‘FARMER’S MARKET PANTRY’ – In the good tradition of many food blogs––like, say, Smitten Kitchen––I’ve gotten some experience this summer doing small-kitchen cooking. My girlfriend is subletting an apartment with a kitchen that, while not exactly claustrophobic, is certainly not palatial, and requires a lot of cooking that looks more like some sort of intricately choreographed dance. But the smallness of the kitchen doesn’t mean we can’t cook and, what’s more, has caused us to realize all over again that sometimes it’s what’s outside of the kitchen that’s the most important. When we’re at the apartment, after all, we can walk to the farmer’s market. It’s a long walk, but one filled with beautiful early morning sights and smells, and rewarded with a trip to the “pantry” far better than any we could experience in even the largest, best-stocked kitchen.
Recently, we’ve been on a kale kick. Having found a favorite kale vendor, we return week after week to buy huge bags of kale for a mere three dollars before stocking up on tomatoes and peaches, and performing very important research on the precise difference between a sticky bun and a cinnamon roll. But after a few weeks of kale, we were needing ideas as to how we could prepare it––besides steaming or sauteeing it. Which brings us to the entrance of Vegetarian Times’ Farmer’s Market edition, saving the day yet again with its elegant swiss chard quiche. Never having made a quiche before, we were a little unsure of ourselves. But the recipe’s simplicity (the quiche doesn’t include a crust, but instead has an easy sprinkling of breadcrumbs on top) put us at ease, and the thrill of using so many ingredients from our own farmer’s market pantry: kale (in place of the swiss chard), eggs, goat cheese, and leeks.
The recipe is effortless and beautiful, and results in a dish from a half-hour of cooking in a tiny kitchen that looks like it could have been cooked in a restaurant.
CRUSTLESS KALE & HERB QUICHE
Adapted from Vegetarian Times, Summer 2011
- 1 tablespoon truffle oil
- 2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 small leeks, white & green parts halved and sliced ½-inch thick
- 2 cups chopped kale
- 4 egg whites
- 3 whole eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 2 oz fresh goat cheese
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees; brush a 9-inch baking dish with about 1 tablespoon truffle oil. Scatter breadcrumbs over bottom of baking dish.
- In medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add leeks and pinch of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper; continuing to cook about 5 minutes or until leeks are softened.
- Add 2 cups chopped kale and cook until kale is softened, about 3-5 minutes; set aside.
- Whisk egg whites until frothy; whisk in eggs. Whisk in milk and nutmeg; season with salt/pepper.
- Scatter leeks and kale over breadcrumbs in baking dish; dot cheese on top. Pour egg mixture over. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown on top. Cool 5 minutes. Slice and serve.
Avery Olund-Smith is going into her sophomore year at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where’s she’s studying English. She’s from Cincinnati, Ohio, where she attended the School for Creative and Performing Arts. She loves biking to Findlay Market and writing with the Cincinnati organization Women Writing for (a) Change, and considers food, writing, reading, and the beauties of both the city and the natural world amongst her passions.