But it’s a blast

Savory pies and quiches, Vegan, vegetarian

My daughter has never been a great sleeper. Some months are worse than others and Jeff and I stumble through our daily activities in a sort of semi-conscious state, putting ice cream away in the cupboard instead of the freezer and forgetting basic things like which faucet is the cold and which is the hot. People used to nod sympathetically when she was a baby and assure us some children just took longer than others to sleep through the night. Now that she is two and a half and is more or less the only child her age I know who still needs to be en motion to take a nap (i.e. the stroller, the car etc) and we are just as likely to be woken up by pleas of thirst, hunger or loneliness, as not, I am more or less in agreement with her pediatrician who theorized that “sleep just isn’t really her strong suit”. Now before all the helpful folks out there begin making suggestions and recommending their favorite sleep book, I am going to assure you that we’ve tried many techniques and suffered through more wailing and calls for “mama and baba” than I would wish upon anyone. And besides, some of my best recipe ideas come to me at 4 am, when Auralee has finally fallen back to sleep with her elbow firmly lodged in neck while I lie awake, praying for the sleep gods to find me again.

This adaptation of a recipe from 101cookbooks.com is something I came up with for the food website I have been writing for. Since they have me submit things way, way in advance you won’t see it there for many months. The original recipe calls for cooking some spinach separately, then squeezing out most of its liquid before adding it to the filling. Since I used the pulp from juicing some leafy greens- the juicer did that work for me. If you do not have a juicer or don’t plan on making any juice with chard and dandelion anytime soon (c’mon, it was so tasty!) then you could cook those greens some boiling, salted water for 2-3 minutes (2 bunches of chard, I bunch dandelion greens, larger, tough stems removed), drain, squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible, and chop them, and you’ll have something similar to the pulp I used here.

Caramelized Onion Quiche with Greens and a Spelt-Oat Crust, adapted from 101cookbooks.com

For the crust:

1/2 cup whole rolled oats

3 Tbs sesame seeds

1 cup spelt flour (all-purpose or whole wheat pastry are also fine)

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/3 cup unflavored soy milk

1/3 cup olive or sesame oil

For the filling:

2 Tbs olive oil

1 cup thinly sliced vidalia, or other sweet onion

2 Tbs dry white wine/vermouth divided

1 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

2 cloves garlic, minced

3-4 cups chard and dandelion pulp (see above)

1 lb firm tofu, drained and patted dry

2 Tbs rice vinegar

2 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

paprika for dusting

Assemble crust:

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Spread the oats and raw sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 minutes.

Transfer the toasted oats and sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper, and process until the oats are finely ground.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy milk and oil. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the dry ingredients to form a dough.

Lightly brush a 9-inch or 10-inch tart pan with oil. Put the dough in the tart pan. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the dough and press down evenly, making sure to fill in the fluted sides of the pan. Trim the tart of any excess dough and refrigerate while you make the filling.

Make the filling:

In a wide saute pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt and red pepper flakes and cook until the onion has begun to caramelize (adjust the heat if the onion is burning or browning too quickly). When onion is golden, deglaze the pan with one tablespoon of the wine, and add the minced garlic. Cook over medium low heat for a few minutes more.

Add 3-4 cups of chard and dandelion pulp (or cooked, drained, squeezed and chopped greens) to the onion mixture along with the second tablespoon of wine. Cover until greens have had a chance to wilt. Remove pan from heat. Note: if you are using cooked greens instead of pulp you do not need to wait for them to wilt or add the second tablespoon of wine– just add the chopped, squeezed greens to the pan and mix to combine with the onions.

Crumble the tofu into the bowl of a food processor, add the lemon juice, vinegar, and remaining teaspoon of salt and puree until smooth. With a rubber spatula, scrape the puree into the onion-pulp mixture and fold to combine.

Fill the tart shell with tofu and vegetable mixture and smooth the top with the back of a spoon (at first it may appear as though not all the filling with fit, but don’t be afraid to pile it in, it will set in place as it bakes). Dust with paprika.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until firm.

Let the tart cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Serves 4-6