Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day Menu

Mother's Day Luncheon Menu

Ham and Asparagus Quiche
Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Toasted Pecans
Gingered Rhubarb Parfaits

Right now garden's and farmer's markets are brimming with asparagus, spinach, strawberries and rhubarb. They happen to be some of my mother's favorite foods, so I'll be using all of them this Sunday. 

I love to serve quiche ... (and my mother loves to eat it!) and it's great when entertaining a mid-day party. It can be prepared in the morning and all you have to do is pop it the oven just before guests arrive. Quiche is also a satisfying one-dish meal that falls into the, "comfort food" category.

Spinach and strawberries are so complementing and make a colorful addition to the quiche. Toasted pecans give this salad the perfect crunch. Simply toss spinach leaves with your favorite dressing, I like to use Celery Seed Dressing, it has just the right amount of sweetness. For the recipe, see October 27, 2010 post. Toss the leaves with quartered strawberries and toasted pecans.

For dessert I'm going to  fill tulip-shaped glasses with strawberry ice cream (vanilla ice cream or yogurt work as well) and top the ice cream with the gingered rhubarb sauce, really good quality crunchy granola, garnish with a sprig of mint. Yummy!

Happy Mother's Day!

Ham and Asparagus Quiche

Helpful to know: For optimum crust results, flour should be cold. If you don’t store flour in the freezer, place measured amount in freezer for about 15 minutes. And if you're really short on time, a store-bought crust will work, I recommend Wholly Wholesome Organic Pie Shells. Also, remember to plan ahead. Careful not to overcook the asparagus, cook until just fork tender. Place in a ice cold bath to retard cooking, then drain on a kitchen towel.

Quiche Crust

1⅛ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup olive oil
2½-3 tablespoons cold water

In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Drizzle olive oil over flour and toss until flour mixture is coarse. Slowly drizzle in cold water; add more water if dough doesn’t come together or seems dry. Knead dough a few times to fully incorporate ingredients. Lightly flour work surface; roll dough until it's about 12-inches in diameter. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Flute edges.  

Ham and Asparagus Filling

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion, finely chopped
½ cup ham, rough chopped
8 eggs, room temperature
½ cup half & half or whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
A dash cayenne pepper
3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded, divided use
One bunch asparagus spears, cooked and cut into 1-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 350°. Heat olive oil in a medium sauté pan over moderate heat; add onion cook until onions are soft. In a large bowl, whisk eggs with half & half, salt and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle 1 cup cheese in the bottom of unbaked pie crust, top cheese with ham and ½ of the asparagus. Top with 1 cup cheese. Top with remaining asparagus. Pour egg mixture evenly over mixture, top with remaining cheese. Bake for 45 minutes. Allow pie to sit for 10 minutes before serving. Yield: 6 servings.

Gingered Rhubarb Sauce

Helpful to know: Gingered Rhubarb Sauce can be prepared ahead of time; will keep for several days refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before refrigerating and bring back to room temperature before serving!

4 cups rhubarb, sliced into ¼-inch thick pieces
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon powdered ginger

Place rhubarb and water in a medium saucepan. The ratio of water to rhubarb may seem disproportionate, but too much water will result in a watery sauce. Over moderate heat, cook rhubarb for about 15-20 minutes or until tender. Stir every 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and ginger. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yield: About 4 cups.