I just felt like making a quiche and I had made a ham a few days ago, so I pulled out one of my Smithfield Barn vintage pie plates and away we went. And by the way, spend the money to make your quiche with Swiss and Gruyere cheeses…it makes a world of difference.
Here is what I made (my recipe):
Quiche with Ham and Portobello Mushrooms
6 large eggs
¾ cup evaporated milk
1 large shallot
1 small onion
1 8 oz package of baby Portobello or crimini mushrooms sliced thin
2 tablespoons butter
1 deep dish pie plate and one pie crust (I make my own crust or buy refrigerated pie dough in a pinch – don’t like frozen pie crusts)
2 ½ cups shredded cheese – half Swiss and half Gruyere
About 2 cups of minced up ham
Preheat oven to 400°.
Sauté onion, shallot, mushrooms and ham in 2 tablespoons of butter. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl.
Add milk and mix well. Add a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco.
Place sautéed mixture into pie crust. Then cheese. Finally pour milk and eggs mixture over top.
Place quiche on a baking sheet and bake on the middle oven rack for 15 minutes at 400°, and then reduce heat to 350° and bake another 30-32 minutes.
When toothpick or knife comes out of quiche clean, it’s done. Allow to cool at least 25 minutes before serving.
So bean salad is a summer staple. One bean, two bean, three bean and more.
I decided to change it up. I took half a bag each of Goya dried navy beans and pinto beans yesterday and put them in to soak with salt and water overnight. I then cooked them according to directions on their packaging this morning.
While the beans were cooling I minced three large cloves of garlic, chopped fine one large red onion, chopped one fresh red bell pepper, peeled and chopped one fresh cucumber, and tossed into a bowl.
To that bowl I added salt and pepper to taste, 3 tablespoons of white table sugar , a bunch of fresh dill chopped, and a third of a cup of Italian flat leaf parsley chopped.
I mixed the salt and pepper, herbs and spices, along with the vegetables and drizzled olive oil and rice wine vinegar and red wine vinegar over the top of it and stirred some more. I always add more vinegar than oil to bean salads.
I should’ve measured exactly how much oil and vinegar but I didn’t I’m sorry- you want basically enough that your salad gets coated and sort of pickled but not enough that it swimming in dressing.
Last but not least I tossed in the beans which I had drained and mixed everything together, as well as adjusted for salt and pepper. I will now chill the salad down until this evening but it looks beautiful and tastes terrific!
When the wether gets warm I like things like simple and fresh pasta salads for supper. So that’s what I’m having this evening and it couldn’t have been easier to make.
I got some beautiful vegetables at the Thornbury Farm CSA Saturday including what I like to call lollipop, or large spring onions and fresh snap peas. I already had some beautiful bright sweet bell peppers in the refrigerator at home and a lot of herbs in my garden and some celery.
All I did was cook a bag of regular frozen cheese tortellini, boil up a couple boneless skinless chicken breasts, steamed my snap peas, chopped up the other vegetables, and tossed together with a honey-herb-mustard vinaigrette that I made. The main herb in the vinaigrette (which also had garlic and a shallot in it ) was fresh dill, but I also to the salad added chopped fresh fennel tops, fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, and basil.
I just made this up….yesterday. I am sure many people do something similar, but this is all me:
Ragu of Pork and Veal
In a large Dutch oven, sauté one large sweet onion and one medium-sized regular onion cut into very thin rings.
Sauté in a few healthy tablespoons of olive oil and include four cloves of garlic
minced (I just pour oil in the bottom of the pan until it looks right, but not an elephant’s foot bath.)
Add oregano, and basil. A little marjoram. And kosher salt to taste.
When almost at the point of caramelization, add 1/3 cup good balsamic vinegar.
Allow vinegar to mostly cook off, leaving a darkish sauce in the bottom.
Add to this two grated carrots, two fresh bay leaves, and 6 ounces of chopped baby Bella mushrooms.
Next add one package of ground veal.
Add one package of ground pork.
(Both should be no more than a pound.)
As the meat cooks down and browns slightly (ground veal and pork do not brown like ground beef), add one-third of a cup of 2% milk or half-and-half.
Allow the milk solids to cook off as if you would with a Bolognese sauce, and when all simmered and brown and delicious, add two 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes. One can should contain purée. (And buy good tomatoes – it does make a difference.)
Add one small can of tomato paste. (6 oz)
Cook on medium low for about 15 minutes or until it starts to gently bubble up from bottom
Adjust salt and pepper, add rough chopped fresh basil and Italian flat leaf parsley to taste. (for me that means a fistful – love both)
Simmer on very low for a couple of hours
Cook spiral pasta, as in the spiral shaped pasta that is called cavatappi. You can also use ziti.
