Vegetarian Quiche and Not-So-Vegetarian Panna Cotta

On Easter Sunday, Tom and I had some friends over for dinner. Usually when we entertain, Tom gets stuck doing all of the work for the savory food, since he is nothing short of a genius when it comes to meats and the grill. But with one of our guests being a vegetarian, I thought I would take a stab at making a vegetarian entree.

I've had quiche on my mind since coming across a very yummy looking recipe for quiche lorraine in the Los Angeles Times Culinary SOS column last summer (the recipe is from Le Pain Quotidien and is available online here). I browsed around for vegetarian quiche recipes and found a promising one at, "Madame Quiche's Quiche Au Fromage." Usually I avoid making pies at all costs, since my crust-making skills are pretty poor. However, I found this crust recipe very easy to put together and roll out, and I was positively ecstatic when I managed to put together the crust pictured above.

I made the onion and cheese quiche variation outlined in the recipe, using cave-aged Gruyere. The finished quiche was simultaneously rich and fluffy, deeply flavorful, and just delicious. The crust was crisp and very tasty. I would happily make this again (and again and again) and I wouldn't change a thing (okay, maybe I would add some ham or bacon if it wasn't for a vegetarian, but I was very surprised at how tasty this was without any meat).

For dessert, I decided to try a recipe I recently saw in the New York Times, Cereal-Milk Panna Cotta with Carmelized Corn Flake Crunch. The recipe comes from chef Christina Tosi of Momofuku Ko, whose cooking adventures with breakfast cereals were described in this article. The recipe starts with six cups of Kelloggs Corn Flakes, which are toasted and then steeped in a mixture of cream and whole milk. The mixture is strained and the remaining liquid -- now carrying the flavor of the Corn Flakes -- is used to make the panna cotta.

The panna cotta is topped with a mixture of Corn Flakes, powdered milk, sugar, salt and melted butter, that is toasted in the oven until golden brown. I found the topping to be a little too salty and thought it was better if used sparingly. I didn't think the panna cotta was all that interesting, but Tom seems to be a big fan. I can say that it did have the distinct flavor of toasted cereal. I'm sure the fact that I'm lactose intolerant and have always eaten my cereal completely dry makes me a little of an outlier in that I don't have any particular affinity or nostalgia for the taste of cereal-infused milk.

Unfortunately, I wasn't thinking and forgot that the gelatin that is used to set the panna cotta is definitely not vegetarian. But thankfully, I had some overflow from Cindy's birthday party baked goods from the day before, and I was able to offer a nice dessert selection.



Karen said…
I always thought gelatin fell within the animal by-product category, like milk and eggs. So vegetarians but not vegans would eat it.
I don't know that all vegetarians feel this way, but I know quite a few who put gelatin squarely in the off limits category since it is actually made from animal skin, bones, and tissue (sorry if that's not so appetizing, but it's true), as opposed to products like milk or eggs that don't require the slaughter of an animal.