Oh, lentils! Where have you been?
Oh, lentils! Where have you been?
When it come to cooking during the winter months, I crave all things comfort. Savory, cheesy, roasty, toasty, you get the picture. Wait. Do you? Let’s think about this: warm and gooey macaroni and cheese bubbling over the side of a small, cast iron skillet. Mama’s chicken and dumplings. Ooh. And, what about individual pot pies? I bet I have some leftover holiday turkey somewhere in the back of the freezer. So many ideas when it comes to comfort foods! But I have to say, these days I’m all about quiche.
Even though I love to be in the kitchen, there are those nights I want to prepare something quickly. That’s when my good, old quiche recipe comes in handy. Easy ingredients and easy to make.
The quickest way to prepare quiche for supper is with a store-bought crust, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this option. I like to brush mine with a little melted butter about halfway through cooking it. Egg wash works, too.
For those of you who want to make a pie crust, here’s a recipe I use that makes just one crust. It can be doubled, but I’m not a fan of freezing pie dough. Don’t worry about letting the dough chill for two hours after you make it. I say an hour will do if you work quickly to roll it out.
We’re under our second big snow alert down here in Alabama (at least an inch, ya’ll), so that means all the bread and milk is sold out at Piggly Wiggly. That’s why quiche comes in handy if you’re stuck indoors. You probably have the ingredients on hand: butter, flour, salt, ice water, eggs, fillings and a hot oven.
How you fill your quiche is up to you. I tend to use whatever bits and leftovers I find in the fridge. For this recipe I used leftover charcuterie board ingredients. I crisped up just a bit of prosciutto and capocolla with applewood-smoked bacon and added it into my hearty egg filling with provolone, feta and sharp white cheddar.
The best thing about making quiche for dinner is that you have the perfect breakfast waiting on you, ready to be warmed up in the toaster over or microwave. Enjoy!
1 cup of all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut in 1/8-inch pieces
3 tablespoons ice water
Put flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and quickly cut it into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal. I prefer to do this by hand, because I’m usually cooking while my infant is sleeping. You can also do this with a mixer, pulsing it for about 30 seconds.
Add the ice water and mix briefly, about 30 seconds, to form a soft dough. Remove dough, shape into a thick disk, wrap in plastic and freeze for an hour. This is a shortcut, and it works if you roll your dough out quickly.
I will admit that it’s best to just let the dough rest in fridge for a few hours or overnight. However, we all know that sometimes Mama makes the miracles happen! Let the dought sit out for a bit before rolling, about ten minutes. It should be cold but pliable.
Lightly flour the dough and the counter. Roll the dough out with a few rolls, then turn the dough and roll again. Let it rest for a minute in between rollings. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. I like to roll mine out to about an eighth of an inch, thickness wise. That leaves plenty of room for lots of quiche filling.
Lay the dough loosely into a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom, letting it relax a bit. If you don’t have one of these pans, that’s Ok. You can also use a pie pan or a cast-iron skillet. Press the dough into the pan. Let the crust sit in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
Pre-bake the dough for about 6 to 8 minutes at 350°, using pie weights or beans to weigh the crust down. You can also poke holes into the bottom with a fork, but you will need to do this a few time while the crust is pre-cooking.
Let the crust cool before adding your quiche filling.
1/2 cup of cream
1/4 cup each of roasted vegetables (I used tomatoes, mushrooms and yellow bell peppers)
You can also sauté your vegetables. I think they taste better if they are cooked before adding them to your quiche mixture.
1 cup of grated cheese (I used feta, provolone and sharp, white cheddar)
1/2 cup of cooked, crumbled bacon, prosciutto and capocolla (use what meat you like or none at all)
1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper or salt and pepper to taste.
Whisk together the eggs and cream and then fold in the cheese and meats.
Add a few pinches of salt and peeper, less if your vegetables are already seasoned.
Pour mixture into pre-baked crust or store bought crust and bake at 350° for 20 to 30 minutes or until your filling is jiggly. Test with a knife. If it comes out clean, you’re good to go.
Southern Makers an event, which celebrates southern creativity, came to Birmingham for the first time last weekend. Some of the best-of-the best southern artisans, creatives and makers who participated in the event showcased what makes them so special. I am personally thrilled to see a renaissance taking place in our culture where we have events like this that celebrate what makes southerners southern. Sheree Martin of Birmingham Shines and I attended the event to find out why we love celebrating southern culture.
We found unique products at the exhibitor booths that ranged from locally produced honey, to handmade leather goods to an on site barbershop to beautifully hand blown glass.
