Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Greek Quiche With Artichokes, Kalamata Olives, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Feta

For various and sundry reasons, Dinner Club has been meeting on Monday nights instead of Wednesday night for the past couple of weeks.

I feel like my circadian rhythms are all discombobulated, but it's nice to be together regardless of the day. 

Younger daughter has always wanted to go to Greece, and I don’t blame her.  It seems that visiting Greece may be a bit like traveling through time with its archaeological sites, museums and ruins scattered about the country.  Greek cooking also has long and deep roots that can be traced back 4,000 years. And, did you know, the first cookbook in history was compiled in Greece in 330 B.C.? 

The pure and simple combination of herbs, spices, fresh vegetables, cheeses and good olive oil typically evident in Greek fare are, however, subordinate to the social dimension of the dining experience and a movie that comically illustrates this is My Big Fat Greek Wedding. 

If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s hysterical.  Basically, a girl, Toula Portokalos from a very traditional Greek family falls in love with — gasp — a Protestant boy named Ian Miller.  When Ian announces that he doesn’t eat meat, Aunt Voula retorts “What do you mean he don't eat no meat? Oh, that's okay. I make lamb.”

All this brings me to Greek inspired meal we had at C.’s house, who herself has visited Greece some years ago.  It was a delicious quiche made with Kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, feta and artichokes.  Feta is a tangy, salty-brined cheese, made in Greece, that seems to make its way into all kinds of dishes, including desserts and one of the most delectable little triangles of goodness ever, spanakopita.  I toss it in salads and omelets and am never disappointed.

A bundt cake is the subject of another very funny exchange in the movie.  Ian’s parents were invited to the Portokolos house for dinner and when receiving the bundt cake from Mrs. Miller, Maria, Toula’s mother, looks at it skeptically.   Mrs. Miller explains “It’s a bundt.”  Maria, then tries many times, unsuccessfully, to say bundt and finally Aunt Freida whispers to her “It’s a cake.” Maria then says, very enthusiastically, “It’s a cake! I know! Thank you! Thank you very, very much.”  As Maria is walking away, she says to Aunt Freida, “There’s a hole in this cake!”

The cake is presented after dinner with a potted flower in the hole.

Without knowing what we were going to have for dinner, I made a Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake for dessert. I did not fill my cake’s hole with a flower but A. brought us each a little potted flower to celebrate spring!

Don't you just love when the universe lines up?!

Greek Quiche With Artichokes, Kalamata Olives, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Feta

1 pre-made pie crust
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Medium Red Onion
2 cloves Garlic
1/4 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/4 cup Kalamata Olives, roughly chopped
1 cup Artichokes,marinated in oil, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup Milk
4 eggs
3 Tablespoons fresh Oregano
1/4 tsp .Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350. In medium saucepan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil over and warm up on medium-high heat. Once warmed, add diced onions and cook until just starting to turn translucent, about 6 minutes. Add minced garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and let cook for a few minute longer. Remove from heat, add kalamata olives, artichokes and let rest.

Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, milk and spices, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Add the onions, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes mixture to the pie crust. Top with 1/2 cup feta cheese.  Pour egg and milk mixture over top, not worrying if everything is covered.  Bake until top just starts to turn golden brown, about 40-50 minutes.  Serve with crusty bread and a beautiful salad.

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