Perhaps it’s a combination of rising food prices, my concern about the impact of wasted food on the environment (both up and down stream) or my general laziness to do anything in the heat of summer. In the past 24 hours I needed to cook 2 meals – dinner for myself and breakfast with a friend – and I decided to cook with what I have in the house.
What I have in the house is limited. Further complicating matter is that I like to have vegetables at every meal, but I don’t typically keep them on hand. My schedule is varied enough that I only buy things that will keep for at least a week or two. Fresh vegetables, which decline rapidly, I buy on an “as-needed” basis.
The garden is still in the early summer lull – the spring crops are over, the summer crops haven’t yet ripened.
I piecemeal together the vegetables: Canned tomatoes from last years’ crop. Organic, truly vine-ripened. And since they’re really “jarred” they don’t have that tinny taste like commercially processed tomatoes. The yellow tomatoes won’t give a vibrant color to a meal, but they are exceedingly delicious.
A few squash blossoms. As I just learned, zucchinis give off male and female flowers. The female flowers produce the vegetable, the males… well, the males don’t do much. The ratio of female to male is typically 1:5. Given that, I have no compunction about snagging all the blossoms that don’t have fruit behind them. That’s about a dozen over the course of two days.
The celery is not yet fully sized, but I could probably lop off a stalk or two without harming the rest.
The snow pea plant will be dug up in a few days, so I can snip off what’s left of the tender leaves and the last few peas.
The larder is pretty well stocked: eggs, milk, pastry crust, bacon, cheese, bread, black beans. And I have some left-over grilled vegetables – ¼ of a zucchini (from the farmers market) and ¼ of a bell pepper.
For the first meal, my dinner, the solution is obvious and easy: I pureed the canned tomatoes, warmed them and served it as soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. I garnished with some squash blossoms and fresh basil.
For the breakfast, quiche seemed like a great option because I have crusts in the freezer (left over from the strawberry-rhubarb pies. I could make a variation on an Alsatian Quiche with onions, bacon and cheddar (instead of gruyere).
Instead, I opt for “summer vegetable.” I like that I can use up some leftover grilled vegetables, another can of tomatoes (I have about 8 pints left from last summer that I need to use before this year’s canning adventure begins) and the basil and scallions from the garden. The onions and bacon will keep for another meal.
Summer Vegetable QuichePie Crust
1 ½ cups milk or half-n-half
½ cup pureed tomatoes
1 cup left-over summer vegetables: zucchini, red peppers, snap peas, celery etc.
½ cup cheddar cheese grated
Fresh basil, chopped
Fresh scallions, chopped
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Combine milk and tomato puree in a sauce pot. Heat over medium flame until small bubble form on the edges. While milk is heating, whisk eggs. Slowly drizzle milk into egg mixture until combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Line pie pan with pie dough. Sprinkle vegetables, cheese and herbs on top. Pour egg mixture over the vegetables until the pie shell is full.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until quiche is set.