It was good to see familiar faces like Redland Cotton from Moulton, Alabama, Zkano Organic Socks from Ft. Payne, Alabama, Billy Reid of Florence, Alabama and Alabama Sweet Tea of Montgomery, Alabama. It also was fun to be introduced to new vendors like Lucy’s Inspired, a Birmingham jewelry company selling jewelry that tells a story, George Jones (not that George Jones) the broom maker and Debra Riffe, a linoleum block and woodcut printer.
Alabama breweries also offered samplings of their beers at the show. Breweries and craft beers have offered big entrepreneurial opportunities in Alabama after the law was changed in 2011 lifting restrictions on alcohol content in beer.
Perhaps the most intriguing vendor to me however, was the “Jackalope Queen” by Bunny Lane a New Orleans Taxidermy artist who displayed mutant rabbits dyed pink with unicorn horns. Who remembers the movie Hope Floats? The mother in that movie was a taxidermist whose home had the animals she preserved on display. You have to imagine the art display in that context, but a little more colorful. Bunny’s work can be seen in her gallery on Royal Street in the French Quarter in New Orleans.
For lunch I had a mascarpone grilled cheese with bacon and blueberry jam sandwich from Odette’s a café out of Florence, Alabama. It was wonderfully tasty and I paired it with Alabama’s Sweet Tea. I have wanted to eat at Odette’s every time I am in Florence, but have not had the opportunity.
The highlight of the day was a performance by The Pine Hill Haints of Muscle Shoals, Alabama. I would classify the band as a cross between a Cajun band and a rockabilly band. However, they describe themselves as a honky-tonk country band playing Alabama Ghost Music.
It is inspiring to see such an emphasis and celebration being placed on Southern makers. We too rejoice that we were able to discover a wealth of creativity and entrepreneurial spirit in these makers living in the South.
To celebrate the upcoming total solar eclipse we bring you a Rewind of Birmingham Shines podcast episode 8, featuring David Weigel, Director of Christenberry Planetarium at Samford University, and an avid outdoors guy who loves rock climbing all around Birmingham and the South.
This episode was released as a bonus episode of Birmingham Shines on June 15, 2015. In it, David and I (Sheree) talk about recent discoveries, a bit of astrophysics, and what Birmingham has to offer those who love to spend time in outdoor recreation.
The Christenberry Planetarium recently published this short video on the upcoming solar eclipse:
Read more about David Weigel in this profile from Samford University.
Birmingham residents had an opportunity to have the Made South experience this weekend at the Hoover Met. I have been following the Made South and Southern Makers phenomena for a couple of years now on Instagram, so I jumped at a chance to go to the show when a friend told me about it coming to Birmingham. It was a perfect show to meet the entrepreneurs I have been following on social media. I also got the chance to support some of them with purchases of Southern-made goods.
There were several vendors and products that caught my eye. I loved to seeing two Alabama distillers participating in the show: Redmont Distilling and John Emerald Distilling Company. I sampled the Redmont Vodka again I had sampled it at Birmingham’s Sloss Fest last year. It didn’t disappoint. I have been following the progress of Emerald Distilling on social media and I really was looking forward to trying their products. I am not particularly fond of whiskey, but their Alabama Single Malt Whiskey is smooth! I highly recommend it!
Other vendors I found interesting at the show were:
The vendor Red Land Cotton sells sheets, pillow covers and other Alabama cotton items from cotton grown on a farm located in Moulton, Alabama near the foot of the Bankhead National Forest.
Statesboro, Georgia’s H.L. Franklin’s Healthy Honey is to die for! I’d never heard of Creamed Honey until today. It was so good and unfortunately it had sold out. I did, however, buy their Crystallized Cotton Honey, my second favorite.
I tried the tasty Delta Blues Rice grits from Mississippi. I learn something new every day, and found out that rice was grown in northern Mississippi.
Marc Nelson’s custom-made denim out of Knoxville, Tennessee had samples of hand-made jeans and denim items.
Of course, I sipped on sweet tea from the Alabama Sweet Company and Honest coffee.
One of the highlights of the show for me was meeting an Instagram friend, Here A Chick There a Chick, a company owned by Kerry Leasure. She is an artist who makes jewelry out of vintage items and with each piece also comes a story about vintage piece that makes up the jewelry.
And what southern maker show would be completed without a Forrest Gump impersonator, none of course!
When you get a chance, you should go to a Made South show.
“Join us on a journey to inspired southern life and work.”