With minimal effort.

With minimal effort.

Some nights I just don’t feel like cooking much. As we took back-to-back trips this past week, I really didn’t want to do much. Summer laziness is setting in.

I bought some sweet potatoes with the intention of making my favorite quiche two weeks ago. Then the Williamsburg trip came up, then Orlando to see Hall & Oates and Tears for Fears (YAAAAY) and I never got around to it. After we returned from Orlando, I decided I just really needed to get on it.

I had my first taste of quiche in my early teen years, I think. I’d go to church with my dad, and the choir brought food to share on their breaks in-between services. Someone always brought quiche, and I’d always get a heaping serving. Quiche has always been a rare delicacy in my mind – no one in my family ever made it – and I really should make it more. It’s so easy and delicious!

This quiche comes from my favorite food blog, Well Plated by Erin. I make her recipes so often, and they suit my tastes perfectly. This quiche embodies three things I adore: savory flavors, cheese, and eggs.

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Though the quiche involves a bit of a time investment, most of it involves sitting around while it bakes. I enjoyed some mead from Silver Hand Meadery (see my post on Williamsburg) while I waited.

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Also pictured are the two types of honey I purchased from the meadery. I’ve been using the Avocado Blossom honey in my morning tea.

As you may know, I update my blog with a list of “Pantry Essentials” – those items I always have on hand that make cooking easy and fit my generally on-a-whim approach to my meals. I am quite surprised I’ve never talked about olive oil. I use it almost every day. For a while, I just bought whatever extra virgin olive oil was cheapest, or on sale, until I paid a visit to the Olive Oil Store. I was learning about “good” vs “bad” olive oil at the time, and the helpful clerks advised me further. For a while, I was buying the most peppery oil they stocked, which is one of the indicators of quality olive oil.

My dad (to whom I owe my palate, and who is quite the cook himself) told me that World Market stocked a pretty high quality olive oil. He’s right! This affordable olive oil has just the right flavor for everyday cooking, and I cannot cook without it.

I’ve diverged into talking about this essential pantry item because it plays a prominent role in both the quiche and my go-to-I-am-too-lazy-to-really-cook side item. Sauteed, lemony kale is my favorite quick side. It really only takes minutes, and I love having greens with a breakfasty meal.

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Olive oil also helps with my too-lazy-to-make-actual-pastry-crust. These two simple recipes are perfect for those “minimal effort” nights. The sweet potatoes and the onions are also roasted and caremelized in oil…you get the idea.

Quick Quiche Crust

ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat or white whole wheat flour (I’ve tried using all-purpose, too, and white whole wheat works best)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup ice water

method

  1. Measure 1/4 cup water into a measuring cup, and add a few ice cubes. Set in the fridge until ready to use.
  2. Using a fork, blend salt and flour.
  3. Remove ice from water, and drain required amount to return to 1/4 cup.
  4. Add 1/4 cup olive oil to water (I just pour in the oil on top of the water until the level reaches the 1/2 cup line). Whisk with fork until combined.
  5. Add olive oil and water mixture to the flour, and stir until fully combined. Press into quiche tin, add your fillings, and bake!

Sauteed Lemony Kale (serves 2)

ingredients

  • 3-4 leaves curly kale, torn from stems into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • dash of lemon juice

method

  1. Heat olive oil over medium.
  2. Add greens and cook, stirring occasionally until partially wilted.
  3. Stir in garlic salt and pepper. Cook until desired doneness.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in a dash of lemon juice, and taste. Add more lemon if needed.

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If you love quiche as much as I, comment with your favorite flavors! Thanks for reading.

Williamsburg, VA

Williamsburg, VA

When I was younger, my grandparents had an assortment of RVs (one at a time, of course.) I remember one was named something to do with Thor…

Anyway, aside from a scattered amount of in-state trips with my mother and stepfather, I did most of my traveling with my grandparents, pretty much exclusively spring break trips to their property in North Carolina. On my favorite trip, we went to the Biltmore estate in Asheville, NC (a surprise, from them), and the Biltmore has been lodged in my heart ever since. I hope to return there this summer on a fancy trip with my man.

As I mentioned in my first post on this new site,  one of my summer goals is to travel. Thanks to my best friend and her husband’s family, we went on an impromptu trip to Williamsburg, Virginia.

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This is us, in 2015 at Stephanie’s and my high school reunion, minus my bearded man. I was hiding a bottle of wine behind my back.

We stayed at a lovely resort. Neal and I got a suite all to ourselves, and I am all about suites. Especially ones with kitchens. There’s something so grown-up about a suite. My 10-people-to-a-hotel room days are OVER.

I didn’t take as many pictures as I’d have liked, but I did try to photograph all my restaurant adventures, and have some photos of Neal and Brad’s brewery tour…

Our first night, we went to Berret’s Seafood. In a pleasant surprise for Stephanie and I, they had a few vegetarian entrees.

