Friday, January 30, 2009

Bacon and Broccoli Quiche

This is so good on a cold night...I one and a half this recipe for two pie crusts. And I always cook it longer than the recipe says...

Bacon and Broccoli Quiche

4 slices bacon (sometimes I buy real bacon bits if I'm lazy)
1 c. half and half
2 c. broccoli flowerets
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
4 eggs
1 c. grated Swiss cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. lemon pepper
2 pie crusts (I just buy mine, maybe you'll make yours)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook bacon until crisp, set aside. Beat eggs with cream and cheese. Stir in broccoli, salt, garlic powder and lemon pepper. Crumble bacon into egg mix. Form mixture into a 9" pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. Top with remaining bacon.

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What if I hosted a Book Club meeting last night and my friend Sarah brought a cheeseball and I ate (almost) the entire thing? That'd be so weird...

Sarah’s Cheese Ball that I ate half of last night:
1 Tbs. salt
2 bars cream cheese
3 Tbsp. green onion
½ cup green bell pepper chopped
½ cup pecans
1 small can crushed pineapple
Mix all together. Roll in additional pecans and put in fridge until ready to serve.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cinnamon Oatmeal Waffles

This is just a link to a post I saw on a cooking blog I like. I haven't made these. 

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Vegetarian Lasagna

A good way to get rid of the spinach you bought at Costco and never use because maybe you don't eat as many salads as you should. I obviously need to stop going to Costco.

2 big handfuls of spinach, chopped
1 jar of alfredo sauce--I use Classico sun-dried tomato (or you can make your own)
1/2 cup milk (sometimes I don't add milk--depends on how runny I want it)
1 (8 ounce) package lasagna noodles
1 pint part-skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
8 ounces shredded carrots
8 ounces fresh mushrooms sliced or broccoli or artichoke hearts or zucchini (get crazy with it)
A lot of shredded mozzarella cheese and some parmesan too (or whatever italiany cheese you have on hand)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 10x15 inch lasagna pan with cooking spray.
Soak the noodles in hot water while you assemble the other stuff.
Place the spinach in a medium bowl. Mix in ricotta. Beat the egg with a wire whisk, and add it to the spinach and ricotta. Stir well to blend.
Combine pasta sauce with milk in a medium bowl. Mix well.
Then I saute the vegetables with some garlic. You don't have to do this. You can just add them in raw but I like to make things difficult plus I bought that big garlic thing at Costco. I know, I know.

Now layer and you can do it however you want but here's one way:
Spread about 1/2 cup pasta sauce mixture evenly in the bottom of the dish.
Place 3 softened noodles over the sauce.
Spread half of the spinach mixture over the noodles.
Sprinkle with half of the carrots and half of the mushrooms.
Sprinkle the cheese.
Place 3 more noodles over the cheese.
Pour 1 1/2 cups sauce over the noodles.
Spread the remaining spinach mixture over the sauce, followed by layers of the remaining carrots and mushrooms and then some cheese.
Place 3 more noodles over the vegetables.
Pour remaining sauce evenly on top.
Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil, spray side down.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Turn the oven off and take off the foil (I'm not sure why this step is necessary and I don't really do it), and place the uncovered dish back into the warm oven for 15 more minutes. Serve at once, or let rest until ready to serve.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Roasted Root Vegetable Ragout with Creamy Polenta

Roasted Root Vegetable Ragout
6 cipolline onions (I used pearl)
4 baby turnips or 2 large, cut in eighths
1 small celery root, peeled and cut into wedges
1/2 pound whole baby carrots
3 new potatoes, halved
2 leeks, white part only, cleaned and cut into 1/4-inch rings
2 parsnips, peeled and quartered
8 brussel sprouts
1 tablespoon (or more) olive oil
2 sprigs each of fresh thyme, rosemary, and parsley
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups Vegetable Stock
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 cups coarsely chopped Swiss chard (I used red)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Serves 4-6
Preheat oven to 475 F.
In a heavy roasting pan, combine the vegetables and olive oil and toss to coat. Roast 20 to 30 minutes, turning every 10 until the vegetables are nicely browned. Meanwhile, tie the herbs together with kitchen string. Transfer the pan to the top of the stove. Add the wine, stock, tomatoes, and herbs and cook over high heat for 15 minutes. Stir in the Swiss chard and cook 2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. To serve spoon vegetables and sauce over polenta.
Creamy Polenta
4 cups Chicken Stock/or canned broth
1 cup polenta (yellow grits)
1/4 cup milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Serves 4
In a large Saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the polenta slowly, whisking each addition very briskly. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until thick and creamy. Add the milk (I also added 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, freshly grated) and stir to thoroughly incorporate. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lemon Curd Layer Cake

