Thursday, December 27, 2012

Quiche, Two Ways

What's better than the best omelet you've ever had? The best omelet you've ever had, with a buttery flaky crust.

That, my friends, is quiche.

{Quiche, two ways}

{Ham & Cheese Quiche}
1 pie crust
1/2 pound oven roasted ham, sliced
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 cups spinach
4 eggs
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

{Mushroom, Onion & Feta Quiche}

1 pie crust
1 cup feta cheese
1 onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 cups spinach
4 eggs
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
cherry tomatoes, for garnish

Assemble each quiche separately; then, follow joint directions.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two pie dishes with the crust, crimping the edges. Place a layer of cheese on the crusts. Saute the onion and mushrooms in olive oil over medium heat, add spinach and cook for a minute or two. Layer on top of the cheese.
Place the eggs, cream, milk and salt in a big bowl and whip with a hand mixer for one minute on high speedy, until frothy. Pour custard over the vegetables in each pie dish until it comes almost to the top of the crust. Top with more cheese.
Bake for one hour, then remove from oven and jiggle the pan from side to side. If it looks liquidy, it needs more time; If it jiggles just a bit, it's set and is done. Do not overbake.

You can serve the quiche when it cools or, even better, wait until the next day — it tastes even better and reheats beautifully. Let the quiche cool completely, refrigerate overnight. The next day, preheat oven to 350, cut the quiche into slices and reheat in the oven for about 10  minutes, until warm.

I made this for my sister's engagement party, a little get-together featuring heavy appetizers, lots of wine and no sit-down meal. The quiche was a hit, and always impressive. 

And to up the ante a little bit more, add bacon to the mushroom, onion & feta quiche. Trust me on this one.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Great Lakes Porter Ice Cream

It's the weekend. That means beer by night, ice cream by day... but why not both — by night and day? Why not have the best of both worlds? Why not make beer ice cream?

So here we go.

This is crafted with my all-time favorite beer — the rich, smoky, dark, coffee-infused, chocolate-esque porter by Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland: Edmund Fitzgerald. For all you fellow beer geeks, this one's for you.

{Great Lakes Porter Ice Cream}

12 oz. bottle of Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, or any other strong dark beer
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
2 cups frosted almonds (recipe to follow)

In a large 4-quart saucepan, combine the beer and brown sugar over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, for about 15-20 minutes until reduced by half.
Add the molasses and salt and stir to dissolve. Add the cream and milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a bare simmer (small bubbles form along edges of pan). Do not boil.
Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until just blended.
Remove the cream mixture from heat and slowly pour a half cup of the hot cream mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Repeat with another half cup. Then transfer the yolk mixture to the remaining cream mixture and return to medium heat.
Cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until slightly thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Place a large clean bowl in the ice bath and fit the bowl with a fine-mesh strainer.
Pour custard mixture through the strainer into the bowl in the ice bath. Let cook, stirring occassionally. When cooled, cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight. Freeze according to ice cream instructions.

While chilling, melt chocolate over a double boiler. Set aside. When ice cream is almost finished, add chocolate to form stracciatella. Transfer to a air-tight container. To serve, top with frosted almonds. Or, if you're feeling daring, toss a scoop in a pint of your favorite porter for a beer float!

{Frosted Almonds}
Makes 2 cups

1/2 cup sugar
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 cups whole, unsalted almonds 

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Whisk together ingredients. On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spread out the coated almonds. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Transfer immediately to a plate to cool.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Blueberry Peach Sour Cream Scones

It's the perfect Saturday for baking. Seventies, sunny, with just a hint of chill in the air. Out my window, the leaves are just starting to change. Perfect for being in a sunny kitchen, aproned, music blaring, windows open, whisk whirling, elbows deep in dough ... my perfect Saturday.

Especially when these come steaming out of the oven.

{Blueberry Peach Sour Cream Scones}
two sticks unsalted butter, very cold
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup peaches, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream, or plain non-fat yogurt
2 cups flour, plus extra for the work-surface
1/2 cup sugar, plus some from sprinkling 
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.

In a small bowl, stir the wet ingredients together. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Cut the butter into pieces and drop into the dry ingredients. Using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with the flour.  The butter will be in small chunks of all different sizes.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork. Don't overdo it or the scones will be flat, not fluffy. Next, knead the dough a few times until it is slightly springy.
Lightly dust a counter with flour. Take about a third of the dough and press in onto the counter and pat it into a rough square. You're going to make a layered scone: push a mixture of the blueberries and peaches into onto a third of the rolled-out dough. Roll the dough over it, and continue the process on the next layer. Fold it over again, cut it in thirds and sprinkle sugar over the top.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and eat greedily.

These are fluffy, fruity and delicious for breakfast or, who am I kidding, at any time of the day. For more varieties, making my chocolate chip cherry scones, or substitute any fillings for these babies.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Reese's Cup Cookies

I have this friend. She likes these cookies. And by like, I mean she eats entire batches.
Entire batches.
This weekend — when she was in town — I made them. And she ate them. The entire batch.

