Thursday, October 16, 2008

Beet Stem and Potato Quiche

This is another recipe I'm using to illustrate the kind of really good food you can feed your family for a tiny amount of money. For this one, I was trying to optimise my usage of the ever-so-lovely beet. Also I am stalling on studying for my biology midterm, and this is a lot more fun. One nice thing about the quiche is that you can eat it cold, so it's perfect for P and I to munch on all day. One meal that makes many.

Also, I was craving quiche. For like, the last couple months. I just didn't feel like making it despite the craving until today. Which is, naturally, when I discovered I was out of milk, so I had to use evaporated. If you have real milk, use 1 1/2 cups.

I used to only buy bulk beets, but it occurred to me I should stop doing that. So this last time, I bought a bunch of beets with the greens still attached. The peels of the beetroot go in my bag of vegetable leavings for stock. The greens I wilted down with lemon and some other veggies and used them in a simple pasta (I make a lot of these pastas with whatever-veggies-are-in-the-fridge and tons of lemon meals. I've shown you guys a few of them). When I was trimming the greens from the beets, I put all the little stems in another bag to use elsewhere. Plus of course the roots, which I will either roast or pan fry on another day. A large bunch of beets cost somewhere around 2 dollars at the store, so I'm estimating each part of the beet bunch as costing $0.67. I used almost half the stems for this recipe.

1 tablespoon oil (~15 cents)
1 small red potato, sliced thinly with skin left on (~20 cents)
1/2 large orange bell pepper (these were on sale 2/dollar, so 25 cents)
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice, divided (25 cents)
1 cup sliced scallions (20 cents)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (5 cents)
1 cup (roughly) chopped beet stems (33 cents)
3 eggs (60 cents)
1 can evaporated milk (85 cents)
salt and pepper to taste (2 cents)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (2 cents)
1 cup grated farmer's cheese or mozzarella ($1.20) (if you happen across a Syrian farmer's cheese, get it. It's perfect for this)
1 pie crust (I am too lazy to make my own, so $1.25)
1/4 cup parmesan, optional (30 cents)

Prepare or thaw one pie crust. Line a glass tart pan with the crust. Preheat oven to 450F. In a pan, heat the oil. Add in potato slices dusted with salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook until they are just beginning to become soft. Add beet stems, garlic and half the lemon juice, plus a touch more salt, and cook until firm but soft (raw, the texture of the stems is similar to rhubarb so you want to cook it down a bit). Add in bell pepper and scallions with the remainder of the lemon juice. Cook down. Turn up heat to thicken/cook away any extra liquid in the pan.

Whisk together eggs and milk, then add cheese and a bit more nutmeg. Pour veggies into pie shell and spread out evenly. Top with egg mixture. Bake 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 and cook another 25 minutes. If you see fit, top with parmesan and cook another 10 minutes. Otherwise just cook another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest 10 more minutes, then eat. Serves 8.

Total recipe cost: $5.67 (less if you make your own crust or use less/less expensive cheese. Why do my cheap recipes generally cost 5-something?)
Per serving cost: $0.71

7 comments:

  1. Beans, potatoes, eggs? A nice buttery crust. Who can go wrong w/this one? Looks great!

    -DTW
    www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

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  2. No, beet. Like, beets you use to make borscht. When you buy a bunch of beets that have the greens, separating the beetroot and the greens are some red stems. I decided to use them in this quiche. It's really, really yummy. I have a bunch more that I think I'll probably use in a stir fry or something.

    I'm trying to use every part of each food item I buy, to reduce waste and save money. Normally these little stems would go in the trash (or for me, they'd go into the stock bag like beetroot skins do).

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  3. Wow, I really misread that!

    Beet stems sounds very good, actually. When they get fat (a varietal thing, usually) we call them Swiss chard. I like them and have always liked them either way. This is sort of interesting since I have not liked the root beet in the past.

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  4. Weird. It never occurred to me that Swiss chard and beet were related, though it seems so obvious now.

    I love beets. But I don't like those hideous, sweetened monstrosities people typically serve. Or their super-nasty canned varieties. Gross. I prefer beets pan fried (like you do before you put them in the borscht, or even just by themselves, with some nice tarragon, or even fried w/ other veggies) or roasted.

    Beets taste like sweet earth to me. I think too many people focus on the sweet and ignore or try to hide the earth. But the earth is the part that makes them so beautiful to me. Well, that and having stained hands. I like that too.

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  5. Anonymous10:28 pm

    This was delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I bet it would work well as a spanish tortilla too (ie same thing but without the crust).

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  6. Anon,

    I bet you're right! Let me know, if you try it as a tortilla, how it works out!

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