Thursday, November 29, 2012

Intuitive cooking

A friend, classmate, and fellow intuitive eating enthusiast occasionally teases me about the fact that I'm a great intuitive eater, but a terrible intuitive cook.  What she's referring to is the fact that I religiously follow recipes when cooking, and am reluctant to stray from the prescribed ingredients or cooking instructions.  I figure if someone took the time to write it down, then it must be good, right?!  Why mess with what works?!  I even tend not to make recipes that include ingredients that I don't like (such as whole tomatoes or mustard) because I'm afraid that cutting these ingredients out will change the whole recipe and essentially ruin it.

Anyway, her friendly chiding has led me to make attempts to be more intuitive when I cook.  More and more, I've tried to experiment with swapping out ingredients that sound like they will be more pleasing to my palate on that particular day, or that will make the recipe more nutritionally complete.  Recently I had some kale that I needed to use, and I found a recipe for a bacon, kale, and goat cheese quiche.  At the time, my intuition was telling me that putting goat cheese in the quiche was not going to satisfy me, and that a melty, gooey cheese would be better.  In addition, I enjoy bacon, but I didn't want all the fat that comes with it.  So, instead of goat cheese I used swiss cheese, and in the place of regular bacon, I opted for turkey bacon.  Below is what I came up with:

Swiss Cheese, Kale, and Turkey Bacon Quiche

Basic Pie Crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Large pinch sea salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut in small pieces
5 to 6 tablespoons chilled water (I put an ice cube in a glass of a water)

Dump flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor with the blade attachment in place.  Process for a few seconds to mix.  Add chilled butter cut into small pieces, then pulse in small bursts, until the butter is incorporated into the flour, and it has the texture of cornmeal with a few larger lumps.  Add the first 5 tablespoons of ice water, and continue to pulse in small bursts until the mixture begins to form into larger clumps.  Add the additional tablespoon of water if necessary.

On a well floured work surface- dump your dough out, and form into a ball.  Using a floured rolling pin, roll out your dough until it is the desired size and thickness to fit your pie plate.  Transfer to plate, and form dough to fit.  Pinching off overhanging dough, and shaping edges.  Prick the dough a few times with a fork, then freeze for half an hour, to an hour.

Preheat oven to 425 F, and bake pie crust for 15 minutes.  Remove, and leave oven on.

Quiche Filling:
6 large eggs 
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
4 oz fresh kale leaves 
6 slices turkey bacon
4 oz grated swiss cheese

Cook bacon, and set aside to drain.  Using the same pan with bacon grease, add kale leaves over medium high heat.  Add a splash of red wine or water, and cover with pan lid.  Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes, until kale is wilted and reduced to about 1/3rd original size.  Set aside.  Dice cooked bacon into 1/4" pieces.

Whisk eggs, cream, and milk in a bowl with salt and pepper to taste.  Pour a little more than half of your mixture into your pre-baked crust.  Sprinkle bacon, kale, and small chunks of swiss cheese over the top- evenly distributed.  Add remaining egg mixture.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the quiche no longer wiggles in the middle when you shake it. It should be puffed and beautifully golden brown. 

Allow to cool 10 minutes, then slice into wedges and serve.

I must say, my intuitive cooking creation was fantastic!!  In fact, I was so pleased with this experience that it emboldened me to make it again and make even MORE changes, this time substituting half of the all-purpose flour in the pie crust for whole wheat flour instead (so 3/4 cups each of all-purpose and whole wheat flour).  While it was still really good, I would maybe do a 1/3 swap next time (using half a cup of whole wheat flour, and a cup of all-purpose flour) so that it wouldn't affect the flavor as much, while still enjoying the health benefits of fiber and whole grains.  Because that's what intuitive eating is all about-- honoring your health by making good food choices, while also honoring your palate and the pleasures of eating by making sure the food actually tastes good too!

Feel free to try this recipe and make changes where you see fit, whether it be changing the turkey bacon back to regular bacon, reducing the amount of heavy cream it asks for (I was afraid this would affect the taste too much!), or using some other vegetable instead of kale.  And if you figure out an even better combination, please leave a comment so that the rest of us can try it out too.  Get creative, and follow your intuition!