Tag Archives: spinach

Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

I love spinach artichoke dip and I love grilled cheese sandwiches.  So this recipe instantly got me salivating and ready to go.  It’s a great quick lunch or dinner and is pretty healthy especially if you use low fat cheese and yogurt in place of the sour cream.  It’s also really, really good.  REALLY good.  The key is getting the bread golden brown and crispy while allowing the cheese time to melt so that the inside is a creamy, gooey melty mix.  Could it be any easier to put together a crowd pleasing dinner?  After making this last minute for a couple friends and getting really good feedback, I think the answer is no.  Make this (frequently!) and enjoy.

Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (adapted from A Couple Cooks)

Makes 2 sandwiches (scale up according to how many you need)
Fresh spinach – enough for about 3 cups chopped
Canned artichoke hearts – about 3 (around 6 ounces)
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons sour cream
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup shredded cheese (I used mozarella, use any blend you like)
4 pieces bread (I used a white crusty bread, I think sourdough would work great)
Kosher salt
Butter or more olive oil

1  Dice the 2 cloves garlic. Chop the artichokes. Wash and stem the
spinach, then chop it coarsely.

2  Heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet. Add the garlic and
saute for 30 seconds. Then add the spinach and a pinch of kosher salt,
and saute for a few minutes until just limp. Add the artichokes and
red pepper flakes (if you want a tiny bit of spiciness) and saute for
another minute or so, until heated through. Drain off any liquid from
the pan. Stir in 2 tablespoons sour cream and another pinch of kosher salt.

4  Spread butter (or olive oil) on one side of each of the 4 bread
pieces. Heat a griddle pan to medium high heat. Place 2 pieces of
bread on the griddle, buttered side down. On each piece, spread some
shredded cheese, the spinach artichoke filling, some more cheese (1/2
cup cheese per sandwich), and the other piece of bread. When the
bottom bread is browned, flip the sandwich and cook until the bread is
toasted and the cheese is melted.  Or, if you have a panini maker,
just assemble the sandwiches, butter or oil the maker on both sides
and toast the sandwiches in the maker until golden brown and cheese
looks enticingly melty.

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Filed under Cooking for Two, Healthy, Main Meals, Sandwiches, Vegetarian

Spinach Feta Mushroom Quiche with Caramelized Leeks

The title is a mouthful, but so is this quiche.  I felt like making a light, cafe style dinner and I had just gotten a new quiche/tart pan so I knew immediately what direction I was headed in.  I’ve never made quiche before, and I haven’t found a really good quiche in Bahrain so I was excited to try this.  I envisioned a creamy quiche with a simple green side salad to counterbalance the richness.  Now, there are a million combinations of vegetables and meats you can add to a quiche, I wanted something vegetarian and I thought that spinach, mushrooms, feta, onions and leeks would be amazing together.  And they were!

The base of this recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen (the crust and the batter), the mixins are my own.  I highly encourage you to adapt this recipe to whatever fillings you like. Goat cheese and smoked salmon? Green onions, cheddar and bacon? There are a million different combinations that would come together equally well.

This is much easier then the final product reflects, and as at timesaver you can use puff pastry as a base instead of making your own tart dough. (If you do use puff pastry, you’ll have to prebake it before adding the batter until golden).  I do encourage you to try out homemade dough it’s much easier than you’ll expect, and this recipe is a great starting point because it doesn’t require any prebaking or pie weights.

Quiche Lorraine
Adapted from Le Pain Quotidien

So, curiously enough, one of the few places I could reliably find something I wanted to eat during my 9-plus months of no appetite this year was a chain restaurant (Quelle horreur! Except it is not.), Le Pain Quotidien. I loved their barely sweet granola bars, their hefty miche and countless simple lunches like this. (I believe they had a cookbook at some point, but it is either AWOL or out of print or maybe I’m just making this up?) Nevertheless, I found this recipe online and was chomping at the bit to make it, stat. No seriously, like the minute I got home from the hospital.

What sets this apart from other versions of this quiche is the piles of caramelized leeks and the richer-than-rich sour and heavy cream custard, two things I implore you not to miss out on. I hadn’t made this tart crust before, but was very impressed by how easy it came together and how crisp it remained as a shell without requiring a par-baking. I will definitely use it again.

1 3/4 cups diced leeks, white and light green only (from about 2 large leeks, although I think you can get away with one super-big leek)
3/4 cup diced onion
2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil (I needed a tad more)
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Salt
6 tablespoons butter, diced
4 eggs, divided
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch pepper
My toppings: (substitute whatever you want!)
2 cups fresh spinach
1 1/2 cup fresh button mushrooms sliced
3/4 crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese

1. Heat a large sauté pan over low heat. Sauté the leeks and onions in the olive oil 30 to 40 minutes until caramelized, occasionally stirring. Remove from heat and cool.  While you’re sauteeing the leeks and onions, in a seperate pan with a drizzle of olive oil, sautee the mushrooms and spinach till the spinach is dark green and wilted and the mushrooms are cooked.  This will take around 5 minutes. Season with some salt and pepper.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and one-fourth teaspoon salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender, fork or two knives until it is in very tiny bits. Add one egg (a fork works great for this) and mix it until a dough forms. (Dough can also be made in a food processor, or in theory, and as the original recipe suggests, in a stand mixer.)  My dough was really crumbly and wouldn’t come together, so I needed to add around two tablespoons of cold milk (or ice water).

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle. Place the dough in a 9-inch pie plate or deep tart/quiche pan.  I still found the dough very crumbly and hard to roll out, so I rolled it out as much as I could then just placed it in the tart pan and pressed it in and up the sides.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

4. While the quiche shell chills, mix the heavy cream and sour cream in a medium bowl. Whisk in the remaining three eggs. Add the crumbled feta.  Add a pinch each nutmeg, salt and pepper and combine to form a batter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 C).

5. Remove the quiche shell from the refrigerator and spread the leek and onion mixture evenly over the base. Spread the mushroom and spinach mixture (drain this and remove extra moisture first) and then the cheese over the leeks and onions. Pour in the batter and place the quiche in the oven.

6. Bake until puffed and golden, about 25 to 30 minutes (a deeper pan, such as the one I used, will require extra baking time around 35-40 minutes but check after 30). Remove from the oven and cool slightly on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The side salad I made is so simple it doesn’t need a recipe but here you go:

Handful of raw spinach
Handful of raw jarjeer (rocca)
Parmesan cheese, flaked with vegetable peeler
Handful of dates, mine were the stickier type but any work

Dressing:
1/4 cup balsalmic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1-2 tablespoons dijon mustard
Pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

Instructions:
Combine the spinach and jarjeer, and flake the parmesan cheese on top. Add a few dates for garnish and anything else you want. I went super simple because I just wanted some form of raw vegetables to go with the quiche. Combine all dressing ingredients by whisking continuously while pouring the olive oil, and taste. Add extra dijon mustard if needed. Dressing will be thick with a tangy bite. Spoon dressing over salad, cut yourself a big slice of quiche and enjoy!

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Filed under Main Meals, Uncategorized, Vegetarian