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Veg Project: Date Night In

2 Apr

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A lot of things change when you become a parent, this is not a surprise. There is more Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and less God Father marathons, more juice and less cocktails, more diapers and a lot less sleep! One thing that we have been really good about is making sure that we are still going out for date nights and my in-laws definitely help make that happen with their willingness to babysit.  But even when we can’t get out for the night I like to try and make a special effort when I can to not only make a healthy homemade meal for my husband and I, but also make a fancy dinner date. I was lucky enough to have the day off due to Good Friday so I could go grocery shopping and spend time with my daughter and I also had time to plan out a sexy dinner date for my hubby and myself.

What’s for dinner? Spinach and mushroom quiche, a mixed green salad with heirloom tomatoes and homemade balsamic vinaigrette, ricotta and honey on a sourdough baguette with strawberries and white wine. I was inspired after watching an episode of Kelsey’s Essentials on the Cooking Channel, in which she made a similar menu. I have never actually made a quiche before and only had a couple quiche ‘bites’ appetizers over the years and I wasn’t a big fan. But since I started the Veg Project (see: https://amyblandes.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/the-veg-project/) I have made an effort to try some more things that I normally would not have been interested, plus I love being adventurous in the kitchen. I started the menu for Friday with the quiche planned, but then I thought I wanted something to balance out the creamy quiche, so I thought tangy salad dressing, I wanted it to feel like a picnic so I went with the baguette that Kelsey Nixon used in her episode and although I thought my husband (a man who only really likes cheddar cheese) would not be into the ricotta I got it just to try. It was amazing! The quiche was creamy, fluffy, and so full of delicious flavor. Really, the whole menu, the strawberries balanced the baguette with ricotta and honey drizzle, the salad and dressing balanced the creamy cheesy quiche and the wine complimented it all. It was all light, flavorful, and scrumptious!

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I adapted a recipe from Kelsey Nixon for the following (for her recipe please see: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/kelsey-nixon/ham-leek-and-gruyere-quiche.html)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter

1 package baby spinach chopped

10 crimini mushrooms washed & thinly sliced

1 clove crushed garlic

5 eggs

1 cup whole cream

1 tablespoon corn startch (Kelsey Nixon’s tip- it really works!)

¼ tablespoon Kosher salt

½ tablespon ground black pepper

Dash nutmeg

½ cup finely shredded havarti cheese

½ cup finely shredded gruyere

1 frozen pie shell baked according to package instructions

After the pie shell has been baked, preheat oven to 375 degress. Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat, once melted add in mushrooms, saute for approximately 2 minutes coating mushrooms in butter.  Add in spinach and garlic until spinach is wilted and cooked through, remove from heat and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, cream, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and nutmeg until blended well. Spread vegetable mixture over the bottom of the cooked pie crust, sprinkle cheese evenly over the vegetables, then carefully pour custard mixture over it. Place in the over on a foil lined large sheet tray (in case of messes). Bake until center is set and crust is golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool on wire rack, serve at room temperature.

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For the salad I simply added a mixed greens with halved miniature heirloom tomatoes, sprinkled salt & pepper, and drizzled a homemade vinaigrette over it:

Balsamic Vinaigrette:

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 clove crushed garlic

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Salt & pepper to taste

I like to put it in a mason jar with a lid and shake well.

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