Let me start off by saying, I don’t hate winter. There are lots of things I love about winter, like when the sun shines across all that glistening white snow, being able to drink piping hot drinks without people looking at you like you’re all crazypants, warm fuzzy mittens and scarves, my new super warm (and waterproof) pair of Bogs, but what I don’t like (and this is more of a “living in the prairies” gripe), is when it dips to -40, so when you try to start the car it returns with a “hahahahahahahah! No.” After growing up reading and watching Little House on the Prairie, with all their frolicking through fields, picking flowers and what not, and then spending many years living among the wheat fields myself, I think it’s fair to say that Laura Ingalls Wilder was a damn dirty liar. Ok, ok, maybe I’m just a tad bitter from all this cold, I’d shed a tear if I wasn’t worried my eyes would freeze shut, so as per usual I took a frostbite inducing day and made the best of it by getting some planning and relaxing in.
To start the day off right, pants with sheep wearing hats dancing on stars were worn: I finally got to get a bit of reading in, I’ve been wanting to read these books for weeks now and just got around to starting them. It’s funny, I used to read constantly! But lately I feel like there’s never enough time, I’m thinking this problem needs to be rectified because I love me a good book. Even Apollo got in on the super lazy action….yes, there’s only one cat in that picture. Man he’s huge but in his defence it’s mostly all fur…mostly. I also promised a friend I’d do up a fancy vegan gift basket for her to give as a thank you gift to someone and so I spent the day planning out all the things I could add. I’m going to do a bunch of baking but thought I’d add in some fancy jams, coffee, crackers, etc. I’m having some trouble finding crackers that are a step up from the norm, everything seems to be made with dairy (damn you parmesan!), so if you know of any brands or have got any suggestions I’d love to hear them! Surprisingly that list has grown to a second page since I took that photo, god I’m indecisive. And of course there was brunch! I feel like it’s been an uber long time since I made anything savory for brunch and I just so happen to have some ricotta leftover from a dinner recipe I’ll be sharing soon. With fancypants gift basket ideas swimming around my noggin, I got down and dirty with a fancypants quiche….quiches are still considered fancypants aren’t they? Or maybe I just want to see how many times I can write fancypants in a paragraph. Fancypants. I haven’t made quiche since I made that VegNews recipe way back when, so I was excited to try my own version and maybe get a photo that wasn’t ugly as sin. As it turns out, vegan quiche (or maybe it’s just my quiche) is just really freakin’ ugly. Is there some special trick to stop the top from cracking? I know it looks like it’s all dry and craggily, but the insides are moist and creamy from all that delicious ricotta.With all the sweet stuff I’ve been mowing through lately, I thought I’d switch things up with something healthy, I’m kinda like a ninja that way. I even totes made a healthy crust! And there’s no keeping things cold, rolling, or any of that junk that goes along with making regular pastry crust. You just mix everything together (without over mixing, unless you’re into chewy crusts) and just press it into the pan. I’d suggest trying to get it really thin, like maybe ¼-inch tops, otherwise you’ll be sawing your way through your quiche, and hunching over a quiche, grunting as you put all your weight into sawing and stabbing through that crust kind of takes away from the fanciness.We’ve been going through a pizza phase lately, so I pretty much just took my fav pizza toppings and through them into the tofu mixture, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke, basil, ricotta, and I even got all Popeye up in here and added some spinach. For all you black salt noobs, I always like to post a warning before every recipe, and there ain’t no politically correct way to say it but black salt smells like farts, sulphury, sulphury farts. Now don’t let this scare you off because the smell immediately dissipates as you cook it and you’re left with delicious none-farty eggy stuff. Also, I’d like to prevent any evil eyes given to friends or significant others who may be in the vicinity, just so you know, it’s not them, it’s the salt 😉
What Items Would You Love to Receive in a Gift Basket? Have you Experimented With Black Salt?
SUN DRIED TOMATO ARTICHOKE & RICOTTA QUICHE
A rich and savoury vegan quiche that's filled with delicious sun dried tomatoes, artichokes, fresh basil, creamy homemade ricotta and more! Perfect for breakfast, lunch or even dinner, this filling and easy to make quiche is a crowd pleaser.
- 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 5 to 6 tablespoons water
- 12 to 14 ounces firm tofu
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 3/4 teaspoon black salt
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup oiled-packed sundried tomatoes, rinsed, patted dry and diced
- 9.9 ounce jar (3/4 cup) artichokes, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
- black pepper, to taste
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1/3 cup fresh basil, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
- 1/2 cup Tofu & Cashew Ricotta
- Preheat oven at 375 degrees F and lightly oil a 9.5-inch round tart or pie pan.
- To make the crust, in a medium bowl, whisk together the spelt four, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Add the flax mixture, oil and 5 tablespoons water, mix with a fork until just combined. The dough should be just damp enough to hold together when pressed, but not so wet that it’s sticky. If the mixture is too dry, add in the additional tablespoon of water.
- Transfer the dough to your prepared tart pan and pat it into the shell with the heel of your hand, using your fingers to press up the sides of the pan. Try to get the dough to ¼-inch thickness, it’s ok if you have leftover dough. Prick the dough all over with a fork, then bake for 15 minutes.
- To make the filling, crumble the tofu into a food processor along with the nutritional yeast, black salt, turmeric and milk. Blend until smooth and creamy, then remove from the food processor and place in a mixing bowl.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and onion. Sauté until translucent then add the garlic, cooking for 1 minute more. Add the sundried tomatoes, artichokes, basil, oregano, salt, chili flakes and pepper, sauté for a few minutes, then add the spinach, basil and parsley. Cook until the spinach has wilted, then remove from heat and add to the tofu mixture along with the ricotta. Fold the ingredients together until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared tart shell, evenly smoothing the top with a spatula or spoon.
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until firm and slightly browned. Cool for 10 to 25 minutes before slicing.