A Spinach Quiche Sans The Crust

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - July 05, 2006
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Marilyn Cristofori, chief executive officer of the Hawaii Arts Alliance, has always combined business and performing in her life. There’s no better person to head the Alliance, which cultivates, sustains and celebrates all the arts as essential to a complete education and central to a vibrant community. Marilyn bridges the worlds of dance and administration. She spent her earlier years on stage, dancing with the Santa Fe Opera Ballet, Pacific Ballet, San Francisco Opera Ballet, to name a few, and went on to direct summer arts festivals, produce award-winning PBS documentaries and to teach dance on the Mainland, in Europe and here in Hawaii. She received her MBA from the University of Hawaii and it is that acumen, combined with her passion for the arts and performing, that makes her such an asset to this non-profit organization.


Marilyn stays in shape - a dancer is recognizable at any age - and continues to lead an active life. She and husband Gregg Lizenbery (he’s chairman of the Department of Theatre and Dance at UH) have been here for more than 25 years. And to stay healthy, they enjoy such tasty recipes as the one Marilyn shares here with MidWeek readers.

Spinach is believed to be native to Persia and introduced into Spain by the Moors. In the Middle Ages cooked spinach was molded into round balls and sold on street carts.

Spinach leaves are very sandy and must be washed thoroughly just before using to prevent the leaves from becoming very soft. Wash leaves under running water in a colander, shaking the leaves gently. Spinach can also be purchased prewashed. Trim the tough ends before cooking.

Spinach can be eaten raw or cooked and lends itself to many uses both in salads and sandwiches.

Fresh spinach will keep refrigerated for several days. Spinach may also be frozen; blanch for about two minutes before freezing.

Raw spinach is an excellent source of folic acid, vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium. It is a good source of vitamin C, and iron and also contains riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, calcium, phosphorus, zinc and copper. Spinach is said to prevent anemia and replenish minerals in the diet.


CRUSTLESS LOWER-FAT VEGETARIAN QUICHE

You will need a 9-inch round pie plate, garlic press and medium-size pot
* vegetable oil to coat pie plate
* 1 1/2 cups water
* 3/4 cup uncooked couscous
* 3/4 cup egg substitute or 3 beaten eggs
* 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach
* 3/4 cup (6 ounces) low-fat cottage cheese
* 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (may use low-fat) or crumbled feta cheese
* 3 tablespoons hot salsa
* 1 teaspoon chili powder
* 1 clove garlic
* 1/2 tablespoon oregano
* 1/2 tablespoon pepper
* optional salt (to taste)

Preheat over to 375 degrees. Coat baking dish with oil. Thaw spinach - make sure it is not watery. Boil water in pot. Stir in couscous; cover pot. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes.

While couscous is sitting, mix all other ingredients in large bowl. Add couscous and spinach. Spread mixture evenly in baking dish.

Bake 50 minutes.

Cut into squares and enjoy!

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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