Thursday, September 24, 2009

Adventures in Quiche

I did it. I made a quiche (and the pastry crust) from scratch! If I can do this in a timely manner and without injury then by God anyone can. I made two different quiches, one involving asparagus and another with bacon and mushroom.

For the crust I used a very basic recipe that I dug up on Food Network:

Pat in a Pan Pie Crust:

Recipe courtesy Joe Ray

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a 9-inch pie pan, combine all ingredients and mix with a fork. After mixing well, use your hand to form a ball in the pan and then press into pan. Bring it up on the sides and pinch the top. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.

Yield: 1 pie crust

The pie crusts took no more than 10 minutes to get together. Possibly one of the easiest and most impressive things I've ever done. I will be making all my own pie crusts from now on since it's easier than actually keeping them in my fridge, thawing them, and rolling them out.

For the asparagus quiche I pan roasted the asparagus for a few minutes before putting it in the quiche and was unable to find prosciutto so left it out. It was an unpleasant quiche according to my customer focus group (dad and sister).

The second quiche was wildly successful! I used baby portabella mushrooms and just put them into the custard without sauteing them first. I left out the parsley because I don't particularly care for it and I know of no one that's passionate about keeping parsley in a dish. I also fried up the bacon and then cut it up with some scissors so that the fat was all trimmed off. I took this quiche with me to book club and it received rave reviews from everyone. The next step would be to figure out how to make a low calorie version of this quiche or at the least, a lower calorie version. Based on the strength of this particular quiche, I've been asked to do a couple of quiches for a friend's bridal luncheon so we'll see if I can't make a bit of a dent in the calorie content of the quiche without affecting the flavor too much.

I have no idea what I want to cook next but if you (whoever you might be) have any ideas, please let me know!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Korma Comedian

Ah, cooking is not without risks. The primary one being that you'll spend time, energy, and money to make something and it'll turn out to be crap. I have crashed headlong into that when making some Navratan Korma. The only thing I changed is that I doubled the recipe and used coconut milk instead of milk and heavy cream (I also doubled the garlic and ginger pastes but that was an additional direction given by the recipe maker). It turned out to be shockingly spicy. Now that I think about it, using milk and heavy cream might have kept some of the heat from the cayenne at bay but if, and I stress the if-ness of that if, I make this again, the cayenne will be halved. Also, more dry fruit. I should definitely have put in some dried apricot etc, but didn't think about it until after I was packing up the leftovers. Anyway, much was learned about the power of spice and about the dangers of trying to make Indian food at home.

We also had some Chicken Tikka Masala using the sauce made by Patak's. Normally I'm very wary of premade sauce but this stuff is pretty damn tasty and the right amount of heat. So, when you can't bear to screw up a pound of chicken with kitchen wizardry, Patak's is the way to go, in my opinion. My sister and I certainly find their stuff reliably tasty and very affordable. It is pretty unhealthy though, but so is ice cream, casual sex, and feeding the wildlife, so use your own judgement.

My sister also got very badly burned when some very hot paneer went astray. My apologies to her for being overzealous with the paneer.

Tonight is a night for takeaway, probably chinese, because sometimes you just need really horrible food that has no redeeming value to its name.

The next food adventure is going to be quiche. I love quiche and have threatened to leave my boyfriend if ever an adorable manatee ever learns how to make quiche. I would also accept a quiche made by a lemur.

This asparagus and prosciutto quiche is meant to be gluten free but I'm probably going to ignore the gluten free parts of it and use ordinary ingredients. I may even attempt to make my own crust (*gasp*) so watch this space. Also, going to try and figure out how to post pictures

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sauces and Vegetables

Yesterday was a day of much vegetable chopping. I probably bought more vegetables than I needed but they'll definitely get nommed before they go off so that's fine. We had Plowman's share for dinner which was made up of:

2 onions
5 zucchini
3 carrots
2 bell peppers

You cook all these vegetables in whatever way makes you happy, make a baked potato, throw the vegetables on top with some sour cream and butter and chow down. This happily fed four of us.

Unfortunately the grill was out of commission so there was no delicious chargrilled veggies to be had this time round but we had Asparagus with Saffron Aioli anyway. The Saffron Aioli was incredibly easy to make and tasted heavenly. It's definitely replacing Hollandaise sauce in this house. The best part was that you could actually taste the saffron. It would probably taste amazing as a sandwich spread as well. I may try that this afternoon.

