Saturday, September 6, 2008

Basic Quiche

Basic Quiche
1 & 1/2 c. Half & Half cream
4 eggs
fresh ground pepper

1/2 c. fresh grated Parmesan
1 c. mozzarella

embellishments of choice (see below)

Pastry lined deep dish pie dish; see Pastry Pie Crust recipe, line pie dish & chill until needed

Preheat oven to 425.

Scatter cheeses evenly over bottom of pastry lined pie dish; mozzarella on bottom, Parmesan sprinkled over.

In large mixing bowl, combine cream, eggs and freshly ground pepper (1/4 - 1/2 tsp, to taste); using whisk or fork, whip until light & frothy. Pour over cheese (and embellishments of choice) in lined pie dish.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Immediately reduce heat to 350 & bake another 30 minutes, until knife inserted in center tests clean. Remove from oven & allow to set 5 - 10 minutes before serving.

Embellishments to be layered over the cheese before egg mixture is poured over:

Quiche Florentine:
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thoroughly drained
1 small onion, chopped & lightly sauteed in 1 TBS olive oil

Mediterranean Quiche:
1/2 c. Mediterranean olives, pitted & sliced
1/2 c. feta or goat cheese substituted for 1/2 c. of mozzarella
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Roma tomato, seeded & chopped

Fiesta Quiche
1 c. canned black beans, rinsed & thoroughly drained
1 Roma tomato, seeded & chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded & chopped
1 small onion, chopped & lightly sauteed in 1 TBS olive oil
1 & 1/2 c. Monterey Jack cheese substituted for Parmesan & mozzarella
(optional: 1/4 c. black olives, pitted & sliced)

Denver Quiche
1 small onion, chopped & lightly sauteed in 1 TBS olive oil
3/4 c. chopped green pepper
1 Roma tomato, seeded & chopped
1 c. diced ham

Lasagna

1 recipe Meat Sauce (see Spaghetti* with Meat Sauce recipe)

1 lb lasagna noodles, al dente

3 c. shredded mozzarella
1 c. grated Parmesan

Optional: 1 & 1/2 c. fresh baby spinach, washed, drained & coarsely chopped

Cook Meat Sauce according to directions (somewhere on the blog); allow to simmer for at least 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large pot, cook pasta according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 350.

To assemble, use deep 8x10 glass baking pan. Spread a thin layer of meat sauce evenly in the bottom of the pan. Remove pasta from pot with tongs one at a time; add a layer of noodles lengthwise, edges touching, cut to fit if necessary. Spread a layer of meat sauce (1 - 2 c.) over the noodles, top evenly with 1 c. mozzarella & 1/3 c. Parmesan. Repeat two more times. You will now have 3 layers, the top one being cheese.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes.

Remove & allow to sit for 5 - 10 minutes.

Note: If using spinach, top all meat layers except very bottom one with 1/2 c. spinach before adding the cheeses.

Freeze extra meat sauce for later use.

Roasted Red Pepper & Eggplant Dip

2 large red peppers, seeded & chopped
1 - 1.5 lb eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 Roma tomatoes, seeded & chopped
3 TBS olive oil
1/4 tsp. hot red pepper flakes

1 log fresh goat cheese

Place rack in center of oven: preheat oven to 400.

Combine all ingredients (except goat cheese) in 8x10 corning/glass dish. Toss to coat & spread evenly. Roast vegetables, stirring occasionally, until very tender, about 40-50 minutes.

Remove from oven, allow to cool a bit, then puree in food processor or blender. Salt to taste.

Place in warmed serving dish & top with a slice (or two) of fresh goat cheese/chevre. Serve with pita points or crostini.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fettuccine Alfredo (With or Without Chicken

2 c. dry white wine*
3 green onions, chopped
fresh ground pepper
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tsp oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. organic chicken broth (or 2 c. water with good quality soup base, warmed)
3 c. Half & Half (substitute milk only in a pinch)
1 & 1/2 c. fresh grated Parmesan

2 chicken breasts, poached or grilled, sliced into 1/4 inch thick pieces

1 lb Fettuccine noodles, cooked to package directions

In large saucepan over medium high heat, combine white wine*, green onions, pepper, thyme, oregano & garlic. Cook uncovered until wine is reduced to 1/4 c., stirring occasionally. Add chicken broth & continue to cook until liquid reduces by half, about 15 more minutes. Add the Half & Half & simmer several minutes more, until sauce is slightly thickened. Gradually stir in the Parmesan cheese, blending until smooth.

