Spring Vegetable Quiche

I soon expect to gather enough asparagus and baby spinach for my first spring quiche. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
If you’ve been reading my latest Twice as Tasty columns for the Flathead Beacon and some of my other recent work, you know that spring has been oh-so-slowly arriving in Montana, with days of sun, snow, rain, frost—and sometimes all four in a single morning. The garden is beginning to wake up, with the greens we let go to seed last fall sprouting in freshly weeded beds and my first round of cold frame seeds showing signs of life. Walking onions and chives have been available for harvesting in small quantities, and rhubarb and mint will soon be big enough for the first crisp and mojitos.

However, the asparagus is still stubbornly in hiding from freezing overnight temperatures. As soon as we consistently get nights just a couple of degrees warmer, I expect to gather enough of it and baby spinach for my first spring quiche.
Learn to make Spring Vegetable Quiche

Late Tomatoes

Late tomatoes never match midsummer fruit, but I treasure them as the season’s final flush. Get tomato recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Tomatoes are the last true summer crop that I grab from the garden. The shift comes as swiftly as the fall back to standard time: one deep temperature swing makes every green fruit still on the vine inedible. Each fall, I follow weather forecasts, gamble on their accuracy, and try to pluck every fully formed tomato before the first killing frost.

Even if I succeed, the reward isn’t the perfectly red, juicy treats I’ve been feasting on all summer. It’s boxes of hard, underripe tomatoes. Some I’ll eat or preserve while green, but most sit for weeks beside my desk, where I watch them gradually ripen.

These tomatoes never match the bright, sweet bite of sun-kissed midsummer fruit, but I treasure them as the season’s final flush. Rather than eating them out of hand, I’ve found that letting them cook slowly, like in this savory pie, maximizes their maturing flavor.
Learn to make Late-Season Tomato Pie and Herb and Cheese Pie Crust

Flavorful Reductions

Cooking a quick sauce or glaze in the same pan as your main ingredient soaks up concentrated flavor. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
As I wrap up my month of cookware testing, I’ve been stretching the limits of nonstick pans by using some of my favorite flavor-building techniques: browning, reducing, and glazing. Stainless steel and cast iron are the more typical materials for these techniques, because some of the point is to suck up the caramelized bits that stick to the pan—those bits that nonstick surfaces are designed to eliminate. But there’s a difference between burned-on food and fond, the caramelized particles left after browning. Even a good nonstick pan generates some of these intensely flavored bits.

It made sense to me to test these techniques in nonstick pans, since I never create them using the standard base ingredient: browned meat. By cooking a quick sauce or glaze in the same pan as your main ingredient, you can soak up that concentrated flavor—whether you started with meat, shrimp, mushrooms, or root vegetables. It really is all about the flavor.
Learn to make flavorful reductions and Mushroom Pan Sauce

Cooking Grains

Most grains want a fun, flavorful addition, whether it’s stirred in or piled on top. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
Eggs may be the ideal test food for skillets, but grains put saucepans through their paces. Starchy foods like rice, oats, pearly barley, and pasta always tend to get sticky, but everything from type of pot to temperature to water-to-grain ratio can also make them stick or even burn onto the cooking pot. This can leave you not just with a gummy meal but also with a gummy mess to clean up.

So as I’m testing cookware this month, I’m cooking lots of grains. All of them want a fun, flavorful addition, whether it’s stirred in or piled on top, like this week’s new recipe.
Learn about cooking grains and Curried Sweet Potato and Mango