Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Quiche with Potato Crust

I love Quiche and here is my original Quiche recipe with my secret ingredient.  But then one day i was surfing other food blogs and saw this cool quiche recipe from Eat Drink Pretty that had a potato crust and i had to try this out.  So the other weekend i wanted to make a quiche and didn’t feel like making the pie crust and instead used a potato crust. It was really simple and easy.

Quiche is a great brunch food, not only that; Quiche makes an excellent left over the day after.  You can put almost anything you want in a Quiche, but the below recipe are my favorite ingredients. 

They key to any Quiche is to Dijon mustard, that is what I think makes the delicious flavor of the whole thing.

Let me know what you like to put in your Quiche.

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Quiche with Potato Crust

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Ingredients:

2-3 potatoes, thinly sliced
¼ cup mushrooms
¼ lb meat bacon or ham
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
½ cup cottage cheese
½ cup other cheese
Nutmeg
Basil
Pepper
3 eggs
1 cup cream
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pie pan with butter or cooking spray. Layer the potatoes on the bottom of the pan, overlapping is fine. Drizzle olive oil on the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Bake the potatoes in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes

Prepare mushroom, meat with nutmeg, basil, butter and salt and pepper in frying pan. Then add the Dijon mustard and stir.

Sprinkle half of the cheese on the bottom of potato crust, then meat, mushroom combo, and then rest of cheese.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs and light cream, nutmeg and pepper until well mixed but not frothy.
Pour into potato shell.

Sprinkle top with nutmeg.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden and center is firm when gently shaken. Let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

If the top of the quiche gets brown before the middle is done. Lower the temperature and let it cool slowly.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chicken Wings for 4th of July BBQ

4th of July weekend is coming up in the US.  For those of you that are not from the United States, 4th of July is the US Independence Day, it is a holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, political speeches and ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States.

The question is always what to server for the barbecues?  Folks always have hamburgers and hotdogs, but why not try something different?  Here are a few ideas from the past that I recommend:

Appetizer:
Guacamole (instead of salsa)

Main Course:
Turkey Burger with Yogurt Sauce (instead of hamburgers)
Meatballs  using the meatball Grill Basket from Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Sides:
Kugel (instead of macaroni and cheese)
Pizza Salad (instead of coleslaw)

Dessert:
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Strawberry Cake

One of my favorites is Chicken Wings.  It is easy, good, and great finger food.

This easy recipe was originally from The new basic Cookbook but in the book it calls for a few more ingredients as well as cooking the barbecue sauce.  I like this sauce better uncooked and simple.

You can marinate chicken breast in here, but my favorite with this BBQ sauce is chicken wings.

Enjoy!

 Chicken Wings with Barbecue Sauce

1 lbs of chicken wings
½ cup chopped onion
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup ketchup
½ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Mix all the ingredients together and add the chicken wings to the BBQ sauce.  If you want it spicier you can always add more cayenne pepper. You can leave the chicken wings in the sauce overnight or do it the same day, I prefer overnight.

Once you are ready heat up the grill and just lay them on there for a few minutes on each side.

What are you doing for the 4th of July?

“Grillin’ Bold this Memorial Day? Bush’s has the beans for it. Come join the cookout with Cookin’ Canuck and Hoosier Homemade sponsored by Bush’s Grillin’ Beans

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chocolate Pavlovas “Chocolate Meringue” with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse

It is that time of the month again, here is the next Daring Bakers challenge. 

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard. 

I had never heard of Pavlovas before but after looking it up in Wikipedia it stated, “Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pávlova. It is a cake similar to meringue with a crispy crust and soft, light inner. The dessert is believed to have been created to honour the dancer during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. Where it was created and the nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, but research indicates New Zealand as the source. The dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of both countries, and is frequently served during celebratory or holiday meals such as Christmas lunch.” 

Also in Sweden we have something similar to this it is called Marängtårta  and sometimes Pinocchiotårta.  Which translates to meringue tort Pinocchi torte.  But in Sweden we basically have a meringue cake base and either have ice cream or whipped cream in between and then different kinds of fruit. 

The Pavlovas dessert is delicious and I had a fun time creating it, there are so many variations you can do with this.  You can make it to a cake, you can make small bite sized meringue or you can even make it to little parfait glasses.  Either way it was fun making this and it is a dessert you can make the night before for your guest and not have to worry about it since it keeps nicely in the refrigerator. 

I did destroy the Crème Anglaise first time I made it, I overcooked it and it turned into scrambled eggs.  So watch your pot, stir frequently, and do not over cook. 

Enjoy!

Chocolate Pavlovas “Chocolate Meringue” with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse 

Preparation time:
The recipe can be made in one day although there are several steps involved. 
1. While the pavlovas are baking, the crème anglaise should be made which will take about 15 minutes. 
2. While it is cooling, the chocolate mascarpone mousse can be made which will take about 15 minutes. 
3. There will be a bit of a wait time for the mascarpone cream because of the cooling time for the Crème Anglaise. 
4. If you make the Crème Anglaise the day before, the dessert should take about 2 hours including cooking time for the pavlovas.

