My college girlfriend Nicole came to visit the weekend before last, and we spent the entire time eating good food, drinking decent Trader Joe’s wine, shopping, lounging and talking. Mostly talking. Nicole is a vegetarian who eats mostly vegan, and we had no shortage of restaurants to try. In Los Angeles, there are tons of places that offer veg-friendly options, like tofu tacos alongside fish ones or tempeh instead of meat. We ate at Real Food Daily, one of my favorites, along with the raw food restaurant next to my old apartment and the sandwich shop next to my new one. Nicole got me thinking and talking about food a lot, so of course I was excited to try her vegan quiche recipe last night, which prompted this email:

Hey Coley,

DRUMROLL! I made the quiche for dinner last night! So, the boy and I went out paddle surfing yesterday morning. Which always begins as a lovely excursion and ends with me complaining thanks to full-on motion sickness, and trying not to cry. Every time. So when we got home (I keep typing “back to the boy’s place,” oops!) I was too hungry to cook the quiche, which I had imagined making the whole first half of our time out on the ocean. I decided to make it for dinner instead, then ran some errands, then fell asleep (ocean air = intense daze) and woke up super late. I had to go to the grocery store for spinach and mushrooms…which I was going to do when I was running errands earlier in the day but the only grocery store I passed was Von’s and I hate Von’s. I especially hate the produce at Von’s, so double no-go. I thought the recipe was kidding when it said 1 lb of spinach…you know 1 lb is a bucket, right?!?! Literally, a six dollar bucket of spinach for one quiche.

Anyway, it wasn’t done cooking until 9:30 and I was ready to eat off my arm. The two of us polished off half. I really liked it…and I think the boy liked it okay, but he did eat a big portion so I’m counting that as a yes in my head. He was weirded out that I made it with tofu instead of eggs but he didn’t say a peep until after he ate it and enjoyed it. He’s always amazed that he likes the rand-o things I make, and I’m always surprised he doesn’t make a big stink right off the bat and tell me, “Ick, tofu in a quiche? That sounds gross.” Maybe because that’s what I would say if someone presented me with a meal I didn’t like the sound of…

Anyway, I ate a slice today for lunch and it was very yummy. Thanks for the recipe! I’ll think of you every time I make it :)

xoxo, Kate

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Nicole’s Spinach Tofu Quiche (with her commentary)

>1 pie crust
>1 pound firm tofu, crumbled (i squeeze out as much of the moisture as i can and then just crumble it with my hands)
> 1/4 cup brown rice vinegar (i use white distilled vinegar)
> 1 tsp onion powder (ive omitted this if i dont have it–the actual onion makes up for it in flavor)
> 1 tsp fine sea salt
> 1/2 tsp dry mustard (ive also used actual mustard if i dont have dry)
> 1 tbls olive oil
> 1 medium onion, finely chopped
> 1 garlic clove, minced
> 2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
> 1 tbls tamari (or soy sauce)
> 1 pound spinach, well washed, stems removed, leaves cut (i dont remove stems unless they are huge…)
> 1/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
> 1 large tomato, sliced
>
> Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
> Roll out the pie dough and fit it into a 9-inch pie pan. With a fork, prick holes all over bottom and sides of the pie shell. Bake until light golden color, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool.
> Put the tofu, rice vinegar, onion powder, salt, and mustard in a blender and blend until smooth (I use an immersion blender). Transfer to a large bowl.
> Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, and tamari and cook until the mushrooms are browned, 6 minutes. Add the spinach, cover, and cook until the spinach is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring often, until the excessive moisture has evaporated, 3 minutes (if its super watery–depending on the spinach–sometimes I spoon some of the moisture out). Add to the tofu mixture (I take off heat and add tofu mix to this pan), along with basil, and stir to mix.
> Pour into the baked pie crust. Arrange the tomato slices, overlapping in a circle, on top. Bake until the top is lightly browned and the filling seems firm in the center, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I really will think of Nicole every time I make this recipe. And, in case you decide to make it and want to think of her too, here’s a picture of the two of us from the other weekend.

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Wearing matching clothes.