Tag Archives: savory

Mini Quiche Tartlets



Why hello! We’re back!

It has been an almost unprecedented length of time between blog posts–Caty, as semi-avid readers of the blog will know, has posted every once in a while about her concoctions in her dorm kitchenette, but the two of us have not blogged together since Christmastime. Half a year, nearly! This is due to the fact that geography has separated us for much of this semester– she’s been kicking butt at school in NYC and writing for  NYU Spoon, while I was traversing Peru and volunteering at an orphanage. (I decided not to dedicate an entire post to Peruvian cuisine as it was not my favorite, but you all might be delightfully disgusted to know I sampled both alpaca and guinea pig meat while I was there, as well as some more appealing empanadas and tamales.)

However, we’re both back in our little town, and though we’ve been sad to end our years’ adventures I think it’s safe to say one of the upsides of summertime is going to be blogging more frequently and being able to enjoy each other’s company again. Summer is a beautiful time to cook; one of my favorite things to do this time of the year is pick over fruit and veggies at farmer’s markets and make something delightful to eat on the porch on a sunny late afternoon. So, rest assured we will be bringing you lots of treats to look at (and make, if you want!) in the upcoming months.

We kicked off our summer cooking a couple days ago with these scrumptious mini quiches. Quiche has been one of my favorite foods since I was little, partially since I am a sucker for anything with a pie-like crust, and these little guys were no disappointment. Quiche is wonderful because you can put really anything you like in it and it’ll still taste good. Most kinds of cheese and meat bits work great, as well as virtually any vegetable. We ended up making these with goat cheese and a small assortment of veggies (sundried tomatoes, swiss chard from the garden, and mushrooms) and they were delectable. The crust is buttery and couldn’t be easier to make; we used the same reliable 4-ingredient dough recipe we’ve been counting on for years now. It’s the perfect summer snack or meal and so easy and adaptable. Enjoy.


Mini Quiche Tartlets

1 recipe pie dough
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch  Swiss chard, stems and leaves divided, both chopped
1 clove garlic
¼ cup sundried tomatoes, minced
¼ cup mushrooms, sliced and sautéed if desired
3 eggs
1 cup milk
2 ounces goat cheese, divided

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Press pie dough into four greased mini tart/quiche pans, poke with a fork a couple of times, and cover with aluminum foil. Fill aluminum foil with pie weights or dried beans and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil/pie weights/beans and bake for another 5 minutes. Let cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the chard. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add chopped Swiss chard stems and a dash of salt. Cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Mince the garlic with another dash of salt. Add garlic and chard leaves to the skillet and cook another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and milk with a wire whisk. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. After the crusts have cooled, divide 1 ounce of goat cheese between the four crusts, then add chard, tomatoes and mushrooms. Top with the remaining goat cheese. Pour the egg mixture on top of vegetables.
  6. Bake the quiches at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until set.



Homemade Ricotta


I have returned home for spring break and there isn’t much to do, so I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and thinking about cooking. This week is a perfect time to try some food projects I’ve been hoping to work on. I want to master the multiple-day, highly involved croissant recipe from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook, but unfortunately the recipe calls for diastitic malt powder and after visiting at least five grocery stores in the state, I have come to the conclusion that it is not sold in RI. Which is a shame, because in the city I can walk two blocks to Whole Foods and they have it. Oh well, another time.

Although I cannot share the croissants, I do have something else to share with you–homemade ricotta! Tomorrow I’m planning on making a fully homemade lasagna (because I actually have time for that) with homemade pasta, sauce and the ricotta. Ricotta is surprisingly easy to make and only requires four ingredients, so if you’ve never tried making it, you should definitely do that. Like, right now.

I can’t say much about the store-bought kind, because I rarely use ricotta, but judging by the taste of the homemade version I’m almost 100% sure that it’s 10 times better. It’s super-fresh and flavorful and probably cheaper to make than to buy. Oh, and it takes less than an hour from start to finish. Are you convinced yet?

A couple weeks ago I tried my hand at homemade mozzarella with the Community Agriculture club at NYU. Making mozzarella is a bit more involved than ricotta; it requires less common ingredients like citric acid and rennet and there are more steps. If you want to try making cheese but are apprehensive, I recommend making ricotta before you move onto mozzarella. I highly recommend trying your hand at cheese making at least once in your life. Fresh cheese is unbelievably tasty and tastes even better when you know you’ve made it.

This particular ricotta recipe (from Ina Garten) requires only four ingredients: whole milk, heavy cream, kosher salt and white wine vinegar. Try and get the highest quality ingredients you can; you will end up with a higher quality cheese. You also need cheesecloth, which is not hard to come by and can be reused if you’d like.

The first step in ricotta-making is to prepare your strainer. Place a sieve or colander over a large bowl and dampen two pieces of cheesecloth. Layer the cheesecloth over the sieve and set aside.

Next, pour 4 cups of whole milk and 2 cups of heavy cream into a large pot and stir in a teaspoon of kosher salt. Bring the mixture to a full boil over medium heat while stirring occasionally. It could take up to 20 minutes for your mixture to boil, but don’t rush it. Good things take time! When the mixture is boiling, remove it from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar. Let the mixture sit for 1-5 minutes until it curdles. The mixture will separate in to curds (the chunky pieces that float to the top) and whey (the watery mixture underneath). If you tip the pot a bit, you’ll be able to see the layers separate.

Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and let it sit for 20-25 minutes or longer, depending on how thick you’d like your ricotta to be. Every couple minutes, discard the whey that collects in the bowl. You can either throw this in the sink or use it in place of water in cooking rice or baking bread. This website has a bunch of ideas if you’d like to re-purpose your whey. I tossed most of it (and feel a bit wasteful, I will admit) but reserved a little to mix into my dog’s food, like a canine cereal. She seemed to love it.

Once the ricotta is to your desired consistency, transfer it to a container and cover the surface with a layer of plastic wrap and then cover with a tightly-fitting lid. The cheese will keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator.

This may look like a super-involved process, but it’s not! I am so happy with the outcome of my ricotta and cannot wait to use it in a lasagna. I topped some crusty toasted bread with ricotta and a bit of honey and it was incredible. I’m trying to resist eating the entire batch right now.

If you have an hour, I suggest you go make some homemade ricotta. You will not regret it.


The recipe comes from Ina Garten on foodnetwork.com

Oh, and if you’ve read this far, I’d also like to share that I’ve been writing some dining articles (as well as some others) for the features section of NYU’s Washington Square News. So I haven’t had much time to post while at school. If you’re interested, you can see my articles here.