Monday, April 23, 2007

Potato Leek Fennel Soup with Spinach Quiche and Chard

Home, sweet home.

With very little cheating (wheat, pepper), this is a gastronomic spotlight on Bay Area goodies.

Potato, Leek, and Fennel Soup

7 c fresh vegetable stock
2 c leeks (white and light green only)
2 c fennel (chopped, fronds saved for decor)
4c (2lbs) red or yukon gold potatoes, chopped into 1/2" pieces
6 Tbs. butter
salt
pepper

In large saucepan, sautee butter, leeks, and fennel till soft, about 7 min. Add potatoes and stock, bring to boil. Reduce to medium-high simmer, 25 min or until potatoes soften. Blend in food processor till smooth. Return to saucepan, salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fennel fronds and serve.

Spinach Quiche with Flakey Crust

Adapted from Tartine Bakery Cookbook, 2006.

For crust:
1 1/2 cups plus 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/3 c water, very cold
1/2 tsp salt

Mix salt and water, place in fridge to chill. Cut cold butter into 1" chunks. Using pastry cutter or two knives, cut butter into flour until pea-sized chunks of butter remain. Slowly drizzle in cold water, mixing with a spoon to create loose dough ball. The dough should not be smooth, and you should see butter chunks. Do not overmix -- big chunks of butter now = big flakes in crust later. Heat and overmixed dough are your enemies. Flatten dough to 1" round and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerated 2 hours or up to overnight. Roll out dough to 1/8", line quiche pan. Refrigerate 30 min to one hour. Line with parchment paper and weigh with baking beads or dry beans. Preheat oven to 375 F. Bake 25 min until surface looks light brown. Removed parchment and baking beads, bake 5 minutes longer. Remove and let cool fully.

For filling:

1 c creme fraiche
1 c whole milk
1 tsp salt
3 Tbs flour
1 tsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
1/2 tsp freshly grated pepper
5 large eggs
1-2 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

Whisk one egg with flour until smooth. Blend in remaining eggs, In a separate bowk, whisk creme fraiche till smooth, and then whisk in milk. Strain egg mixture into milk mixture. Whisk in salt, pepper, and thyme. Stir in spinach.

Preheat oven to 375. Pour quiche mix into fully cooled crust. Bake 10 min, then reduce heat to 325. Cook an additional 30 min, or until center feels firm and not liquid. Allow to cool at least 20 min. If fully cooled, reheat in oven preheated to 325 for 15 min.

For the chard, I simple chopped it coarsely before tossing it in Adams Ranch olive oil with farmer's market smashed garlic cloves.

For dessert, I'll be having Strauss Cream Top yogurt and blackberry honey. Yum!

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