Cook fettuccine to al dente according to package.

You may either stir cut up chicken into sauce, or layer over fettuccine servings.

Garnish with additional grated Parmesan.

*If you do not have a nice dry white wine available, you may substitute 2 c. of chicken broth & continue cooking as directed.

Serve with a nice mixed green salad & baguette.

Lentil Soup ("The" Soup)

7 c. organic chicken or vegetable broth (or 7 c. water with good quality soup base)
1 - 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 c. baby carrots, sliced thin
1 c. dry brown lentils (rinsed & drained)
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp parsley flakes

1 c. brown rice
2 & 1/2 c. water

In Dutch Oven or large saucepan, combine all ingredients except rice & 2 & 1/2 c. water. Bring to boiling; cover & reduce to simmer. Let simmer for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, put rice & 2 & 1/2 c. water in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; cover & reduce to simmer for 30 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

Gently stir cooked rice into soup. Simmer 10 minutes more.

Serve with crusty baguette.

Potato Cheddar Leek Soup

1/4 lb bacon, coarsely chopped

4 TBS butter (1/2 stick)

2 small leeks, thoroughly washed, chopped fine
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. baby carrots, thinly sliced

1/2 c. unbleached flour
6 c. organic chicken broth (or 6 c. water & good quality chicken soup base)
5 - 6 large russet potatoes, peeled & diced (about 3 lbs)

2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

1 c. Half & Half (you can substitute milk in a pinch, but it will not taste as rich)

Place bacon in large saucepan; cook over medium high, stirring occasionally until it is crisp but not overly brown. Remove from pan with slotted spoon to drain & reserve for garnish.

Pour off all but 1 TBS bacon drippings. Add butter to reserve drippings & place pan back on medium heat. When melted, add leek, onion, garlic & carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over vegetables & stir in until all lumps have disappeared. Gradually stir in chicken broth, stirring constantly & scraping bottom well. Raise liquid just to a boil. Quickly stir in potatoes & reduce heat to a simmer. Cook partially covered until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Put cheese in large mixing bowl. Ladle in about a quarter of the hot liquid (straining out veggies), stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the cheese has completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir the cheese mixture back into the soup.

Gradually stir in the Half & Half. Continue to heat until the soup is thick & heated through.

Serve with fresh ground pepper & bacon bits.

Garden Vegetable Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
1 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil

6 c. organic vegetable broth (or 6 c. water & good quality vegetable soup base)
1 - 16 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 can Great Northern beans, rinsed & drained
1 c. baby carrots, sliced thin
1 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise & sliced thin
1 c. frozen sweet corn
2 large baking potatoes, peeled & diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 c. fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley flakes
fresh ground pepper

3/4 c. ditalini pasta (or other small chunky pasta)

grated Parmesan

Heat olive oil in large saucepan. Saute onion & garlic until just translucent. Add broth, tomatoes & tomato sauce. Bring just to a simmer. Add in all vegetables & seasonings. Cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. Add pasta & simmer 10 minutes more until pasta is al dente.

Serve with grated Parmesan & crusty baguette.

Pasta Meatball Minestrone

1 lb. extra lean ground beef (sirloin, or other >15% fat)
2 TBS bread crumbs
1/4 c. grated Parmesan & Romano cheese blend
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp parsley flakes
fresh ground pepper
1 egg

1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. sliced baby carrots
1 small zucchini, diced

6 c. organic beef or vegetable broth (or 6 c. water & good quality soup base/boullion to make equivalent)
1 - 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 - 8 oz can tomato sauce

1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp marjoram
1 tsp parsley flakes
fresh ground pepper

1 c. uncooked rotini

Grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350. Combine ground meat, bread crumbs, Parmesan/Romano blend, basil, oregano, marjoram, parsley, ground pepper & egg using hands until well blended. Form into 3/4 inch size meatballs; place on large ungreased cookie pan. Bake for 12 - 17 minutes, until no longer pink.

In Dutch Oven or large saucepan, saute onion, garlic & carrots on medium heat until onions just start to become translucent. Add zucchini & saute 2 minutes more.

