"Heavenly" Quiche

This quiche is healthy and delicious — a recent eater called it "heavenly." The hardest part is making the crust, which is actually very easy. For the crust I used a combination of buckwheat and spelt flours, which was a nice flavor combination with the shiitake mushrooms, spinach, egg and parmesan in the filling. Quiche makes a hearty dinner served with a green salad and is equally great for brunch.

Shiitake Mushroom & Spinach Quiche

For the crust:

1/2 cup spelt flour (plus more for dusting & rolling) 1/2 cup buckwheat flour 1 stick butter, cold and cut into cubes 1/2 tsp salt 3 tbl ice water

For the filling:

6 eggs, 1 egg yolk 2 cups whole milk 1 cup grated parmesan 1 1/2 cups chopped shiitake mushrooms 2  green onions, chopped 1 cup chopped spinach salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  To prepare the crust, add the flour and salt to a food processor and pulse to combine several times. Add the cubed, cold butter to the flour and pulse until the mix resembles coarse cornmeal. If you are doing this step manually, combine flour and salt in a bowl. Add the cold, cubed butter and with two sharp knives cut the butter into the flour using a criss-cross motion.

2. Move mixture to a bowl and add the cold water. With your hands, work the dough until you form a ball. Place the bowl in the freezer to chill the dough for about 10 or 15 minutes, meanwhile chop the veggies.

3. Remove the dough and place on a lightly floured counter. Roll out the dough, rotating and turning, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. When you've rolled the dough until it is slightly larger than your pie pan, place it in the pan and press firmly all over. You can use pieces to repair any tears as necessary. Poke the dough with a fork several times (this will help prevent puffing) line the crust with parchment and fill with rice or beans (or pie weights if you have them). Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes.

4. Now prepare the filling: Whisk eggs and milk until combined in a large measuring cup or bowl. Add chopped vegetables and parmesan, salt and pepper and whisk to combine several times. Set aside.

5. After the pie crust has pre-baked for 10 to 12 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Leaving the crust in the oven, remove the parchment paper with the pie weights, rice or beans. Slowly pour the filling into the pie crust. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until almost firm (it will still jiggle a little in the middle) and lightly brown on top. You can test to see if it's cooked through by inserting a knife 1 inch from the center of the quiche, it should come out mostly clean. Cool for several minutes before serving or serve at room temperature.


Nutrition Nuggets

Shiitake mushrooms have been used medicinally by the Chinese for 6,000 years. Research has found the active compound in these mushrooms, called lentinan to have the ability to boost the immune system and aid it in fighting off infections and disease. Lentinan has also shown to have anticancer properties. Shiitake mushrooms are an excellent source of selenium and polysaccharides and are a good source of iron as well as vitamin C, dietary fiber and protein.

Spinach is extremely nutrient dense. It contains high levels of vitamin K, carotenes, vitamin C, and folic acid. It is also a very good source of magnesium, iron, and vitamin B12. Spinach is one of the richest sources of lutein, which promotes healthy eyesight and prevents macular degeneration. Spinach is also a strong protector against cancer — at least thirteen different flavonoid compounds have been identified in spinach that work as antioxidants and anticancer agents. One study of women in the 1980s showed that the higher their intake of spinach, the lower the incidence of breast cancer. Spinach is also one of the most alkaline-producing foods, which makes it helpful in regulating body pH.