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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mini-Quiches Lorraine

I promised that I would post the recipe for the mini quiches from Home Chef from a couple weeks ago and because of travel and then the beginning of the school year, I never got around to posting.  So, here is the recipe:

Mini-Quiches Lorraine
Adapted from: Home Chef recipe
  • 4 fl. oz. Liquid Egg (or 2 whole eggs)
  • 3 bacon strips
  • 1 shallot (or small onion)
  • 4 puff pastry dough squares (frozen foods)
  • 2 fl oz milk
  • 1 1/2 oz shredded Swiss cheese
  • Salt & Pepper
 Preheat oven to 400F.  Prepare a 6-well muffin pan (or a 12-well if that is all you have) with cooking spray.  Dice the bacon into 1/2 inch dice.  Mince the shallot (or finely dice the onion).  Thaw the puff pastry.
In a medium skillet, place bacon over medium heat.  Cook 5-8 minutes, stirring occassionally, or until crisp.  Remove pieces to a towel lined plate.  Separate the pastry squares and place each square in the muffin tin.  Lightly lift and press the dough into the cups.  The dough should cover the bottoms and sides, with the corners of each dough sticking over the edges.  Refrigerate tin while preparing remaining ingredients. 
Drain most of the bacon drippings from the skillet (leaving about 2 tsp) and a place over medium heat.  Add the shallots and saute, until the shallots have softened and started to brown.  Remove from heat and set aside.  
Mix the liquid egg (eggs), milk, shallots, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a mixing bowl.  Remove the muffin tin from the refrigerator.  Divide the bacon and cheese between the cups, then fill cups 2/3 full with egg mixture.  Roll and crimp quiche edges and place the muffin tin on a prepared baking sheet (in case they overflow while cooking).  Bake 20-25 minutes or until dough browns and filling is set (doesn't jiggle when pan is tapped).  Rest quiches 5 minutes before carefully removing from muffin tin.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Zucchini & Corn

The one thing that I have gotten a lot of this summer so far is zucchini and summer squash.  And this week, we got our first ears of corn.  So, I looked around and finally decided to make a quiche using these two ingredients.  The corn, when I cut it from the cobs was super sweet, a nice surprise so early in the season!

Zucchini Corn Quiche

This is not an original recipe to me.  It is an adaptation of this recipe:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Whole sweet onion, diced
  • 2 ears sweet corn*
  • 1 large zucchini*, sliced very thinly (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large yellow summer squash*, sliced very thinly (about 2 cups)
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tsp fresh basil*
  • 1/2 tsp fresh oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
  • 4 eggs*, beaten
  • 1 cup 1% milk 
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the butter in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions, zucchini, and mushrooms. While the veggies saute, cut the corn kernels off the cob. Add them to the pan and continue to saute until the veggies are soft, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat to a bowl lined with cheesecloth.  Once cooled enough to handle, twist cheesecloth to press out as much liquid as possible (this will prevent the quiche from being too wet.

Stir in the basil, oregano, salt, cheese, and the beaten egg. Line a pie pan (9-inch or larger) with parchment paper or just grease a pan with nonstick spray. Transfer the mixture to the pan. Arrange the top so the zucchini slices lay flat and look nice. Top with a little extra cheese for looks and bake for 40 minutes. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before cutting into slices.

*CSA ingredients

Party time!

Well, it is summer and time for deck parties.  I have been very remiss this past year keeping up with this blog for many reasons.  The first of which would be the fact that I have not cooked as much as I should be!  Second, it has been a crazy up and down year.  The down is the fact that my husband has been diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer.  The up is the living that I am making him do (plus all the traveling for school I've done).  This year, so far, I have been Lisbon, Portugal; Paris, France; Tampa, FL; Boston, MA; and Colorado Springs, CO.  Trips to be taken during the rest of the year: Tampa, FL; Stratford, ON, CA (for the Shakespeare festival); San Antonio, TX; and possibly back to Tampa, FL (to see my g'pa and meet with my colleague).  This along with working full time and all the art stuff I've been working on.  I am so proud of the fact that it seems I am getting a handle on painting and drawing now.  Most proud of this painting drawn and then painted from a picture I took outside Monet's house in Giverny, France:

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I adopted these two rascals:

So, yes, I think I have a few excuses, but I think we are settling down a bit now.  And, of course, the CSA has started for this summer, so it's time to start cooking again.  I got lucky in that the CSA started in time for my first party.  I didn't get pictures of the food, but I will put the recipes up because I used a LOT of what I got from both of my CSAs for this party.

