This summer was insanely hectic. I feel like it passed it a blur of beaching, boating, and warm summer nights. I wasn’t in the kitchen making new things to share with you as much as I’d like, but now that the days are becoming cooler – it’s my favorite time of year to be in the kitchen. Not to mention it’s the best time of year to work with the bounty that your garden, or local farmers in your area have produced.
I’ve always been passionate about gardening, and particularly varietal history and seed saving. So when the good folks at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello reached out and asked me to share the details on their 10th Annual Heritage Harvest Festival happening this weekend, I was delighted to do so!
Thomas Jefferson championed vegetable cuisine, plant experimentation, and sustainable agriculture. In today’s modern world, they are continuing that tradition at Monticello – and have been doing so, for many years. They were kind enough to send me a beautiful box of garden goodness fresh from the fields.
I mean – what an honor. Talk about tasting history! Eggplants (Listadia di Gandia and Black Beauty), Peppers (Marconi and Fish Hots – a variety that was used in seafood houses in my region for hundreds of years), a Green Nutmeg Melon, fresh sesame, and some of their locally made Hickory Syrup and Peach Butter available from their online shop. I can’t thank them enough for sending that box of loveliness my way, it was a real treat!
I ended up tossing the eggplants Marconi peppers with a little olive oil and salt, and added a tomato and some garlic from my dad’s garden for good measure – then roasted. That’s a great way to get out excess moisture, that can lead to soggy situations in whatever dish you’re preparing. Plus, it really intensifies all of the flavor.
Used my favorite pie crust recipe to line my tart pan, and blind bake. Then piled in the roasted vegetable goodness and a rich egg-custard to fill in all the nooks & crannies. And a little goat cheese for good measure. A local farmer has been selling his goat cheese at the farmer’s market here on Chincoteague, and it’s insanely wonderful. Have been enjoying it every chance I can get!
A quick bake for about half an hour, and you’re good to go. Paired with a simple green salad, it’s the perfect meal for this time of year. Could also be made in a pie plate without the crust!
And, if you’re in the vicinity and looking for something to do tomorrow – make sure you check out the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello. The’ve got a great lineup of speakers, activities for kids, gardening info, seed saving, good eats….they’ll have it all! A great day to get outside and live, breathe, and taste history.
Roasted Vegetable and Chèvre Quiche
1 small eggplant
1 anaheim or poblano pepper
1 tomato, halved
2 cloves garlic
1 pie crust dough (here’s my favorite recipe)
2 egg yolks
1 cup half & half
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 oz. goat cheese
Preheat oven to 425. Place eggplant, pepper, tomato and garlic on a baking sheet. Drizzle and toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place in oven and roast for about 25 minutes. Until vegetables are soft. Let cool slightly and remove the skin from the peppers and tomatoes, and eggplant as well if you desire. Roughly chop, and set aside to cool.
Reduce oven temperature to 375. Line a 9-inch tart pan or pie plate with your crust. Press into the bottom well, making sure to get in the base. Trim the top of the tart pan with a rolling pin, or crimp the edge if you’re using a pie plate. Line with parchment paper and place pie weights or beans inside. Place in the oven to “blind-bake” for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and remove parchment with weights.
Place crust on a baking sheet. Scatter the roasted vegetables evenly on the bottom of the crust.
In a bowl beat the eggs, egg yolk, half & half, salt and pepper until combined. Pour mixture into the shell.
Break the goat cheese into pieces and scatter that evenly on top of the quiche.
Carefully place in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until center is done by still slightly jiggly.
Let cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.