I really need to recipeblog more, if for no other reason than it keeps the posts coming (has it really been eleven days?) Anyway, Lent is coming, and I've got a good meatless recipe for you.
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I'm in a very busy time of life. I know, we're all busy, but I'm convinced that I'm in one of the busiest times of the arc of my entire life as a parent, thanks to lifestyle choices that have me homeschooling a preschooler, a second grader, a sixth grader, an eighth grader, and a high school senior all at once. Many things that are not just enjoyable, but objectively good for me, have gone by the wayside: getting to the gym more than once or twice a week; reading novels; cooking dinner.
It turns out that I can get by on planning cooking three and a half dinners a week. What happened to the other three and a half?
- Saturdays, one of the kids makes dinner. They take turns. This week, the 8th-grader got a hankering for sausage ragù, so he announced that he would be making that. I am not complaining, though I did strongly suggest that he make a very light side dish to go next to it, like fresh grapes, or plain green beans. Caesar salad--his first choice--would be a bit much.
- Sundays, we have "plate"--or you could call it smörgåsbord--or charcuterie. Cured meats, cheeses, crackers, maybe a baguette with spreads, veggies and hummus. Occasionally we swap it out for raclette.
- Mondays, I'm at H's, and she and I take turns making dinner. That's the half-dinner. I am not even sure this should count, as about three-quarters of the time I make the same pot of emergency chili in her crockpot.
- Wednesdays Mark goes to the grocery store, and so Wednesday is Leftover Night.
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I interpret "leftovers" broadly.
No one is allowed to open new packages on leftover night, except insofar as is necessary to contribute ingredients to other dishes made out of leftovers.
If there are enough refrigerated containers of partial meals that weren't entirely eaten to feed our children (plus H.'s children who stop by between choir and climbing practice), then those things go out on the counter and that's that.
If that isn't quite enough I will conjure a fresh loaf of bread from the bread machine, and set out butter and peanut butter and jam. Perhaps I'll put out cheese and crackers or vegetables and hummus, if it's already opened.
If that isn't quite enough either, I will make something out of eggs.
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Tonight I had only a little bit of soup left over, so I made something out of eggs. I had a single refrigerated pie crust that's been in the fridge since, I think, Thanksgiving. I also had an elderly half-jar of sun-dried tomatoes to use.
I took some inspiration from a recipe on a French cooking website that I subscribe to on Facebook, but engaged in some serious substituting--remember, the name of the game was using up leftovers.
The result was very good--probably more appealing to the children, with the mildness of mozzarella cheese, than the original might have been.
Quiche au Thon aux Restes
- One pie crust or pȃte feuilleté (whatever you have on hand or like to make)
- About 1.5 Tbsp dijon mustard
- One 5-oz can tuna in oil, ideally a better-quality tuna in better-quality oil (mine was Italian wild-caught yellowfin in olive oil)
- About four halves, or the equivalent, from a jar of oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup cream, or however much cream you have plus whole milk to make a cup. Sour cream or Greek yogurt will probably also work if thinned with some milk
- Shredded mozzarella cheese, a couple of handfuls
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Unroll the pie crust into a pie dish according to package directions or recipe for a single-crust pie.
Smear the mustard all over the bottom of the pie crust; use enough mustard to cover with a thin layer. If you really like mustard, go to town, but don't overdo it.
Drain the tuna, flake it with a fork, and cover the pie bottom evenly with tuna flakes.
Use a knife to chop or sliver the sun-dried tomatoes (if they are already in slivers, just use those as-is) and distribute over the tuna. Again, if you love sun-dried tomatoes, go crazy if you want. I found that four half-tomatoes was enough.
Sprinkle about a half-handful of the mozzarella over the contents in the pie crust.
Beat the eggs and the cream with salt and pepper, and pour over all.
Then add more mozzarella, until it looks like the pie crust is full-ish. Really, it doesn't matter how much you add. It's mozzarella. It'll be cheesier if you add more, and eggier if you add less. Don't stress.
(If you have a little parmesan, comté, or gruyère, I'm sure it would be fine also.)
Bake near the top of the oven for... I don't know... twenty minutes? Twenty-five? I forgot to set my timer. It got a little brown. You should always check a quiche, because sometimes the crust gets too brown before the eggs are fully set; and if that starts to happen, put on a silicone pie guard, or make one out of aluminum foil.
Cool until just a bit warmer than room temperature and enjoy.
I found that the creamy eggs softened the salty, mustardy tuna and the acid tang from the tomatoes, and made for a balanced dish. Mozzarella, of course, hardly makes itself noticeable; with tuna, I prefer a cheese that fades into the background, because I think that tuna and cheese often fight with each other except in very specific contexts (e.g. classic American diner tuna melts). But the Italian olive-oil-packed tuna has an assertive flavor, not the tinny taste of Chicken-of-the-sea, that stands up to it. Made with heavy cream, it's rich and yet simple, and the mozzarella raises the protein content and holds it together without getting in the way at all. Puff pastry or a homemade butter crust would make this even better, but a refrigerated rolled pie crust did not noticeably detract (and made the whole thing very quick and easy).