This is why I love my friends.

{Reese's Cup Cookies}
Adapted from Real Simple

1-1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup crisco
3/4 brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12-oz package of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together baking soda, salt, crisco, brown sugar, sugar, egg and vanilla. Stir in flour, then fold in Reese's Cups.
Drop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto a baking sheet and bake until light brown around teh edges, 8-9 minutes.

I guess if I only got these cookies once a year, I'd eat 12 in a row too.
Seriously though.
Try to eat just one.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Chocolate Ice Cream

I've always had this not-so-secret ambition to open my own ice cream shop. It will double as a coffee shop and book store and local hangout. It will be full of delicious smells and comfy chairs and everyone will leave with an ice cream cone in one hand and a latte in the other.

Until then, when the only items in your freezer are 5 quarts of ice cream and a bottle of vodka you know it's time to do something about it. Minus the vodka.

So, it's time to perfect my ice cream. Time for decadent, creamy ice cream, time for amazing flavors, time for the best ice cream ever.

And for my first revamped ice cream, we'll go with a classic — Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate.

{Chocolate Ice Cream}
3 egg yolks
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
1-1/2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup whole milk
1-3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a small bowl, whisk egg yokes just until broken. In a large heatproof saucepan, stir together cocoa, 3 tablespoons sugar and 3 tablespoons brown sugar. Slowly add in 1/4 cup of the milk and stir. When hot, add in chopped chocolate and whisk until melted. Add in milk, cream and salt. Bring to a near simmer over medium-high heat (remove when mixture swells slightly and bubbles appear around the edges of the mixture).
Remove from heat. Using a ladle, spoon 1/2 cup of the cream mixture into the egg yokes, stirring constantly. Then do the same with another 1/2 cup of the cream mixture. This will keep the eggs from scrambling as they are cooked. Then, while constantly stirring the cream mixture with a spatula, add the egg mixture to the cream mixture.
Cook over medium heat until thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl.
Chill the mixture thoroughly. Just before freezing, stir in vanilla extract. Freeze according to ice cream maker instructions.

For the true chocolate lover, this makes a beautiful, rich and creamy chocolate ice cream with emphasis on the chocolate, as it should be. And boy is it smoooooth. While this method involves a lot of steps, it's totally worth it for the end result! Try it. Eat it. Love it.

My favorite way to eat this (besides spoonfuls from the container, of course) is topped with butter toasted almonds, hot fudge and a dash of sea salt.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

S'more Cookie Dough Balls

Cookie dough + s'mores = the best cookie ever

{S'more Cookie Dough Balls}
Makes about 15 cookies

1/2 cup crisco
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk chocolate Hershey's Bars, cut into small chunks
15 marshmallows, cut in fourths
15 graham cracker squares


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugars together. Add in the egg and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients. Last, fold in the chocolate. The dough will be slightly flaky and dry, which is perfect. Add in marshmallows and chocolate. Scoop into balls about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. I used my hands to form them into round balls. Place on a baking sheet. They should all fit on one, these dough balls do not spread out like normal cookies. Bake for 8 minutes. While still hot, place on top of graham crackers. Eat up! 

These feel like cookie dough, eat like a cookie and taste like a s'more. For days when you want s'more.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Roasted Cherries

It's currently 100 degrees in my apartment. Need I say more? It's time for another ice cream recipe.

One that's creamy and tangy and sweet and a far cry from the average vanilla ice cream. Add in a heap of roasted fresh cherries and this ice cream goes over the top. Once again, thanks Jeni.

{Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Roasted Cherries}
Adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home

Ice Cream:
2 cups whole milk
1-1/2 cup heavy cream
3 eggs (I pasteurize mine)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vanilla extract
4-oz. goat cheese, softened

In a medium-large saucepan, mix milk, cream, eggs and sugars. Bring to a simmer. Add in goat cheese and salt. Simmer until slightly thickened, 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add vanilla and chill thoroughly.

Roasted Cherries:
2 cups cherries, pitted
2/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons corn starch

Preheat oven to 375. Mix together ingredients in a baking dish and bake for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until cherry mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from oven and allow to cool, then chill in refrigerator.

This stuff is like cheesecake, but better. Because it is frozen and creamy and perfect and makes any hot day worth it if you can eat this. Bring on the heat.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Toasted Caprese Sandwiches

I'm a carnivore. What can I say, steak makes me drool. I can track the scent of grilling chicken from miles away. BBQ pork? I can put them away, trust me. Me, a vegetarian? HA.
I'd laugh in your face.
Until you show me these. What's delicious, smells like heaven, is packed with flavor and awesome? This toasted meatless caprese sandwiches, that's what.

