Lunch

Apple, Arugula & Goat Cheese Quiche

Apple Arugula Quiche 1
Do you feel it?  The change in weather?  The darker mornings and shorter days?  The crisp, cool smell in the air?

It’s fall.

Oh, how I have waited for fall!  I like mild weather; not too hot, not too cold.  I like sweaters and coats and hot coffee and boots and warm stews.  I like candles lit in the fireplace, snuggly blankets on the couch, the smells of roasting squash and cinnamon and rich, hearty soups.  I like the feeling of looming holidays, the harvest festivals, the general sense of mischief and merriment in the air as Halloween approaches.  I like fall.

Apple Arugula Quiche 3

 I did cheat a bit.  I made this quiche in the summer.  It’s light and lovely and worked well for a backyard picnic lunch.  But the flavors work well for the fall too.  Apples and arugula.  The zing of the goat cheese.  A little salad on the side, and you are ready to enjoy the season.

Apple Arugula Quiche 6

 Most of my blog cooking gets done on the weekends.  With getting home late, and it getting darker earlier now, it just makes more sense.  So, Shawn and I do our best eating on the weekends (this quiche included).  There’s something really satisfying about spending your Saturday surrounded by food; farmer’s market in the morning, some baking, some eating, dessert, a nice dinner.  Weekends work well for those slowly prepared foods; braising, roasting, stewing.  Your whole house fills with the scents of dinner at home; there is no cozier feeling.

Apple Arugula Quiche 4

 

I mean, just look at that quiche!  You can bet the whole house smelled like apples and cheese, the peppery crust.  We were salivating by the time it was ready to eat, just wanting to dive in headfirst.  Yum, yum, yum.

How will you be welcoming in the fall?  THG

Apple Arugula Quiche 5

 

Apple, Arugula & Goat Cheese Quiche
Serves 4
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For the crust
  1. 1 1/2 cups flour
  2. 3/4 cup unsalted butter, in 1/2" cubes
  3. 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  4. 1 tsp. black pepper
  5. 1/8 to 1/4 cup ice water
For the filling
  1. 2 Granny Smith apples, sliced 1/8" thick with a mandoline, seeds removed
  2. 6 eggs
  3. 1/4 cup heavy cream
  4. 1/2 cup milk
  5. 5 oz. Chevre goat cheese, softened
  6. 2 cups fresh arugula, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, pepper and sea salt. Add cold butter and work with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Add ice water 1 Tbsp. at a time and mix until dough just begins to come together. Form into a ball and flatten. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  3. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 6.5 by 16 inch rectangle (12 inch round if you are using a round tart pan). Carefully fit dough into a 4.5 by 14 inch tart pan (or 9 inch round), pressing gently along the sides to fit to pan. Pierce the bottom with a fork and refrigerate 20 minutes to set.
  4. Line tart shell with parchment paper and fill with beans or pie weights. Bake 10 minutes in center of oven; remove parchment paper and weights and bake another 10 minutes until bottom has just cooked through. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk eggs until thick and ribboned. Whisk in cream and milk. Add goat cheese and arugula and mix well to combine.
  6. In the cooled tart shell, lay apple slices long ways (or in concentric circles), overlapping until pan is filled. Carefully pour egg mixture over the apples up to just under the edge of the crust. Bake 30 minutes at 375 F until egg mixture has set.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The Humble Gourmet http://www.thehumblegourmet.com/

Summertime Potato Salad

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Potatoes, celery, lemongrass and herbs. Vinaigrette instead of heavy creamy dressing. Light and fresh and flavorful. This salad screams summer.

We welcomed in the warm weather with a backyard feast. We recently remade our patio with a chaise, love seat and fire pit. Polish sausage and hot dogs, cold root beers and this potato salad? We are ready to welcome in the longer nights and hotter days with delicious, seasonal meals. And this potato salad? Well, it’s just the first course. We’ll have many more summertime recipes in the upcoming months. So, pull up a seat, grab a plate, and watch out for ants!

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Summertime Potato Salad
1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes
3 stalks celery, diced
1/2 stalk fresh lemongrass, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh dill, finely chopped
1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. walnut oil
1/3 cup olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Pierce potatoes with a fork. Boil in salted water until fork tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

Dice cold potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces. In a large bowl combine potatoes, celery, lemongrass and garlic. Toss gently to combine. Add parsley, dill and zest of 1/2 lemon. Set aside.

Whisk together juice of 1/2 lemon, sherry vinegar and Dijon mustard. Slowly drizzle in walnut oil and olive oil, whisking the whole time to emulsify. Whisk in sea salt and pepper. Pour over potato salad and toss gently to combine. Serve cold.

Serves 4-6

Radish and Goat Cheese Tartines

French Breakfast Radishes

A few musings on this chilly day:

– I could not be more sick of turkey.  Truly.  I feel as if I’ve been eating turkey non-stop for a year.  And still, there is turkey to be eaten.  I feel the massive levels of tryptophan that I have seemly consumed in the past week will launch me into full-on winter hibernation.

– I love the idea of winter hibernation.  Think about it: spending an entire season tucked warmly into bed, no where to go, nothing to do.  Just coziness and deep sleep.  Here’s hoping I get to be a bear in my next life.

– In my quest for any and all things NOT turkey, I have found myself eating much smaller quantities of food.  And that is not a bad thing; I feel like the rich, complex and hearty foods associated with the cooler seasons are better consumed in smaller portions.  It’s leaving me feeling very satisfied and well-fed, without that “stuffed to the gills” feeling.  Which is good, because, as I mentioned, I am sleepy enough this time of year without the added affect of the “food coma”.