Cook pasta according to directions and drain. Do not rinse
Get out your giant pasta serving bowl and ladle some of the sauce into the bottom. Next add on top of that sauce a third of the pasta you cooked – I cook the whole 16 ounce box.
On top of pasta add a healthy sprinkling of shredded Italian cheese – I like the six cheese Italian blend
Ladle more sauce on top, and repeat the layers twice more.
Top off with a little more sauce and cheese and some more fresh parsley.
I love risotto. It takes a bit of time to do it right, but so worth it. Here is a recipe I have been doing for years. It has lived in my head because the impetus for it came from one I ate growing up that came out of our family kitchen and not a cookbook. Intuitive memory cooking if you will. Hope you can follow.
Gently simmer 5 1/2 cups of chicken brothcovered on low on the stove. ( I make my own stock incidentally. I find it easier)
Take a smallish sauté pan and cut up into thin rings one medium regular onion and one medium sweet onion and three cloves of garlic (minced). Toss into a pan with 4 tablespoons of butter, a pinch or two of sea salt and swirl around and cook until nearly caramelized over medium-low heat.
Add 2 cups of sliced baby bella mushrooms – and yes cut your own, don’t buy pre-sliced. Add 2 medium ribs of celery minced. Add 2 medium grated carrots. Allow it to cook down. Remove pan from heat and just move to corner of stove.
I had leftovers from a chicken I roasted, so next I cut up the cooked chicken(skin-free) into bite sized pieces. I think about 2 cups, maybe a smidgen more.
O.k. now the fun part. Pull out a large fry pan and put a few tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom. Add the 1 1/2 cups of uncooked abrorio rice. Stir around on lowish heat until rice grains are translucent. Add 1/2 cup of rosé wine(NOT white zinfindel – YUCK!), stir around until rice absorbs wine over medium-low heat.
Now start ladling in your simmering chicken broth, one cup at a time. Last night I only used 5 cups of broth, but sometimes I use 5 /12. The broth needs to be absorbed ONE cup at a time into the rice. If you just dump all the broth in your risotto will be mushy, gluey and gross.
When you hit the 3rd cup of broth almost ready for the 4th add in the sautéed onions and veggies.
Half way through the 4th cup of broth being absorbed, toss in the chicken. Also toss in a few pinches of tarragon, basil, and oregano.
After you add the final broth and it is almost all absorbed, stir in 1/2 cup of grated parmesan or grated romano cheese. Stir in 1/3 cup rough chopped flat leaf Italian parsley five minutes before serving.
The whole add broth process takes about 30 to 40 minutes. I hope I have not left anything out….again….have never written this down – always just done it.
Serve with additional grated cheese on the side and a nice green salad.
Cold days are meant for baking, so today I whipped up a couple of loaves of my pumpkin bread – I had a container of Pacific Natural Foods Organic Pumpkin Puree left in the cupboard from Thanksgiving (it really IS the best pumpkin to cook with).
There is just something so homey about the smell of something wonderful baking in the oven, isn’t there? And by the way, one of my secret ingredients is Jayshree Spices’ Tea Masala spice blend. It works well when making chai spiced tea, and you can bake with it too. I wanted something fun to accompany tonight’s dinner which is my hybrid cross between black bean and lentil soup and a spinach salad with a tangy apple cider-mustard vinaigrette salad dressing. (And no, I have not written down my soup recipe it is a dash of this, a pinch of that, but I can tell you it is quasi pureed, made with tomatoes and my secret to its smokey fabulous flavor is good ham and minced orange peel.)
Anyway, I thought I thought I would share my recipe, which is a constant evolution. Pardon the haphazard way I list ingredients, but when something comes out of my head sometimes the whole codifying a recipe isn’t perfect…
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour two loaf pans and set aside.
1 15 or 16 oz container of pumpkin puree (I have seen both sizes – just pumpkin, no sugar or spice added)
3 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup milled bran (yes that again – love it in baked goods- makes chocolate chip cookies extra yummy too!)
1 cup Smart Balance oil
1 1/4 cups organic white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup of orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons buttermilk powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (regular not sea salt)
3 tablespoons Jayshree Tea Masala Spice Blend
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon green cardamom
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
shredded coconut, quick oats, and turbinado sugar for dusting tops of batter in pans before it goes in the oven.
