Spinach and Ham Quiche
1 frozen pie shell, thawed and pricked with a fork
1⁄2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1⁄2 bunch spinach, washed, dried, and stemmed
2 oz smoked ham, cut into 1⁄4-inch cubes
1⁄2 cup shredded Swiss cheese, such as Gruyère
3⁄4 cup milk
1⁄4 cup half-and-half
1⁄2 tsp salt
Pinch of nutmegHOW TO MAKE IT
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. When hot, place the pie shell on the middle rack and bake for about 8 minutes, until lightly toasted, but not browned.
2. While the oven heats and the shell bakes, heat the olive oil in large skillet or pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds, then add the spinach.
3. Cook for 5 minutes, until the spinach is fully wilted. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ham, cheese, eggs, milk, half-and-half, and spinach, squeezing the spinach thoroughly before adding to purge any excess water.
4. Season with salt and a pinch of nutmeg.
5. Pour the egg mixture into the warm pastry shell.
6. Bake for about 12 minutes, until the quiche has browned lightly on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Creamy Italian White Bean Soup
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 (16 ounce) cans white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups water
1 bunch fresh spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. In a large saucepan, heat oil. Cook onion and celery in oil for 5 to 8 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic, and cook for 30 seconds, continually stirring. Stir in beans, chicken broth, pepper, thyme and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and then simmer for 15 minutes.
2. With slotted spoon, remove 2 cups of the bean and vegetable mixture from soup and set aside.
3. In blender at low speed, blend remaining soup in small batches until smooth, (it helps to remove the center piece of the blender lid to allow steam to escape.) Once blended pour soup back into stock pot and stir in reserved beans.
4. Bring to a boil, occasionally stirring. Stir in spinach and cook 1 minute or until spinach is wilted. Stir in lemon juice and remove from heat and serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese on top.
Smoked Salmon Sandwich
1⁄4 cup whipped cream cheese
8 slices whole-wheat or 9-grain bread, toasted
2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped
1⁄2 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups mixed baby greens
1 large tomato, sliced
Salt and black pepper to taste
8 oz smoked salmon
1. Spread 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese on each of four slices of toast.
2. Top each with capers, onion, greens, and a slice or two of tomato.
3. Lightly salt the tomato, then add as much pepper as you'd like (this sandwich cries out for a lot of it).
4. Finish by draping a few slices of smoked salmon over the tomatoes and topping with the remaining slices of toasted bread.