Add broth, tomatoes, sauce & seasonings. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, spoon in meatballs. Cover & simmer 20 minutes. Add pasta & cook 10 minutes more, or until noodles are al dente.

Ladle into bowls, top with grated Parmesan.

Honey Wheat Bread

4 - 5 c. unbleached flour
1 & 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2. sugar
2 packages active dry yeast
2 c. water
3/4 c. canola oil
3 TBS honey
2 eggs, beaten

In large bowl, combine 3 c. unbleached flour, 1 c. whole wheat flour, sugar & yeast. Blend well.

In small saucepan, heat oil, water and honey until very warm (120 - 130 degrees). Add warm liquid & eggs to flour mixture; blend at low speed with electric mixture until moistened. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed. By hand, stir in remaining whole wheat flour & enough unbleached flour to make a stiff dough.

On floured surface, knead in 1/2 to 1 c. unbleached flour until dough is smooth & elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl; cover loosely with greased plastic wrap & cloth towel. Let rise in warm place until light & doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.

Punch dough down several times to remove all air bubbles. Shape into 2 loaves*; place each into greased loaf pan. Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375. Uncover loaves and bake for 30 minutes or until light golden brown & "hollow" sounding when thumped. Remove from pans & cool on wire rack.

*For cloverleaf rolls, grease 36 muffin cups. Divide dough into 36 pieces; divide each piece into thirds. Shape each third into a ball. Place 3 balls into each greased muffin cup. Let rise & bake for 12-16 minutes, until light golden. Remove from pans immediately & cool on wire rack.

Herbed Oatmeal Bread

1 c. water
1/2 c. uncoaked oatmeal
1 & 1/2 TBS butter
2 c. unbleached flour
1/8 c. sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1 egg yolk

Herb Cheese Topping*:
2 tsp grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 TBS butter, melted

Grease 8x8 inch baking pan (glass work best).

Bring water to a boil in medium saucepan; stir in oatmeal. Remove from heat; stir in 1 & 1/2 TBS butter. Cool to 120-130 degrees.

In large bowl, combine 3/4 c. flour, sugar and yeast. Blend well. Add oat mixture & egg mixture. By hand, stir well, until moistened. Beat for 3 minutes. Stir in 1 c. flour to form stiff dough.

On lightly floured surface, knead in 1/4 - 1/2 c. flour until dough is smooth & elastic, about 5 minutes. Shape dough into ball; cover with inverted large bowl. Let rest 15 minutes. Punch down dough several times to remove all air bubbles. Press into greased pan. Using very sharp knife. cut diagonal lines 1&1/2 inches apart through dough. Repeat in opposite direction, creating diamond pattern. Cover loosely with grased plastic wrap & cloth towel. Let rise in warm place until light & doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375. Uncover dough. Redefine cuts by poking tip of knife hits bottom of pan; do NOT pull knife through dough. In small bowl, combine Parmesan, basil, oregano & garlic. Set aside. Spoon 2 TBS melted butter over the cut dough. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Brush remaining butter over partially baked bread. Sprinkle with Parmesan-herb mixture. Bake for an additional 15 minutes until golden brown.

Serve warm or cool.

*Topping is optional. Omit or substitute as desired.

Bulgar Wheat Bread

3/4 c. water
1/2 c. bulgar wheat

2 & 1/4 - 2 & 1/2 c. unbleached flour
2 TBS brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1 c. water heated to 120-130 degrees
1/4 c. canola oil
1 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp water

Grease baking sheet.

Bring 3/4 c. water to boil in small saucepan; remove from heat & imediately stir in bulgar wheat. Let stand 20-25 minutes until all water is absorbed.

In large bowl, combine 1 c. unbleached flour, brown sugar, yeast and 1 c. heated water. Stir by hand until moistened. Beat (a bit more "oomph" than stir) for 3 minutes. Stir in bulgar mixture, whole wheat flour & additional 1 c. unbleached flour to form a stiff dough.

On floured surface, knead in 1/4 - 1/2 c. unbleached flour until dough is elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, punch down & flip greased side up. Cover loosely with greased plasitc wrap & cloth towel. Let rise in warm place until light & doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Punch down dough several times to remove all air bubbles. Shape into round loaf. Place on greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise in warm place until light and almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375.

