Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Another Quiche

The other night, we had left over ingredients that added up to everything we needed for a quiche, so I decided to try a new kind of quiche. I love all kinds so much, but I've really only tried to make one, so I added caramalized onions and sautéed mushrooms and made them normal muffin pan size instead of mini muffin or pie pan sized. A delicious dinner. So it's the same as my mini quiche recipes with the changes I already mentioned. Just bakes about 5-8 minutes longer. Next time, though, I want to create a lower fat version that doesn't take away from the taste. My next challenge.

Pantry Dinner

Tonight, on my way home I realized we hadn't gone grocery shopping in a long time, so I didn't have much to work with. But I was determined to be creative. So I thought about what I had on hand, and made one of my most successful experiments yet. I used ingredients that I always have in the kitchen: parsley, cilantro, extra virgin olive oil, an onion, pecorino romano cheese, edamame, marinated artichoke hearts, 1 lemon, toasted white sesame seeds, and salt and pepper. Well, and of course, pasta.

Fresh Cilantro & Parsley Pesto
*Remember, these measurements are all approximates ... I had to improvise!*
1 C fresh cilantro, packed
1 C fresh parlsey, packed
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
4-5 marinated artichoke heart sections
1 T toasted, white sesame seeds
1 C thawed edamame, with skins discarded
1/3 C pecorino Romano cheese (suggestion: grate on a microplane grater)
1/4 medium onion
1 clove garlic
1/3~1/2 C olive oil
1 lb pasta
  1. Boil pasta in salt water to al dente.
  2. Put parsley, cilantro, onion, garlic & artichoke hearts in food processor and pulse until they turn into a chunky paste, scraping down the sides periodically. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, edamame, cheese, and sesame seeds. Pulse again to get the size down a bit.
  3. Turn food processor to "on" position and pour in oil until smooth and creamy. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  4. When pasta is done, toss with pesto and serve.
*there will be left over pesto. Pesto freezes well, so put in freezer to avoid making it go bad.

Sunday Dinner for Everyone

On Sunday we had my friends Jason, Celeste, and her husband, Ben over for dinner. One of my favorite meals to make when I have a lot of people to feed is Spaghetti and Meatballs. It's cheap to make and makes A LOT of food. And it only takes about 30 minutes total cooking time. Keep in mind that this recipe probably could feed 10 people if you wanted it to, but I make it and freeze it, and eat it as left overs when I don't have time to make dinner on other nights. Really handy. So don't be surprised by the quantities.
Oh also, the picture is of the leftovers I ate the next day. They were still really good!

Spaghetti and Meatballs
2 lb spaghetti (or linguini is really good, too. That's what I used this time)
2-28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 medium sized onions, diced (I like it diced small, but it's up to your personal preference)
5 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped roughly
olive oil (to cook the onions and garlic)

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
3/4 c. italian bread crumbs
2 L or XL eggs
1 small block of mozarella cheese, cut into small cubes that will fit inside the meatballs
  1. Cook onions in olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add garlic until fragrant and soft.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes and continue stirring.
  3. Mix meat, bread crumbs, and eggs ina seperate bowl with your hands. Make little meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter, make a hole in the middle, add a cube of cheese and seal up.
  4. Drop the meatballs into sauce and let cook for about 15 minutes until cooked through.
  5. In the mean time, boil pasta according to packaging directions, to al dente. Don't overboil!
  6. When the meatballs are cooked through and the pasta is done, take meatballs out of sauceand place in a seperate bowl. Put pasta in sauce and toss until the sauce it thorooughly incorporated on pasta.
  7. place in a large serving bowl, put meatballs on top and serve.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Christina's Bridal Shower

One of my favorite things to do is to feed a lot of people, and come up with new and creative ways to entertain with food. Since one of my dear friends and a huge supporter of my dreams, Christina, decided to happily get married, I threw her a bridal shower on July 7th and worked hard to impress her:) And I forget that my husband Blake, helped out a lot! I can't take full credit for all of it. Blake actually made the salsa and chicken for the taco salads himself.

Mini Quiche
2 refrigerated store-bought pie crusts (to save a LOT of time! And I promise, they are almost as good as home made)
4 ounces or so of bacon (I used turkey bacon)
2/3 C Heavy Cream

1/2 C whole milk
3 L or XL eggs
1/4~1/2 C chopped fresh parsley
salt & pepper to taste
2/3 C finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese
1/4 C grated Cheddar Cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF
  2. Roll out pie crusts to about half of it's original thickness. cut pie crusts into small circles, about 2 in. in diameter. Press into mini muffin pans. (TIP: Don't worry about making the edges smooth, I think it looks more rustic when they're a little crinkly, and they're a lot easier to get out once they are cooked)
  3. Cook bacon until crisp. (TIP: My sister taught me to microwave the bacon on a paper plate and paper towel. This way you get all the grease out and you don't have to wash any more pans, and they cook up just great) Break up into little pieces.
  4. Beat cream, milk, eggs together until smooth, but don't over beat. Add parsley, salt & pepper in medium bowl.
  5. Put a little bit of bacon & the 2 cheeses into each little pie crust. Pour in egg mixture. Remember to leave a little space on top, as the mixture will puff up.
  6. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool, take out of pans and serve.
Mini Taco Salad5-6 fresh tortillas
tomatoes (the sweetest ones you can find)
1-1/2 limes
4 avocados
1/2 a vidalia onion (if you can't find vidalias, get a normal onion and soak it in water for a little while)
1/2 a rotisserie chicken
taco seasoning
salt to taste

  1. Cut tortillas into small circles, about 2 in. in diameter. Place in mini muffin pans in a similar way to the pie crusts for the quiche. Bake in 350ºF oven for 5-7 minutes until they puff up a little. Take out of oven and let cool. (The puffiness will get down a lot. If it doesn't, you can push it down so it still has a little well for the food)
  2. Dice tomatoes & onion as small as you can and place in a bowl. Chop up cilantro as finely as you can without turning it into a paste. Add to tomatoes and onion. Add the juice of 1 lime and salt. Set aside.
  3. Dice avocados really small and place in a small bowl. Add the juice of 1/2 a lime and salt. set aside.
  4. Shred the rotisserie chicken into little pieces. Place in a pan and cook with taco seasoning as directed.
  5. Place all the topping in the tortilla cups in the following order: Chicken, avocados, salsa.
p.s. For the salsa, you can make the tomato to onion ratio as you like it. But don't omit onions just because you think you don't like them! The flavor and texture is SO important. Just soak them in water for at least half an hour or rinse them for a couple minutes, and the strong, pungent flavor will go down.

The Beginning

My sister suggested starting a "foodie blog" since I love to make food and take pictures of it. And since she is my inspiration and my teacher when it comes to cooking, I thought I'd better do it. So I tribute this whole blog to her. She taught me everything I know. And to my sweet husband who always tries my little experiments and puts up with my mistakes.
I've always been afraid of starting a blog, not confident that people would care to
read a journal I've posted on the internet, but who doesn't like food, right? So why not share my passion for food with everyone else around me. I decided to share my favorite new recipes that I've created or borrowed and altered and post them to share with all of you! So here I go, on my new food journey.