2. Mix in all dry ingredients except milled bran. Mix well.
3. Add bran. Stir again
4. Pour batter into prepared pans and dust top with plain quick cooking oats, turbinado sugar, shredded coconut.
Bake at 350 for at least 60 minutes (my oven went 70 minutes on this recipe today). If a wood or stainless steel small skewer comes out of center clean, pumpkin bread is baked.
Cool in pans on baking rack about 20 minutes. Carefully remove loaves from pan and cool completely. This bread does need to sit at least an hour after coming out of over before slicing. (just my opinion)
Happy 2013 to one and all! Let’s start the new year with a recipe!
So this holiday season I broke in a new hot crab dip recipe. Not everyone in my house like artichoke hearts, so I had to find a recipe without them.
I received Martha Stewart’s cookbook Martha’s American Food as a Christmas present. Truthfully it is a cookbook well worth purchasing or giving, but I have a habit of fiddling with recipes (even ones uniquely my own). And I hate to say it because some giant hand bearing a whisk might pop out of the sky and smote me, but I improved Martha…or one of her recipes I should say.
She had a hot crab dip recipe, but looking at it I felt it needed some tweaking and additions, so I did that. My friends have all been asking for the recipe, so here it is. Note that my tweaks/additions appear in RED ink:
Hot Crab Dip
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter PLUS 2 Tablespoons
1 RED onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (NOT whole wheat)
1 1/2 cups of HALF AND HALF(Martha calls for plain milk)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons dry mustard
few dashes of Tabasco sauce
6 ozshredded mixedcheddar (some cheese companies offer a shredded blend of mild and sharp cheddar. Martha calls for 4 oz)
6 oz of soft cream cheese (from the tub but not whipped)
Grated zest of one lemon and juice of that lemon (Martha calls for 2 Tablespoons, I just use a small lemon and call it a day)
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce(Martha calls for 2 teaspoons)
16 oz lump crabmeat, checked for shells (Martha calls for 10 oz, but most crab I buy comes in 16 oz containers, so that is what I used)
4 Tablespoonsrough chopped Italian Flat Leaf Parsley (Martha calls for 2 tablespoons)
2 Tablespoons fresh dill rough chopped no stems
2 Tablespoons minced FRESH chives
4 Tablespoons minced celery
Salt and pepper (fresh ground)
8 oz loaf of rustic bread sliced into small bites crust removed
English cucumber slices(for serving with dip when finished)
Flat bread or thinly sliced French bread baguettes. (for serving with dip when finished)
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
In a generously sized saucepan (medium to large) melt the 1 stick of butter over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, celery stirring occasionally until soft and translucent (4 to 5 minutes)
Whisk in flour and cook while whisking constantly (or it will stick and burn) (about 3 to 4 minutes – Martha says 4, I found it took a little less. (medium to medium low heat)
Whisking constantly slowly incorporate half and half in a steady stream (I am not Shiva so I don’t have 8 arms or whatever so I did put my measuring cup down occasionally – Martha of course doesn’t do that). Stir and simmer over medium-low heat until thick and smooth (about 4 minutes).
Incorporate cheddar cheese, stirring well so it melts all evenly and then repeat with cream cheese. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, Tabasco, and Mustard powder. Incorporate well. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. (you won’t need much). You don’t have to over think or over cook this – you just need cheese completely melted and incorporated.
Remove from heat.
In a large mixing bowl combine crabmeat, fresh herbs**, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir in the cheesy-oniony mixture and fold together, check for salt and pepper (to taste – I cook with less salt these days so I found little adjustment necessary).
Pour this creamy and goopy deliciousness (it does taste good even at this point) into a buttered one quart oven proof dish.
In a small fry pan melt that 2 tablespoons of butter remaining. Toss in bread you cut up as per ingredient list, add salt and pepper and cook a little bit (couple of minutes tops) – bread will be goldeny and butter with a light coat of salt and pepper.
Arrange bread bits on top of crab dip in the casserole dish and bake in your pre-heated 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes – keep an eye on your oven because this stuff can boil over at the end.
Remove from oven and let stand at least ten minutes before serving because when it first comes out of the oven it is like molten lava with a crispy golden crust on top.
Serve with flat breads, crackers, or thinly sliced French bread baguettes. Place a cucumber on top of cracker, bread slice, or flat bread and then dip on top of that.
I do not think I forgot anything, hope you enjoy this.
**Please note that if you like Cilantro, when you add your herbs to the crab as above, you can add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh cilantro too.