This cake is divine. I modify the whipping cream by stabilizing it with plain gelatin because it always falls apart and never looks a thing like the lovely picture below. It is still beautiful, but in a more free-form, flowing kind of way. It is fairly time-consuming. I am going to make it for my Mom's Birthday because she is totally worth all the work and it is her favorite cake. I am going to make it in three stages, first the lemon curd (which keeps for 1 week), then the cake the day before, and then the frosting the day of the party.

Bon App├ętit | March 1999

yield: Serves 8 to 10


For lemon curd
  • 2 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

For frosting
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups chilled whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp. gelatin
  • 2 1/2 T cold water

For cake
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 8 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

  • Lemon slices, halved, patted dry (I don't usually bother with this decoration)


Make lemon curd:
Combine 2 1/3 cups sugar and 2 teaspoons cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in fresh lemon juice. Whisk in eggs and yolks; add butter. Whisk over medium heat until curd thickens and boils, about 12 minutes. Pour into medium bowl. Refrigerate until cold, at least 5 hours. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)

Make frosting:
Beat powdered sugar and 1 1/4 cups lemon curd in large bowl just until blended. Place gelatin and cold water in a small glass bowl and let sit 5 minutes. Dissolve gelatin by placing the glass bowl over a small pot of simmering water. Remove the bowl as soon as the gelatin dissolves. Immediately beat cream in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Beat in gelatin mixture and then fold cream into curd mixture in 3 additions. Chill until firm, at least 4 hours.

Make cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides; line bottoms with parchment paper. Whisk 1 1/2 cups cake flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and ‟ teaspoon salt in large bowl. Add 4 yolks, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, orange juice, lemon peel and 3/4 cup curd to bowl (do not stir). Combine whites and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar in another large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1 cup sugar, beating until stiff but not dry. Using same beaters, beat yolk mixture until smooth. Fold whites into yolk mixture in 3 additions.

Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; peel off parchment. Cool cakes completely.

Spoon 1 cup frosting into pastry bag fitted with plain round tip; refrigerate bag. Place 1 cake layer on cake platter. Spread top of cake layer with 1/3 cup curd, then 1 cup frosting. Top with second cake layer; spread with 1/3 cup curd and 1 cup frosting. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Spread remaining curd over top of cake, leaving 3/4-inch plain border around edge. Pipe chilled 1 cup frosting in bag in small mounds around edge of cake. (Cake can be prepared 1 day ahead; refrigerate.) Place lemon slices between mounds of frosting. Slice cake and serve.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

What would you do with a

five pound pork roast that someone bought on sale at Costco because it was on extreme sale and they were trying to be frugal but then they ended up not so frugal because they spent money on a five pound pork roast and they've never cooked a five pound pork roast? I'm asking for a friend. Thanks.

Type rest of the post here

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Play Dough for All

K. This is a recipe for play dough. Don't eat it. But listen, it's not just for kids. I made some on Monday and it felt so good in my hands. My child was sitting at the island yelling "Play ooo, Play ooo" but I didn't want to give it up. Seriously. It's soft and it was warm and it's a great stress reliever. Not only that, kneading in the colors is fun. I am always amazed at how vibrant they turn out. That may be why I'm so hesitant to hand them over. For some reason, V does NOT want to keep the beautiful colors separate so it ends up one big gray blob. Oh well.

