Friday, March 27, 2015

Veggie Quiche with no cheese or milk!

I am having a hard time staying indoors today.

The sun is finally shining and it is 65 degrees outside.

The birds are chirping and the green things are starting to wake up from their hibernation.

This can only mean one is time to increase my workouts and decrease my sweets intake!  : )

Spring, the sweet spring

                                                                   BY THOMAS NASHE
Spring, the sweet spring, is the year’s pleasant king,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
      Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay:
      Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet:
      Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to witta-woo!
            Spring, the sweet spring!

My coworker was nice enough to get me some farm fresh eggs from her neighbor.  Yum.  So lovely.  I decided it was time to try and make a quiche that my husband could eat - no milk and no cheese.  He is lactose intolerant, and I don't eat cheese or milk either since it makes me break out and feel sick : (

I had my doubts that it would taste weird and bland with out those things - but I was pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted.

I used my go to pie dough recipe for this, but feel free to use your favorite recipe if you have one.  This one worked well and doesn't have added sugar to it - so it works great for savory pies as well as the sweet ones.

I liked this recipe so much that I made it twice in a week!  I made it with sausage the second time, so feel free to make it with bacon or sausage as well.  The second one I made actually exploded in the oven - apparently it was a cheap glass pie pan and it shattered i guess technically I made 3 of these in a week since I had to chuck that one since I didn't want people to eat glass...oy

This is a perfect Lenten dinner!

Veggie Quiche - no cheese or milk

Crust Recipe:

This recipe makes 2 pie doughs, and the filling only makes one, so double the filling if you want 2 quiches, or freeze this extra crust for later.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
3/4 cup ice water

Make sure you work quickly when making the crust and use cold ingredients and even a chilled mixing bowl if you like.  I cheat when making crust and use my stand mixer because it speeds up the process.  In a cold mixing bowl combine flour and salt.  Stir.  With mixer running add the cold cubed butter and mix until broken into pea sized pieces.  Slowly add 1/2 cup of the ice cold water, then slowly add the additional 1/4 cup of water.  Mix just until combined and dough comes together.  If you don't have a mixer you can cut the butter into the flour/salt with a pastry blender or with 2 knives.
Place in fridge and chill for at least one hour.

On floured surface roll out the pie dough into an even circle. turning the dough and adding flour to the surface when necessary.  Quickly line a pie pan with the dough and crimp edges like you like to!

Saute the following in a large fying pan about 5-7 minutes until soft and cooked down:

1 TBS olive oil
1 onion diced
1 red or yellow bell pepper diced

Then add this and cook 1 more minute:

3 big handfuls fresh spinach

In a large bowl whisk together the following until smooth and combined:

6 eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or whatever milk alternative you like...or milk if you drink it)
3 TBS flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp black pepper

Mix the egg mixture and cooked veggies together and pour into an unbaked pie shell in a pie pan.  Bake 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees until no longer jiggly in the middle.

- If you wish to add meat to this saute 1/2 # breakfast sausage or a few slices of ham or bacon, remove from pan, cook veggies in the grease and then add to quiche.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Glob Cookies


This is a rich cookie.

Not in the "drives a fancy car and wears jimmy choos" kind of way, but in the "omg the depth of flavor in this thing is off the charts" kind of way.  Rich y'all, super rich and delicious!

If you gave up sugar and sweets for Lent - forgive me, or actually - thank me, because I am helping make your sacrifice that much harder. : )  You are welcome...hum...pretty sure I have written this in a post before..deja vu moment.

I find myself uninspired to write anything witty these days.  Maybe it is because my job is insanely slow right now and I find myself starring into the deep abyss of the internet most of my day.  Or maybe it is because I haven't been on a travelling adventure in a while.  Or maybe it is because the weather here in Houston has been gloom and doom the last few weeks.  Seriously yo - I keep looking for Noah's ark to appear on the horizon soon...sooooo much rain!!!!  Hopefully when the sun decides to show up again I will become inspired to post something more than a recipe...

I'm really pulling at straws here...this is my attempt to find some creative juices again...oy...I need help!

A Museless Me
by moi

O Muse,
Where are you hidden,
My imagination seems to be bedridden,

O muse,
why can't I see your face,
I must be looking in the wrong place.

O muse,
why don't you give me the words to say,
Instead I ramble on all day.

O muse,
please come back to my mind,
I promise to treat you kind.

