Curry Pumpkin Quiche (or, a practice on using up the most eggs and leftover ingredients)

The more work we put in, the more we are getting out of our farm. We are not owners of the acreage. We are not owners of the chickens. We are stewards only. Providers. Protectors. Housemaids, landscaper, and garbage man. We kill mice in traps and with the same hands pet a chicken while she's laying. Hoping to soothe. To say a small thank you for the work she's doing for us.

It's been just less than a month since their egg laying has picked up. We average 8 a day. That's 2 dozen every couple of days. About 4 or 5 a week. And we give them away--to librarians and shopkeepers. To the mailman and our mothers. We try to sell them, but it's winter and we're lazy and don't want to take money out for change. Instead, we let the eggs pile up in cardboard boxes and give them away when someone comes over. And, fortunately, more people have been over lately than before.

But after Thanksgiving, in the month of December, between the bookends of the holidays, I know there will be leftovers. Half-used, half-assed ingredients that I bought for one dish and I'm left with a half can of something-or-other to use up. Nolan and I are more conscious of waste, or animals, of the environment. We try to buy what we need, and use up what we have. So, looking in the fridge, behind the soggy mushrooms that we forgot about and the gallon of iced tea neither of us remember buying, there was spinach, a can of pumpkin, and a pat of dough. A half dozen eggs and an hour to kill, I made a quiche, dotted with spinach and brightened with curry powder. A dish that fed us for three days.

Curry Pumpkin Quiche

Ingredients:

  • Dough for 10-inch pie crust
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 tablespoon yellow curry powder
  • 1/4 cup frozen (or fresh) spinach

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F
  2. Roll out and shape dough into your pie pan, ensuring any tears are patched up (otherwise, filling will leak out)
  3. Whisk together all remaining ingredients
  4. Pour over uncooked pie crust
  5. Bake for 50 minutes or until center is firm, but slightly springy to the touch
Curry Pumpkin Quiche
Curry Pumpkin Quiche
Curry Pumpkin Quiche
Curry Pumpkin Quiche

French in the morning: Oeufs au Plat

Tarragon and Garlic Oeufs au Plat Bressanne

I'm still learning about the land we bought, the restless five acres that house hidden deer on the hill and raccoons behind the garage. We came back from Iceland this week, a six hour flight and a two-hour drive home. When we made the turn that led to our house, the expansive reality of our ownership surprised me. Five acres looks so much bigger when you've been staring at nothing but the mindlessness of an airplane cabin.

There are many things I didn't realize about the land. How much effort it takes to maintain it and how effortless it is to respect it. How cautious I am to burn anything. How fearful I am of giving our chickens anything that isn't first corroborated between two websites. How quiet it can be, home alone all day with lazy, dozing puppies. How lonesome the night feels sometimes when the sky, coquettish, hides behind sheets of moonlit clouds.

This is our first autumn at this house of ours. There are four bushes that are in our backyard. I ask Nolan what kinds they are, as they haven't yet blossomed or changed color. I know so little about these types of things. And, because of this, I am able to be surprised in the resolute sense that this world will shift forward without my incessant question-asking. 

The chickens will lay on their time.

The dogs will bark in the nighttime.

The bees continue to build their ruddy nests in places we haven't yet discovered.

And we may find a deer, broken and flattened, on the side of our driveway. This is through no fault of our own. None of it is, really.

I am beginning, just beginning, to find peace in acquiescing. To hold so little responsibility, to become a steward of our animals and this homestead I am responsible for, versus a master of anything. I hold no ego the way I once did. I hide behind no fantasy, the way I once did. Sometimes I cannot tell if I am exhausted from years of trying so hard to keep everything together, or if it was all in my head for nothing.

Next year, I'll know a little more. And this recipe is in preparation for it. Herb and tomato and egg from our land; I'm waiting for the day when I can taste it.

Tarragon and Garlic Ouefs au Plat Bressanne

Tarragon and Garlic Oeufs au Plat Bressanne

Adapted from this recipe, this dish is perfect for a simple Sunday meal for two. Feel free to adjust your garlic, seasoning, and even herb choice as you like. Adaptable French is key to how I like my meals, you could say.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 clove garlic, diced finely
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 slices of quality bread, sat out to stale for a day or so
  • 2 eggs
  • 6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375*F and butter a small cake pan, baking dish, or skillet
  2. In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream, garlic, salt and pepper on medium heat until bubbles just begin to form on the edge of the pan
  3. Remove from heat and let steep
  4. Lay bread in prepared pan
  5. Pour cream mixture over top
  6. Cream a small well in the center of your bread to nestle the egg yolks
  7. Crack your eggs over the bread
  8. Add tomatoes
  9. Bake for 12 minutes, but begin checking at 10 to see how your whites have set. You can take out anytime after 10, depending on desired runniness of your eggs
  10. Sprinkle with tarragon and any additional salt and pepper
  11. Best if eaten immediately
Tarragon and Garlic Oeufs au Plat Bressanne
Tarragon and Garlic Oeufs au Plat Bressanne
Tarragon and Garlic Oeufs au Plat Bressanne
Tarragon and Garlic Oeufs au Plat Bressanne
Tarragon and Garlic Oeufs au Plat Bressanne

My Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer Meal

A line from a song keeps running in my head - "Don't let this fading summer pass you by."

