Tag Archives: tomato quiche

Picnic by the Confederation Bridge in PEI

A PEI Picnic
Picnic by the Confederation Bridge

Picnics are a favorite summertime activity for us. We like to do a lot of daytripping around our province discovering and revisiting all that our wonderful Island has to offer.  Prince Edward Island has many great locations that are suitable for picnics.  Our picnic last weekend took us to a scenic location near the Confederation Bridge in Borden-Carleton.

Bridge between PEI and New Brunswick
Confederation Bridge

This bridge transcends the Northumberland Strait linking PEI with New Brunswick. At 12.9km (8 miles) in length, the bridge is the longest bridge in the world that crosses ice-covered water. Our Island winters can be quite harsh and the Strait is covered in thick ice for several months of the year. Building a bridge to withstand these conditions was no easy feat.

Before the bridge opened to traffic on May 31, 1997, the only ways on and off PEI were by ferry or air.  Ferry service does still operate seasonally in the Eastern part of the Province at Wood Islands where ferries transport vehicular traffic between PEI and Nova Scotia.

The Confederation Bridge curves partway across the Strait and has a high navigational span that allows large ships to pass under the bridge.  It’s pretty cool to see the large cruise ships going under the bridge!

Because the Confederation Bridge is an iconic element of PEI, it makes a fitting backdrop for a summertime Island picnic.

Summer Picnic in PEI
Bridge View

So, now that the stage has been set for the location, back to the picnic……I have chosen to go with a black and white theme and I’m a big fan of checkered fabric – checks just seem to speak of picnics. I have chosen to use my plain black dinner napkins and have wrapped the cutlery inside the napkins. This is easy to do before leaving home and it keeps the items together.  To give the classy black napkins a more casual look for a picnic, I have tied each napkin with narrow twine.

To add a punch of color to the table, I selected small bright yellow sunflowers paired with Bells of Ireland.  Whether I am setting the table for an event at home or on the road, I like to see a well set table! These flowers were locally grown at Island Meadow Farm in York, PEI.  They grow the most amazing array of flowers and I like to use them in my summer tablesettings.

Summer Flowers
Sunflowers and Bells of Ireland

Picnics are meant to be casual fare so, while I always try to have a main, a side, some fruit, something sweet, and a beverage, I often like to include some finger/snacking foods as I have done today.  Let’s start with the PEI mussels in the shell. These are steamed mussels to which I have added some red and orange pepper, celery, and red onion. A light dressing of a red wine vinaigrette makes these tasty little morsels.

Mussels
PEI Mussels

Cold cuts, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber are always good nibbling foods (and they add great color to the table).

Cold Cut Tray
The Nibbling Tray

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I wrapped peach wedges inside basil leaves and prosciutto (seen in the photo below). These little picnic hors d’oeuvres add color, texture, and flavor to the menu. They go particularly well with Gouda cheese.

Picnic Hors d'oeuvres
Peaches in Prosciutto

I have chosen small tomato quiches for the main in today’s picnic. The great thing about quiches is that they can be served, hot, warm, or cold and, when cold, are great travelers for the picnic basket.

Quiche
Tomato Quiche

And, for a side, I opted for a quinoa salad with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. To the quinoa I added peppers, corn, celery, red onion, and kale from our garden. Packing the salad into small Mason jars is an easy way to transport salads on a picnic.

Salad in a Mason Jar
Quinoa Salad

Plates are not always necessary for picnics.  Here, I have used small breadboards which work equally well and they are easy to pack.

Picnic
The Picnic Lunch

I popped by the Tryon Blueberries U-Pick in North Tryon on my way and picked a box of these amazing high-bush blueberries.  I live on these berries when they are in season on the Island!

Summer Berries
PEI Blueberries

And, for the sweet tooth, I took along some of my homemade snickerdoodle cookies.

Cookies
Snickerdoodle Cookies

And, as an extra special treat, we enjoyed Belgian chocolates that we brought home from a wonderful visit to Brugge, Belgium. If you ever have the chance to visit Brugge, I highly recommend it. You can view photos of my visit to Brugge over on my travel blog, Island Shore Traveler, by clicking here.

Chocolates
Belgian Chocolates

I like to choose foods and elements to the picnic that are colorful and that blend well together.

Picnic Time
A PEI Summer Picnic

I hope you have enjoyed a little “taste” of my picnic by the bridge.