Also had some Lime Butter Sauce to go with corn on the cob. It wasn't as lime flavored as I would have preferred but then, I'm pretty much addicted to limes and anything lime flavored. It did contrast incredibly with the sweetness of the corn and brought out other flavors that you don't normally taste.

For my next feat of cooking daring do, I want to make some minestrone because it's starting to get a bit cooler and I want to have an excuse to buy more vegetables. Also, joy of joys, it can be made in just one pot! Hurrah!

So keep your eyes peeled for Summer Minestrone with Pesto here next.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


There was a BBQ on Labor Day Monday at a friend's house and I was encouraged, possibly begged, into bringing Sangria. I made waaaaay more of it than I probably should have, but there we are. I used this recipe and found that after the required 24 hours it was absolutely the perfect blend of tart and sweet.

Unfortunately adding any soda water to that completely took away the deliciousness of the sweet and tart. I swore that I would avoid using Sprite in a Sangria recipe but adding a little bit of Sprite to a glass of Sangria made it perfect beyond measure. I still have tons of the stuff left over but I'm glad to know that I've found the Sangria recipe I'll be bringing to BBQs for the rest of my life. I may try a white wine one at some point though. I like the fact that white ones use peaches which are the loveliest fruit in the universe except perhaps for pluots.

I also brought to the party a mini of a brand of alcohol called Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea Vodka because one of the hosts is from West Texas and is a big fan of sweet tea. That mini was gone almost instantly as each of us at the BBQ tried a sip of it and found it to be amazing. It's not available everywhere unfortunately but it has to be one of the best kept secrets I've ever tasted. I'm already planning an original recipe (I know I said not to expect any, but this totally calls for it) for sweet tea cupcakes and this liquor is definitely going to be the star of it. School is getting a little hairy right now but once it calms down a bit again, I'll be trying my hand at original baking.

Tonight's recipe for asparagus sounds pretty simple but also pretty damn delicious. I think the main course is going to be something my dad calls plowman's share. It's basically whatever vegetables you have on hand cooked up in whichever way is easiest and then piled onto a baked potato with some sour cream. Since grilling is already happening for the asparagus, I'm going to chop up some other vegetables and get them into the grilling action as well.

I shall report back!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Virgin Posting

I'm a student with not enough time on my hands and far too many things I want to do every day. I still somehow contrive to find time for boredom as well (miraculous being that I am). Anyway, the whole point of this blog is mainly for me to keep track of what I cook and what I thought of it. I have yet to craft an original recipe so expect nothing in that field. Rather, expect reviews of recipes that you might be interested in.

I should also say, that if you don't feel like trying something out but want to know what it tastes like, I'm perfectly willing to be the taste tester. My only stipulations are that I don't cook fish though I will happily eat them at a restaurant, and I will not cook anything with eggplant/aubergine as the primary ingredient.

Today I cooked two things:

Rachel Ray Curry in a Hurry


Cauliflower and Chickpea curry

The RR curry was a bigger hit with my parents. I would describe it as a mango curry chicken dish, rather than a straight up curry. The flavor from the chutney comes through very clearly but I strongly suspect that almost any chutney could be used. As a massive fan of lime, I'm very tempted to make it with lime chutney. I used mild chutney but may try and kick it up with some hot chutney as well. I used Patak's brand chutney because it was readily available and cheap as hell, which counts for a lot with me. Also, instead of the half and half that RR requires, I used coconut milk because I knew it would work nicely alongside the chutney. The result was a smooth and delicious psuedo curry that was jam packed with vegetables.

The Cauliflower and Chickpea curry was a little less stunning in the flavor department but still nomful. Not sure I would make it again without doubling the spices called for and throwing in a pinch of sumac to hold up the tang that was supposed to come from the ginger and tomatoes. I did use fire-roasted tomatoes which added some depth to the flavor but not nearly enough. Normally I love cauliflower but the flavor didn't penetrate through it sufficiently. The recipe was certainly easy enough to merit a second shot though. I value a simple and cheap recipe that can be tweaked more than a difficult and costly recipe that's a winner from the get-go.

Next thing I'm scheduled to make is a double recipe of Citrus Sangria for a cookout with some friends. I shall let you know if Citrus Sangria is the winner that I very much believe it will be or if I'm going to keep looking for the perfect Sangria recipe before bookclub meets (and imbibes) again.

Next thing I want to try cooking while Cilantro is still plentiful is Cilantro Chicken