Braised Pork 

For this batch, I used my time-honored braised pork recipe, but mixed up the herbs a bit because of what I had available:

  • 1 3.5 pound pork shoulder roast*
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs Thai basil*
  • 1 can chopped green chiles
  • water
  • salt & pepper
Trim the fat on the roast.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Place in a large Dutch oven.  Add green chiles, thyme and basil.  Pour water over all until halfway up the roast.  Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to simmer for about 3 hours or until the roast reaches an internal temperature of 180 - 190F.  Remove from the Dutch oven and cover with foil.  Allow to cool until able to be handled.  Pull pork, removing most of the fat as you pull.  Serve with BBQ sauce.

Homemade BBQ Sauce

I also prefer to make my own BBQ sauce when I make my pulled pork.  And I always get positive comments when it is all said and done.  Unfortunately, I no longer have my sorghum, so I substituted molasses.  It gave it a darker flavor which I wasn't sure about, but in the end, everyone liked it.  I would like to find sorghum again because it is perfect for my BBQ sauce.

  •  3 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 thyme sprigs
Place all ingredients in small saucepan.  Heat until boiling; reduce heat and simmer 1 minute.  Adjust flavors as needed.

 Memphis-style Coleslaw

So, if you are going to serve pulled pork, you need coleslaw, right?  I don't eat it myself (have never liked raw cabbage), but there is always someone who wants cabbage with their BBQ.  And, of course, I had just gotten cabbage from the CSA, so why not, eh?

  • 1/2 medium head green cabbage*, shredded
  • 1 small head radicchio*, shredded
  • 2 carrots*, peeled and grated
  • 2 Cups mayonnaise (I used olive oil mayo)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 Cup seedy mustard
  • 1/4 Cup cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp celery seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Wash and prepare the vegetables and place in a large bowl.  Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl and then pour 2 cups of dressing over the vegetables and mix well.  Add more dressing as needed.  Allow to marinate in refrigerator a minimum of 3 hours before serving.

Bourbon BBQ Baked Beans

 And of course, since I had BBQ sauce left over and other fresh veggies, I decided to go ahead and make baked beans as well.

  • 4 (15-oz) cans Pinto Beans, drained & rinsed
  • 8 oz bacon*, cooked & crumbled
  • 1 onion, diced & browned
  • 4-6 cloves garlic*, minced and browned
  • 1 large red pepper, diced and sauteed
  • 1 Cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 Cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 2 Cups homemade chicken broth
  • 1 Cup bourbon (I used Knob Hill)
  • Salt to taste
Drain and rinse beans and place in crock-pot.  Saute the vegetables and add to crock.  Add remaining ingredients.  Mix well.  Cover and cook for 10 hours on LOW or until the beans are the consistency desired and the alcohol has cooked down.

*CSA ingredients. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Beef Stew

I apologize for the lateness of this post.  I was in Ann Arbor running around all day yesterday before attending the second day of the Ann Arbor Folk Music Festival.  I suppose I could have found a coffee shop to camp in and write this entry (goodness knows there are endless choices of coffee shops in Ann Arbor).  But I decided to do some rare shopping while I was there.

John has been telling me he was craving beef stew with barley for a little over a week now.  And of course, since he brought it up, I started craving it as well.  Despite the fact that I had just made a batch of Brunswick stew, I felt this would be a good thing to keep him stocked up for the next week.

I did some research to try to learn how to make effective beef stew (mine usually turns out more like beef soup). Once I had cobbled together ideas for what I thought would be an effective recipe, I gathered the ingredients that I had on hand.  Then on the way to John's place, I stopped and picked up the rest.  I chose to use a red blend from my stash for the red wine, a decision I might rethink if I use this recipe again, however, it was tasty wine, so while not as hearty as I might prefer, still nice enough.

I wanted something that I could start on the stove, but finish in the crockpot.  This recipe worked very well for this purpose.