So the other day when I posted a photo of a pie I baked on my Facebook page, I had NO idea I would get so many requests via e-mail for the recipe. I baked an apple pie with raisins soaked in Calvados and a sweet cinnamon crust and an oatmeal crumble topping. Yes my own recipe and no, not written down – in my head – so here is I hope good enough to work with….
This recipe was inspired by a pie I had almost 20 years ago at the Brinley Victorian Inn in Newport, Rhode Island. The man who used to bake these crazy good double crust apple pies worked at the B&B (maybe he was a manager, I can’t remember). And he soaked his raisins in booze (don’t remember what, whiskey I think).
I prefer a crumbly topping on my fruit pies, so anyway, here it is, hope it is proportionate enough that a bunch of home chefs don’t complain something was off ( it is hard to write down something your hands can pretty much make for themselves on auto pilot)
Soak 3/4 cup of dark raisins in 1/4 cup of Calvados (French apple brandy – if you don’t have that a good bourbon will do as well.)
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 teaspoons sugar
8 tablespoons or 1 stick unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into little dots
4 tablespoons ice water
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
Using pastry cutter, cut butter into flour, sugar, salt, spices. Add ice water. Form dough gently, do not overwork. Wrap tightly in saran wrap and toss in refrigerator at least a couple of hours.
When sufficiently chilled roll out your dough and line a deep dish pie plate. My pie plate is like 9 inches in diameter (I *think* – it is vintage pyrex – so I do not recall exactly)
Gently rub bottom of crust in plate with soft butter. (I saw it on a cooking show once)
I use 8 to 10 apples of medium size. (I do not like red delicious apples so I will not use those) I peel them and slice them very thinly. I toss into a mixing bowl with 1 cup of sugar (2/3 cup white 1/3 cup dark brown), 1/4 cup of flour, 3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground mace, and 1/2 teaspoon ground green cardamom. I juice one medium to small lemon over mixture and toss. Fold in raisins that have soaked up their booze.
3/4 cup oatmeal (Quaker quick oats, not the instant or steel cut or flavored)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon each of ginger and cinnamon
Blend all together with pastry cutter in small bowl and set aside.
Toss your apple mixture into your pie crust.
Evenly spread crumbly sugary topping over top of pie
Place in an oven preheated to 425 degrees and bake at 425 for 15 minutes and reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for about 40 to 45 more minutes depending upon your oven.
Hopefully my proportions are o.k. This is as close as I can get – again – have been making this pie out of my head for years.
October = Fall = start of soup season. I like butternut squash soup. Mine is different because I roast my squash (roasted vegetables add more depth to soups) and I add garam masala, mace and ginger, instead of just nutmeg. I will be making this later today, thought I would share the recipe now.
I was over at Sugartown Strawberries yesterday afternoon and was inspired to make soup due to the perfectly beautiful squash fresh picked by Farmer Bob. (And as a related aside, Sugartown Strawberries starts hay rides next weekend I think)
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and seeded (mine today is about 3 pounds)
4 tablespoons butter
1 large white onion, minced
2 carrots minced
6 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 pint light cream or fat-free half and half
6 fresh sage leaves chopped fine
celery salt and ground pepper to taste
mace and ground ginger to taste
small dash of garam masala to taste
Halve your squash and remove seeds. brush with olive oil, dust with salt and pepper and place face down on a sheet pan lined with non stick foil or parchment paper and roast skin side up about 40 -45 minutes at 350 degrees (you want squash to be roasted and cooked to be able to easily slide out of the skin.)
When squash is done, remove from oven and leave to cool
Place butter in dutch oven or soup pot and melt. Add sage leaves to pot, followed by onion, carrots and a little celery salt. Over lowish heat gently cook onions down to the point just before they caramelize. Remove from heat.
By now your squash should be hopefully cool enough to handle. Remove from skin and put small pieces into your soup pot with the onions and stir. Fully incorporate your squash (yes, there will be an unattractive mush in your pot at this point) and next quickly whisk in corn starch and incorporate. Slowly and gently whisk in light cream or fat-free half and half – do not boil but bring the heat up almost so all is incorporated.
Add the broth. Stir, stir, stir until all is incorporated and blending together and broth is heated through.
Reduce to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes covered. Next take a hand blender (you know one of those little blender wands and puree your soup right in the pot.
Check salt level and adjust accordingly. Add ground pepper and additional salt to taste and add a good shake of both ground ginger and mace and a judicial pinch of garam masala. A lot of people do this with just nutmeg, I think the garam masala, mace, and ginger taste better.
Keep on simmer/warm stirring occasionally until you serve. This is a soup you can serve the same day or heat up the next day.
