Yesterday was apply-for-grants-I-won't-get day, but it was also invent-a-new-vegetarian-dish day. Several months ago Paul suddenly decided to stop eating meat, so I have had to completely reconfigure my cooking. This switch hasn't actually been all that difficult for me: I grew up with 70s-style vegetarian parents, which is to say they ate a lot of cheesy brown rice. It's been fun to look beyond that old-fashioned starchiness: I've been learning about basic Asian and North African options and have been reimagining meat-flavored dishes as vegetable-based versions.
Here's what I invented last night: quiche lorraine remade as a delicate winter pie.
Make enough pie dough to fit into a French-style tart pan with a removable bottom. Partially prebake it. (If anyone wants detailed instructions, let me know.)
For the filling: trim and peel 2 medium-sized carrots, then grate. You should end up with about 3/4s of a cup.
In a skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter over low heat. Press a big clove of garlic, and add it to the pan. As soon as the scent starts to rise, add the grated carrots.
Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally; salt lightly, and then add 3/4s of a cup of freshly chopped parsley. Scrape the mixture into the pie shell.
Grate 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese over the vegetable mixture.
Now beat 3 large eggs with 1 cup of milk. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Pour the mixture into the pie shell, and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
Unmold on a board or a flat serving plate.
The result is both pretty and delicious, and your vegetarian son can take the leftovers to school for lunch.