Sunday, December 11, 2011

Alice Watters Does, Shouldn't We?

I’m back to breakfast again. Remember:  Weekend = Cooked breakfast.

I’m the early-riser again, well before the sun here on the western side of our time zone. Attempting to make the best of my day already. Wow.

I heard an interview recently with renowned chef Alice Watters, of fresh local food and kitchen garden fame. One of the things she says she does is to sit down in her home with her breakfast to enjoy it. She makes a special effort, in her crazy busy life, to savor the taste of food and the feeling of peace it brings. My early mornings lately have some of that same flavor and sense of meditation.  Today's includes ingredients from right here in my own garden.

This day started with pesto, an adventure in using up home-grown goods from the freezer. “Sun-dried” tomatoes (actually dried in a slow oven) and basil stored in airtight plastic bags. While they aren’t much to look at, they were harvested at their peak and stored carefully, so are hopefully still full of some bright summer sunshine on this cold December day. Throw in some pine nuts, garlic, (both from the fridge) and some olive oil, salt, and pepper from the pantry and Voila! Another condiment is born. So are three more holiday gifts!

I stored my dried tomatoes DRY, rather than in olive oil, so for this recipe I reconstituted them as I would dried mushrooms, by pouring boiling water over them and letting them “steep” for some time. Actually, I did the reconstituting last week and kept them in the liquid in the fridge. When I was ready to use them, I drained them, reserving the liquid for another recipe.

Breakfast was genius: using the “fresh” pesto, a pie crust from the freezer, and the goat cheese we bought for Thanksgiving but hadn’t gotten around to eating yet, I fashioned a quiche. I followed a recipe (well, mostly!) and decided I could have added another egg and more milk because there was plenty of room in the crust; I’m accustomed to my quiche cooking up a bit higher than this one did. Maybe it was the flour thickener? Anyway, add a package of sausage discovered in the back of the freezer (under the pie crust), and it meets both of DH’s breakfast needs: eggs and sausage. Win!

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Makes ½ c.

½ c. sun-dried tomatoes, drained
2 T. fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 T. pine nuts, toasted
2 T. parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste (about ¼ tsp. each)
3 T. olive oil (or oil from the sun dried tomatoes)

Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Add a little more olive oil if needed to adjust consistency. Store in glass jars in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Breakfast Quiche with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto and Goat Cheese
(based on a Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Sun-dried Tomatoes Quiche from

4 T. sun-dried tomato pesto
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust
4 T. crumbled goat cheese (I used a 4 oz. log)
3 eggs
½ c. half-and-half (I used skim milk)
1 T. all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste, sprinkle of paprika for color

Preheat oven to 400 degF.

Spread pesto evenly in the bottom of the pie crust. Sprinkle goat cheese over pesto.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, half-and-half, and flour. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over goat cheese in pie crust. For a nice touch, sprinkle paprika on top to give the quiche a little color.

Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes, or until done.

Note: says this quiche makes 8 servings.  I cut quiche into generous servings.  This one was just 4, as it didn’t have as much filling as my others often do.

The fun part of this day was that I got to use two – count ‘em, TWO – of my newest kitchen gadgets: a mini-food-processor and this metal ring which kept my quiche rim from getting too brown. Ahh!

1 comment:

Jane in N.H. said...

You are killing me with all these amazing recipes !