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.
When I moved back to Birmingham from Washington, D.C. several years ago, I began a tradition of cooking breakfast Christmas morning. [Read more…] about Christmas memories found in cooking Christmas breakfast
The Super Bowl game provides a perfect excuse for me to splurge on yummy tailgate party food. One of my go-to appetizers is Baked Smoked Gouda in a Pastry because it’s easy to prepare and has always been well received at parties I have taken it to. A friend of mine gave me this recipe many years ago when I was looking for something new to serve at a party.
I have always served this appetizer with crackers and a Pinot Noir. I haven’t tried serving mixed nuts as this recipe suggests, but I am sure they would add to the flavor of the appetizer.
Here’s the recipe courtesy of the Dallas Morning News:
1 (10- to 12-ounce) round chunk of smoked Gouda, measuring about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick and 3 1/2 inches in diameter, brown rind removed.
2/3 sheet of Pepperidge Farm brand frozen puff pastry, defrosted according to package directions
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Place 2/3 sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. If it is stiff, let sit for 5 minutes or so. Roll out the pastry into a 12- to 12 1/2-inch square. Cut off corners to make a circle of pastry (reserve some scraps for decoration). Place the smoked Gouda round in the center of the pastry. Brush the edge of the circle with some of the egg mixture. Fold the pastry up over the cheese to cover. Trim the excess pastry and press to seal. Brush the seam with egg mixture. Place seam-side down onto the baking sheet.
Decorate the top with pastry scraps cut into shapes, adhering them with egg mixture. Brush top and side of the wrapped cheese with the egg mixture.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until pastry is browned and puffed. Serve with nuts and crackers.
Makes 8 to 9 servings.
Admittedly, I believe that most people who know me think I am too busy working and focusing on my job, to know how to cook or let alone enjoying cooking. But, I am here to tell you that these thoughts couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, I spent most of my childhood in the small Alabama town of Opelika, which is the twin city to Auburn. My father was the basketball coach at Opelika High and so my childhood was surrounded by everything that had to do with small-town America and the activities one finds to do in a small town. That being said, there were certain activities my mother insisted my sister and I be involved in; one was dancing, ballet, tap and jazz classes twice a week and the other was Girl Scouts. My sister and I were very involved in Girl Scouts, and it was up to my mother to see that we filled up our sashes with every possible badge there was to get in the organization. This meant that we worked towards badges during our regular meetings as well as at camp in the summer. Every summer we were carted off to Camp Concharty in Pine Mountain, Georgia. For two straight weeks we worked tirelessly to earn the badges we were supposed to while living outside in the mountains of Georgia. Camp is where I learned to cook on a modified Crisco can with a wood fire underneath that you had to build and keep it burning yourself. Eggs and bacon were practically the only thing you could cook on the small cooktop. Determined to get the cooking badge and after a couple of tries on actually cooking the eggs and bacon, I was successful.
When we returned home after the two weeks at camp and after we started school in the fall, it quickly became my responsibility to at least start dinner when got home from school. My mother worked outside the home and this was one of my chores after getting my homework. Even though I belabored the task at times, I am grateful to my mother for making me learn to cook because it helped me later when I went away to college and it taught me how to fully function on my own. It also kept me out of the fast food lines. So getting back to the title of this post and purpose of this post Southern casseroles; my dad every year at Christmas asks me to cook breakfast on Christmas morning. In taking on this task, I had to find a recipe that would feed our family of 12. I found my Cheesy Bacon and Ham Southern Breakfast Casserole in the 2001 November issue of Southern Living Magazine. It has become a tradition for me to cook this casserole every year. It also is one that satisfies even the pickiest of eaters in my family. Incidentally, to save time on Christmas morning and to make getting to opening presents quicker, I make my casserole a day ahead.
From My Recipe.com
Southern Living NOVEMBER 2001
Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon, and set aside.
Cook ham in reserved drippings in skillet over medium heat until browned.
Cook grits according to package directions. Remove from heat; stir in cheese and butter until melted. Stir in bacon, ham, eggs, and remaining ingredients. Pour into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until set.
NOTE: Casserole may be prepared a day ahead; cover and chill. Remove from refrigerator the following day, and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Bake as directed.
We tell real stories about the south. ~Kara Kennedy, Publisher