Chocolate Meringue (for the chocolate Pavlova):  

3 large egg whites 
½ cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar 
1/3 cup cocoa powder 

Directions:
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200º F. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
2. Put the egg whites in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar about 1 tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form. (The whites should be firm but moist.)
3. Sift the cocoa powder over the egg whites and fold the dry ingredients into the white. (This looks like it will not happen. Fold gently and it will eventually come together.) 
4. Fill a pastry bag with the meringue. Pipe the meringue into whatever shapes you desire. Alternatively, you could just free form your shapes and level them a bit with the back of a spoon. 
5. Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (for the top of the Pavlova base):  

1 ½ cups heavy cream
Grated zest of 1 average sized lemon
9 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups mascarpone
pinch of nutmeg 
2 Tbsp Grand Marnier (or orange juice) 

Directions:
1. Put ½ cup of the heavy cream and the lemon zest in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once warm, add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let sit at room temperature until cool.
2. Place the mascarpone, the remaining cup of cream and nutmeg in a bowl. Whip on low for a minute until the mascarpone is loose. Add the Grand Marnier and whip on medium speed until it holds soft peaks. (Do not over beat as the mascarpone will break). 
3. Mix about ¼ of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate to lighten. Fold in the remaining mascarpone until well incorporated. Fill a pastry bag with the mousse. Again, you could just free form mousse on top of the pavlova. 

Crème Anglaise (a component of the Mascarpone Cream below):  

1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
6 Tbsp sugar 

Directions:
1. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow. 
2. Combine the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Take off the heat. . 
3. Pour about ½ cup of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to keep from making scrambled eggs. Pour the yolk mixture into the pan with the remaining cream mixture and put the heat back on medium. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon. Do not overcook. 
4. Remove the mixture from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours or overnight. 

Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling):  

1 recipe crème anglaise 
½ cup mascarpone 
2 tbsp Sambucca 
½ cup heavy cream 

Directions:
1. Prepare the crème anglaise. Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and the Sambucca and let the mixture cool. Put the cream in a bowl and beat with electric mixer until very soft peaks are formed. Fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture. 

Assembly:
This is your time to be artistic but the proper way is to pipe the mousse onto the pavlovas and drizzle with the mascarpone cream over the top. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and fresh fruit if desired.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Spinasse Restaurant Review

 

Picture from Spinasse Website

 

It’s been nearly a year since I came back to Spinasse and they have a few new changes.  The most important the communal tables were transformed into individual tables. I am not a fan of communal tables so this was great for me. But what didn’t change was the food, which is great, because the food at Spinasse is excellent. I call this true traditional Italian food. 

Spinasse is located in capital hill and adorable, small, homey and the décor is simple and nice. Service is good and the folks know what they are talking about. 

We had several things from the menu, we stated off with the Insalata di barbabietole e uovo, which is marinated beets with crushed egg, meyer lemon and pecorino. I am a beet lover so this is very good to me. Then we had some Pork Tartlettes also very good, but not my favorite.  Then we had the Tajarin al ragù o burro e salvia which is fine hand cut egg pasta with ragù or butter and sage. This is my favorite dish on the menu. I have had this several times now and each time I just love it.  It is Delishhh! If you are going here, this is a must order. 

After that we also had the Ravioli di zucca which is squash ravioli with sage butter, crushed amaretti, and mandarinquat mostarda di Cremona. This is my 2nd favorite dish.  Then we had the Tagatelli with butter and cream with anchovy’s flavor. And then we tried the Quial and also the Rabbit, with a side of asparagus.  We were 6 people and did family style.  Both Quail and Rabbit were delicious; I think I preferred the Quial over Rabbit if I had to choose again.  The Tagatelli was my least favorite but still good, the reason it was my least favorite was that the anchovies were a little over powering for me.  Everything on this menu was just fabulous, I really don’t; think you can go wrong. 

Before I continue to the dessert section you have to remember that Spinsse they make their own pasta and you can tell the difference, it is just fabulous.  Now my favorite is the ragu but some prefer the ravioli. You will just have to tell me which one you like better. 

For dessert we had the Semifreddo di gianduja which was a hazelnut like icre cream.  Oh this was excellent. Then we also had the Parmigiano-Reggiano con miele, which is aged, organic cow’s milk cheese served with cardoon flower honey. I didn’t know how good this was with honey.  Both desserts excellent. 

