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September 2013

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Starving artists

Starving Artists in the Kitchen--Onion Pie!



If I were making this for “the girls,” I might call it quiche, but since I make it to take to the guys at Fort Osage I make onion pie. It IS a bit different–more onion, and more robust! I love it too...and happily, so did Joseph! I see this on the menu often from now on...

We’ve been getting fresh, whole organic goodies from our CSA (that’s Community Supported Agriculture friend at http://www.clarksorganicmarket.com/ as you’ll probably remember–and yes, that IS my sketch of Joseph on their page, I’m delighted!), so since we had eggs, milk, onions and broccoli, that’s what went into this one! It depends on what’s in season or on hand–sometimes I put bell peppers in, sometimes spinach, sometimes mushrooms, but always lots and lots of onions.

I’ve been reading Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, a really good read that we’ll be talking more about soon, and thinking a great deal about continuing to simplify my food ideas. (Pollan’s book starts out with “Eat food. Not so much. Mostly Plants” and then goes on to explain what he means by that, or it would be a VERY short book indeed.)

One of the things I have been leaning toward–now more than ever–is eating more of those things my ancestors would have recognized as food, and MUCH LESS processed stuff. I began to head in that direction when I read Loren Cordain’s The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Food You Were Designed to Eat a few years ago--and I know that book has been mentioned here before, bear with me! 

It certainly makes shopping easier. It takes MUCH less time and is much better for you if you can pick real food and not have to dig through labels you can’t even pronounce!

Carrots, I can pronounce! Eggs–that’s easy. Salad, yep. Can do. Shopping’s much easier these days. And onion lie is tailor made for the kind of simplicity, goodness, and economy that the Starving Artists aim for!


Here are the basics!

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2-3 slices of nitrates- and nitrites-free bacon, if you can find it, cooked on medium heat till crisp. Drain on a paper towel and crumble when cool. (You could also use ham, crabmeat, or skip the meat altogether.)


TIP
–if you don’t want to use a thick pad of paper towels, use the old trick us farm girls used to do to save money. Make the pad of newspaper, with one layer of ink-free paper towel on top. The newspaper will absorb the grease and the paper towel will protect your food from the ink.
 
Pour off most of the bacon grease. (Yes, I save it for later, where just a bit adds extra flavor.  Sometimes I even make soap with it!)

Dice 1 large sweet yellow onion (if you prefer another kind that’s fine–we just prefer the yellow ones.) and saute till golden.

1-2 cloves of garlic in with the onion if you like

Meanwhile:

1 C. chopped broccoli, if you have it–steam briefly till tender, then drain. Or if you like, ½ cup sliced red or yellow or green bell pepper, or 1 cup spinach. (If I use peppers, I saute’ them with the onions.)

Cheese is optional...I used about ½ C. of shredded 3-cheese Italian blend but any kind you like is fine. Use skim milk cheese if you want to shave fats.

I don’t make this with crust, though you could. Use your favorite pie crust recipe–we don’t need the extra carbs and calories, so I just spray the pie pan with olive oil.

Put half the onion into the pan, along with the drained veggies, and most of the crumbled bacon, add optional cheese (good with cheddar or the traditional Swiss–but since this is Onion Pie, not quiche, no need for Swiss unless you really want to!) Top with the rest of the onions.

Whisk 5-6 eggs till lemon-colored, and add about 1 C. milk. (YUM, we had whole organic milk and cage free eggs!)

The Joy of Cooking, my old standby, has a recipe for Onion or Leek Pie that looks really good too–rich! It calls for butter, 1 cup sour cream, and sherry, among other things. We may have to try that–but maybe substitute yogurt!

Add ½ t. nutmeg, if you like, and a sprinkling of your favorite herbs–I use Herbes de Provence, in the winter and fresh herbs from our back deck in the summer.


Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and sprinkle with the remaining bacon crumbles, then pop in the oven till done–usually 35-40 minutes. Test by sticking the point of a sharp knife into the pie–if it comes out clean (that is wet-looking but not milky) it’s done.

I like to use a pottery pie plate...I have made some myself, and have an old brown glazed one that’s years old. kateslover has even used the red clay dishes you put under large planters! Like they say, it’s all good...

Let cool a bit and enjoy with a nice green salad.  (And by the way, this is delicious cold for breakfast the next morning, or taken on a picnic!)

--------------------------------


For you starving artists out there: The illustration is watercolor on hot press paper, done using only the primaries and two neutrals–that’s phthalo blue, transparent yellow, and quinacridone red, plus burnt sienna, in this case. (I also use a little Payne’s gray in this little set made from an Altoids tin, but not in the painting here.)

Comments

AS usual, your recipe sounds great, and is exactly the sort of thing I like to cook.
By the way, the kraut-kielbasa dish has become almost a Friday night tradition with us. It comes our rather different depending on what apples I use. I need to keep notes on the ones that have just the right degree of softening but not mushiness!
Let me know what turn out to be your favorites! I like Jonathans best...and glad you're enjoying these!

(Anonymous)

Yum

Ooh that sounds nice - I might have to try that at the weekend. Also interesting reading about your palette. I've got a selection of 10 or so in a travel kit and that's all I use, but I've got an Altoids tin that I just emptied on Friday in the car and I wonder if it's worth trying a more restricted colour set for a while. Might stop me going quite so rainbow... Hmm, interesting...

Re: Yum

I like the discipline of a limited palette sometimes--it's also very handy and lightweight, of course, and very unobtrusive!

Oops!

I didn't mean that last one to be anonymous, I guess I was so excited by the recipe I forgot my name...

Rachel. :)

Re: Oops!

LOL! I forget mine sometimes, too, Rachel--people tease me about it. ;-)