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Roasted Chickpea, Spinach & Sweet Pepper Manicotti

This dish had an impressive Greek twist on an Italian dish, although the cilantro was overpowering (that’s odd for me to say, because I’m a cilantro lover and probably over-season my food…) Stephanie ordered a risotto that was amazing.

The next day, we went to Food for Thought. It has a unique concept – walls decorated with profiles of great thinkers and philosophers, cards from brain games on the tables – and the food was the best I had on our trip!

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This tofu scramble was the best “tofu scram” I’ve ever had. It was cooked to perfection.

Since we had a limited amount of time in Williamsburg and inclement weather approaching, we went to Colonial Williamsburg in the early afternoon. I had no idea it was such a huge place. We could have spent hours, days there – but ended up going into four trade places.

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The walk to Colonial Williamsburg takes you backwards in time. As you read the plates on the walkway, you learn what was different so long ago.
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It is truly a terrible punishment.
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There are beautiful gardens and walkways behind the homes.

Next, the boys had to go on their bro beer tour, helpfully documented by Stephanie.

Neal’s continued chants of “BEER, BEER, BEER, BEER!” were answered at Alewerks, Brass Cannon, and the Virginia Brewing Company. Not pictured is the Silver Hand Meadery, which we visited mostly for me, and was AWESOME. We did a honey tasting first, to see which honeys went into the meads. I gave them a lot of my money, buying two types of honey, three bottles of mead, and one of those honey dipper things.

Day two was rainy, so we visited the museums of Colonial Williamsburg, which starts with a tour of the oldest mental hospital in America (rebuilt after a fire.)

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The earliest mental patients would have this setup as their home. Blech.

Later, we got some pizza at The Crust.

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Portobello mushroom and spinach!

Then, with not much else to do, we went to Movie Tavern and saw Wonder Woman. Movie Tavern is a chain of theatres with a full restaurant and bar. We very much enjoyed the “seat service,” and the film.

Back at the resort, we checked out games and watched another movie, staying up far too late. Our nearly ten-hour drive the next day was pretty quiet.

This impromptu trip makes me feel like I am not wasting my summer, and I loved my time with our close friends!

More travel to come – I hope.

New Site! And unborn chickens, egg post #2.

Welcome to the new Savory Vegetarian Pantry! I have some humble ambitions for this blog (though that phrase might be an oxymoron), and I hope to fulfill these on this WordPress site. I have the same pantry essentials as on my prior blog. Here in my new home, I hope to provide delicious foods and improve my blogging skills. It’s a work in progress, but as a teacher on summer break, I have nothing but time.

I always begin my summers with noble, easily achievable goals. I hardly ever maintain them throughout the summer and end up binge-watching Korean dramas, hardly exercising, and generally staying indoors.

My goals this summer? More than usual –

  • exercise daily
  • clean weekly
  • write a romance novel
  • improve blog
  • travel

Some of these I’ve started on, and on some I am doubting my fortitude…the novel in particular. I’m thinking it will be Jane Eyre with Vampire Rochester! Oh goodness. I am truly showing my trashy-novel-fangirl side. I’m so sorry.

So…food. My inagural recipe for my new site is Egg Bhurji. I am not sure I can really call it egg bhurji, because I am not in any way, shape, or form an Indian food expert, but I have developed my own recipe based on a lot of egg bhurji recipes.

As with most Indian dishes, it starts with seeds. In ghee, I roast some cumin and mustard seeds until the mustard seeds start to pop. Then I add some onion. Ghee is a new addition to my pantry essentials – I make a decent amount of Indian food, and ghee adds a lovely depth of flavor.  I also stir it into any rice I eat with the various curry dishes I make.

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Once the onion softens, THE SPICES. Oh, how I love spices. My egg bhurji gets turmeric, Kashmiri chili powder, and asofetida.

I then add half of a ripe tomato and simmer until dried and the skin starts to wrinkle.

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Finally, I add two eggs, a touch of cream, and stir minimally so that the eggs are scrambled, but colorful.

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These eggs are perfect when finished with a dash of garam masala, and chopped cilantro. Alas, I don’t always have cilantro, and that makes for sad egg bhurji. But I love this dish so much that I go without when necessary, or add a bit of dried cilantro I have on hand.

ingredients

  • 1 TB ghee
  • 1/4 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp Kashmiri chili powder (or other Indian chili powder)
  • pinch asofetida (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 small tomato, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • dash of heavy cream
  • pinch garam masala
  • pinch chopped cilantro (or to taste)

method

  1. Heat ghee over medium until melted.
  2. Drop a seed into ghee. When the seed starts to sizzle, add seeds and toast until the mustard seeds start to pop.
  3. Add onion and saute until softened.
  4. Add turmeric, chili powder, and asofetida, salt, and saute for about a minute.
  5. Stir in tomato and cook until tomato is dried and skins start to wrinkle.
  6. Add tomatoes and cream, and scramble to your liking.
  7. Finish with a pinch of garam masala and chopped cilantro.

For the first post in my egg series, see my old blog, here. Thanks for joining me on the new site!