Pumpkin & Carmelized Onion Quiche

As autumn approaches once more I can’t help but reach for the gorgeous pumpkins available in Shanghai at the wet market I live near.  It’s always hustling and bustling, filled with the freshest ingredients at rock bottom prices.  From supermarkets geared towards foreigners such as City Shop and City Super, you can basically find everything you could ever want (except for Queso Blanco that I’d need to re-create Cafe Habana’s corn.  Help here anyone?).  I am no longer in unknown territory, with a few language snafus, but pretty much, I am found and no longer lost as I was when I moved to Japan.  However, if there is any kind of ingredient that I think is special or needs an introduction, I will use a spot of Japanese here and there.  Prices are going to now on be reflective in RMB.

I digress.  Pumpkin, carmelized onion, sage, and gorgonzola makes an amazing mix for a mouthwatering quiche.  On top of that, I made a nice crust using canola oil–absurdity, I know!  Adapted from closet cooking.

Pumpkin and carmelized onion quiche

Pumpkin & Carmelized Onion Quiche

Prep time: 45 minutes                        Baking time: 50 minutes                      Servings:  6 people

Budget for ingredients: 100RMB (if you go to the wet market)

Equipment:
2 Bowls
Cutting board
Knife
Peeler
Frying pan
Oven
Springform pan

Ingredients:
For Crust:
1 c flour
1/3 c ice water
1/3 c oil (I used canola)
For Filling:
1 T olive oil
2 c onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c water
2 c pumpkin, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c half and half
50 g gorgonzola or other blue cheese, crumbled
20 fresh leaves of sage, chopped

Directions:

  1. Put onion in a pan with 1T of oil over medium heat, and after 10 minutes add water and lower the heat and stir every 10 minutes until a lovely golden brown.
  2. Toss pumpkin with oil, salt and pepper and place in the oven with a tray at 180C and set timer for 30 minutes.
  3. Make the crust by adding together flour and salt.
  4. Whisk water and oil together and then add it slowly to the flour mixture.  Using a fork, the crust should clump together.  Press it into the springform pan.
  5. Mix together the half and half with the eggs, and then mix with all other filling items and pour into the springform pan.
  6. Put into the oven and turn up the temperature to 200C and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Spinach and bacon quiche

I was searching in Fukuyama the other day with a really empty stomach for something savory (no, I was nowhere close to my own kitchen).  I went into a rather well known coffee shop where I saw something that they called quiche, but it was GROSS.  I’m sorry Japan, and I don’t mean to rail on other people, surely, some machine worked very hard on making that slice get to the glass display, but it pretty much looked like a Japanese omelette, aka NO FILLING!  The bacon was so scant and…I could go on and on, but I won’t.  Starting this blog and subsequently cooking more was like a double edged sword, the good thing is I have a better palette and my friends can eat the food I make, the bad thing is I have actually developed standards so the outside food just doesn’t cut it sometimes.  Anyways, here is some eye candy for your rumbling stomachs.

Spinach and bacon quiche

Nom nom nom

The recipe is loosely adapted from Emeril’s Quiche Lorraine but I had to subsitute for easily accessible ingredients!

Spinach and bacon quiche

Prep time: 30 minutes (not counting resting)               Cooking time: 45-50 minutes              Servings: 8-10

Budget for ingredients: ¥1000

Equipment:
Big bowl
Square pan
Rolling pin
Parchment sheets
Dried beans
Knife
Chopping board
Frying pan
Spatula
Toaster oven

Ingredients:

For crust

1 1/4 c flour
1/4 t salt
7 T butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1 -2 T ice water

For filling

6 ounces thick cut bacon, cut into narrow strips (or lardons )
20 spinach leaves
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 1/4 c half-and-half
1/4 t salt
1/4 t white pepper
1 pinch nutmeg
1 c cheese

Directions:

