Where’s the Beef—-steak?

Tomato, Squash, and Red Pepper Gratin

In this case the beefsteaks come in the form of juicy ripe tomatoes.  Combined with other fresh garden vegetables, quinoa, and eggs this casserole is a meal in itself.  We are making an effort to go meatless at least one day a week, so when I found  this recipe I decided to try it out.  It turned out to be  so hearty and satisfying all you need add is a green salad.

Quinoa is the new darling of the grain world and if you have not tried it yet this dish “hides” it so well you will not know it’s there.  Quinoa has double the protein and fiber of rice so I felt that I owed it to myself to give it a try.  I must admit I was not overly taken with it when served plain, but when combined with other ingredients it is enjoyable with its nutty flavor.   If you know someone who is a little hesitant to try something new,  this recipe will be a good way to introduce them to quinoa.

TOMATO, SQUASH, AND RED PEPPER GRATIN

SERVES    6

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 pound yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced basil, divided**
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme**
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat milk ( 2%)
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese; Gruyere, Swiss or other good melting cheese.
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup seasoned croutons
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, cut into 8 slices

** If fresh basil and thyme are not available you may use the following dried herbs:  1 teaspoon basil and 1/2 teaspoon thyme.

DIRECTIONS

1.   Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare an 11 x 7 inch glass or ceramic baking dish by coating with cooking spray.

2.  Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add 4  teaspoons oil; swirl to coat.  Add onion; cook for 3 minutes.  Add bell pepper; cook 2 minutes.

3.  Add squash and garlic; cook 4 minutes.  Place vegetable mixture in a large bowl.

Stir in quinoa, 1/4 cup basil, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper.

Egg mixture with dried herbs, added.

4.  Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, milk, eggs, and cheese in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add milk mixture to vegetable mixture, stirring until just combined.  Spoon into prepared baking dish.

5.  Place seasoned croutons in a food processor; pulse until coarse crumbs form.  Instead of that, I like to put them in a zip-lock bag and pound lightly with a meat mallet to form coarse crumbs.     (no extra dishes to wash!)

Ready for the oven.

6.  Arrange tomatoes evenly over vegetable mixture.  Top evenly with crumbs.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until topping is browned.  Sprinkle with remaining basil before serving.

  

SOURCE:   Cooking Light,  August, 2012

Summer Squash, Bacon and Mozzarella Quiche

At this time of year I try to take advantage of summer’s bounty of fresh vegetables as much as I can.  Summer squash and zucchini are two vegetables that seem to grow in great abundance for anyone who gardens.  Several of my friends tend small garden plots and are generous in sharing ” the wealth” with me.

The recipe for this quiche was in Cooking Light Magazine last July and I made it several times last summer and already this summer I’ve made it again because we like it so much.  Except for the inclusion of some bacon it is almost meatless, so if you choose to omit the bacon the quiche will still be very good.  It’s also a good way to get children to eat some vegetables by surrounding them with eggs and cheese and calling the dish “pie”.

When I make this I usually serve it with just a green salad along side for a light summertime supper.  It is also a very good dish to serve for a brunch.

SUMMER SQUASH, BACON AND MOZZARELLA QUICHE

SERVINGS:  8

Crust:  You may choose to make your favorite pie crust recipe,  use a refrigerated pie crust such as Pillsbury, or a frozen premade crust from the frozen foods isle of the grocery store.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees  Pierce the crust bottom and sides with a fork.  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.  Watch carefully to prevent bubbles from forming, by pricking with a fork.  Cool slightly.

Filling:  

  • 4 slices smoked bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled.   Save about 2 Tablespoons of drippings in the pan.
  • 2 cups zucchini, sliced about 1/8 inch thick
  • 2 cups yellow squash, sliced about 1/8 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion or shallots
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme,  or about 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk  ( I used skim milk, and it was fine.)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup egg beater product, or one more egg
  • 3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella

To prepare filling:  Saute the two squashes and the chopped onion in the bacon drippings, sprinkling with the thyme.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until squash becomes tender.

Combine the milk, salt, pepper and eggs in a large measuring cup, stirring with a whisk.  Arrange the squash mixture evenly in the pie crust, sprinkle with the bacon and mozzarella cheese.  Pour egg mixture over all.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until filling is set.

When you write a food blog like this the photos taken usually show off your dish to good advantage, and the reader gets the impression that everything goes smoothly and comes out looking ‘picture perfect”.  Not so!  Sometimes everything goes wrong and the dish looks horrible.  Those I don’t write about.  But sometimes funny things happen which was the case with this quiche.

For my crust I used one which was frozen from my freezer.  Some how I failed to notice there was a crack in it.  Look closely, you can see it!   So after I filled it with the veggies, bacon and cheese, I poured in the milk mixture, which ran out the crack, over the side of the pie pan and onto the baking sheet underneath.  I discarded as much of the overflow as I could manage, then put the whole thing in the oven and hoped for the best.  Needless to say it continued to leak in the oven.  When the quiche was cooked and I removed it from the oven there was a hugh bubble of cooked egg mixture attached to the side of the pie pan.  Sort of like a pop-over attached to a quiche!  It deflated quickly so I didn’t get a good picture of it, but you can see remnants of it in the  pictures below. 🙂  In spite of this the quiche tasted very good, and we really enjoyed it.

   

SOURCE:  Cooking Light Magazine,  July, 2011