Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Easy Quiche

As per a request of a friend, I am trying hard to stay on top of posting recipes on a regular basis. More than just once a month, which seems to be my pattern. Ha! If you only knew how much I travel for a living, then you might think better of me.

One of the most requested recipes from friends is my quiche. Yep, simply easy quiche. I know what you are thinking. Quiche, really? Like I need to take the time to develop a good, easy to use recipe for this? Yet it is true! Quiche is one of those types of food that if you screw it up, it will scare you away from eating it for years (also like brussels sprout). However if you figure out the science behind making a really good, delicious quiche... you will become a believer!

Bake it and they will come. To eat, of course.

So here it is, without further ado, my much refined quiche recipe! Enjoy!

Amanda's Easy Quiche
  • 5 eggs (I use my chicken's farm fresh eggs)
  • 3/4 cup milk (I use rice milk)
  • 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1/4 to 1/8 cup chopped onion or shallot 
  • 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/2 to 1/8 teaspoon salt (I use a salt grinder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (I use more & from a pepper mill)
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell (I use a great vegan version found in the freezer section at my local store)

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Take your unbaked pie shell out of the freezer or out of the fridge if using fresh dough and place it on a baking sheet. Fork the bottom of the pie crust a few times (such as you would a potato you bake).

In a large bowl crack open all of the eggs. Pour in milk and blend at medium to high speed with a hand mixer until the egg milk mixture becomes very, very frothy. Froth is the key here! The more frothy the egg milk mixture, the more tasty the texture of the quiche.

In the unbaked pie shell, spread the various chopped vegetables around the bottom. Keep in mind you can switch up your veggies to use something else or omit something if you don't like it. Sprinkle half the cheese around on top of the veggies (again you can switch up your cheese types; for instance feta is amazingly delicious in quiche). Sprinkle half of the dried spices on top of the cheese and veggies.

Next pour the frothy egg milk mixture over the top of the contents of the unbaked pie shell. If you have some left over, you can always use a ramekin to bake the rest or make an omelet. Sprinkle the remainder of the spices and cheese as well as the onion and garlic powders over the top of the unbaked quiche. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and finally the red pepper flakes.

Place the unbaked quiche in the oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. It is key to have the high temperature for the initial baking to give the top of the quiche a golden color as well as solidify the eggs. Set a timer and after it goes off, turn the temp of the oven down to 350 degrees and continue baking for 20 minutes.

Take the baked quiche out of the oven and let it cool for at least 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Refrigerate any uneaten portions. Believe me, quiche tastes amazing the second day (if it lasts that long).

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Chai Cupcakes with Vanilla Mascarpone Frosting

Another birthday in the friend circle - another personal request baking order fulfilled! Well, sort of. The birthday boy of this week requested an angel food cake as he is a serious lover of vanilla. Unfortunately, the semi-small city I live in doesn't really have a restaurant supply store and I was forced to hunt around various other shops for a tube pan with a spring bottom. As you can see from the header of this post, obviously I failed. However, I concocted something even more magical - Chai Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting!

After some internet research, I decided to make my own version of this recipe by gaining some inspiration from Love & Olive Oil's version and another recipe I discovered from Tamsinkcakes. I was aiming for a moist cupcake, almost a muffin consistency, with a sweet vanilla frosting. From the feedback the birthday boy gave me, I succeeded!

The only change I would make the next time I bake these little babies is to add a little cardamom for spice. The chai concentrate I used is good, but I like my chai extra spicy. Enjoy!

Chai Cupcakes with Vanilla Mascarpone Frosting 

1/2 cup milk (I used rice milk)
1/2 cup chai tea concentrate (such as Oregon Chai)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup white flour (all-purpose or bakers works)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup cinnamon applesauce (can use regular)
1 tbls. melted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices in a bowl. Set aside.

In a mixer, add egg and sugars and mix until combined. Next add milk, chai concentrate, applesauce, melted butter, and vanilla to the batter and mix together.

Slowly add flour mixture to wet batter in batches. Mix until just blended without large lumps. Try not to overmix.

In a 12-sized muffin pan, add paper liners. Fill each liner until about 2/3 full. Makes about 11-12 regular sized cupcakes.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Put aside to cool on a rack once out of the oven.

For the frosting, add 3/4 cup of mascarpone cheese and 3 tbsp of butter to a bowl and whisk with an electric whisker or hand mixer until very smooth. Add vanilla and whisk more. Slowly start adding the powdered sugar in batches of a half cup at a time. The frosting will slowly start to form with the addition of more powdered sugar. Stopped when you have reached a good stiff consistency. Return the frosting to the fridge to harden up a bit, about a half an hour to an hour.

Frost the cooled cupcakes, decorate as desired, eat and be merry!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Meyer Lemon Butter Cookies


Even the best of bakers have bad days in the kitchen, and I had one yesterday. My usual batch of breakfast muffins turned into squishy, overly moist globs instead of their typical deliciousness. Instead of happy, perky blueberry raspberry muffins I ended up with sticky sad muffins. I even managed to drop my kitchenaid mixer on my chest when trying to store it away (bruise to prove it as well). Some days, you just stay out of the kitchen until your baking mojo returns. And most gratefully my poor lame muffins were still tasty and thus eaten.