Hungarian Beef Stew with Barley
  • 1 1/2 lbs stew beef
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 8 small (or 2 regular) red peppers, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb red-skinned potatoes, large dice
  • 3 carrots, coarsely diced
  •  3/4 cup barley
1. Prepare the vegetables.  Season the beef with salt and pepper.  Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add 1/3 of the beef to the pan and sear on each side.  Remove beef and set aside.  Repeat two more times with remaining beef.

2. Add onion and peppers to pan.  Cook, stirring, about 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften.  Add flour, paprika, caraway seeds and garlic.  Continue cooking for 1 minute.  Add wine and stir, cooking, until thickened, making sure all dark bits are stirred up from the bottom of the pan.  Add the remaining liquids, mix well.  Cook about 1 minute more and then remove from heat.

3. To assemble: Place carrots and potatoes into the bottom of the crockpot.  Place beef on top and then pour wine mixture over all.  Cover and cook on LOW for about 6 hours.  Adjust seasoning and add barley.  Mix well and then cook, covered, for another 1-2 hours on LOW, or until the barley is cooked.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Prime Rib

As I arrived back in Midland from my family trip to Florida, I saw that Jack's Farmers' Market had boneless rib roasts on sale.  Since I needed something to eat for the few days in town before leaving for New Orleans, I figured what the heck.  After all, my brother, Steve, told me about the roast he made for Christmas and it sounded really good.  Now, this was my first attempt at making prime rib, so I started out doing some research.  After my debacle with the ham in the crockpot, I decided to actually roast it in the over (as it should always be done).  But there are a lot of different recipes out there and it was hard to decipher the best way to prepare it.  So, I contacted my brother and got his input.  First things first, you must do a dry brine with these cuts.  That means rubbing the meat with kosher salt and placing it, uncovered, in the refrigerator at least 2 hours (in this case, I did overnight - about 10 hours). 

Once you have it brined, you then must take it out and allow it to come to room temperature, at least 2 hours.  Now, my poor brother tried to make yorkshire puddings in between roasting and searing the roast and ended up with an oven fire, so he didn't get to sear.  But I managed to do all the steps, so here's how it works.  Oh, and did I mention that this recipe is only 3 ingredients?

Prime Rib Roast
  • 5-5 1/2 lb boneless rib roast
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh-ground pepper
 The night before roasting, prepare a dry brine.  Rub the roast on all sides with kosher salt and place, uncovered, in refrigerator.

The next day, pull the roast out and allow to come to room temperature, at least 2 hours on the counter. 

Preheat oven to 350F.  Season roast with pepper (remember that it has already been salted).  Place on a roasting pan and roast for 1 hour.  Without opening the oven, turn off the heat.  Allow to sit for 1 hour.  Then turn oven on to 400F and set timer for 1/2 hour.  This will allow for the sear.  Once done, pull from over and place on a cutting board.  Allow to sit for 15 minutes before slicing (although, there was still a bit more blood after slicing than I like, so 30 minutes might be better).

Note: Although this picture shows close to medium-rare, it is still a bit more cooked than I prefer, so I would probably shorten the cooking time just a little.  But it was still closer to medium-rare than medium, so it was all good.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza!

Because our paint night was cancelled tonight, I invited my friend, Lawrence, to come over and have dinner.  He had a friend in town who had come to cheer Lawrence on in his Santa Clause race in the morning.  I met this friend a month or so ago and he's very interesting.  He works in Aeronautics.  Because he's in a science world, I find him fascinating.  So always glad to have the two of them to dinner.  And now that I have my own beautiful house, I have the space to entertain AND I have a beautiful kitchen to cook in. 

Thus, it was a very busy day of cooking and cleaning.  It started with "Christmas Crack" or Chex mix.  This would be my third batch this year and I try to only make it when I have an excuse to share.  This was followed by Magic Bars (my version this year has dark chocolate and PB chips).  Finally, to the main dish. About two months ago, I updated my pizza supplies, including individual sized deep dish pizza pans.  Seeing them on the counter made me want to try my hand at making Chicago-style deep dish pizza.  I have resisted doing this in the past because I love the crust and I am always worried that the recipes are not quite right.  There is a different texture to Chicago pizza crust and that is what I love able it.  After some searching, I found a recipe to try out.  But at the same time, I decided that I would also make my own pizza sauce for this (given that I have those beautiful home-canned tomatoes).

