Basic Vegetable Quiche

From Swiss chard season (early summer) to winter squash season (late fall) this is always a hit at our pot-lucks. We have included two easy pastry recipes and have only tested this with homemade pastry in standard 9-inch glass or enamel pie plates. If you want to use commercial 9-inch frozen crusts, choose deep-dish and it will be just fine, but you may need to butter a custard cup or two to bake the excess filling because they are always smaller.
Makes 6 servings
Pastry for 9-inch single-crust pie, recipes follow
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped green or yellow onions
3 cups prepared vegetable, see Note
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
1 1/2 cups shredded Jarlsberg, Swiss, or your favorite cheese
Prepare pie crust. On a floured board, roll out pastry to make an 11-inch round; fit into a standard 9-inch pie plate. Fold edge over and flute.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in prepared vegetable and cook until hot through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in flour, salt, thyme, and black pepper. Beat eggs until frothy in a medium bowl; brush a little egg over the bottom of the pie crust. Beat the half-and-half into the remaining eggs. Layer half of the cheese, the vegetable mixture, and the remaining cheese into the pie crust. Pour the cream mixture over all.
Bake quiche until center appears set when pie plate is gently tapped, 40 to 45 minutes. Set aside 5 minutes before cutting.
Note: Almost any vegetable or mixture of vegetables can be used in a quiche. If you are using asparagus, broccoli, celery, eggplant, fresh corn, bell peppers, summer squash, mushrooms, or zucchini, they should be sliced, added to the skillet raw, and sautéed with the onions. Carrots, green or yellow beans, peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, or winter squash should be parboiled and drained thoroughly before adding. Greens such as arugula, beet greens, collards, kale, mustard, spinach, Swiss chard, or turnip greens should be steamed, simmered or stir-fried until wilted, thoroughly drained, and coarsely chopped before adding.

Curd (Paneer)

Fresh Curd (Paneer) Curd is a light, fresh, un-aged milk cheese. It is the basis of many different Indian preparations. When it is pressed to a consistency similar to cheese, it is called paneer. When kneeded or simply not-pressed, it is often called cheena. Here we will make paneer, which is best made with organic raw milk. The more processed the milk, and the lower fat content, produces less and poor quality curds.

You will need:

½ gallon whole organic milk
18″ x 18″ square piece of cheese cloth
Metal collander & deep pan or wide bowl
Curdling agent–juice of two lemons
or ½ teaspoon citric acid (sour salt)

• First put the bowl or deep pan into your sink, set the collander in that, and line the collander withthe cheesecloth. You will be pouring the mixture through the collander and catching the whey in the pan below.
• Bring the milk to a boil carefully over a medium-high heat. Stirr often to prevent sticking or burning.
• Just as the milk comes to a full boil, pour in the curdling agent slowly and evenly. Gently stirr very, very slowly as the curdling process unfolds. Concentrate on the outside edges to prevent curds from sticking to the sides of the pot.
• You can turn off the heat and let the curdling process finish. When it is done, the curd will be distinct masses in a cloudy pale yellow whey.
• Pour the curds and whey into the collander. The whey makes a wonderful broth base for rice, soup, and sauces. You can freeze this for quite a while.
• The wet cheese cloth may be quite hot, so carefully gather the edges together and lift it from the collander. You can twist the loose cloth together, gently scuring the ball of curds together, and hang this over a bowl to catch the drips.
• After about a half hour, your curd is ready to press into paneer. (Be careful because it may still be hot!). Leve the curd wrapped securely int he cloth, and lay on a cutting board or in a pan. put another cutting board, plate or pan over this and add some weight (usually a few china plates or a glass mixing bowl is heavy enough). Let it press for another half hour.

Pressed Fried Curd
Sometimes the simplest dish is the most delicious. Lightly frying the paneer is simple, and it can either be eaten plain like this, or easily added to vegetables or other dishes. You will need only:
Pressed curd (paneer)
Tablespoon ghee

• Carefully unwrap the cheesecloth from the curd. With a sharp knife, cut the curd into bite-size cubes.
• Warm the ghee in a frying pan over a medium heat. When the ghee is sizzling, drop in the curd cubes. Turn the cubes as they brown. Remove from pan and sprink with a little salt and pepper. Delicious!

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