Uncover dough. With a very sharp knife, cut a 1/2 inch deep X across the top of the loaf. Bake at 375 for 25-35 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool.

Jeweled Cranberry Sauce

12 oz package fresh cranberries, rinsed & drained
1 to 1 & 1/2 c. sugar (based on your desired sweetness)
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla

*Optional: add 1/4 tsp cinnamon & 1/4 c. small walnut pieces before baking

Preheat oven to 350.

Arrange cranberries evenly in glass 10x8 baking dish.

Combine sugar, water and orange juice in small bowl; mix well until sugar dissolves. Pour over cranberries.

Bake for 50-60 minutes until juice thickens & cranberries are glazed. Remove from oven to wire rack & cool. The sauce thickens up quite a bit once it is cooled completely. Serve warm or cold.

Pumpkin Pie

Pastry for Single-Crust Pie*

2 large eggs
1 - 15 oz can pure pumpkin
1/4 c. sugar
1 & 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 can (12 oz) non-fat evaporated milk

Roll out pie crust & line deep 9 inch glass pie plate.

Preheat oven to 425.

In large mixer bowl, beat eggs until light. Add pumpkin, sugar & spices. Mix well. With mixer running, gradually pour in evaporated milk. Mix until well combined.

Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375 and bake 40-50 minutes more until knife inserted in center tests clean. Remove to wire rack.

Refrigerate any leftovers.

*See "Pastry Pie Crust" recipe.

Fresh Pear Crumble Pie

Pastry for Single Crust Pie*

1/2 c. sugar
2 TBS unbleached flour
1 tsp fresh grated lemon peel

5 c. peeled ripe Bartlett pears, sliced thin (about 2.5 lbs)
3 TBS fresh lemon juice

1/2 c. unbleached flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c. butter, softened

Roll out pie crust, line deep 9 inch pie dish & place in refrigerator while you prepare the pear & crumble mixtures.

Preheat oven to 375.

Combine 1/2 c. sugar, 2 TBS flour and lemon peel in small bowl. In large non-metal bowl, combine pears & lemon juice. Add sugar mixture to pears & toss to coat.

In a small bowl, combine the 1/2 c. flour, 1/2 c. sugar, ginger & cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Pour pear mixture into unbaked pie crust, spreading evenly. Sprinkle crumb mixture over pears. Cover edge of pie crust with foil.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil from edges. Bake for 25-30 minutes more or until pie is bubbly & crust is golden.

Remove to wire rack & allow to cool slightly before serving.

*See "Pastry Pie Crust" recipe.

Pastry Pie Crust

2 c. unbleached flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 & 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 lb butter (2 sticks), softened

1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp white vinegar
water

In large bowl, combine all dry ingredients; stir gently to blend. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 forks until well blended.

Whisk egg in glass measuring cup. Add vinegar & stir to blend. Add just enough water to make 2/3 cup liquid. Mix well.

Make well in center of flour mixture. Pour in egg mixture. Stir gently until well blended. You may need to abandon the forks & use you hand to mix it thoroughly. The dough will be slightly wet, but should not be soggy or sticky. Add a bit of flour if necessary.

Divide dough into 2 balls; flatten each into a disc. Place on sheet of plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Spread a piece of wax paper on counter. Lightly flour. Turn out dough onto flour & coat evenly. Place another sheet of wax paper on top & roll to desired thickness. Keeping top sheet of wax paper in place, gently fold in half (lifting gently off bottom piece of wax paper), then in quarters. Place in center of 9 inch glass pie dish & unfold crust gently. Lift off wax paper. Trim to fit & pinch into shape.

Fill & bake.

Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca)

2 large, ripe tomatoes (or 5 nice Romas), seeded & diced
4 green onions, chopped
1 large banana pepper, seeded & chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded & chopped
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 TBS cider vinegar
salt & fresh ground pepper to tase

Combine all salsa ingredients in non-metal bowl. Cover & refrigerate for several hours to blend flavors.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 c. cooked sweet corn
3 medium ripe tomatoes (or 5 Roma), diced
1 clove garlic, minced
5 green onions, diced
1 large banana pepper, seeded & diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded & diced
1 TBS cider vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in non-metal bowl. Cover tightly & refrigerate several hours to allow flavors to blend.