Hello, old friends, I'm back to blogging this month! There are so many recipes I've made that I haven't posted, and while I'm going to Iceland in just THREE (!) days, I still haven't even written about Vermont yet. But, I'm back. Back to a messy kitchen and a flour-covered camera. Back to cakes, back to breads. I'm trying my hand at savory more, as you've probably seen the last 3 recipes on here. 

I needed the time away. Sometimes I get gripped by the inextricable need to be a quitter, a runaway. I don't think it's a fault of mine, but it makes it hard to stick around long enough to see something blossom into success. I get bored. I get discouraged. I burn out. This summer, my priorities shifted a bit since we're back in Pennsylvania at our own house now. I'm doing more with Nolan's family, like weddings, showers, and christenings. I'm busier with housework, farm work, and my full-time job. So I didn't document what I ate as much lately. I haven't really been active on instagram. I haven't let the fading summer pass me by just yet.

With so many weekends away and trips to plan, we've been making more meals that are thrown together, roasted or sauteed for flavor, and all in one pan. The below is no different. In fact, it's the best kind of cookery that I enjoy the most. Easy, comforting, quick to keep the kitchen cool when it's muggy outside. In just weeks it will be cool and I'll want to have the oven on all the time. But for now, with the windows open and a breeze rustling the hair the nape of Elsa's neck, nothing is better than a quick meal so I have more time for connecting with the home I built and love so much.

Quick (and adaptable!) Cannellini Dinner!

cannellini dinner

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of bacon, roughly chopped
  • 15-20 green beans
  • 2 cups kale, chopped with stems removed
  • 2 cans 16 oz cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon of each for me!)
  • 1 or 2 hardboiled eggs
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, add bacon and begin to cook
  2. When browned and crisp around the edges, add your green beans and begin to cook down
  3. As the green beans cook, they will crisp around the tips and turn a vibrant green, turn heat to medium-low
  4. Next, add your kale and allow to wilt
  5. Add cannellini beans and stir constantly to warm
  6. Finally, add your garlic, salt and pepper
  7. Transfer to a bowl, add your egg and a squeeze of lemon and enjoy!

Note: You can really use any vegetables or meat for this, just follow the basic recipe to mix it up however you want!

cannellini dinner
cannellini dinner
cannellini dinner
cannellini dinner

Kale and Eggs! A breakfast (or lunch!) of champions!

Kale was the first thing we bought in our new house. It was the first thing I made that was from instinct of taste rather than a recipe in a long time. The bag, split down the middle because I tore it too fast, rustled against my hand when I would reach for a yogurt, half and half for my coffee, or a stray piece of fruit that rolled away from me earlier. It was something I wanted to try. It was on sale that week. I wanted to impress Nolan when he came home, and so I started to cook.

I am no cook by trade, or even by accident. I did not come about cooking the way I did about baking. It was not by need or necessity or for pleasure. It was, and sometimes still is, a means to an end. I did not always enjoy the cleanup; and I very much less enjoy the lack of control and tactility involved versus when I make a cake. But I work from home and I have free time and so I cook for the boy I love.

I make simple dishes. Things I like. Nothing too complicated and a varietal of five rotating flavors that work in an interchanging meander on my otherwise underdeveloped savory palate. Starting out, I never want to get too complicated. The whole chickens are still in the freezer for another day. For now, I want declaratives and not interrogatives.

“This is good.”

“Make this again.”

“I’m getting seconds.”

Kale and Eggs

Because dishes like the below are so simple, I need to make sure my utensils are the best I can have for starting out. American Kitchen Cookware is perfect for me. Made in West Bend, Wisconsin, each piece is durable, unforgiving in its exactness of preparation, and carefully constructed to last. A company that is over 100 years old must be doing something right, and I believe that using this pan was the reason this dish has come out so successfully the last few weeks.

American Kitchen Cookware is also part of my Instagram giveaway for this week! Head on over to Instagram for more details, where you and a friend could win either of the pans featured in this post (the 10-inch stainless steel casserole pan or the 10-inch stainless steel skillet) for you and a friend!

Kale and Eggs

Kale and Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
  • 6 cup kale
  • ½ teaspoon flaked sea salt, or more if desired
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, or more if desired
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. In your casserole pan (I used the 10-inch stainless steel casserole pan) or covered skillet, heat your oil on medium-high
  2. Add garlic and allow to cook for a minute or until it becomes fragrant
  3. Add your kale, salt, and pepper. Stir with a wooden spoon to coat the leaves with oil and garlic
  4. Allow to cook on medium-high until kale begins to get tender
  5. Crack your eggs evenly on top of the kale and cover your dish
  6. Turn heat to low and let cool for 6 minutes
  7. Uncover and check your eggs. This dish is really dependent on the natural liquid from the kale escaping and making steam, so it is, in turn, dependent on your kale and the oven temperature. If eggs are have not set to your desire, replace lid and continue cooking for a minute or two
  8. Remove from heat, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and serve immediately
Kale and Eggs
Kale and Eggs
Kale and Eggs
Kale and Eggs
Kale and Eggs
Kale and Eggs
Kale and Eggs
Kale and Eggs