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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Meatball subs

I got the idea of a meatball sub into my head recently(completely smitten kitchen‘s fault) and immediately started salivating like crazy.  It had literally been years since I’ve eaten one and wowie, did this turn out DELICIOUS or WHAT.  Italian food is so nice, homey, and simple.  Basic but perfection.  Just like this blog (JK!).  Must give great thanks to my friend Richard (find him @The Paper Cup) who so graciously took this photo.

Meatball subs cheese bread italian food

MEATY!

Meatball subs

Prep time: 20 minutes                Cooking time: 40-45 minutes              Servings: 5-6

Budget for ingredients: ¥1500

Equipment:
Big bowl
Frying pan

Ingredients:

Meatballs:
2 half loaves of the french bread…so really 1 loaf
500 g ground meat (I used the 50/50 of beef and pork)
1 package of parsley (パセリ <paseri>)
1/3 c powdered Parmesan
3/4 t salt
1/4 t paprika
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 t garlic puree
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg

Putting together the sub:
Olive oil
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/2 onion
1 c shredded cheese

Directions:

  1. Cut your rolls horizontally, leaving one side together.
  2. Pull out some of the bread white to make a little resting spot to nestle your meatballs into later.
  3. Rip the whitebread into minuscule bits. Set rolls aside until later.
  4. Put the bread in a large bowl with 3/4 cup warm water mix with all the meatball ingredients with a fork.  Use a spoon or wet hands to make 2-inch meatballs.  At this point, you can even freeze your meatballs individually for around 20 minutes, and then transfer into a freezer bag.  Or continue!
  5. Brown your meatballs in a frying pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  DO NOT touch them until they are actually brown, otherwise they will crumble in the pan!  Let them rest on paper towels and throw out the oil (aka soak it up with towels and discard in a trashcan).
  6. Using the same pan, heat up the tomato sauce.  Then lower to medium heat and add in the meatballs, cover and let cook for 30 minutes or so.
  7. Next, put the meatballs in the bread with sauce.  Add on some chopped onions and cheese, and pop it into the toaster oven until the cheese melts.  It took me 10 minutes at 160C.  Tada!  CHOMP.

Stuffing cupcakes

When the holiday season rolls around (aka anytime after Halloween for Japan), I get the urge to bring cooking to almost all of my classrooms!  As long as your teachers like you, and you plan ahead in advance (I start talking about cooking 3-4 weeks before the actual day), this is really easy and a BIG hit.   I completed the following recipe within two periods (washing/clean-up included) for a 5th grade elementary class of 16 kids.  I split them up into two groups for the stuffing and the mashed potatoes.  The only prep work done for this beforehand was the applesauce, because it doesn’t exist in Japan.  I just grated an apple and cooked the mushy part and juice down with some cinnamon which only took 15-20 minutes.  You can do all of this in a big batch and save it in the freezer for other recipes in the future.   It might also help if you measure stuff out for your kids beforehand, so they just have to put it together. 

I also wanted to mention that my students and teachers wanted this recipe so I translated it and put it on a Japanese cooking site called Cookpad.  もし日本語のレシピ欲しかったら,これをクリークしてください!Link to the recipe.

Stuffing cupcake
Happy festivus for the rest of us!

This was adapted from Ryan’s Baking Blog.  You should click on the link just because it has a cute pug in a cupcake!

Stuffing  Cupcakes

Prep time: 20 minutes                Cooking time: 35-40 minutes              Servings: 16

Budget for ingredients: ¥2000 *This is just approximate.  The teachers usually prepare all of this and I give directions in English. 

*

Equipment:

2 big bowls
2 mashers (or rice paddles)
1 pot
1 frying pan
2 cutting boards
knives
cupcake tins
Ovens
Spoons

Ingredients:

Stuffing:
2 loaves of french bread
6 strips of bacon
1 c water
1/2 c applesauce
1 t garlic powder
1 t salt
1 t pepper

Mashed potatoes:
10-12 potatoes
100 g butter
1 c cream
1 handful of cheese

Directions:

 Stuffing group

  1. Cut the bread and bacon.  The bread should be 1/2 inch cubes and the bacon can just be in little strips.
  2. Add applesauce and water to the bread and bacon in a big bowl.  Mix.  Add more water if it’s not moist enough.  Stuffing should be moist but NOT soggy. 
  3. Mix dry ingredients together and then add it to the bread.  This part is more to taste even though I gave guidelines for them. 
  4. Put the mixture in the little cupcake tins.  Bake in the oven at 180C for 35-40 minutes.

Mashed potatoes group

  1. Wash and peel all the potatoes.
  2. Cut them into 1 inch cubes.
  3. Boil them in the big pot until they are soft and can be pierced with a fork. 
  4. Drain and mash. 
  5. Melt butter in a pan and add it with cream and a handful of cheese to the  potatoes.  Mix.

Putting it together:

Use spoons to put a dollop of the mashed potatoes on the stuffing.  いただきます!

Warm spinach salad

Easy and tasty.  Perfect for a rainy day.  I usually canNOT stop eating this.  The dressing is what brings this salad together, and I think it can also be used with chicken or fish.   Other good add-ins include bacon, corn, or avocado.  Or just all of them.

Warm Spinach Salad

not everything that tastes delicious must look great

Warm spinach salad

Prep time: 10 minutes               Cooking time: 5 minutes              Servings: 3

Budget for ingredients: ¥400

Equipment:

Knife
Frying pan
Small bowl

Ingredients:

1 bunch of spinach
2-3 tomatoes
2 cucumbers
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 c ponzu sauce*
1 t ginger paste **
2 T honey

*Note: Ponzu sauce is a combo of basically soysauce plus a citrus fruit.  The ponzu sauce I used is called YUZU <ゆずポン酢>, which is the citrus fruit used in my particular bottle.

**Note: Ginger ”paste”, aka grated ginger in a bottle, can be found easily in Japanese supermarkets in squeeze bottles.  They are yellow and are marked <生姜 しょうが>, aka SHOUGA.

Directions:

1. Chop spinach, tomatoes, and cucumbers and place in bowl.

2. Sauté onion with a bit of oil until translucent.  Usually takes 5 minutes.

3. Add in ponzu sauce, ginger, and honey.  Stir together until honey dissolves.

4.  Pour immediately onto veggies in the bowl.  Serve!