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Quiche, please

I wasn’t intending to post on this dinner– partly because I was convinced it was going to be a disaster (I messed up my dough for the first time ever, and I burnt the crap out of the fake bacon I was going to use). But goddamn, this was a good quiche. The best I’ve had. I used this recipe  for spinach bacon quiche but tweaked it quite a bit. The things I did differently were using 6 eggs, 1 cup milk, 2 handfuls of fresh chopped spinach, 3 Morningstar sausage patties (in place of my lost bacon); I also sauteed my onion first. And, of course, I made my own crust. (My cherry pie from the other week had the best crust ever, so I used that same recipe, cut in half as I only need a bottom crust and without the sugar.) The rest of the recipe remained the same. Wow. This thing was delicious– full of salty flavor and different chewy, crusty, luscious textures. So much better than the frittatas I usually make. Anyway, sorry for the lone pic of the mostly eaten pie; I forgot to take one before we devoured it!

Ciao (down)!

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Let’s be real: I’m not a soup girl a) because it never fills me up– I need like a loaf of bread to supplement it b) because to get full at all without eating bread, I have to eat 6 bowls, and I’m bored of it by that point. With that said, sometimes I just have to throw a pot of soup together a) because my husband is a soup fiend b) because I have the ingredients  c) because it always sounds good in theory and d) because it’s sooo easy. Letter “b” and “d” are my excuses for making a batch today. We’d gotten 6 huge tomatoes from our CSA box yesterday– and I had to figure a way to get Mike to eat them– and we’ve been hoarding some fennel bulbs we finally got for cheap at TJ’s and we had everything else already; I also have a nearly full time summer job, so the crock pot is my current bff. Thus: tomoato-fennel-basil soup.

Here’s what I did:

Sauteed one chunkily diced onion & one chunkily diced fennel bulb & 6 minced garlic cloves, along with some salt and pepper, until soft and a little caramelized (later, after remembering I had them, I added some stalks of celery and a few small carrots).

Meanwhile, I peeled, seeded, and chunkily diced those tomatoes. To do this, you slice an “x” into the bottom of each tomato, toss them in boiling water for a minute, dunk them in an ice bath, peel them, slice them in half, and squeeze out the seeds. Easy peasy.

I added all these veggies, a box of veg broth, a can of tomato sauce, about 1.5 c. of water, s&p, 2 bay leaves, and a few teaspoons each of dried dill, basil, and thyme. I set the pot to low and let it cook for about 5 hrs. After this time, I blended everything, checked the seasoning, added some cayenne, and added another finely minced, sauteed fennel bulb (Mike likes some chunks in his soup).

I let this go for a while more, and right before serving, I tossed in some shredded fresh basil and topped my bowl of soup with sour cream and even more fresh basil.

The soup was yummy and simple. Though I could go for some bread…:)

Ciao (down)!

Wholly edible dinner

So I’m certain Stew hasn’t been coming around lately because I force him to eat terrible food when he does. My strategy to get him here was to promise a good meal for once, and it worked. The main course was fated: I found a recipe I had torn out of a magazine months ago magically on my coffee table. It was for chicken schnitzel, which I’ve never had, but which Stew loves. It’s like a Austrian/German fried chicken, and so obviously mouthwatering. Here are some cooking pics and the recipe; if you can squint (or click on the picture to enlarge), you might be able to read it:

Fried food= delicious. It's a mathematical equation.

Please note, we even went for the anchovy dressed salad as bed for the schnitzel (minus the herbs because I got lazy), and it was fantastic–a bit caesar-y. Next, we needed some sides so the vegetarian Mike  could eat something– and not whine  :). I DVR the show Five Ingredient Fix (shut up! it’s good!), and the host’s creamed spinach and these smashed, roasted baby potato things, which are basically crispy potato skins, were a no-brainer. (P.S. we used fake bacon and cheddar to top in addition to sour cream and scallions; these suckers would be great for a party appetizer.)

All these parts created the best meal we’ve had in a long, long time.  I want it right now, again, for breakfast. Too bad there are zero leftovers.

Oh, and the meal definitely was not hurt by a nice bottle of Pinot– Noir, not Grigio, Ramona– Stew’s fresh razz & thyme gin cocktail (which also had cucumber simple syrup, which seems strange but was in fact genius) and strawberry shortcake with homemade pound cake. Nope, I was not mad at this dinner. And now you better come back, Stew 🙂

Ciao (down)!

PS– I told you so about herbs in cocktails!

Stuffed Cubanelles

I have to admit that sometimes it’s really hard to get myself motivated to cook. Either I’m tired, lazy, uninspired, the kitchen’s a mess, or I’m bored of cooking the same old shit (this last part isn’t helped by Mike’s being a creature of unbreakable habit). This week, finally, I got pretty excited looking at my new CSA box, probably because there’s been a shift in its contents as we head toward summer. (Please, dear baby Jesus, no more broccoli or asparagus!) For the first time, we got some beautiful Cubanelle peppers (labeled only as sweet peppers by our Farm Fresh people). I checked out the fridge and pantry and realized, after having had tacos a few weekends ago, we had the makings for some legit stuffed pepps:

Corn (from box), cheddar & cream cheese, fresh & pickled jalapenos, garlic, onions, brown rice medley, black beans, cilantro

My method to stuffed peppers is usually the same: cook some brown/wild rice medley (the Trader Joe’s stuff is so good and so cheap), cool and throw in a mixing bowl; in a pan, saute a diced onion, minced garlic cloves, and a diced jalapeno

then season with salt, pepper, ground coriander, cumin, a little chili powder, some garlic & onion powders, and dried oregano; toss this in with the rice and add grated cheese (I didn’t end up using the cream cheese this time), drained and rinse black beans, pickled jalopeno juice (and maybe some diced pickled jalos), corn right off the cob, and minced cilantro if you’ve got some laying around.