PEI Picnic
Picnic by the Bridge

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PEI Picnic
Picnic by the Confederation Bridge, PEI

Harvest Quiche

Harvest Quiche
Harvest Quiche

My newly-created recipe combines several wonderful flavors to create this tasty quiche – sausage meat, leeks, mushrooms, Roma tomatoes, and a mixture of cheeses. While this savory quiche can, of course, be made year-round, it is especially good in the fall when the tomatoes are fresh off the vine and leeks and mushrooms are locally harvested.

Harvest Quiche
Harvest Quiche

This quiche is a little bit time-consuming to make but the end result is so worth it!  But, first, here are some of my tips for quiche-making.

There are three key elements to a good savory quiche:  1) A tender, flaky pie crust; 2) The right combination of flavorful, fresh ingredients; 3) A custard filling that holds the ingredients together so that each slice of the quiche holds its own when cut and does not fall apart and spread all over the plate.

First, I recommend par-baking the pie shell.  This helps to keep the crust flaky and prevents it from becoming soggy when an egg mixture filling is added.  Time the preparation of this quiche so that the par-baked shell comes out of the oven when the filling is ready to be added.  Allowing the pie shell to cool first may result in a tougher crust than if the filling is added to the warm shell and the quiche immediately placed in the oven.  Either an unbaked frozen pie shell or one made from your own favorite pastry recipe will work fine for this recipe.  Adding a layer of shredded cheese on top of the par-baked pie shell before adding the other ingredients and custard filling also helps act as a barrier to prevent moisture from the filling soaking into the pie shell as the quiche bakes.

Second, use a good combination of flavorful ingredients that are as fresh as you can get them.  Part of the issue with some quiches is that the filling is simply too moist and this can come as a result of a couple of reasons – either the wrong amounts of eggs and/or milk used or ingredients that, themselves, are too wet and have not been drained enough.  Because this quiche recipe uses ingredients that already have significant moisture content in them (mushrooms, leeks, sausage, and tomato), it is important to drain the cooked sausage meat well and to blot the cooked mushrooms and leeks with paper towel before adding them to the quiche.

In fact, in addition to draining the cooked sausage meat, I often blot the cooked meat in this way, too.  It does make a difference.

The other recommendation I have is to use a “meaty” tomato, such as the Roma/plum tomato variety, as it is tends to be less watery than some other varieties of tomatoes.  It’s also important to keep the ratio of ingredients in proportion and to curb the urge to, say, add more sausage meat, mushrooms, leeks, or tomatoes than the recipe calls for as this will add more moisture to the quiche which may make it difficult for it to stay together when cut. It will also make a heavier quiche and the light, custard filling part of the quiche will be lost.

Quiches may be eaten warm or cold.  It’s important to let the quiche rest for at least 20 minutes when it comes out of the oven.  This allows it to set so that, when it is cut, each piece stays intact when plated and the rest of the quiche stays together without the filling running all over the pie plate before the next slice is cut. A quiche should not be sloppy.

Harvest Quiche
Harvest Quiche

Any combination of hard cheese can be used in this recipe so long as it can be shredded and equals 1 1/2 cups total.  Cheddar cheese is pretty much a standard addition to most of my quiche recipes. In addition, I also like to buy a bag of already-shredded mixed cheese such as mozzarella, provolone, gouda, and parmesan to add to the quiche. This is a quick way to get shredded cheese and is the most economical way to get a mixture of cheeses for a recipe.

It’s a good idea to place the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet as this catches any drips should they occur and it also makes it easier to transfer the quiche to and from the oven.

This quiche is a great brunch dish and I also use it as a main entrée alongside a green salad and paired with a good white wine such as Rossignol’s Little Sands White Wine produced right here on Prince Edward Island.

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Because quiches can be eaten warm, at room temperature, or cold, I often add quiche slices to a picnic basket, especially if I’m preparing a savory picnic.

Harvest Quiche
Harvest Quiche
Harvest Quiche

Ingredients:

1 – 9” pie shell, chilled for 30 minutes before par-baking

½ tbsp butter
1½ tsp vegetable oil
2 small leeks (about 1 cup sliced), white and light green parts only
4 oz. button mushrooms, thinly sliced

1-2 tsp vegetable oil
4 oz. sweet Italian or sun-dried tomato sausage meat, removed from casing

2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup whole milk or blend
1 tsp liquid chicken bouillon
1 tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp garlic salt
Pinch pepper

1½ cups shredded cheese (any mix of cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, gouda, and/or parmesan)
1 medium-sized Roma tomato, thinly sliced
2-3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
Fresh basil leaves and parley for garnish (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lay a piece of parchment paper over the unbaked chilled pie shell and add a layer of ceramic pie weights or dried baking beans to keep the pastry from puffing up while it bakes. Bake the pastry for about 12-13 minutes then remove the parchment paper and pie weights and return pastry to oven to bake for 5 minutes longer.

