Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spinach, onion and parmesan quiche

After several weeks of trying out pinterest recipes I finally got back in the kitchen and experimented for myself. This quiche is the result of having left over ingredients from several different recipes. It was honestly and excuse to clean out my fridge.
I've also gotten into the habit of cooking on the weekends and then eating left overs all week. It's really nice to come home after work and know that I don't have to figure out what to eat. It also keeps me from being lazy and relying on frozen food. So this quiches is a good deal no matte how I look at it.
Any way on a more interesting life related note I got the chance to cover on event of the Mid Atlantic Wine and Food Fest last night. The event was a bourbon and bacon themed tasting. Some of the nights dishes included a candied bacon wrapped scallop with charred corn relish, pecan crusted pork belly with coleslaw and bourbon BBQ sauce and a bacon studded glazed donut bread pudding with bourbon chocolate sauce. I unfortunately didn't get to sample any of the bourbon pairings because I was working for the paper, but none the less it was tons of fun. I dedicate a whole post to that event soon.

Spinach onion and parmesan quiche

1 recipe of your favorite pie crust or on store bought crust
5 eggs
3/4 cup cream
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup parmsan
1/2 onion
4 oz of fresh spinach
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 extra parmesan for topping

Preheat oven to 350
Roll out the prepared pie crust and place it in a 9 inch pie pan, crimp the edges and poke holes in the curst with a fork. Bake the pie shell for 15 minuets.
In the mean time heat some butter in a skillet and sauté the onion until soft, add the spinach and sauté until wilted. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the veggies to cool.
Whisk the eggs, milk, cream, salt and pepper. Stir in the veggies and the parmesan.
Once the crust has pre-baked remove it from the oven, pour in the filling and top with extra 1/4 cup of parmesan. I like to sprinkle it on the crust as well as on the filling.
Return the quiche to the oven for 35 minuets or until it doesn't giggle when shaken.
Allow to cool for 15 minuets before serving.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Penny pinching chili

I've been on my own for just under a month now and I've already learned some good lessons, so I figured I would share.
1) When you're live alone like I do cook once, eat all week. I've been making a pot of soup or a casserole on the weekend and eating it all week. It makes life easier and keeps me from eating junk for dinner.
2) sale flyers are your friend. I've been basing what I eat for a week around whats on sale. I made chili tonight because almost everything I needed for it was on sale.
3) Your freezer is your friend. Last week I had some milk that was about to go bad and I wanted to use it to make pancakes but I can't eat a whole batch of pancakes by myself. So I made them, wrapped them in plastic warp, and froze them in Tupperware. Now I can wake up in the mornings and have a quick breakfast.

My last tip would be find ways to stretch your food, whether its by taking a gallon of whole milk and cutting it with powdered milk and water to make two gallons or if it's adding breadcrumbs to macaroni and cheese to make it more filling. There are lots of ways to make your food go farther, while still making it tasty. Today's recipe is a perfect example. I adapted the Pioneer Woman's chili to make it a little more affordable by replacing half of the meat with couscous. The couscous has a similar texture to ground meat but it only costs about a dollar where even the cheapest of ground meat would be at least $3. 

Penny pinching chili

1 lb. ground meat (turkey, beef, chicken, pork, whatever you like)
2 cloves garlic minced
3/4 cup plain couscous
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cupim
1/2 tsp cayanne pepper
2 Tbsp chili powder
8 oz can tomato sauce (plus 1 can of water)
1 can tomatoes and green chilies
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can corn

In a large pot or dutch oven brown the meat with the crushed garlic. I a medium sauce pan with a lid bring the water to a boil with the butter, add the couscous to the water. Remove pot from heat, cover let sit for five minutes.
After five minuets fluff couscous with a fork, add to the browned meat, add spices and tomato sauce to meat and couscous.
Turn head to low. Allow the mixture to cook for a hour, stirring every 15 minuets.
After a hour add the tomatoes and chilies, the beans, and the corn. Cook for another 10 minuets.
Serve with grated cheddar and sour cream.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Don't call it a come back

I haven't abandoned you all, I promise. I've gotten all set up at my new job and with my new apartment. I've finally gotten internet. My posts will start up again soon. I was going to post two days ago after I made some stuffed French toast, but then I realized when I moved I left my camera transfer cord at home. oops! I'll get it when I go home in a few weeks. In the meantime you might get some instagram photos from me. I promise there will soon be new posts, especially because I have an office full of people to bake for. In the mean time thanks for sticking with me.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A fresh start in the new year

I know I've been neglecting my blogging but there is a good reason. In the midst of all of the insanity of the holidays I got a job offer. It was the best Christmas present I could have asked for. So in just under 5 days I'll be starting my dream job as a reporter for a paper in Delaware. Needless to say baking hasn't been on my mind much. However once I am moved and settled in there will be a whole new angle to my blog, single girl cooking. I will be living on my own for the first time ever and I can't wait to eat whatever I want. Visions of pasta with mushroom sauce, curry, and cream of asparagus soup are dancing in my head. I will eat and cook foods that my boyfriend and guy friends would never touch in a million years. I can't wait.
However you may also be seeing design ideas for a studio apartment. My living space will probably be very small, which means my kitchen will be small. It just builds character. In any case, the next time you hear from me I'll be sharing a lot of firsts. Happy new year everyone!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Peppermint Mocha Cookies

I have to admit I'm a coffee addict. I actually keep my coffee pot on my night stand so that I can roll over in the morning and instantly make coffee, although I mostly keep it in my room because my dad and I do not agree on what coffee should taste like.
In any case I love coffee and anything with coffee in it. It being christmas and all I decided I needed to make something festive that also had a punch of caffeine so I did what all artists do I copied an idea. So here it is a Starbucks tradition turned cookie.