After I went to the Spinsse’s website I found out that they have a Chef’s Table. It says, ‘For those who seek the ultimate Spinasse dining experience, we’ve created an opportunity for chefs Jason Stratton and Carrie Mashaney to cook just for you. With a bird’s eye view into the kitchen, you can now reserve the Chef’s Table on Friday or Saturday night. Savor a fabulous showing of 10 courses from the kitchen’s seasonal whimsy of Piedmontese cuisine utilizing the array of local and artisan products from the Pacific Northwest.” What a fabulous experience for $100 per person.  This is something I would try out. 

If you haven’t been to Spinasse yet, what are you waiting for, go and have some true Italian food. 

Spinasse
1531 14th Avenue E.
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 251.7673
Cascina Spinasse on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Turkey Burger with Yogurt Sauce

 

I was looking for a new good turkey burger because most of the time turkey burgers are pretty boring.  I had heard about Oprah’s favorite turkey burger and started searching for it on the Internet.  I found the recipe here on Oprah.com and decided to try it out.  This burger is supposedly served at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach.  As usually I did changes to the recipe, I didn’t want apples in my burger and I wanted a yogurt sauce to the burger. It was delishhh!  These were probably the best turkey burgers I have every had.  Turkey burgers are no longer boring to me.  Try them out!

Turkey Burgers

Serves: 6-8

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time: 5 minutes

1 ¼ lbs ground turkey
1/4 cup of finely chopped onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 finely chopped celery stalk
1 finely chopped carrot
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 egg
1 tsp dijon mustar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp Worchester sauce
1 tbsp of bread crumbs
1 tbsp of Major Grey’s Chutney

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Shape into the size of burger you wish, I like my a little smaller and made 8 burgers. BBQ them on the grill, or fry them on a frying pan with a little of vegetable oil.  About 2 minutes on each side, but that depends how thick you made them

Serve with hamburger roll and yogurt sauce.  Enjoy!

Yogurt Sauce

Serves: 6-8

Prep Time: 10 minutes

½ cup of plain yogurt, preferable Greek style yogurt
1 tsp of dried dill
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp of olive oil
1tsp of lemon juice
Salt
White pepper

Mix all together and server with your favorite burger.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thai Chicken with Plum Ginger Sauce

Here is a Thai dish that is also very easy to make but very tasty.  The marinade is really easy and you make it the night before so when you want to prepare dinner it only takes about 10 minutes to cook it.  I usually use chicken for this sauce but I am sure you can use meat, shrimp or fish.  I have never tried with anything else but chicken but I am sure it will taste good.  If you do try it with another meat let me know what you think.  Also this is a great marinade for BBQ chicken on the grill or even chicken wings.

Thai Chicken with Plum Ginger Sauce

3 lbs chicken breast
1/3 cups plum sauce
2 tbsp whiskey
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp hot chili sauce

In a bowl combine plum sauce, whiskey, sugar, fish sauce, ginger, garlic and chili sauce.  Slice up the chicken to any sizes you prefer, cubes or slice are fine you can even leave them whole. Then add the chicken to the sauce and stir well to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours or overnight.

If you left the chicken whole you can grill this on your BBQ Grill about 3-5 minutes on each side.  Or if you sliced or chopped your chicken you can do this on your frying pan.  Add oil to your pan over medium-high heat once your pan is hot add your chicken and stir for about 5 minutes or until done.

Serve with rice. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kitchen Fashion – What to wear in the kitchen!

I have never been a fan of aprons. I am not sure why, maybe because I always had over sized ugly things laying around.  But the more I cook the more clothes I seem to ruin by grease stains or fruit stains of all sorts.  So I thought that I needed a nice little stylish apron for myself when I cook.  I need something that I can wear and not look ridiculous in. So I started to look around for aprons.  And I would have never known but there are some really cool looking aprons out there.  Who would have known?  I had a hard time choosing.  Not only did I want to share the fashion of the kitchen aprons I found, but I would like to know which one I should get?

Here are my top 10 choices:

1. Bessie Bride To Be…Blue from Apronologie for $65.00

2. Pink Licorice from The Hip Hostess for $32.00

3. Sweet Cherry Pie – Ruffled Half-Apron from Eclectic What not for $30.00

4. Bib Ava  from Apron Warehouse for $32.95

 

5. Presentation Apron from Crooked Brook for $28.00

6. Pink Pears Apron – As Seen on Desperate Housewives from DLux57 for $57.00

7. Contempo from Sommer Designs for $18.00 

8. Blue Retro Full Apron – Flirty Everyday Housewife Apron from Momo’s Retro Fashions for $28.00

9. Mod Dot  from Heavenly Hostess for $80.00

10. Bib Carmen from Jessie Steele for $32.95

 

Which one is your favorite?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard Salad Dressing

I LOVE Dijon Mustard it is one of those things that I always have to have in the kitchen I use it for my sandwiches, hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken salad, tuna salad, and many more things.  But one of the things it has to be in is my basic salad dressing. Usually I just use any kind of small container for my salad dressing but today I had an empty Dijon Mustard jar that I just finished and I had to use it to make some salad dressing. 

