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.
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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.

Macaroni and cheese

Nothing says ”comfort” like macaroni and cheese!  Ok yes this is really unhealthy but I just can’t help it, it just is so tasty.  Additionally, whenever I have any extra crab meat I just dump it in too!  When I am missing NY (I have never been to the actual south to eat) Mama’s Food Shop is at the top of the list when it comes to grub.  This is my tribute to them.  Macaroni and cheese goes great with a salad or green beans.  As all fatty foods go, it is good to temper it with something fresh and light!  Be careful not to overeat because this recipe is SO GREAT! Props to Alton Brown.

macaroni and cheese

So homey, so gorgeous, so drooling over this

Macaroni and cheese

Prep time: 10 minutes                Baking time: 25-30 minutes              Servings: 4-6

Budget for ingredients: ¥600

Equipment:

1 pot
1 frying pan
Whisk
Spatula
Gratin dish
Toaster oven

Ingredients:

1 bag elbow macaroni
1 cup of milk
3 T butter
3 T flour
1 T mustard
3 c milk
1/2 c onion
1 T garlic
1 t paprika
1 egg
2 handfuls shredded cheese
1 t salt
1/2 t black pepper

Directions:

1. Boil macaroni in salted water.  Drain and set aside.

2. Melt butter in pan and add mustard and flour and stir with the whisk.

3. Add milk. onion, garlic, and paprika.

4. Simmer for approximately 10 minutes and add in the egg and half of your cheese (also add in crab meat or whatever you want at this time).

5. Stir in the cooked macaroni and pour mixture into the gratin dish.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese on top with salt and pepper.

6.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 180C.