Calgary

Fight winter blues with hash brown quiche and marinated lentils

These anti-winter dishes make for satisfying pick-me-up lunches, says food writer Julie Van Rosendaal.

Julie Van Rosendaal's recipes fight against winter — and make for yummy lunches

This quiche is perfect to use up any leftover Easter eggs and, with a crust of hash browns, it makes for a hearty breakfast dish. (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

Quiche seems like a springtime dish — and it's especially handy if you have a glut of eggs left over from Easter.

This version skips the pastry and is built on a crispy, grated, potato hash brown crust.

Use anything you like in the filling: leftover diced ham or crumbled sausage, veggies of all kinds. I like to sauté them quickly first, using the same pan to get rid of any excess moisture.

Of course fresh herbs and grated or crumbled bits of cheese help. Anything goes into a quiche, and you can serve it warm or cold. Quiche makes a great portable lunch, as well.

Of course, if you have a batch of marinated lentils in the fridge, they are delicious tossed into a quiche, too.

Marinated lentils

Simmer small, speckled French lentils with a chunk of onion, clove of garlic and a bay leaf for about 20 minutes until they're just tender.

This lentil dish can be served as a side or easily turned into a salad. (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

Drain, discarding the aromatics. Drizzle with olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar or lemon, a spoonful of grainy mustard and some salt and pepper. Stir to combine while the lentils are still steaming.

Cool the mixture. If you like, add some finely chopped carrots and/or celery and/or green onion to the mix.

This simple recipe will add lots of taste to your lentils. (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

Stash it in the fridge for up to a week to warm and use as a bed for a quickly cooked filet of salmon or a poached egg. You can also toss it into soups or stir into grains.

Add a handful of fresh parsley, a few tomatoes, cucumber and some crumbled feta for a quick salad.

Ham, cheese and veggie quiche with hash brown crust

This quiche has a base of crispy, grated, potato hash browns instead of pastry, an easy and delicious change from a standard quiche.

Crispy grated potato makes for a yummy bite. (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

Ingredients

  • 2 medium russet or Yukon gold potatoes.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Canola oil, for cooking.
  • Butter, for cooking.
  • ½ cup (or so) of diced ham or crumbled sausage.
  • ½ to 1 cup of sautéed veggies, such as mushrooms, kale, spinach, peppers, asparagus, etc.
  • Pinch of fresh thyme (optional).
  • ½ to 1 cup grated cheddar, Gouda or other cheese.
  • 4 large eggs.
  • ½ cup half and half cream.

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350 F/177 C.

Grate the potatoes using the coarse side of a box grater onto a clean tea towel or double thickness of paper towel.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then gather up and squeeze out any excess moisture.

Meanwhile, set a heavy, ovenproof 20- to 22-centimetre skillet over medium-high heat. Cast iron is ideal.

Add a drizzle of oil and dab of butter.

If you like, sauté your veggies first, then set them aside. Wipe out the pan before starting on the potato crust.

Put the grated potatoes into the pan and use the bottom of a metal measuring cup to press the potatoes evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan.

Cook for five to eight minutes until the potatoes are golden on the bottom.

Sprinkle the ham or sausage, veggies, thyme and cheese over the crust.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and half and half.

Add another pinch of salt and pepper, then pour over the fillings. Slide into the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden.

Serving: Four to six people.


With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.

About the Author

Julie Van Rosendaal

Calgary Eyeopener's food guide

Julie Van Rosendaal talks about food trends, recipes and cooking tips on the Calgary Eyeopener every Tuesday at 8:20 a.m. MT. The best-selling cookbook author is a contributing food editor for the Globe and Mail, and writes for other publications across Canada.