Hubbard Brook Farm is the place for peaches. Kevin has a knack for growing this challenging fruit. In spite of the hard spring this year, he has a decent crop. Last week these endearing fuzzy orbs caught my eye and taste buds. Kevin’s peaches will send you right back to your youth if you’re old enough to remember when peaches still had fuzz and were juicy. For me they’re nothing short of the taste of late summer.
Have I said before how great Maine blueberries and peaches are for breakfast–-with a dollop of local yogurt? You could really treat yourself and add some indeterminate Albion strawberries from Treble Ridge Farm (if you can get to market before they sell out)!
Speaking of peaches, if you want to try something really different, plan to eat at market and order up one of Billie’s peach and ginger crêpes this week. Here’s the news from the Enchanted Kitchen at Fire Fly Farm.
Here at the Enchanted Kitchen at Fire Fly Farm we have been harvesting the certified organic garlic we grow to make our hummus and other savory treats and picking beautiful Blueberries. The tomatoes and peppers are coming in strong also. We will be having some wonderful *new* offerings for crêpes this week with all the fresh vegetables and fruit available at the market~
Fresh peach with ginger and yogurt crêpe and a Caprese crêpe to name a few…..
See you at market!!
This News from Savage Oakes Vineyard and Winery
We will not be at this week’s farmers market. We have volunteered to run the Maine Wine Pavilion at the Union Fair. We’d love for you to come visit us. The Union Fair’s Wine Pavilion features Maine made wines, beers and spirits as well as bread, cheeses and chocolates. It’s the best spot on the grounds!
Eggplants, Peppers and Tomatoes, Onions, Carrots, Beets, Greens, Kohlrabi, Kale, Cabbage, Corn, Garlic…the list goes on.
Market is bursting with produce, meat, seafood, baked goods, value added foodstuffs like honey and maple syrup, pickles, jams and jellies, chutney, humus, and eggs, dairy products, cheese, plants, cut flowers and a smattering of farm crafts. It’s all local, raised and made right here in the Midcoast Maine area and sold to you by local folks. There is no better place to celebrate life, health, and Maine.
Tomatoes seem to be a bit late this year, but I’ve seen a few at market. Those in the image are from Hubbard Brook Farm. Eggplants on the other hand are present and plentiful both in volume and variety. Eggplant is so simple to serve hot off the grill. I find that folks who tell me they don’t like eggplant discover that they love it grilled. I think many people have only eaten dried up old eggplant from the supermarket which, in my experience, is nearly always overgrown and seedy. There are so many delicious new varieties on the market now, there’s sure to be one to suit nearly any palate.
Just slice, salt and drain eggplant about a half hour before cooking. Pat dry (rinse if you don’t want the salt) and set over a hot grill or under a heated broiler. Sear, flip and sear the other side, then baste on each side until lightly browned using garlic infused olive oil. Cooking time will depend on thickness.
I like to grill extra and julienne them for my salad the next day, or put one in a sandwich with a thick slab of tomato, Chevre and freshly chopped basil and dried oregano drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil. Try this on a baguette from Enchanted Kitchen or a sourdough from Good Food (aka Monroe Cheese Studio). Yum.
Quiche is my favorite stand by when I’m expecting company. I can make it a day before and can serve it for any meal. This is particularly handy with the fluid nature of visits from my family, who never have a set agenda and always visit on the fly. Preparing ahead of time leaves more time to cruise the market or taking them on the Harbor Walk. I also find that inventing a new quiche on a whim with whatever I have handy is real boon, because I hate the restriction of cookbooks and ingredient lists. And I get tired of eating squash and cucumbers.
I think of quiche in three parts: the crust, the custard, the filling. If you’re prepared, it’s simple to whip one up.
Crust Options: 1. Make your own ahead of time and form and freeze a few separated by waxed paper. 2. Make pastry the night before and let it chill over night. 3. Cheat and buy a ready made one. 4. I hear it’s trendy to use a tart or flan pan (or pie plate) and make no crust at all. Oil it well if you choose this option.
I vacillate between cheating and making one the night before from scratch if I have lard and butter on hand. But I admit, I always keep a store bought crust in the freezer for those days when I just can’t face flour all over my shirt and the kitchen.
