Monday, September 26, 2011

My go to in a pinch - quiche.

This is by far Ethan's favourite - the other two, not so much.  We are working on it.  The great thing about quiche is that your few key ingredients (pastry, milk, flour, eggs, cheese) you will usually have on hand, and then you can add whatever to suit your needs or taste.  This particular batch has onions and tomatoes (fresh from the farmer's market), and a bit of bacon.  Sometimes I put spinach in as well.  If you want to make it vegetarian, just take the meat out. 

Another thing I add is mixed herbs.  This too can vary depending on what you have in your pantry (or garden).  I usually use Greggs, and unless you are in New Zealand, you'll have a tough time finding it.  It is basically a mix of dried thyme and sage, with a small amount of marjoram.  It is one of the things that any relative from NZ must bring me when they come here (and a bag of Pineapple Lumps thank you very much).

So here is what you will need for this recipe:

Mix the milk, flour and eggs and spices and whisk until combined.  Set aside.  The reason that these eggs look so yellow is that they are Omega 3 eggs - I forget how pale regular egg yolks can look!

Since I made this quiche for a potluck, I chose to use mini-tartlets.  These are handy for lunches for the kids as well.  Sometimes I'll make my own pastry, but often I just use pre-made. 

Then I just fill them up with the ingredients.  I usually put in onion, bacon, tomato, cheese and then pour in the liquid mixture.  Some like to mix everything together and then pour it in - I haven't tried it but my guess is that it would work just as well.

I try to find "pockets" in the tartlet and fill very carefully.  If I rush it the liquid goes on top of the cheese and spills over.  I find that if I fill them from the side it works well.  As the quiche cooks it will rise up, but after you take it out of the oven and let it sit I find that it does sink a bit. 

Pop the tray in the oven and cook for about 30-40 minutes.  Time will vary depending on what you use - a full pie shell (it will take longer, sometimes up to 50 minutes).  Keep an eye on them and take them out when they have browned nicely.  Admittedly, these ones were probably cooked a bit long, but they still tasted great.  Of course, time does tend to go by slowly when you are waiting for them to come out....

Let the quiche sit for a bit to let them cool before eating.  They can be enjoyed warm and heated up the next day for breakfast.  Enjoy!

1 cup of milk
3 eggs
2-3 Tbsp of whole wheat flour
1 onion, chopped.
6 slices of bacon
1 tomato
1.5-2 cups of grated cheese
1 frozen, prepared pie crust (9 inch, can be deep dish or not) or approximately 20 tartlet shells.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Saute chopped onion for a couple of minutes and remove from skillet. Chop bacon and cook in a skillet.  Remove bacon from skillet and let rest on a paper towel. 
Beat eggs, flour and milk in medium bowl with whisk until well blended. Stir in spice.  
Place frozen tartlet shells on a baking sheet and fill with prepared ingredients (onion, tomato, bacon and cheese).  Slowly pour liquid mixture in each shell, being careful not to over-fill.

Put baking sheet in the oven and lower temperature to 350 degrees after 10 minutes.  Continue to cook quiche for approximately 20-30 more minutes (may be longer if you use a full pie shell).  Quiche is done when the centre is set and top is golden brown. Let stand 10 min. before cutting to serve.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

mmmm apple pie!

Yesterday was the first official day of fall.  In these parts it is like someone flipped a switch, and all of a sudden the smells and coolness of the season was upon us.  One of my neighbours came by with an armload of apples from her tree (the ones that the bears didn't manage to eat).  I decided that we would make pie - all from scratch. 

I used to do this years ago, I always made my own crusts and used local apples.  They are the best this time of year, and if you know someone with a tree, even better.  Even the dented, bruised or partially worm (or bear) eaten apples can still be used.  Not that I have ever used a bear eaten apple...

As I was cruising the Pioneer Woman's website awhile ago I bookmarked a pie tutorial that Pam did.  This was a great step by step on how to make the perfect crust.  There were some great tips that I had never tried before, and this pie was one of the best I have made. 

Next up was the filling, so I peeled and sliced some apples, and made a cinnamon/sugar mix to go with it (recipe at the end of the post). 

I followed the directions for the crust and baking the pie from the tutorial above.  The tip about covering the whole pie in foil after it had browned was a great one, it worked beautifully. 

I would suggest you follow the tutorial, and then when it comes time to do the filling, use the following recipe.  It did turn out a bit sweet for me, but you could always alter the sugar.  Another great tip from Pam was to add a couple of tablespoons of butter to the top of the filling before you put the top pie crust on.  Not so great for the hips, but ohhhhh it tasted amazing.

Apple Pie Filling:

2 lbs of peeled and sliced apples (6-10 apples depending on size)

Sugar Mixture
1/4 cup of packed, light brown sugar
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg

Add the sugar mixture to the apples and stir until coated.