Asparagus and Garlic Scape Quiche

See?  Told you there’d still be recipes.  Told you many of them would still be paleo (I’m off dairy for a bit).  And, frankly, I haven’t made a quiche with a crust in years – it’s just such a pain in the ass.

At any rate, I’d bought asparagus so we could grill it, wrapped in bacon, for our holiday cookout this week, and then went and forgot all about it.  Derp.  My fridge also runneth over with garlic scapes from the garden.

(Oh, the garden!  We haven’t taken part in a CSA in the last 3 or so years because we get so little from them that Beloved isn’t growing in the now 16 separate vegetable gardens in our back, side and front yards.  We barely even go to the farmers market any more – the only reason I bought asparagus is because we’ve already harvested every bit we possibly could of ours.)

We ate this for brunch on the morning of the 4th alongside some fresh watermelon left over from Monday’s cookout and it was really, really good.  The asparagus and scapes were roasted with a large shallot, and I threw the bacon in for good measure.

I had the suggested serving size.  Beloved ate half of the whole damn thing.

So there you go.

I’ll be back with later this week with current photos of – drumroll – The G Man!  You won’t believe how much he’s grown.

Roasted Asparagus and Garlic Scape Quiche

Notes:  You can certainly make this in a crust if you like.  If you don’t have a problem with dairy, feel free to use half and half in place of the coconut milk.  If you don’t like coconut, you can use another non-dairy milk substitute, but I’d probably reduce the amount to 1 cup and add another egg.

Serves: 6

1 pound pencil-thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup garlic scapes, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large shallot, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 thick slices bacon
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Toss the asparagus, scapes and shallot in the olive oil and spread on a shallow, narrow-rimmed baking sheet.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft with a few brown spots.

While the vegetables are roasting, chop the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and cook over medium-low heat until all the fat is rendered out and the bacon is crisp.  Remove the bacon from pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Whisk the eggs and coconut milk together. Spread the roasted vegetables in a deep dish pie plate and sprinkle the bacon evenly over top. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and bacon.

Reduce the oven heat to 350 F and bake the quiche for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Place the quiche on a cooling rack and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition (per serving): 317 calories, 23.7g total fat, 13.9g saturated fat, 6.5g   monounsaturated fat, 1.7g polyunsaturated fat, 132.8mg cholesterol, 249.2mg sodium, 610.6mg potassium, 18.3g carbohydrates, 3.7g fiber, 6.8g sugar, 14.6g net carbohydrates, 11.5g protein.

 

Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving is just over two weeks away; we have about a dozen guests coming, and my oven is broken.

AGAIN.

It’s bad enough my gas range is less than 10 years old and the ignition switch for the oven has died three times already (a better description would be “melted”), but when I called G.E. to schedule repairs I was informed they no longer service my zip code.

To say I’m angry is a bit of an understatement.  If their “goal is to ensure [my] satisfaction, while offering the highest levels of professional service,” they are FAILING MISERABLY.  Both my washer/dryer and refrigerator are going to need to be replaced within the next couple of years, and it will be a COLD day in hell before I purchase another G.E. appliance.

At any rate, I hope this explains why I have no recipe for you today.  Well, that and the fact we had both The G Man and The Young One this past weekend, and creative cooking wasn’t a real high priority.  Video games and Christmas shopping, yes, but not cooking.

However, it occurred to me that since Thanksgiving is just a couple of weeks away, many of us are busy planning our menus for The Big Meal.  Even these last few years when we’ve cut all of the processed crap from our diet, I tend to throw caution to the wind and keep several of our “traditional” dishes – my grandmother’s cornbread dressing and pumpkin pie, for instance – but I know a great many of you are interested in keeping your Thanksgiving menu as “clean” as possible.

Fortunately, I’ve got you covered – there are tons of holiday-worthy, paleo/gluten-free/real food recipes on this site.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

Starters

Chorizo-stuffed mushrooms

Shrimp Cocktail

Bacon-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes This is one from the “old days” – it’s delicious and is perfectly fine for a “real food/paleo” Thanksgiving table as long as your bacon is “clean” and you make your own mayonnaise.

Crab Deviled Eggs

Savory Pumpkin Pie

Cauliflower Bisque

Main Course

The Turkey From Hell This has been my “go to” recipe for the last 15 years – it’s even better with a pastured, heritage turkey (we’ve begun brining it – to DIE for).  You can sub the AP flour with tapioca or arrowroot flour.

