Sometimes I get these great ideas. Then I make them, we eat them, and I discover my great ideas taste not so great. I used to let this get to me and leave me disheartened, but these days I find my most inspired moments are born out of those disappointing ones. Not that I claim to be some Generally Indomitable Person; my budding tenacity and resilience seem only to take root in the kitchen, but that’s a matter for another day.
As it relates to egg pies and cashew sauce, I’d hoped to blog about this pie on its own. It came together beautifully and smelled sublime. But as Bret and I dug into our first pieces, we realized that it lacked something, namely, a rich kind of tang we thought only cheese could provide. Not having any cheese in the house (or any decent stock within the surrounding twenty miles), I was resigned to the idea of mediocre future leftovers.
But then it came time to prepare that leftover meal. Being so naturally averse to mediocrity (ha!) I resolved to make something better of my egg pie by layering it with a flavorful sauce. I sought richness from cashews and tang from lemon. Inspired by a rush of juicy summer tomato fantasies, I tossed a handful of local sungolds in a pan with some olive oil to caramelize. I whirred the nuts and charred tomatoes along with some lemon and spice till saucy and spooned it on top of the warmed egg pie. The richness and savory zing of the cashew tomato sauce didn’t overwhelm the humble flavors and hearty textures of the pie; it complemented them, and Bret and I enjoyed a distinctly unlacking and delicious meal. (Yus!)
I feel a special kind of satisfaction when I make something positively good and enjoyable from something written off as less than that, and it inspires me (if only in the kitchen) not to slump back and accept defeat but to remain connected, engaged, and thoughtful; to think in terms of process rather than product. And I can jive with that.
rustic egg and vegetable pie with charred tomato-lemon cashew sauce
about one head broccoli, roughly chopped
one small onion, halved or quartered
one bell pepper, halved
olive oil for roasting
thyme to taste
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment. Arrange the veggies on the sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes or until the broccoli begins to brown, onion is slightly caramelized, and the pepper’s skin has loosened from the flesh. Remove the pepper’s skin and chop the onion and pepper into roughly bite-sized pieces.
Reduce the oven’s heat to 350. Lightly oil an 8-inch baking dish or a cake or pie tin. (I like to use a square glass baking dish for this; if you’re using a metal pan you may want to line the bottom with parchment to make sure it doesn’t stick.) Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk them with salt, pepper, thyme, and a few tablespoons of water. Add the roasted veggies to the mixing bowl and combine. Pour mixture into the oiled dish and bake for about fifty minutes, or until the center of the pie has completely set and the edges are lightly browned. While the pie bakes, prepare the sauce.
about 1/3 cup raw cashews
a few handfuls of fresh cherry tomatoes
a couple tablespoons of lemon juice, or to taste
thyme to taste
ground red pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste
Soak the cashews in water. (An hour of soaking will be fine, but if you’re planning ahead, feel free soak up to four hours.)
Wash and dry the fresh tomatoes and toss them in a small skillet with a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Allow to sizzle and soften, moving them every few minutes so they brown nicely.
Allow the quiche/pie to cool for ten or fifteen minutes after baking while you prepare the sauce. Drain cashews and place in a small container or blender carafe with the charred tomatoes, lemon juice, and a little water (about a quarter of a cup to start). Blend, adding water if sauce seems overly thick. Season with salt, pepper, ground red pepper, thyme, and if desired, a touch of olive oil. Blend till creamy.
Serve each slice of the egg and vegetable pie warm with plenty of the luscious sauce spooned on top. Savor.
*Note: I included a few tablespoons of sprouted buckwheat flour and a bit of baking powder in the egg mixture, but I don’t think it contributed much but a few air bubbles, so I omitted those ingredients from my recipe. I don’t think you’ll miss them.