Peppermint Mocha Cookies
1 cup butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups AP flour
3/4 cup Cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 Tbs. hot tap water
3 dozen unwrapped peppermint kisses

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy
Beat in egg and then vanilla and espresso
stir cocoa, flour and baking powder until combined and then with the mixer on low slowly add dry ingredients.
Once the dough comes together cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
Preheat oven to 350.
Once the dough has chilled dish it out in 1 tsp portions onto a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Bake for 15-18 minutes
Remove the cookies from the oven and immediately top with the kisses. 
lift the parchment paper off the sheet tray and transfer the cookies to a cooling wrack.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Peppermint Bark

Every year for Christmas my mom and I put together baskets of food to take to our neighbors and friends. We usually do things like party mix, fudge, cheese straws, and peppermint bark. I've always made the peppermint bark and without fail the night before we were supposed to deliver baskets I would be cranking out batches of bark and wanting to pull my hair out. It seemed that no matter how careful I was the dark chocolate and white chocolate would always separate when I tried to cut the final product. I think I've finally found the problem and the solution. I'm to lazy to use a double boiler, I hate waiting for the water to boil and waiting for the chocolate to melt, all while trying not to get water in the  chocolate. I had started to just melt the chocolate on the stove and I think that was the problem. The chocolate wasn't getting tempered correctly. Another problem I've run into with this recipe is sometimes I'll try to melt the white chocolate and it seizes up and looks like cookie dough, this typically means the white chocolate isn't fresh enough. The only option is to toss it and start again.
Last year when I was away at college I made peppermint bark for my secret santa and we didn't have any saucepans so I just melted the chocolate in the microwave and magically it didn't separate. So here's my fool proof method for melting chocolate.

Peppermint bark
1 bag dark chocolate chips
1 bag white chocolate chips
crushed candy cane or starlight mints

Place the dark chocolate chips in a glass microwave safe bowl and microwave for 45 seconds, stir and microwave for 30 seconds, stir microwave for 15 seconds, stir microwave for 10 seconds. If chocolate still has some small unmelted bits microwave for another 10 seconds and stir.
Pour the dark chocolate onto a parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet and pop it into the freezer while you repeat the same microwaving steps with the white chocolate.
By the time the white chocolate is melted the dark should be set so remove it from the freezer. Using a rubber spatula dollop the white chocolate in four large drops over the dark chocolate and spread, don't move it around to much or the bottom layer will start to melt and you'll get marbling. Top immediately with the crushed candy.

Monday, November 26, 2012

This is not your mama's pimento cheese.

Last Sunday while filling my paper plate to its maximum capacity at a church covered dish supper I was trying to figure out how to load my plate with veg-all casserole, fried chicken, and cheesy potatoes without anything touching. I was also thinking about Southern food. In the South there are certain recipes that vary greatly from household to household. Recipes are passed down from generation to generation and often cause disputes among families that go like this: Mom: "I want to make my mom's potato salad" Dad: "No I'm making My mom's potato salad. I don't like your mom's" When I think about dishes like this three things instantly come to mind, chicken salad, deviled eggs, and pimento cheese.
I know chicken salad isn't really a strictly southern thing but in the south chicken salad is a big deal. It is served at every funeral, wedding, birthday party, and shower. When it comes to chicken salad for me there are a lot of factors going on. Is the chicken shredded, chopped, or cubed? Is the dressing sweet, mustard based, or simple with just a little mayo? Whats in it? celery? pickles? herbs? There are a lot of variations. For me its all about finely shredded sweet chicken salad with finely diced celery and pickles.
As far as deviled eggs go they may seem pretty self explanatory. You know egg yolk, mayo, pickles, and mustard. However the amount of mustard and pickles changes everything. Also there are huge texture differences in some peoples deviled eggs. Some people like the filling wet, others like it stiff like frosting.  Personally I will eat any deviled egg that is set in front of me, unless it has dijon mustard in it. Blech!
Finally pimento cheese. Again, this seems self explanatory grated cheddar, pimentos, and mayo. However after sampling a fair amount of pimento cheese I've noticed a lot of differences. Some people use very thick  pre shredded cheese and it makes for something more like a salad. Some people just add mayo. I do it really differently. I grew up eating my grandmothers pimento cheese and basically wen't in the opposite direction. I like mine spicy, with finely grated extra sharp cheddar, a scant amount of mayo, and a spreadable texture. This is my pimento cheese.

Pimento cheese with a kick

14 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup of Dukes mayo (yes it has to be Dukes)
1 4oz jar of pimentos
2 clove of garlic finely minced
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Shred the cheese in your food processor using the proper attachment, if you don't own a food processor with the proper attachment take a brief moment to cry and brace for yourself for a grueling workout on the box grater.
Transfer the shredded cheese to a bowl and fold in the mayo with a rubber spatula, followed by the pimentos. Finally fold in the pepper and garlic. By folding each ingredient separately it gives the pimento cheese the right texture.
Allow the mixture to chill in the fridge for at lest 30 minutes.
Spread on ritz crackers, make teach sandwiches like my grandmother did, or my personal favorite spread on bread and grill on a panini grill.