The pie crust should not be cooled before adding the filling so, while pastry is baking, prepare the filling. In small frypan over medium high heat, melt the butter and vegetable oil. Add the sliced leeks and mushrooms. Sauté, stirring constantly, until leeks are golden brown and mushrooms tender (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and transfer leeks and mushrooms to paper towel. Blot dry to remove excess moisture. Set aside.

In clean frypan over medium high heat, add 1-2 tsp. cooking oil. Add the sausage meat and scramble-fry until browned. Remove from heat, drain well, and set meat aside.

In small bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Whisk in the milk or blend and the liquid chicken bouillon. Add the dried basil, garlic salt, and pepper.

To assemble quiche:

Reduce oven heat to 350°F.

Place pie plate with warm partially-baked shell on rimmed baking sheet.

Line the pastry shell with half of the cheese mixture. Distribute the sausage meat over the cheese. Next, add the layer of leek and mushrooms followed by the remaining cheese mixture. Lay a layer of the tomato slices over the cheese. Lastly, pour the milk mixture over the quiche ingredients and sprinkle with 2-3 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese. Add some fresh basil leaves to top of quiche along with a sprinkle of chopped parsley, if desired.

Transfer quiche to oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until knife inserted into center of quiche comes out clean. Remove from oven and let quiche stand on wire rack for at least 20 minutes before cutting and serving. May be served warm, at room temperature, or cold.

Yield: Apx. 6-8 servings.

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Harvest Quiche

Yield: Apx. 6-8 servings

A savory quiche that combines the wonderful flavours of sausage meat, leeks, mushrooms, tomato, and cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 - 9” pie shell, chilled for 30 minutes before par-baking
  • ½ tbsp butter
  • 1½ tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 small leeks (about 1 cup sliced), white and light green parts only
  • 4 oz. button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 4 oz. sweet Italian or sun-dried tomato sausage meat, removed from casing
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup whole milk or blend
  • 1 tsp liquid chicken bouillon
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt
  • Pinch pepper
  • 1½ cups shredded cheese (any mix of cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, gouda, and/or parmesan)
  • 1 medium-sized Roma tomato, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves and parley for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lay a piece of parchment paper over the unbaked chilled pie shell and add a layer of ceramic pie weights or dried baking beans to keep the pastry from puffing up while it bakes. Bake the pastry for about 12-13 minutes then remove the parchment paper and pie weights and return pastry to oven to bake for 5 minutes longer.
  2. The pie crust should not be cooled before adding the filling so, while pastry is baking, prepare the filling. In small frypan over medium high heat, melt the butter and vegetable oil. Add the sliced leeks and mushrooms. Sauté, stirring constantly, until leeks are golden brown and mushrooms tender (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and transfer leeks and mushrooms to paper towel. Blot dry to remove excess moisture. Set aside.
  3. In clean frypan over medium high heat, add 1-2 tsp. cooking oil. Add the sausage meat and scramble-fry until browned. Remove from heat, drain well, and set meat aside.
  4. In small bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Whisk in the milk or blend and the liquid chicken bouillon. Add the dried basil, garlic salt, and pepper.
  5. To assemble quiche:
  6. Reduce oven heat to 350°F.
  7. Place pie plate with warm partially-baked shell on rimmed baking sheet.
  8. Line the pastry shell with half of the cheese mixture. Distribute the sausage meat over the cheese. Next, add the layer of leek and mushrooms followed by the remaining cheese mixture. Lay a layer of the tomato slices over the cheese. Lastly, pour the milk mixture over the quiche ingredients and sprinkle with 2-3 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese. Add some fresh basil leaves to top of quiche along with a sprinkle of chopped parsley, if desired.
  9. Transfer quiche to oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until knife inserted into center of quiche comes out clean. Remove from oven and let quiche stand on wire rack for at least 20 minutes before cutting and serving. May be served warm, at room temperature, or cold.
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Harvest Quiche
Harvest Quiche