Perfect Prime Rib Because not everyone likes turkey.

Sides

Cranberry-Orange Chutney

Winter Squash Casserole

Honey-Roasted Butternut Squash

Maple Butternut Squash Soufflé

Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Cauliflower-Celery Root Puree

Roasted Parsnips and Carrots

Balsamic-Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

Lemon Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Golden Beets and Greens

Pan-Roasted Cauliflower

Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto Yes, it has rice, but hey – it’s Thanksgiving.  Walk on the wild side for a day; it’s till gluten-free.

Savory Almond Flour Muffins Because…bread.

Dessert

Apple Crisp

Lemon Chess Dessert

Chevre Cheesecake

Chocolate Pots de Crème

Dairy-Free Egg Nog

Leftovers

Turkey, Sweet Potato and Kale Casserole

Turkey and Sweet Potato Hash

Turkey Pot Pie ( the same as my Grain-free Chicken Pot Pie – just sub leftover turkey)

Creamy Turkey and Kale Soup

And there you have it: some of the many holiday-worthy paleo/gluten-free/real food recipes I’ve made in the past – and will continue to make in the future.

Are you cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year?  If so, what’s on your menu?

 

 

Baked Eggs and Ratatouille

It’s August 1st – welcome to Day 1 of the Whole30.

I am determined to not get bored towards the end of the 30 days like I did last year, so I’ve pulled out all sorts of cookbooks (I own over 200) for inspiration.  I’m finding it, too!  Especially in the classic cookbooks – Joy of Cooking, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Pepin Essentials.  This particular recipe is based on one from The Joy of Cooking; in fact, very little was needed in the way of modification to make it Whole30 compliant.

And it is simply scrumptious.

Which is surprising, at least for me – I’m not a huge fan of eggplant.  The ratatouille, though, is wonderfully savory and fresh-tasting; something that is not surprising, since we received tomatoes, onions, eggplant, zucchini and bell peppers in our CSA share this week.  If it had been any fresher, I’d have had to slap it.

The ratatouille itself is a little time-consuming, although it’s not difficult at all; you can make it ahead of time if you like (I didn’t because we had this for Sunday brunch, a meal that is never rushed in our home; it would also make a marvelous light lunch or supper).  Just make sure it’s at least at room temperature before adding it to the ramekins, or the eggs will get done before the vegetables are warmed through.

Note:  The eggplant will absorb all of the olive oil when you saute it with the zucchini – you can add a little more oil if you like, but resist the temptation to add a lot.  The eggplant will just soak it up and become oily and heavy, which you do not want.

Baked Eggs and Ratatouille. Seasonal vegetables and farm-fresh eggs make this light and tasty dish perfect for any meal.

Click on the image to enlarge

Baked Eggs and Ratatouille
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small eggplant, about 8 ounces, peeled and cubed
  • 8 ounces zucchini, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 6 large eggs
Instructions
  1. Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sauté the eggplant and zucchini until the vegetables are golden and just tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the eggplant and zucchini from the pan; set aside. Reduce the heat to medium; add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and cook the onion, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to soften. Add the bell pepper and garlic and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, thyme and bay leaf; return the eggplant and zucchini to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium -low, cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Stir in the fresh basil; taste and season as needed with salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  5. Divide the ratatouille between six ramekins; crack an egg carefully into each on top of the vegetables.
  6. Place the ramekins in a large glass baking dish large enough to hold them comfortably. Pour boiling water around the ramekins until it comes about halfway up the containers.
  7. Carefully place the baking dish into the oven and bake until the egg whites are set, but the yolks still liquid, 10 to 12 minutes.
  8. Remove the ramekins from the baking dish and carefully wipe dry. Serve immediately
  9. Nutrition (per serving): 169 calories, 11.9g total fat, 186mg cholesterol, 78.4mg sodium, 412.3mg potassium, 8.5g carbohydrates, 2.9g fiber, 4.7g sugar, 7.9g protein

Tomorrow

Last Friday I wrote about my decision to do another Whole30 this summer was motivated by my most recent bout of insomnia.  I’m glad to report that I’ve been sleeping more soundly since that post.  Not as soundly as I’d like, but it’s better – no anxiety attacks, which is always a good thing.  In fact, the anxiety attack was more worrisome to me than the insomnia; I used to suffer from anxiety quite a bit until we changed our diet.  It was the first attack in a very long time, and it was NOT welcome.

