Saturday, February 23, 2013

Quiche- The Seductive Pie. Meet Lorraine...

So says Thomas Keller, world renowned chef and chef-owner of Bouchon.  One of his many cookbooks (they are amazing and not for the faint of heart) is called Bouchon.  That's where I went for my quiche information.  That is my starting point for quiche, my way.

Thomas recommends using a 2-inch ring mold for the quiche shell.  As I don't have such a tool, I will be using small, individual pie plates.  Yes, Thomas, I know I risk overcooking the custard.  I think I can manage the risks...  This quiche is a traditional one- Quiche Lorraine- made with bacon and onion.  I also made a vegetarian version by omitting the bacon and adding spinach.

Spinach quiche on the left.
Lorraine's on the right.
This recipe makes six single serving quiches.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pepperoni Pizza Roll- A Family Recipe

When the kids were teenagers, I was always looking for ways to feed them healthy food.  I developed a secret weapon to keep them away from the school cafeteria- the pepperoni pizza roll.  My son actually wanted me to make huge quantities so he could sell it to his friends at school.  The perfect money maker- mom does all the work and he gets all the glory, and the cash!

Tomorrow, I'm travelling from Kelowna to Toronto for a visit with Alex, now, 29 years old.  I'll happily spend the day in his kitchen filling his freezer.  "Mom, remember that pizza roll you used to make us?", asks my son.  "Can you make lots for me when you're here?"  I guess this really is a family recipe... and I'll be packing my bread machine.  A culinary Mary Poppins!  He gets to keep the machine...

Basically, it's a pizza dough rolled around pizza ingredients and baked in the oven.  Great for lunch bags and snacks! I make this dough in my bread machine. Vary ingredients according to your tastes.  As a matter of fact, now that he's older, maybe I'll propose a more adult version.  Hummm- grilled peppers, grilled artichokes, olives... time to play!

This recipe will make approximately 12 slices.

Sticky Buns- One Up on the Pillsbury Dough Boy

My friends Carol and Gaby loved these buns.  Still warm from the oven, puffy and golden, dripping with sweet (but not too sweet) caramel and pecans- they are the best! Make a double batch and freeze half- what a treat in the morning with your coffee.

Different sized buns in a small ramekin.  Looks great!
Just flip over and watch the sticky goodness cover the buns.
The banana blueberry version.
These will beat the store bought buns, no contest!

Use the basic sweet dough recipe to make 12 buns.

Feeding the Boys- Pulled Pork North Carolina Style

I prefer making my Christmas gifts.  Over the years, friends and family have been gifted all manner of preserves, jams, jellies, cakes and cookies.  I love to spend the day in the kitchen baking up my Christmas gifts and being able to personalize them.  This year, Kyle's gift was a kitchen IOU.  "Whatever you like, just give me a few days notice", I told him over Christmas dinner.  Well, Super Bowl weekend is coming up and the boys will be gathering.  His request: pulled pork with caramelized onions.  These boys don't eat cole slaw so we're going with the not so conventional caramelized onions which I know they will love.  So, I will use some of the sauce ingredients to flavour my caramelized onions, tying everything together.

In the winter, I don't BBQ so much so it's a good thing that pulled pork can easily be prepared in the oven.  Not so authentic, but it works well.

Pulled pork sandwich with caramelized onions
A five pound pork roast will serve six generously.

Moroccan Beef Tagine with Dried Apricots and Warm Spices

Tender beef is slowly simmered with vegetables, chickpeas, dried apricots, raisins.  Add ras-al-hanout, a traditional spice mix and voilĂ - great Moroccan!  A tagine is really just a flavourful, exotic stew.  Serve it with crusty bread, cooling yogourt and the traditional glass of fresh mint tea.

To serve four.

Remembering the PIE- Chicken Pot Pie

Did your mama make chicken pot pie when you were growing up?  I can still smell my mama's pie, hear the light crunch of her flaky crust as she cut into the pie and taste the rich creamy sauce, tender morsels of chicken and vegetables.  Can you feel it?  Everyone loves chicken pot pie.  It's well worth the effort of making it from scratch... You'll never ever look at those frozen supermarket wannabes again.

I tend to make my pot pies individually instead of using a casserole dish.  When the kids were growing up, I preferred to have the single pies in the freezer ready for my teenagers to cook "on demand".  It worked for us!

I usually only top my pot pies with pie dough, but sometimes use pastry top and bottom. Either makes a delicious dish.  You can always use puff pastry as a topping - it works well and looks great.

This recipe makes six individual pot pies or, if you prefer to use a casserole dish, serve six to eight (13 x 9-inch baking dish).

Basic Sweet Dough- The Key to Goodness!

Love those cravings!  Cinnamon buns and sticky buns- homemade just can't be beat.  Sticky, gooey, rich, puffy buns bring out that inner kid in all of us.  Remember how great you felt pulling apart those rounds of cinnamon goodness?  And the smell in the kitchen while they baked?  Well, these are relatively easy to make with your dependable Kitchenaid.  I made one batch of cinnamon buns and another of sticky buns because I love both and they are made with the same sweet dough.

One batch of sweet dough makes 12 buns.

Homemade Cinnamon Buns- The Pillsbury Dough Boy just can't Compete

Sweet smells of cinnamon wafting from the oven, rich, puffy rolls just waiting to be pulled apart... Makes you feel like a kid all over again!  These just can't be bought at the supermarket...

I'm not a sweets person, except when I spy cinnamon buns in the bakery showcase... They are my downfall!  Making them at home is easy and oh so much better than store bought.  These buns are just sweet enough (not cloying) and just cinnamon"ey" enough to send me to bun Heaven!  I make one dozen and freeze half the batch for later.  Imagine, waking up in the morning to freshly baked buns!

You'll need one batch of basic sweet dough to make these.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Crisp Vietnamese Shrimp Fingers with Fresh Herbs

Wonton wrappers never had it so good!  Wrapped around lightly seasoned shrimp paste, these wonton fingers are deep fried then served in lettuce leaves and herbs.  Soooo good!

Make a double batch and freeze half.  Just reheat them in the oven and you're ready to serve!

Makes 25 rolls.