Thankfully, I had much better success with my Meyer Lemon Butter Cookies! I discovered the recipe from AlpineBerry.com when doing some searching for a lemon cookie recipe. Now please understand that while I greatly appreciate lemon flavored desserts, I am not a big lover of lemon goodies. Hence the meyer lemons! These little gems were light, refreshing and very easy to make. And a possible addition for my annual cookie trays.


The trick to the buttery goodness of this recipe is using powdered sugar in the baking mix as opposed to usual white granulated sugar. It makes for light, fluffy cookies that nearly melt in your mouth.


If you follow the recipe as directed, the last step before baking involves brushing the cooled dough log with egg yolk and then rolling in sugar. Yum!

ps - the other cookies in the photo are my Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies, recipe should be up shortly!

Sabl├ęs au Citron
(from Paris Sweets by Dorie Greenspan)
(makes 50 cookies)


8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temp.
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar (measured then sifted)
2 large egg yolks (divided use: 1 for dough, 1 for coating)
pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-4 tsp finely grated lemon zest (to taste)
2 cups all purpose flour
approximately 1/2 cup granulated sugar (for coating)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on medium speed until smooth, add the confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in 1 egg yolk, followed by salt, vanilla and lemon zest.

On low speed, add the flour and mix just until flour is incorporated.

Turn dough out onto a counter, gather dough into a ball, divide in half, and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Chill dough for 30 minutes in refrigerator.

Form each piece of dough into a log that is about 1 to 1 1/4 inches in diameter. (If the diameter is right, the length you end up with is fine. Mine are usually about 6 inches long.) Wrap logs in plastic wrap and chill dough for 2 hours in refrigerator. (Dough logs can be wrapped airtight and kept refrigerated for up to 3 days or stored in freezer for up to 1 month.)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

If you are coating your cookies with sugar, whisk the remaining egg yolk until it's smooth and liquid enough to use as a glaze. Spread granulated sugar out on a piece of waxed paper. One log at a time, unwrap your chilled dough log and brush lightly with the egg yolk. Roll the log in sugar, pressing gently to help the sugar stick.

Slice each log into rounds about 1/4 inch thick. Place on baking sheets, leaving about 1/2 inch between the cookies.

Bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes until they are set but not browned. (It's okay if the yolk-sugar edges brown slightly.) Transfer cookies to cooling rack.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Garlic Knots

Photo by Lane Fricke

One of the favorites from our first ever Foodie Meet Up from a few weeks ago happened to be the garlic knots. Delicious! It was a group effort that brought them into being, with special thanks to Kitte and Lane for their creativity and playfulness with the dough. Both are awesome companions in the kitchen.


My friend Kitte happened to bring some leftover dough she had, I believe Navajo fry bread dough with sesame seeds added for goodness. This led to two different batches, always a plus in this group of eaters.


The added bonus came when Kitte realized her creativity wasn't limited to shaping the garlic knots as KNOTS, and instead she used her ingenuity to make some uh, rather "fun" creations.


The batch of dough made especially for the event was based on a recipe I found on FoodMayhem.com. Our changes included using tons more garlic (love the garlic, folks) and different shapes, sizes, forms of knots. Lane made one concoction that was amazing! He made the garlic/parsley mixture and layered it on one side of the rolled out dough, then cut triangles like crescent rolls, and rolled them into crescent shape. My mouth is watering just thinking about them...

Photo by Lane Fricke

Enjoy!

Garlic Knots
~12-13 knots
  • 3/4 cup +1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/3 cup water at room temperature (70 to 90 degrees)
  • 5 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 packed tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Instructions -

1. Whisk together flour, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl. Whisk in salt last (preventing direct contact with yeast). Make a well in the center and pour in water. Stir together to moisten the flour, just until dough begins to form, about 20 seconds. The dough will look shaggy and bumpy, not smooth.

2. Pour 4 teaspoons oil in a 2-cup sized bowl or cup (bigger if you are increasing recipe size). Place dough in and turn to coat. Cover tightly and rest on the counter until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

3. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F at least 30 minutes before baking. Meanwhile, stir together 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, garlic, and kosher salt in a large bowl (you’ll see why later). Set aside.

4. When the dough is ready, place it on a board and gently press into a 10″ x 6″ rectangle. There will be left-over oil in the cup/bowl that the dough was rising in. Spread that oil over a baking sheet.

5. Spread half of the garlic mixture across the rectangle dough. Cut into 3/4″ strips (6″ long).

6. Tie any type of knot and lay on baking sheet with about 2″ space in between. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden. Meanwhile, add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil and parsley to the garlic mixture. Stir.

7. When garlic knots are done baking, toss in the garlic and parsley mixture and serve immediately.