This morning, I’m suffering from menopausal brain fog, something else of which I’d like to see the end.  Why this has lingered when the irritability and mood swings have lessened in frequency and severity over the last year is beyond me, but I really, really hate it.  Hopefully clean eating for 30 days will help a bit with that, too.

Also, I’d like to apologize for the lack of blogging about optimal diet for menopause.  It hasn’t been because I don’t want to, but I simply have not had the time to do the kind of research and experimentation needed to do write with any sort of authority, and I’m not the type to go just throw junk out there because it sounds good.  It is one thing to advise that women of a certain age exercise and avoid alcohol (and plastic) as much as possible, or why it’s not a lack of estrogen that’s the problem but a lack of progesterone, but it’s something else all together to explain the science behind those claims.

Time is my problem and will continue to be, as our busy canning season is rushing towards us with the speed of light, I work to get The Young One settled in college and my workload at the office does nothing but increase.  I do plan, however, to give frequent reports about how I feel over the next 30 days, and what I believe are the causes, so there’s that.  I may also add a page to this site where I document what I eat every day – it will be interesting to see how what I eat affects how I feel (and vice versa).

Anyhoo, in anticipation of a month of grain-dairy-soy-sugar-free meals, here are some of my best Whole30 recipes.  I’ll be making them over the course of the month, and hope you do too.

Gluten-Free Crab Cakes

Gluten Free Crab Cakes

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

Melon Salad

Melon Salad

Chili Dogs

Chili Dogs

Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini Fritters

Okra Stir-Fry

Okra Stir-Fry

Birria

Birria

Mushroom and Spinach Quiche. Gluten-free, dairy-free and low carb, this crustless quiche is unbelievably delicious.

Mushroom and Spinach Quiche

Citrus Marinated Flank Steak. Nothing compares to a perfectly grilled Flank Steak, especially when flavored with citrus and chili!

Citrus Marinated Flank Steak

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf, Revisited

If you’re in the least bit fat-phobic, don’t even read this recipe.

I posted a recipe for Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf a few years ago, and for a long time it was my most popular recipe, especially among my family and friends.  I make it myself fairly often and, as with many recipes, it’s evolved a bit.  These days, I use more bacon and substitute the glaze with some of my fabulous Maple Barbecue Sauce, and have, overall, made the process a little more streamlined.  It’s still a damn fine meatloaf.

Like many meatloaves made with grass-fed beef and minus the added fillers of milk and breadcrumbs or the like, it can be a little on the dry side.  The bacon mitigates that somewhat, but not completely.  When I made it last week, I spied the big hunk of butter from local, grass-fed cows sitting on my counter, and tossed in about 1/4 cup, just to see what would happen.

What happened was a wonderfully moist, intensely flavorful meatloaf of which The Young One devoured half in one sitting.

And that, my friends, is a good meatloaf.

Note:  This will be my last non-Whole30 recipe for awhile, since I will be joining in the annual August “official” drive again this year.  Since I know what to expect this time around, my expectations are a bit different, but I will still have plenty of tasty recipes every week.  In fact, the first couple are quite good. 😉

 Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf. Butter-infused meatloaf is wrapped with bacon strips for a decadent twist on a traditional favorite.

Click on the image to enlarge

Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf, Revisited
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 8 ounces bacon, sliced
  • 1/2 cup [url href=”http://www.janssushibar.com/print/Maple%20Barbecue%20Sauce.pdf” target=”_blank”]Maple Barbecue Sauce[/url]
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Using your hands, mix together the ground beef, butter, egg, salt, pepper, basil, thyme, oregano, garlic powder and onion powder in a large bowl. Place the mixture on the vented lid of a broiler pan and shape into an oblong loaf.
  3. Drape the bacon slices over the top of the meatloaf and tuck the ends underneath until the meatloaf is completely encased in bacon. Spread the barbecue sauce over the top of the bacon.
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 160 F on an instant read thermometer. Allow the meatloaf to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 434 calories, 35.9g total fat, 124.6mg cholesterol, 878mg sodium, 404.3mg potassium, 7.3g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 5.1g sugar, 20.9g protein

Click on the image to enlarge