O muse,
save me from this empty gap of time,
give me back my wit and rhyme.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Glob Cookies
From the lovely Ina Garten

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon instant coffee
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole walnut halves (not chopped)
1 cup whole pecan halves (not chopped)
2/3 cup peanut butter chips, such as Reese's

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a few sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a bowl set over simmering water, melt the butter, 6 ounces of the chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate, stirring occasionally, until just melted. Remove from the heat and cool for 15 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, espresso powder, and vanilla until combined. Add the sugar, raise the speed to medium-high, and beat for 2 minutes, until the batter is thick and falls back on itself in a ribbon. Set aside.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture. Combine the 1/3 cup of flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and fold it into the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula. In another bowl, combine the walnuts, pecans, peanut butter chips, the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate chips, and the tablespoon of flour and fold it into the chocolate mixture. With 2 soup spoons, drop rounded mounds of batter 1 inch apart onto the prepared sheet pans. Bake for 15 minutes exactly. Cool on the baking sheets.

Bake these for someone who looks like they need a hug.



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Salted Olive Oil Focaccia Bread
Soon after getting engaged we sat down and came up with a list of people we wanted to invite to the wedding.  The list was huge, over 400 people.  We kept looking at it and trying to think of ways we could cut it down.  After looking online it said most people don't invite kids to their wedding to cut down on the guest list.  We thought about it, but I honestly wanted kids at my wedding for lots of reasons.
1) I love seeing little kids dance at weddings.  They get so excited and really have fun with it!

2)  It is so nice to see all the little ones dressed up and looking fancy for weddings, all the pretty dresses and dapper little dudes makes me smile.

3)  Since so many of my cousins and friends have little ones I knew it would be hard to get babysitters since most of them would be travelling from out of town.  I didn't want them to have to RSVP no because they couldn't find child care.

4)  I really don't think cost is a good reason to not invite kids to a wedding...honestly most caterers charge less for kids, or you can even get them something less expensive to eat like pizza.  Also, most of them don't even require seats at a table, or if they do - you will have a few no shows on the wedding day who RSVP'd yes so just steal their chairs. : )

5)  The number one reason I wanted kids at our wedding is because I think it is important that kids grow up knowing what a wedding is and what the beginning of a Christian marriage looks like.  I remember going to a lot of weddings growing up and thinking how lovely the bride was, that she was for sure a princess, that she had found her prince, that it was a serious thing for them to make vows in front of people and in a Church in front of God, and that one day I wanted that too.  I remember holding my breath when the couples made their vows thinking it was such a special thing we were getting to be a part of.  I think that the more familiar kids are with marriage and weddings the more they will want it themselves if that is their vocation in life.
So for those reasons I am so happy we decided to have kiddos at our wedding!  It was so much fun dancing with them, laughing with them, and seeing them be a part of the beginning of our married lives together.  Kids are truly a gift and we were blessed to have all of those smiling gifts at our wedding!
Now...a recipe!  I have been in this crazy making soups and stews mode, and always want a nice crusty bread to serve with them.  Unfortunately, I am cursed when it comes to making bread...then I made this bread!  So easy and delicious!  My niece and I spent an evening cooking a nice dinner, and this was the star of the show for us!  It came together pretty easily, just remember that it requires 2 rises - so give yourself the time to make it.

Foccacia Bread
From Anne Burrell on Food Network (if you click on the link there is a quick video showing you how to make the bread - very helpful to watch before you start)

1 3/4 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 TBS Sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 TBS Kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

Combine the warm water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Put the bowl in a warm, not hot or cool, place until the yeast is bubbling and aromatic, at least 15 minutes.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, 1/2 cup olive oil and the yeast mixture on low speed. Once the dough has come together, continue to knead for 5 to 6 minutes on a medium speed until it becomes smooth and soft. Give it a sprinkle of flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky.

Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface, then knead it by hand 1 or 2 times. Again, give it another sprinkle of flour if the dough is really sticky and tacky.

Coat the inside of the mixer bowl lightly with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, at least 1 hour.

Coat a jelly roll pan with the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. (Chef's Note: This may seem excessive, but focaccia is an oily crusted bread. This is why it is soooooooooo delicious!).

Put the dough onto the jelly roll pan and begin pressing it out to fit the size of the pan. Turn the dough over to coat the other side with the olive oil. Continue to stretch the dough to fit the pan. As you are doing so, spread your fingers out and make finger holes all the way through the dough. (Chef's Note: Yes, this is strange. But when the dough rises again it will create the characteristic craggy looking focaccia. If you do not make the actual holes in the dough, the finished product will be very smooth.)

Put the dough in the warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. While the dough is rising a second time, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Liberally sprinkle the top of the focaccia with some coarse sea salt and lightly drizzle a little oil on top. Bake the dough until the top of the loaf is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the focaccia from the oven and let it cool before cutting and serving.