Monday, September 8, 2008

My sweet mandoline

Mrs. Hunter gave me a mandoline slicer for Christmas. I never really used it until now, but since breaking it out of the box and reading the instructions, I can't imagine living without it.
We've been using it so much because of the bounteous zucchini crop I brought to school. Six gigantic zukes sat on the counter for a week before I decided exactly what I'd like to do with them. We still have one or two I think, but for the most part they've been sliced through the mandoline.
The first recipe was an experimental one. I was inspired by Orangette's recipe for Braised Onion Sauce and, of course, the produce on hand. Zucchini has good, solid body but little actual flavor--its really what you add to the zucchini that counts.
Zucchini and Onions over Pasta
Makes enough for you, a roommate, and lunch the next day.
1 good sized onion, shoesting sliced with a mandoline or diced
1 zucchini, shoesting sliced with a mandoline, or chopped to the size of matchstick
Half a box of Rotelle
2 Tbs. butter
1 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese
Half a lemon

1. Melt the butter in a skillet and add the olive oil and the onion. Sautee until soft over medium heat.
2. Add the zucchini, after chopping and patting dry with a paper towel.
3. Sautee enough so that the zucchini bends to your will, but not so that it turns to mush. It should cook down quite a bit, maybe to about half of what it was.
4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta to al dente.
5. Plate up the pasta with a heap of the onion and zuke mixture on top. Throw in a lemon wedge and a good sprinkle of parmesan cheese. The lemon really cuts the onion and is a great contrast to the parmesan.

So then last night, I made a quiche. I am famous for my quiche amongst old, wealthy women who came to the Women and God retreat at Lancaster Theological Seminary. I got up at the crack of dawn (like, 5) to make three quiches with Courtney Harvey. They were all incredibly delicious, if I do say so myself.
This is a variation on Paula Deen's Hash Brown Quiche and Gourmet's Zucchini, Bacon and Gruyere Quiche (Dec. 2005).

Zucchini, Bacon and Gruyere Quiche with a hashbrown crust

Serves about five or so. Or did in my case.
3 cups frozen hashbrowns (cheaper at Whole Foods!)
4 Tbs. butter, melted
1/4 lb bacon, chopped
1 abnormally large zucchini, or 2 medium zucchini
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups half & half
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 eggs
2 oz Gruyere, grated

1. Preheat oven to 450. Thaw and pat your hashbrowns dry. Mix with butter and press into either a 9" pie plate or 9x9 baking dish. If you use the baking dish, you may need a little bit more hashbrown.

It should look like that. Throw it in the oven for 25 minutes or until it sets and the edges look crispy.
2. While the crust bakes, grate the cheese, slice the zucchini the size and shape of matchsticks or in ribbons, as the Gourmet recipe suggests, and cook and chop the bacon.
3. Whisk the eggs, half & half, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Stir in the zucchini, bacon and cheese.
4. When the crust comes out of the oven (careful! It will be hot), pour the mixture evenly into the crust.
5. Bake for 27-33 minutes, or until the filling has set and appears fluffy, lightly browned, and no longer wet. Let it cool for at least ten minutes before slicin' into that baby.

So this isn't the greatest food photo I've ever taken, but it'll have to suffice for now. You really can't go wrong with this flavor combination. Trust me.

Nina and Courtney Brown seemed to enjoy it (in a shamefully dark photo).

1 comment:

Nina said...

hahahaha finger lickin good!
hopefully I can get all my homework done tomorrow so that we can pico de gallo it up!