Now there are so many things and versions on salad dressing one can do, but there is always a basic base and after that you can really add any other spice you want, and not only that it only takes about 5 minutes to make.  You no longer have to worry about if you have salad dressing for people or if the salad dressing has high fructose corn syrup, too much sugar or has too many calories.  This is a great little tasty and very light salad dressing.

Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard Salad Dressing

Base:
1 tsp Dijon
2 tbsp wine vinegar
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

You can just use the base or add the additions; it depends on your taste.

I usually add one or all of these additions:
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp fresh/dried parsley or dill
1 pressed garlic glove
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp parmigiano cheese

Taste and you can always adjust based on your taste, if you want it more sour add more vinegar, want milder add more olive oil, want creamier add mustard or cheese, want spicer add more mustard.

Enjoy!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Swedish Birthday Cake – Strawberry Cake “Jordgubbstårta”

 

Today is my birthday and to celebrate we are making a Swedish Birthday Cake!

The most common Swedish birthday cake is Strawberry cake “Jordgubbstårta,” and depending on the family they put different things as the filling but I put the top 3 fillings that most people use.  My favorit is the Almond Cream.  This is what most kids in Sweden know as birthday cakes.  It is light and delicious and less sugar than frosting.

Sugar Cake – Base cake

4 tbsp butter
½ cup milk
2 eggs
½ cup and 5 tbsp sugar
1 cup and 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla sugar or 1 tsp vanilla extract

Turn the oven to 350F.  Butter and flour a 9” spring foam pan.  In a bowl melt butter, then add milk and let it sit.  Then in another bowl add eggs and butter and mix those together.  Then add the butter milk mixture and then the vanilla. Lastly add the flour and baking powder. Pour the batter into the pan.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Let it cool before you cut into it.

Quick Version: If you are in a hurry you can always use the store bought yellow cake mix, which is very similar to this base cake.

Filling options:

  1. Strawberry jam and strawberries
  2. Whipping Cream and strawberries
  3. Almond cream – “Francipankräm”

Almond Cream “Francipankräm”

5 tbsp of sliced almonds
2 eggs
½ cups sugar
4 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp milk
2 tbsp butter

In a bowl mix the eggs, sugar and flour.  In a pot heat up the milk until boil.  Then pour it into the egg, sugar, flour mixture while whisk.  Then pour everything back into the pot.  Let it simmer and whisk until the cream thickens, but do not let it boil.  Mix in the butter and the almonds.  Let the cream cool before you use as filling.

Garnish

1 cup of heavy cream
½ of strawberries

Cut the sugar cake in half so you have a top and bottom.  Then depending on what filling you used add the filling to the middle of the cake.  Slice some of the strawberries and add the slices on top of the filling. Then add the top of the cake.  Whip the cream and add the cream to the top and sides of the cake to cover the full cake.  Decorate with strawberries.

Chill until you serve!

Enjoy!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fish Sauce with Thai Chilis – “Prik Nam Pla” – Thai Condiment

Picture from Cook Asian food

If you are ever in Thailand you will always get served 4 Thai Condiments.  They usually come with your food on a little plate with 4 little dishes, you might wonder what they are or just never used them.  But I use one of them ALL the time for my Thai cooking.

  1. Prik Nam Pla –  My favorite Thai condiment that I use for all Thai food is Thai chili (“prik”) with fish sauce (“nam pla”).  Put two thirds of a cup of chopped Thai chili peppers in a 1 pint jar, and fill with fish sauce. Seal and keep for a week before using.  Some people like this fresh some people like theirs after a few days. I like mine after few days. Also there are variations to this sauce some add lime juice or brown sugar as well.  I prefer the basic version.

The other 3 I do not use as much but here they are. Some restaurants also serve other chili sauces as condiments but these are the usual 3 you get.

  1. Prik Dong – Put two thirds of a cup of chopped Thai chili peppers in a 1 pint jar, and fill with white rice vinegar. 
  2. Plain white sugar – You add sugar to a Thai dish if it is too spicy. It might happen that if you are in Thailand and you are going to a touristy place your food will be pretty sweet.  That is because they have added sugar to the dish to make it less spicy.  If you do not want them to do this you have to tell them you want “Thai spicy” to make sure you get authentic Thai food.
  3. Ground Chili Powder – This is the 4th condiment on the little plate, just add some of this if you want it more spicy.

Thai chilies or also called Bird’s eye chili are one of the hottest chills out there, so once you have been cutting these please make sure you wash your hands really well.  I even recommend using gloves cutting these things.

You can buy bird chilies in most grocery stores  but if they don’t; carry it you might have to go to an Asian grocery stores.  I pack them in plastic wrap and freeze them in zip-lock bags for later use.

Enjoy!

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