With spring now upon us, we get to enjoy a whole new crop of vegetables. Leeks are a great spring vegetable which can be used in many different ways. Here, we have developed a very tasty quiche that you can use them in, as well as your leftover Easter ham.
Ham and Leek Quiche
Sift together flour and salt in a large bowl. Add shortening and cut into dry mixture with pastry cutter or two knives. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs.
In a small bowl, beat together egg, vinegar, and cold water. Add to the flour mixture and stir together roughly with a fork so it comes together. You don't want to work the pastry too much; it's okay if it looks a bit shaggy when you're finished bringing it together.
Flour your work surface and turn out the pastry. Cut in half and work with one half at a time. Roll until pastry is about 1/4 inch thick. Once the pastry is rolled out, carefully use the rolling pin to transfer it into the pie plate. Gently press the pastry into the edges of the plate and leave any extra around the edges until it has been filled. The pastry is quite resilient, so if it cracks it can easily be repaired simply by bringing the two edges together and pressing. The key is to move as quickly as possible - you don't want to leave the pastry on the counter for too long once it has been rolled.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Once the pastry is ready, prepare your leeks. Wash and trim the dark green leaves. Slice thinly, about 1/8" thick, and saute over medium low heat until softened. This may take about 10-15 minutes and you can add some salt to draw out excess moisture. This will reduce the chances of your quiche turning out soggy.
Prepare ham by trimming excess fat and chopping into 1/2" pieces. The bottom of the pastry should be well covered with ham.
Break eggs into a bowl and add milk. Whisk together very well. You don't want any little pieces of yolk visible in the mixture. Season with freshly ground pepper. You can trim the edge of the pastry now, if needed.
Once leeks are finished, add to the pie plate and pour egg mixture over top. Place pie plate onto a cookie sheet, just in case the quiche bubbles over. Slide into oven and bake for 50-55 minutes. The filling will be set, but not solid. It should be a light golden brown on top and the pastry will be golden around the edges.
The pastry recipe is good for 2-9-inch pie crusts. Any extra pie crust can be stored in the fridge (up to 1 week) or freezer (up to 1 month), until you are ready to use it.
Spring has sprung and so has the asparagus!
Asparagus is one of the first vegetables grown in Manitoba to actually be ready for harvest. It’s picked in the spring (typically May-June) and if you head over to your local grocery store in the spring months you may even find some from your local farms! It’s also during these spring months when asparagus is at its most reasonable price.
When buying asparagus I like to look for thinner stalks because they are often more tender and less woody. I also like to look for bunches of all the same or almost the same diameter so that they all cook in about the same time.
A note on frozen asparagus: as with most veggies we would recommend buying frozen when asparagus is out of season. Frozen varieties are just as healthy as fresh and also usually a better price, especially when asparagus is not in season. Always take a quick minute at the grocery store to compare prices!
Store asparagus upright in some water in the fridge. You may notice that this is how they’re actually kept in some grocery stores. The container in the photograph below is great, it’s tall and can hold more than one bunch if necessary. This particular one is from Ikea but any tall container, including wide mouth mason jars will work.
How to Prepare
Easy Steam or Boil Asparagus
- Remove about half an inch of the ends.
- Cut into small pieces, halves, or leave whole.
- Add to steamer or steamer basket with a few inches of water underneath, or directly into a pot of water.
- Steam or boil for 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to over cook or your asparagus will be mushy!
- Toss with about 1 tsp canola oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Easy Roasted Asparagus
- Remove about half an inch of the ends.
- Toss asparagus with canola oil and a pinch of salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Spread out onto a baking sheet and top with 2-3 slices of lemon.
- Roast at 375F for 10-15 minutes.