Here’s the recipe for pie crust handed down from Nana, my maternal grandmother, who was an excellent (and persnickety) cook. I believe it may be the same as in the original Fannie Farmer Cookbook:
2 Crusts for 9 inch Pie Plate
1 3/4 c. all purpose flour (unbleached white or any combo of white and whole-wheat works fine. King Arthur Unbleached is a religion in my family) or 2 c. pastry flour
1 tsp. salt
Cut in with a fork, knife or pastry cutter
1/3 c. lard (not Crisco!) & 1/3 c. butter ( I use Kates or other local Maine butter)
Mix fast and lightly until it forms a good texture using 1/3 c. ice cold water to bind
Form a ball and chill in waxed paper for at least a half hour, overnight is fine
This will make a two crust pie for a standard 9 inch plate with some left over for cinnamon swirls if you roll it thin. I freeze the second crust all formed in an aluminum pie plate if I’m only making one quiche.
Basic Quiche Custard Mixture
This one comes from my sister who is a Francophile who was married to a Frenchman, has taught French for forty years and has traveled in France regularly. I don’t know how authentic it is. She may have copied it from the Joy of Cooking for all I know. It’s the standard for Quiche Lorraine. I always get rave reviews when serving it and use Gruyere in my version. I’m only including the custard here (not the Lorraine part) because this post is about using whatever you have on hand for filling.
Basic Custard for Quiche
4 eggs – 3 if using a store bought crust (You can get fresh eggs from the Belfast Farmers’ Market–Maine-ly Poultry always has them)
1 c each heavy cream & milk, or 2c medium cream (or 1 c. each of any other combo. I use all whipping cream.)
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
In fact, you can vary the egg and cream/milk to suit the volume of your quiche. When making a traditional Quiche Lorraine, this will yield a rich pie in a store bought deep dish Oronoke Orchard crust with some custard left over to cook simultaneously in a standard earthenware custard cup.
I’m not a purist, and I don’t really eat meat, so I often make a very simple quiche by slicing and sauteing a large sweet onion (Vidallia) in olive oil and place that on the bottom followed by 6oz. cubed Gruyere and then the custard. But this gets boring, and I’m prone to experiment when adventurous company is expected. This week I wanted to use some of what’s fresh from my garden. Here’s what I came up with:
Italian Style Quiche
Slice up a medium sized sweet onion and saute it in extra virigin olive oil ’till it’s transparent, then set aside. In the same pan, saute a couple of handsful of fresh kinfe-shredded kale in a bit more oil. Salt lightly. You want the kale to soften but not cook completely. At the last minute, toss in a bit more oil and a large clove of finely minced garlic (available at market if you don’t grow your own),. Stir briefly and remove from heat, stir in the cooked onions and let it stand to blend the garlic with the kale. Don’t let that garlic brown.
While this is resting…
Remove the seeds and dice a medium sized tomato. Cut a few baby portobello (or other) mushrooms into small pieces, cube or crumble some feta cheese, preferably from Appleton Creamery. It’s salty. Adjust all your other salts to accommodate that fact. Slice up a handful of fresh basil leaves into slender ribbons. Shred up or cube about 6 oz. ( 1 to 1 1/2 c) of your favorite cheese (less volume is needed if shredded). For this recipe I used about 6oz of a commercial shredded Italian cheese mixture, but you could use cheddar, Gruyere, Jarlsburg or any other combo that your taste buds dictate. Gruyere is my favorite for quiche, but I was going for an Italian tilt here. Next time I’m going to try Appleton Creamery’s goat manchego cheese.
While you do all this, the oven should be set to 425°F and the crust should go straight from the freezer to the oven and get crisped up for a few minutes. This helps keep it from becoming soggy. Mine always gets soggy anyway. I won’t go into all the other tricks about this subject here because I’m just a quick and dirty cook who doesn’t really care about perfection.
Build the Quiche
Layer the ingredients as follows:
Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, then turn down to 350°F and bake another 30 minutes or so. Quiche is done when a prick with a wooden toothpick or thin knife comes out clean.
Depending on who you are serving, quiche is good hot or cold. I served this heated accompanied by some cucumber spears and cucumber slices in Greek yogurt and dill, and it was well received. If I’d had enough large slicing tomatoes, I’d have thrown a thick slice on each plate with a little diced flat parsley and basil on top.