We have been busy preparing for our Friends and Family Retreat coming up very soon – July 24 – 26. And as always, I’ve been testing recipes in anticipation of what will be coming out of the garden next week. We’ve had an unseasonably cool July so far so it’s been a bit difficult to predict what I will have a week and a half from now. But zucchini is something I can always count on, that’s for sure. I just picked the first zucchini this morning and I have no doubt it will be coming out of my ears by next week. And the tomatoes have started turning red and since I have a 19 different varieties of tomatoes in my garden there should be plenty of tomatoes by next week as well.
One of the challenges I have encountered as I develop menus for retreats is that so many people have dietary restrictions that it is difficult to create a menu that works for everyone but that still tastes good, is interesting, and most importantly, is fun for me to prepare (since we are really only doing this Reverie venture because we want to have fun!). There are always people who are vegetarian and gluten-free, and we often have guests that are paleo or vegan as well. And then there are people with seemingly random allergies – last year I had someone who was allergic to quinoa and pineapple! Quinoa is my go-to ingredient since it works for vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free and paleo so that one had me stumped.
At first I was really annoyed by so many restrictions, but now I choose to see it as an interesting challenge that helps me develop as a chef. Kind of like art – the best art comes from restrictions (and probably some psychological pain thrown in there too). Luckily we are relying heavily on the produce that comes out of our garden which by definition fits all of these dietary restrictions (we aren’t growing any gluten).
So in honor of our first zucchini of 2015, here is a recipe I’m testing for the retreat weekend. It is gluten-free and vegetarian (at least I hit 50% of my target!). If you make it, let me know what you think. I’m going to serve this with gazpacho and a green salad, which meet all four of the dietary restriction criteria.
Zucchini Crusted Quiche Casserole
- Zucchini Crust:
- 2 small to medium size organic zucchini, grated
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 1/2 Tbsp coconut flour
- 1 tbsp butter melted
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 2 oz. crumbled feta
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- ½ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 400 F and grease or oil a 9 or 10-inch pie dish.
Sprinkle the grated zucchini lightly with salt and let drain in a colander for 30 minutes. Squeeze and drain liquid from zucchini over sink. You can either wrap grated zucchini in layered paper towels or cheese cloth and squeeze, or you can do it an easier way which is to put it in a potato ricer and squeeze the liquid out. Place drained zucchini in large bowl.
Place zucchini mixture into pie dish and pat into the bottom and sides of the dish evenly.
Bake zucchini crust in oven for 9 minutes.
Remove crust from oven and reduce heat to 350 F.
Spread cheese evenly on top of baked zucchini crust.
Beat eggs, milk, mint and salt in medium bowl until blended. Carefully pour over filling in pie shell.
Bake in center of oven until center is almost set but jiggles slightly when dish is gently shaken and knife inserted near center comes out clean, 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut into wedges.