Radish and Goat Cheese Tartines

– My new favorite farmer’s market discovery are these French breakfast radishes.  I haven’t been very exposed to radishes, never really ate them growing up, and I’ve generally found regular radishes to be a bit too peppery for my taste.  Not these little beauties.  Mild and crunchy, with just that little spicy zing right at the end.  Shawn’s been having them just lightly dipped in sea salt.  Very tasty.  I prefer them on this goat cheese tartine.

French Breakfast Radishes

There is no real recipe to speak of here: just toasted wheat sourdough bread with soft goat cheese, good olive oil, radishes, pepper and a little fresh mint on top.  Just assemble and eat.  You really don’t need anything more complicated than that with these little jewels.  They hold up wonderfully with the tangy goat cheese and cool mint.  I had this for dinner and then again the next day for lunch.  With the excess and overeating to come with the holidays, these are a great little palate break from all the sugar, starch and salt.  Bon appetite!  THG

Radish and Goat Cheese Tartines

Sunday Scrap Lunch: Roasted Carrot and Garlic Soup

Roasted Carrot and Garlic Soup with Garlic Bread

I want a vacation.

I haven’t been on a good, proper vacation since my honeymoon.  Three and a half years ago.  I’ve gone out of town, but it’s only been for family gatherings and weddings, which while lovely and very fun, aren’t quite the same as taking a vacation out of town with the hubby.  Just a few days, away from work, alone, just to unwind.  It should be illegal to go three and a half years without taking a few days for yourself.

Roasted Carrots and Garlic
Roasted Garlic Butter and Whole-Wheat Toast

I want to be in the mountains.  In a cabin.  With a fire going.  A mug of green tea and this soup.

Roasting the carrots brings out their sweetness and adds a caramel-like flavor.  The garlic mellows out a lot and retains an almost nutty taste.  I added fresh thyme for its earthiness and ground ginger for a little kick.

Sweet.  Herby.  Peppery.  Nutty.  So delicious.

 

I used half the roast garlic bulb for garlic toast.  Just mashed the roast garlic into butter, little pepper, and spread it on whole-wheat toast.  Yum, yum, yum.

On a cold Sunday, where all I want to do is stay in, I can imagine I’m on a snowy mountain, in a beautiful cabin, just me and Shawn, a bowl of roasted carrot soup and some garlic toast.

Sigh.

Almost the same as a vacation.  ALMOST. 

Smile
THG

Roasted Carrot and Garlic Soup

4 large carrots

1 garlic bulb

3 Tbsp. olive oil

4 cups chicken broth

2 Tbsp. fresh thyme

1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450ºF.

Cut carrots in half lengthwise, then in half widthwise, leaving skins on.  Cut garlic bulb in half through the middle.  Brush each carrot and the cut ends on the garlic with olive oil.  Roast in the oven until brown and lightly caramelized, about 20-30 minutes.

In a saucepan, combine carrots, half bulb of garlic (removed from paper skin), chicken broth, thyme, ginger, salt and pepper.  Reserve other half of garlic for toast.  Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to a simmer until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.  In a blender, puree soup until vegetables are broken down and soup is thick.  Garnish with fresh thyme leaves and fresh ground pepper.  Serve immediately.

Serves 2

Sunday Scrap Lunch: Custom Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Sunday Grilled Cheese Ingredients

Part of being a humble gourmet is knowing that you can’t always spend money on custom, special meals.  Sometimes, you have to go to the leftovers and scraps in the fridge to get a meal on the table.

Shawn and I are currently saving up to buy our first home (so exciting!).  We are just about at our savings goal, which means we are on major spending lock-down.  No $40 dinners, no random shopping trips, no weekend lunches out.  It’s tough sometimes, but we are just so close that we can really see it being worth it.  So, scrap lunches have become the new thing for us.

Custom Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Crumbled goat cheese and homemade olive tapenade left over from our New Year’s party.  Extra green apple from the Apple-Caramel Pavlovas.  Asiago cheese from Macaroni and Cheese night.  Honey.  Roasted red pepper.  A few slices of bread, a handful of kettle chips and an ice tea.

Lunch.

Roasted Red Pepper/Tapenade and Apple/Honey Grilled Cheese

No need to post a recipe with this meal.  Just assemble, melt some butter, and toast.  Grilled cheese my friends.  Such a tasty and versatile little sandwich.

Sunday Scrap Grilled Cheese

Such a great way to use up leftovers.  Shawn had an Asiago, green apple and honey sandwich on whole wheat.  Sweet and tart and salty all rolled into one, with the whole wheat providing an earthy and hearty backdrop for the other flavors to rest on.  I had the goat cheese, roasted red pepper and tapenade on sourdough.  Very hearty, salty, briny and sweet all mingling with the sourdough bread.  It was goat cheese heaven.

We ate our little gourmet sandwiches while watching Dexter on Demand.  Awesome Sunday lunch break.  And far better than most grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve paid upwards of $7.50 for.  Free gourmet grilled cheese.  Who could ask for anything more?

Scrap meals are definitely the norm for us lately.  But scrap meals doesn’t mean bad, past-their-prime leftovers.  It’s all about creativity.  Take some dry pasta and whatever fresh herbs are about to turn and have a fresh pasta dish.  Take some chicken broth, left over roast chicken and instant rice for a delicious and hearty soup.  Or make a grilled cheese sandwich.  There are so many combinations you can do with grilled cheese, you’ll never get bored of it.

What’s your favorite “clean out the pantry” scrap meal to cook?  THG

Sunday Scrap Lunch: Custom Grilled Cheese