Well, the result was incredible.  The crust was light and crunchy, exactly what I expected.  We chose sausage and pepperoni (very traditional) and I made my own sauce which was exactly right for this pizza.  Can't wait to try it again and change up the fillings.

Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza

For crust
  •  3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 cups flour
  •  1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp suger
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp corn meal
For sauce
  • 1/2 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28-oz jar home-canned tomatoes
  • 2 tsp dried basil (during the spring/summer, consider using 2 Tbsp fresh basil)
  • 1 1/2 cups part-skim mozzarella
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
  • 15 slices turkey pepperoni

To make crust:
Add the water and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Let sit 5 minutes.  Add flour, oil, sugar, salt and corn meal to the bowl and turn the mixer to low.  Mix until just combined and increase speed to medium, kneading for 2 minutes.  Place the dough ball into a large, greased bowl and set in a warm place for up to 6 hours (or until dough has doubled).  

To make the sauce:
While the dough is rising, make the sauce.  In this case, I cooked and crumbled the sausage in a large skillet.  Once cooked, remove the sausage to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.  Remove all but 1 Tbsp of the drippings.  Add onions and cook until starting to brown.  Add garlic and cook one minute longer.  Add tomatoes and basil.  If tomatoes are whole, halved or quartered, use an immersion blender to puree until consistency of pureed tomatoes (you may use pureed tomatoes as well).  Cook for about 20 minutes to meld flavors.

To assemble pizza:
Preheat oven to 475F.  Lightly butter 3 individual-sized deep dish pizza pans (or a 12-inch cast iron skillet).  Sprinkle with additional corn meal.  Punch down the dough and let rest for 15 minutes.  Divide into three balls and place one in each prepared pan.  Use your fingers to press it into the bottom of the pans and up the sides. 

Sprinkle crust with mozzarella cheese (this keeps crust from becoming soggy).  Layer sausage and pepperoni.  Then spoon sauce over all.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crust is browned and the edges of the pepperoni that peek through the sauce are also browned.  Allow to set for 5 minutes before cutting.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Different Bean Soup

I have been craving bean soup ever since my friend, Bill LaFevre, posted that he was making split pea soup a couple weeks ago. I even thawed a ham steak thinking I would make bean with ham soup. But at the same time, I thawed the beef shanks I got with my last CSA delivery and figured I would find something to do with those as well.

Because ham keeps better than raw beef, I decided to braise the beef shanks first. I braised them in chianti and port with onions and garlic. It made my house smell heavenly and the result was quite yummy. But even better than that, the wine/port mixture I braised the meat in became this beautiful wine stock. As soon as I tasted it, I abandoned the idea of bean with ham soup and decided to use the beef and stock to make my bean soup. I was not disappointed! This will probably become one of my go-to fall soup recipes!

Braised Beef and Bean Soup

2 beef shanks** (about 3 lbs)
1/2 bottle chianti
1 cup tawny port
1 lg sweet onion
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp Magique herbs***
1 Tbsp Olive oil
3 cups fresh "dried" navy beans*
32 oz beef stock
3 carrots
Water as needed
Salt and pepper, to taste.

Braising beef

Combine chianti, port and herbs in a zipped bag. And beef shanks and turn to coat. Seal bag and marinate in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear beef shanks on both sides, about 3 minutes.

Slice onion thin and place in crockpot with garlic. Place beef shanks on top. Pour marinade over beef and cook, on HIGH, for 1 hour. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce heat to LOW and braise 6-8 hours.

When meat has pulled away from the bones, remove shanks and vegetables to a plate. Allow to cool enough to handle and pull as much of the fat, plus bones, from the meat. Chop the rest.

Cool the remaining stock until fat sets. Remove the fat.

Assembling the soup

In a large Dutch oven, combine beef, wine stock, beef stock carrots, beef stock and beans.  Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook, covered, for about 2 hours, adding water ad needed, until beans are cooked. Adjust seasonings.

*farmers market ingredients
**CSA ingredients
***fleur de sel aux herbes de provence