Then, I stuff my cored peppers until they’re brimming over (I usually cut them horizontally first, but these pepps were so small, I kept them whole), throw them in a 350 degree preheated oven and bake for about 3o minutes. (If they are larger peppers, and I’ve split them in two, I usually top with more cheese and blast under the broiler until the cheese gets all brown and crunchy at the end of cooking time.)

This fresh and light meal, served along with some sour cream, watermelon from the same box, and a lemon verbena cocktail, was a perfect way to welcome a summer that has yet to arrive, thumbing my nose at the crappy weather!

Ciao (down)!

P.S. You can add a million and two variations to stuffed peppers–  use meat, fake meat, different kinds of beans, canned or frozen corn or none at all, minced chipotles, ketchup or tomato sauce (we almost always do this), etc., etc.

Eggs. yams. kale.

The day our CSA box arrives with our organic, free range egg, I know what’s for dinner: something with, duh, eggs, which are straight up amazing. There’s no comparison between them and store bought eggs. What other ingredients were in the box determined what I was going to do with the eggs. This time, I went with a rando combo that turned out fantastic– sauteed kale, twice cooked yams, and pan fried eggs.

First, I baked the yams– cleaned and poked with a fork– in a 425 degree oven for 45 minutes until soft. After those were baked, cooled, and peeled, I sliced the 4 yams into 1″ medallions and sprinkled them with a genius blend of cayenne, coriander, s & p, brown sugar, and garlic powder. I then sauteed these medallions in a glug of veg oil until they were golden on both sides. While these were going, I also quickly sauteed the shredded, clean kale in a bit of olive oil and seasoned of course with s & p for about 5 minutes. Then, I cooked our eggs, seasoned, to our preferred doneness and called it a meal. (My only complaint is that I overcooked my egg a bit; if it was over easy and the yolk burst its creamy sauce over everything, it would’ve been even better!)

Ciao (down)!

After years and years and years (kidding, more like 3) of wanting to bake fish in parchment paper, I finally did last night, thanks to Mike’s move into bonafied pescetarianism. He brought home some nice mahi-mahi filets, I had a roll of parchment paper I stole from Stew, and we had some veg from our CSA box to use up– so, perfect. I got inspiration from this recipe, but made some changes. Anyway, it was SO good– moist, flavorful, and healthy. (The key for me was making sure I seasoned every step of the way; otherwise; it would’ve been a bland mess.)

Post-baked, pre-opened

Surprise!

Here’s what I did: Boiled a couple of handfuls of thinly sliced (about 1/8″) baby potatoes in salted water for around 5 minutes, just until tender. After draining them, I tossed them with super thin and lovely quartered aspargus stems, olive oil, salt and pepper, then set the pot aside. Next, I seasoned the mahi-mahi with s&p and olive oil. Then I chopped some fresh thyme (5-7 sprigs), 3 scallions, 2 cloves of garlic, and sliced one lemon. Assembly time: I placed each filet on a bed of taters and asparagus and topped each of them with 1/3 each of the garlic, thyme, green onions, a pat of butter, and lemon slices as I had 3 filets. I wrapped them all up– and I’m way to lazy to explain how, but you can probably find it on the website I linked– and threw them in the oven. In exactly 2o minutes, dinner was served. Xo

PS: next time, I’ll be using fennel.

Chickens!

Dan & Amanda rolled up this weekend, so obviously, dinner. The week before, Nugget had a sale on their whole free range chickens and that was that– I finally got a chance to re-try making the perfect roast chicken since the first time Stew and I kinda sorta failed. If I was going to make a chicken, it was either going to be a Barefatty or Martha recipe; I went with Martha’s here. The only thing I added was some more veg in the bottom of the pan– taters, carrots, and celery. Anyway, the chicken turned out amazing– most and crispy and perfectly cooked. I was very proud of this one 🙂

I served the chicken along with some green beans I blanched, drained, and then sauteed with garlic and with my new favorite thing, slow cooked polenta. (I know, I know, I can’t believe I love another Melissa D’Arabian recipe, but it’s super legit.) The whole meal felt like a mini-T-giving dinner.

Before all that, we whetted our appetites with some cosmos Amanda so graciously whipped up. Our recipe, a modification of something online, was 2 oz. of vodka, 2 oz. of cranberry juice, 1/4 fresh lime juice, and 1/4 fresh orange juice. I really liked the fresh OJ rather than triple sec (which I just didn’t have) as it made it fresh and tangy. Make this!

And for dessert, Amanda brought cupcakes inspired by my namesake. They were fab strawberry cakes with, and correct me if I’m wrong #2, Swiss butter cream. Thanks, love!

Oink!

And with that (and 3 bottles of wine), we were full and ready to go clubbin.

xo,

pork