Thursday, December 30, 2010

Nothing beats winter beet green quiche for breakfast

Winter is upon us. In Southern California, that means green leafy vegetables such as kale and collards are plentiful in the farmers’ markets and grocery stores.

Green leafy vegetables should be part of everyone’s daily diet. They provide ample dietary fiber, they supply numerous vitamins and minerals, and they are a rich source of dietary nitrates that seem to help ward off diabetes and obesity.

One oft overlooked but delicious vegetable is beet greens. Indeed, many people pay for beets by the pound (including the green tops) and then proceed to have the vendor remove and dispose of the tops at the produce stand. 

Perhaps this recipe will convince some to eat their greens for breakfast. Of course, any other green leafy vegetable can be substituted, but nothing beats beet greens for this delicious quiche.

Ingredients for the crust
  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 1 cup kefir*
  • 3.5 cups whole wheat flour**
  • 2 tsp salt
Ingredients for the filling
  • 1 bunch beet greens***
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, or more to taste
  • 3 pickled hot peppers  (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1.5 cups kefir
  • ground nutmeg
I. The night before you wish to serve the quiche, prepare the dough. This recipe is based on the recipe for “Yoghurt Dough” in Sally Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions.” It does not make a flaky pie crust, but it is not tough either. It is very tasty, versatile, and easy to use.
  1. Combine the butter with the kefir in a large bowl.
  2. Add all of the flour and sprinkle with the salt.
  3. Mix well by essentially kneading the dough in the bowl until all the flour is combined.
  4. Form the dough into a neat ball and return it to the bowl.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and leave out at room temperature overnight.
II. In the morning, pre-heat the oven to 350 ℉, and first prepare the crust.

You will find that the dough is extremely manageable and forgiving. It is easy to roll and easy to lift and transfer to a baking dish without tearing. Furthermore, if you are not satisfied with the results, the dough can be gathered together and re-rolled without loss of quality. As the dough ages, it appears marbled with some areas darker than others. This is perfectly normal and does not indicate spoilage.

  1. Divide the dough into 3 equal-sized balls.
  2. Wrap 2 in plastic and refrigerate for some other day.
  3. Lay a silpat or rollpat on a clean surface, and sprinkle with flour for rolling.
  4. Also lightly flour your rolling pin and both sides of the 3rd ball of dough.
  5. Roll it out evenly into a circle slightly larger than a ceramic quiche dish 11 inches in diameter.
  6. Lift the circle of dough into the quiche dish and arrange to your liking.
It is not necessary to partially pre-bake the crust, but you may do so if you prefer it to be drier.

III. Then prepare the filling.
  1. Chop one medium-sized onion into medium-sized pieces.
  2. Sauté in olive oil (~ 2 Tbs) until soft and slightly browned on the edges.
  3. Sever the beet greens and stems from the bulbous roots, and save the beets for another meal.
  4. Coarsely chop the stems and greens.
  5. Crush and coarsely chop the garlic.
  6. Add the garlic, optional hot peppers, and beet stems to the onions and continue to sauté to soften the stems and color the onions.
  7. Add the greens and continue to cook until the greens are wilted.
  8. Scramble the eggs in a large bowl, sprinkle with the nutmeg, and whisk in the kefir until all is combined.

IV. Assemble and bake.
  1. Spoon the cooked vegetables evenly into the crust.
  2. Pour in the egg/kefir mixture.
  3. Transfer the uncooked quiche to a preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until the crust is browned and the center surface of the quiche is set, firm and dry to the touch.
Enjoy. With the bright color contributed by the beet stems bleeding through the surface, this makes a festive addition to a holiday breakfast, or any winter meal.

*The quiche in the picture was prepared using kefir made with whole milk from Rockview Farms Dairy using the dry kefir culture purchased from
New England Cheesemaking Supply Company.

**King Arthur unbleached white whole wheat flour is good.

***The beets were from the Long Beach Southeast Farmers’ Market held Sundays in the parking lot of the Alamitos Bay Marina.

Copyright © 2010 Donna Marykwas; All rights reserved.

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