April 2008: Smoked Cheese and Onion Quiche & Caesar Salad

A common meal at Swan's MarketHere are a couple of great recipes from Bonnie Fergusson. Bonnie, 64, works in the lab at the Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic in San Francisco. She lives with her husband Stephen, a technical writer, in the very urban Swan's Market cohousing community, located in the middle of downtown Oakland. She says, “There's a farmers market that happens every Friday morning just outside our door, which makes finding fresh produce easy. And living on the edge of Oakland's Chinatown means we have access to lots of Asian specialty foods, as well. Our common dinners are definitely a main part of the social glue that holds our community together. They are very well attended.”

Try these recipes together for a complete meal.

Smoked Cheese and Onion Quiche
(variation of a recipe from Tassajara, by Edward Espe Brown)

1 uncooked pie shell
Dijon mustard
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
½ cup grated smoked Gouda (or other smoked cheese)
½ cup grated parmesan
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
3 eggs (or 1 egg plus 3 egg whites)
Tabasco sauce
½ cup milk plus ½ cup half-and-half

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cook the onion in a little olive oil slowly until nicely browned.

Spread the mustard generously on the uncooked pie shell. Sprinkle the cheeses evenly over the mustard.

Sauté the mushrooms for a few minutes. Spread the cooked onion and mushrooms over the cheeses.

Beat the eggs in a bowl. Whisk in the milk, half-and-half, and a dash of Tabasco. Pour the mixture over the vegetables and cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Then lower temperature to 350, and continue baking for another 25-30 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

For another variation, omit the onions and sauté 2 cups of chopped fresh spinach with the mushrooms.

Caesar Salad for 4 to 6

Vegetarian eggless dressing:

½ cup good olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tbsp. Nayonnaise (eggless spread made with soy oil) or light mayo
3 tbsp. shredded parmesan cheese
¼ tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

Croutons:

1 cup fresh bread cut into ½-inch cubes
good olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

Salad:

Romaine lettuce leaves
Radicchio leaves
Thin red onion slices

Dressing: Mix the garlic into the olive oil. Let it sit at room temperature for at least one hour until the garlic flavor infuses the oil. Blend the remaining ingredients into the garlic-olive oil mixture at the last minute, just before using.

Croutons: Mix the garlic into the olive oil and let sit for one hour, as above (optional). Drizzle the olive oil over the bread cubes. Toss the cubes until they are evenly coated, then spread them on a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 5-10 minutes.

Toss the salad ingredients with the croutons and dressing, and serve.

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