1 cup flour
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon oil
1/4 cup salt
food coloring

Mix all ingredients except the food coloring. Stir over medium heat until it turns into play doughish stuff. Remove from pan and knead until blended smooth. Divide the dough into how ever many colors of play dough that you want. Drop in the drops and knead.
Keep it in a plastic bag or airtight container when cooled. It keeps for awhile but then it gets crumbly all over the floor and gets tracked through the house. Unless you pay better attention which of course you all do.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Eggs: It's What's for Dinner (insert whipcrack. err...eggcrack)

Sometimes I have to remind myself that eggs are not just for breakfast. There are actually lots of things you can do with them for dinner. They're relatively cheap as a protein source, are a high quality protein source, cook fast, and---unless you have some major genetic issue with processing dietary cholesterol---are perfectly healthy, yolks and all. Many nutritionists call them 'nature's perfect food.' Wow! They are also extra-convenient for those of us cooking for one or two people because they are neatly pre-packaged in ones. 

Of course there are omelets and fritattas and quiches - all great ways to get in vegetables and/or use up leftovers. The other day I had a goat cheese and spinach omelet for dinner. That was yummy. But it gets even easier than that. Here some ideas:

- Egg sandwich: fry an egg to your liking in a little butter or oil or cooking spray, and make into a sandwich with or without cheese or maybe a slice of ham or something. Good grainy bread and good grainy mustard makes it extra yum.
- Huevos rancheros sort of: If you happen to be simmering a pot of beans or chili (or a can of beans of chili!), you can crack an egg (per person) into the simmering beans and let it sit there on top and poach until it's done to your liking. Serve it on a tortilla.
- Poached eggs: I love poached eggs in winter. Very comforting. The other night I had a couple of poached eggs on top of some fresh spinach I'd wilted in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. So simple, so good.
- Grains'n'eggs: If you have some kind of leftover cooked grains, like rice or wheat berries or quinoa or barley, heat a little oil in a skillet. Add 1/2 to 1 cup grains (depending how hungry you are), stir fry until the grains are mostly un-clumped and heated. Move the grains to the side of the pan or create an empty circle of pan in the middle. Crack an egg in there and let it set a little, then scramble it into the grains. Season with salt, pepper, whatever else. Fancier version: add some chopped onion and/or garlic with the grains, and at the end throw in leftover cooked vegetables or a handful of fresh chopped spinach or some microwaved broccoli. This is basically a play on fried rice, so if you want to make it Asian-style, add some soy sauce or peanut sauce or something like that. 
- Potatoes'n'eggs: same as above only made with cooked chopped potato instead of grains.
- Any other ideas?

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Spinach Pasta

I called my sister and said, "Do you think it's cool that I made spinach pasta today?"
She said,"Umm, it's not exactly cool. It's sort of interesting but not, like, cool."
So these things aren't the "coolest" in the world but they are interesting and they helped me not go into severe depression and kept my toddler busy (see above picture). Plus they are super easy.

* 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach or two big handfuls of fresh spinach (I had a lot because I thought I was going to go all healthy and have green smoothies)
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups all-purpose flour or wheat flour.

In a blender or food processor (I used my Vita-mix), combine spinach, eggs and salt; process until smooth. Pour into a bowl. Gradually add enough flour to make a firm, but not sticky, dough (I made the mistake of dumping both cups of flour in there right away. Don't do that. I had to add water. It still worked fine but, not smart). On a floured surface, knead about 20 times. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes (I let mine rest for about an hour because I had to draw pictures of Wall-E). Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, roll each half to 1/.16-in. thickness. Roll up jelly-roll style and cut into 1/4-in. slices. Separate the slices and let rest on a clean towel for at least 1 hour (or 5 hours if you are me) Cook noodles in boiling salted water until tender, about 15-20 minutes; drain.

I boiled half of them for dinner and froze the other half. For the sauce I mixed some butter with Parmesan cheese and then some milk. I just poured/gooped it on the hot noodles and stirred a bit. It was yum. The End.

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Bacon and Eggs in Toast

Since no one has posted anything yet for 2009 and it's already the SIXTH, I'm going to limp in with a link, just because it looks so awesomely good and easy for a winter breakfast if you've got some dough in the fridge. I'm sure it would work with any bread dough.

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