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.
This week we’re rewinding episode 27 of the Birmingham Shines podcast featuring Birmingham mixed media artist Susan Shoemaker, who works under the name pencilpress.
As it happens, Susan / @pencilpress / is the featured artist for this month’s Birmingham Artwalk downtown.
Susan markets her work under the pencilpress brand, which connects to her college art studies in printmaking and her love of drawing. And she also presses hard with her pencil. Hence, pencilpress.
Susan is known for her animal-focused art and she explains how she conceives and creates animal drawings, paintings and other works.
We get into art-as-calling (a little bit) the creative process, art in schools and what it’s like to pursue art while working a full-time day job.
Susan also explains how she gave up art for some years after college, while she worked full time, and then returned when she found that art was something that she could not let go.
Susan also talks about some of the challenges that artists are facing—and they might surprise you. One is the challenge of dealing with bad weather during an outdoor art show. Another stems from the frequent requests that artists receive to donate their work for fundraising campaigns. This is something that the artist community, overall, is facing and working to address.
We also talk about the challenge of pricing and value and perceptions of price, time, value and quality in the context of art AND food.
PencilPress.org (not .com)
Thanks to Chris and Ana Newsome for letting me commandeer a corner table at [the original location of Ollie Irene] at 4 p.m. one November Friday afternoon to record the interview and thanks to the house staff for being so accommodating with the request to turn down the background music a bit. Excited that Ollie Irene will soon be reopening in their new location in Crestline Village.
This week’s rewind takes us back to East Lake Market, a small-but-vibrant farmers and crafters market operated by Peer, Inc., a nonprofit, in the parking lot behind East Lake United Methodist Church.
One mission focus of Peer, Inc. is to provide healthy food for the East Lake Community and market opportunities for Alabama farmers.
The interviews and commentary featured in this episode were recorded in June 2016 and the episode was released June 25, 2016.
I usually pay a visit to East Lake Market every Saturday morning during season when I’m in town. East Lake Market is my first stop to pick the locally-grown produce that I don’t have on hand from my own Shine Springs Farm.
In this episode we hear from:
Witt Farms in Hayden
Benny Dixon of Dixon Family Farms in Clanton
Eugenia Wynfrey of Wynfrey Farms in Boaz
Jimmy Carmack of Pure Alabama Honey (several hundred hives) he touches on the challenges in beekeeping
Sister Sniffle: Facebook, Soundcloud, Bandcamp
Kevin Snelson representing Whited Farms at East
Sally Aloca – Executive Director of Peer, Inc., the nonprofit that operates the East Lake Farmers Market at East Lake United Methodist Church
Max Bellmore, a student in the Samford University Accelerated Nursing Program. Max is from Chicago.
Jennifer Freeman, also a student in the Samford University Accelerated Nursing Program. Jennifer is a California native
The East Lake Farmers Market is open on Saturdays from April through October and is located at East Lake United Methodist Church in east Birmingham, Alabama.
This week’s edition of the Birmingham Shines podcast retrospective series is a rewind of episode 3 featuring Sheree’s conversation with Javacia Harris Bowser. This episode was released on May 13, 2015.
Javacia Harris Bowser talks about founding SeeJaneWrite-Birmingham when she couldn’t find the writing group she was looking for.
Javacia Harris Bowser, my guest for Week 3 of the Birmingham Shines
podcast, is a writer, teacher and entrepreneur. She’s also a successful blogger and founder of See Jane Write Birmingham—networking group for
women writers that has turned into a business.
Javacia moved to Birmingham several years ago from Louisville, Kentucky to teach English at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. Before embarking on her teaching career, Javacia worked professionally as a journalist and she continues to do freelance writing work today.
Do one thing every day that scares you.
That’s the inspirational quote that Javacia shared with me when I asked her for something to inspire others to Discover. Grow. Shine.™
If you want to grow, you must be willing to get out of your comfort zone, even
just a little bit. When you do, you usually find that it wasn’t so bad after all—especially if you’re taking little steps. No need to take up hang-gliding. Just send an email to someone you admire and don’t know and invite them to coffee. Take a different route home from work. Or maybe do your grocery shopping in reverse order from your usual routine.
It’s pretty clear that Javacia is willing to take her own advice.
When Javacia couldn’t find the type of writing group she was looking for, she decided to start one. The first “official” meeting of See Jane Write Birmingham was a simple dinner meet-up on March 24, 2011 at a Mexican restaurant in Birmingham.
That meet-up led to a “next event,” which was all about using Twitter to network, connect with others and build a blogging audience. The successful Twitter event led to a blogging workshop and into one-on-one consulting and even bigger events.
See Jane Write Birmingham has grown immensely in the four [now 6] years since that first informal meet-up and today Javacia offers consulting and online courses for women who aspiring writers and entrepreneurs. Find out more about the See Jane Write Birmingham story by listening to episode 3 of Birmingham Shines—if you haven’t already!
Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
Church Street Coffee & Books
Goddess by Banks
Anything by Beyoncé
Jennifer Dome King: Stellar Fashion and Fitness
I love Jennifer Dome King’s blog Stellar Fashion and Fitness. It has such a great message about body positivity.
Get up early.
I’ll echo this one—I got up before 5 a.m. to start writing this blog post [in 2015]. I’m a big believer in “early to bed, early to rise.” If you know me at all, you probably know how I go on all the time about Ben Franklin!
The Creative Class
I hope you are inspired by Javacia as I am!
We tell real stories about the south. ~Kara Kennedy, Publisher