ounces of melted semi-sweet chocolate.


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