This is a soup that does NOT freeze well, so make it fresh and finish in a couple of days.
Additional serving suggestions:
Garnish with rough chopped flat leaf italian parsley and a smattering chopped toasted pecans and a teaspoon of crème fraîche in the center of each soup bowl or serve plain.
Yes I was a domestic diva today and practiced some old-fashioned housewifery. Apparently I am falling down on the job, because I just realized I still have a bed to change.
I have always been a little Becky Home Ecky, but I have a new appreciation of the stay at home moms and housewives extraordinaire I know. They make it seem effortless, and it’s not always that at all.
Me, I have a habit of spilling on myself while cooking. And that is after my morning French Press.
After gardening and straightening up and all that good stuff, I decided to play in the kitchen.
It’s summer, so I do indeed like to use local and cook fresh. Part of this fresh cooking pays homage to my Pennsylvania German Grandmother and Italian Great Aunts and Grandmother. Of course from them I get the little of this, little of that, what do you mean I have to write it down style of cooking.
First I made a couple of marinades. One on little steaks being grilled this evening, and boneless pork chops tomorrow. The steak marinade was made extra fun with the addition of a couple of the masala blends I have and chili powder mix from Jayshree Seasonings. The pork is brewing in a marinade made from leftover homemade barbecue sauce. BBQ sauce is SO easy to make. And tastes so much better.
Now when I think of BBQ sauce I think of Southern Cooks. Not just the queen of butter Paula Deen, but ones I have known personally (who are not on Food Network or the Cooking Channel!).
Speaking of the Food Channel, who watches Food Network’s The Next Food Network Star? Well I am and I am rooting in particular for a lady from Alabama named Martie from Team Alton.
So her name is Martie Duncan and she has a food blog called Martie Knows Parties. Martie is the only true home cook in the bunch.
I found out today that in the weird small world of it all she is a close friend of a woman I am in a blogging network with who tells me she’s “known her since 2002, and she’s just so nice. She’s completely self-made. She put herself thru college by working as a cop. She did wedding planning, did set design on My Best Friend’s Wedding movie, ran a successful online startup called WeddingPoints.com.
When WeddingPoints went out of business, she was devastated. But she reinvented herself and started from scratch as a blogger with nothing because she (as well as her investors in this business) used personal savings to give severance pay to her employees.
She’s blogged for MyRecipes and MSN and run her own blog. She auditioned for Food Network Star even though (and they don’t say this on the show) most of the contestants were actually picked/recruited by the network. She cooked her entry dish in a fire station in Chicago after driving all night from Alabama.”
Is she a perfect person? Doesn’t matter and you can see she is putting her all into this. And I would rather watch someone like her versus that chick Nadia G. from Bitchin’ Kitchen on The Cooking Channel. Nadia’s voice and her set assail the senses and I don’t mean that in a positive way.
But back to my kitchen. I was playing around and cooked up this thing I do with fresh fruit every summer that is like a town with no name. It has no name. It is part cake and part cobbler.
I took some cherries and peaches (I am aces at pitting cherries now), tossed them in some orange juice, fresh grated ginger (tip: you can freeze fresh ginger nicely and grate it easier that way), sugar (brown and white), a couple of tablespoons of corn starch.
I tossed that into the bottom of a buttered pan.
I did not feel like rolling out a crust for a pie (a tip I forgot to share I think on pie crusts – Martha Stewart says brush your crust in the pan with egg white before adding filling, well I saw on some show of using butter instead and butter works better as far as keeping the pie crust bottom from going mushy but I digress). So anyway in the spirit of desert with no name, I threw some flour in a bowl, added baking powder, one egg, sugar, cinnamon and ginger, a little oil and whisked it up into a cake batter kind of sort of.
Poured the batter over the fruit in the pan, and went to the crumble topping: brown sugar, little bit of flour, butter, cinnamon and ginger and oatmeal.
Crumbly topping added to the fun as third and top layer. Pan placed in Bain Marie and put in a 350 degree over for I forget how long. Probably 45 minutes or so.
In between I husked a few ears of the first sweet corn of the season for tonight and tossed together a little potato salad for tomorrow. The potato salad is with new red potatoes from West Chester Grower’s Market mixed with flat parsley, sweet onion and a dill and herb mayonnaise mustard mix that has a little malt vinegar to it. This is a potato salad I will add capers and celery and cucumber to if I have them in.
I have to run as I still need to saute a few mushrooms for my steaks and make a salad. The salad will be fresh greens from the farmers’ markets – bitter and regular, with a vinaigrette of my own creation.