  1. Mix the flour and salt in the big bowl.
  2. Add the butter and with your fingers, kind of rub it in until it looks like coarse crumbs.
  3. Add the ice water and the dough should come together.  If it’s not, add more water.
  4. Put the dough inside your fridge to rest for at least an hour.  I left mine for overnight in a disc shape wrapped in plastic wrap.  Just like a person, your crust  needs to get some sleepytime!
  5. Roll out the dough between two parchment sheets and some extra flour until it can fit into the square pan.   Then allow for more resting (30min- 1 hr).
  6. Poke some holes at the bottom of the crust with a fork and then lay parchment paper over it and put dried beans in it.  This way when you prebake your crust, it won’t make a big bubble!  Bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes.  While it is baking…
  7. Cut the bacon into 1/2 slices and render out the fat.  This means heating the bacon on medium heat in the frying pan and then taking it out after 15-20 minutes or until crispy.  The remaining fat in the pan is the bacon grease which can be saved in a jar for future recipes, or you need to wipe it out with a paper towel because if poured down your sink, the fat will solidify and clog up your pipes!
  8. Cut the bacon more into 1 cm pieces.
  9. Put the bacon at the bottom of the baked crust.  Then layer with spinach.
  10. Mix together eggs and half and half together, then add the remaining ingredients.
  11. Pour over the bacon/spinach and bake at 180C for 30 minutes.

Eggs florentine

I used to stumble out of my bed in New York for brunch at restaurants—OH WAIT.  Restaurants in Japan don’t serve brunch.  EVER!  So what was I supposed to do?  No more all you can drink and sunday brunch with friends, talking about the shenanigans from the night before?  I say NO THANK YOU, I will create sunday brunch (which, by the time I actually cooked, was linner time) myself.  So tada, I have a recipe for eggs florentine!  Ooh, hollandaise sauce, お久しぶり!

I also overcame a huge fear when creating this dish–I was scurrrred to the bone by poaching because it WAS difficult even after watching hours of tutorials via youtube, but thanks to tips from friends, not an egg wasted.  It was over easy.

Three very important notes:

1. I am introducing a new tool I picked up at Daiso which allows me to steam and double boil!  I call it a steamer stand, since I kind of can’t find anything online that is comparable.  It is called a 2 way 蒸し蓋落し蓋 (mushibuta otoshibuta), meaning two way steamer and cover, although it is not what a traditional cover looks like .  In fact I am not sure it can be used as a traditional otoshibuta??  Here is what it looks like:

Steamer stand

Another useful thing from Daiso!

2. I have discovered that there are lots of things on sale in the MORNING when the supermarkets open, so I was able to get 10 eggs for 100 Yen ($1)!  I guess the early bird does catch the worm.

3.  My friend Jeffrey had mentioned before I started on the Hollandaise sauce that it was ”All in the wrist”.  BOY, was he right!
Eggs florentine

Our Linner.Photo credit: Cat

Eggs florentine

Prep time: 20 minutes                Cooking time: 25-30 minutes              Servings: 6

Budget for ingredients: ¥600

Equipment:
1 pan
1 bowl (I used my glass one)
Whisk
1 pot
Slotted spoon

Ingredients:

For Hollandaise sauce:

4 egg yolks
1 T water
2 t lemon juice
12 T cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cayenne pepper

For Eggs florentine:

12 eggs
1 T rice vinegar
1 bunch of spinach, cut into thirds
12 slices roasted ham (forgive me, there was no thicker cut than the sandwich slices)
6 English muffins

Directions:

1. Fill your pan with water to about 1 inch ( 2.5 cm) and get the water simmering.

2. Beat the eggs and water together in a glass bowl until it becomes fluffier and add the lemon juice.

3. Whisk until the volume doubles, and can coat the back of a spoon.

4.  Place the bowl on top of the steamer stand, (water should NOT touch the bowl) and whisk quickly because you do not want the egg yolks to cook!

5.  Drop the butter in a couple pieces at a time and continue to whisk quickly until they melt.  The sauce should double in volume!

6. Take off from the heat and add in the salt and pepper.  Onto the poached eggs!

7.  Fill a pot up with water and add the rice vinegar.  Vinegar is added because it cooks an egg faster than just water alone.  Bring to a boil.

8. Crack an egg into the water, be careful not to break the yolk, and lower the heat into a simmer for a couple minutes.  If that doesn’t work, turn the heat completely off.  Remove your eggs via slotted spoon.

9. Toast English muffins with ham in a toaster oven for 5 minutes at 140C.

10.  Saute the chopped spinach in the pan.

11.  Layer: English muffin, ham, spinach, egg, Hollandaise sauce.  Done, and hens forth, I will not lay on anymore puns.  Eggscrutionarily lame, sorry!