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I’m thinking about changing my blog name … to “oh boy am I still learning about gardening!”.  A bit too wordy though.  It sure does convey how I feel at the moment!  I love gardening, both vegetable and flower.  I love learning new things, too.  It’s the making mistakes part that I wouldn’t mind skipping over.

I planted shallots for the first time this year.  They did really well, and grew at a nice pace and to a good size.  You *should* pull them out of the ground once the greens start to die.  I left them a while longer, hoping they would grow even bigger.  They did grow bigger, but they also got wet.  Very, Very wet.  Have I mentioned (about a million times) the terrible weather we had this summer?  So I’ve made a note to myself that in the future, I am  to pull them as soon as the greens die.  I guess I’m lucky that most of them are still usable. Some of them I had to use right away.   I was sad to have to dump some, though.  I hate waste.

A great way to use a lot of shallots?  Caramelize them, and make a quiche! Everyone in our family likes quiche (yay!).   I make my own crust – it doesn’t take long and I think it’s worth it.  The time it takes to caramelize the shallots was also worth it to get the sweet flavor; lots of butter, on a low heat, for a long time.  Even non onion eaters can’t resist the caramelized flavor!

The Gourmand Mom blog is one I follow and I love to use her recipes – even if it’s to give me ideas or guidelines.  Quiche is a good example; I like how she puts the additions in first, then the cheese, and then the egg mixture. It’s simple and comes out great.   http://thegourmandmom.com/2010/06/01/quiche-lorraine/#comments  My crust recipe was given to me by a good friend years ago (thank you Leah!).  It’s a keeper.  I use a mixture of whole wheat & white flour, so it comes out darker, but the taste is still delicious.

Have you shared any recipes lately?

Happy baking!
Dana

American Pie Dough (that really is the name of it!)
for an 8 or 9 inch single pie shell
By Christopher Kimball with Eva Katz

My only adjustment is to use ¾ cup whole wheat flour & ½ cup white flour

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting dough
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (3 oz.) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch pieces
4 tablespoons (2 oz.) chilled all-vegetable shortening (in Ireland I use Cookeen)
3-4 tablespoons ice water

Mix first 3 ingredients. Scatter butter pieces, then shortening and mix until cornmeal texture. I use my fingers. Really, it isn’t hard and doesn’t take long.  Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of water over mixture and fold in. Shape into ball, then flatten into 4 inch wide disk.  Dust lightly with flour, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Caramelized Shallot Quiche
Based on The Gourmand Mom’s Quiche Lorraine

2 1/2 cups peeled & sliced shallots
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups Emmenthaler cheese, grated
1 1/4 cup whole milk
3 eggs
Salt & Pepper
Pinch of nutmeg

Caramelize the shallots in the butter. Cook low and slow.  They shouldn’t brown like sauteing, but turn translucent first and then slowly turn darker in color.  I usually cook 30 minutes to 45 minutes (while the crust is in the fridge).

Line the crust with foil and bake in 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 minutes, remove the foil and bake a further 5 minutes.  While the crust is baking, whisk the eggs & milk, and add salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  When the crust is finished, layer with the caramelized shallots, then the cheese, then the egg mixture.  Bake for 35 – 45 minutes.

Shallots hung to dry out.

Shallots hung out to dry.

Shallots drying out.

Shallots drying out.

Shallots cleaned up and looking much better.

Shallots cleaned up and looking much better. (This is one of my favorite bowls; it was a wedding gift that was hand painted for us.)

Shallots.

Shallots.

Whole wheat & white flour crust in the making.

Whole wheat & white flour crust in the making.

Tidying up the crust.

Tidying up the crust.

Emmenthaler Cheese.

Emmenthaler Cheese.

Caramelized shallots.

Caramelized shallots.

Caramelized shallots quiche.

Caramelized shallot quiche.

Some Black-eyed Susan flowers (Rudbeckia hirta) from the garden (and another bowl of shallots!).

Some Black-eyed Susan flowers (Rudbeckia hirta) from the garden and another bowl of shallots!

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