{Toasted Caprese Sandwiches}
Serves two
French baguette, cut into two sections and sliced in half
Handful of fresh basil
4 ounces fresh Mozzarella, sliced into triangles
1 tomato, thickly sliced into triangles
2 tablespoons balsamic 
2 tablespoons pesto
Pepper and crushed red pepper, if desired.


Pre-cut the baguette, mozzarella and tomato. Pre-heat broiler.
To assemble:  Spread one tablespoon of pesto on each section of baguette. Layer on tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Drizzle liberally with balsamic. Sprinkle with pepper and crushed red pepper.

Place sandwiches under the broiler on an ungreased baking sheet until lightly toasted. Serve while hot!

Modeled after the "Half Baked" from the indescribable Spoon Market & Deli, which I mention here for their heavenly scones, these come pretty darn close. Make, eat, repeat.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

So I've been reading this book: In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan (a must-read!) in which he tells me to eat food. not too much. mostly plants. So while I refuse to cut out refined sugar and my beloved processed Cracklin' Oat Bran as per his recommendation, I can try to follow his advice to eat food — meaning whole foods that haven't been processed beyond recognition (sorry poptarts).

So I made these peppers using fresh vegetables, whole grains, goat cheese and fresh herbs. Michael Pollan, I think I can do this.

{Quinoa Stuffed Peppers}
4-6 multi-colored Bell Peppers, tops, seeds and membranes removed
2-3 tablespoons chopped onion
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup portabella mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 cans (15-oz.) tomato sauce with 1 teaspoon sugar stirred in
4 oz. goat cheese
chives, cilantro or fresh herbs of choice

Cut a thin slice from stem end of each pepper to remove the top of the pepper. Remove seeds and membrane; rinse peppers. In a large saucepan, cover peppers with water and boil for about 4 minutes. Drain.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Cook onion and mushrooms until sauce, then stir in cooked rice, salt, garlic and 1 cup of tomato sauce. Cook until hot. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Stuff peppers with rice mixture. Stand peppers upright in an un-greased square baking dish. Pour remaining tomato sauce over peppers.
Cover and bake about 45 minutes. Uncover and bake about 15 minutes or until peppers are tender. Sprinkle with goat cheese, red pepper flakes and pepper.

These vegetarian stuffed peppers are packed full (literally) of flavor and the goat cheese just puts the whole experience over the top. I love these with sriracha, salsa, cilantro and lots of extra sauce. Who needs meat?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream

It's strawberry season, arguably the best time of year. Sun time, lake time, green-grass-and-blue-skies time, a time for campfires and s'mores, picnics, wine on the patio and wiffleball. A time for sundresses and beach towels, fireflies and bare feet. The lemonade flows, the grill is fired and strawberry shortcake makes its nightly appearance at the table.

And it's HOT and some of us live in upstairs apartments with no air-conditioning. Alongside the aforementioned pastimes, celebrate the season in style and cool off with ice cream packed full of strawberry goodness and bursting with pure strawberry flavor!

{Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream}
Based on Jeni's
1 pint fresh strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1-1/2 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
3 eggs, pasteurized*
3 tablespoons vanilla

*To pasteurize your own eggs, simply cover the eggs in a pot of water over the stovetop and, using a thermometer, bring the temperature of the water to 140-142 degrees for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to cold water immediately. Easy peasy.

For strawberries: Wash and hull 1 pint of fresh strawberries. In an 8x8 baking dish, mix strawberries with sugar and roast at 375 degrees for 8 minutes, or until slightly soft. Cool, then blend roasted berries with the lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Measure out about 1/2 to 1 cup of the puree, more or less depending on how strong of strawberry taste you prefer. Set aside.

For ice cream: Mix together cream, milk, sugars and eggs in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring to melt the sugars. Simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add in vanilla and strawberry puree. Cool mixture in refrigerator or ice bath.

When completely cool, make according to ice cream freezer instructions and store in an airtight container, covering the ice cream with parchment or wax paper to prevent freezer burn. Add frozen strawberries, if desired.

Happiness is a cold bowl of strawberry ice cream.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Spiced Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

Ready for one of those breakfasts that actually makes you excited to wake up in the morning? So excited that you actually wake up before the alarm? This coming from the girl who typically hits snooze six times just to grumpily roll out of bed at 8 a.m. 

But for you, dear spicy blueberry baked oatmeal, I will happily wake, and before 8 a.m. at that. That's saying something.

{Spiced Blueberry Baked Oatmeal}
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 banana, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together oats, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, mix together vanilla, butter, eggs and milk. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Add in blueberries and bananas, if using.

Pour batter into either a 9x9 baking dish or several ramekins. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until brown at the edges.

I like to eat this piping hot, drizzled with either milk or vanilla greek yogurt and, on sweet days, maple syrup. Then topped with lots of fresh fruit. It is so good in the morning, for dinner, as dessert, and it is perfect for re-heated breakfasts on the go.