January 23, 2011

Promises! Promises!

I have to say this blog thing is little harder than I thought.  Just when I thought my day was over, 'the blog' calls out and says, "uh, you promised them recipes".  I am sorry I didn't post the daily recipes. I guess I will have to construct a better plan, that takes into consideration my 'down time'.  I admit that with my assistants at work, my job is not grueling.  It isn't easy, but not like digging ditches or anything.  But usually after work, I go home and have my real family to cook for.  And for some reason I have this overwhelming feeling that I had already accomplished that duty for the day.  Anyway, they are my one and onlies, so I gotta do for them what I do for the paying folks.  Regardless, I started this thing, and I have to say I enjoy the feedback I get.  I don't always get comments, but when I check my stats, I can see that this blog is being read.  I will do better.  If you are truly looking for recipes, they will be up today.  Most of the recipes are ready to go, just require typing and uploading photos, which has been problematic.  When I was uploading photos, my trusty laptop just decided to take a nap, ie, crash! Not making my commitment any easier. I will post a couple at a time, so I don't lose anything due to laptop lament.  Hope you enjoy!


Baked Mac n Cheese in Puff Pastry ~ Sorry No Photo
1-2 sheets puff pastry
1 lb cooked pasta (elbow macaroni, rotini, penne)
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cream
1 lb shredded swiss
3 cups milk
1/4 cup butter

Oven 350
I make this in individual bowls that are ovenproof.  You can make it using a jumbo muffin pan or make one large pan with the pastry on top.  If making this in a casserole, skip the pastry steps. I'll explain what to do at the end of the recipe.
Let the puff pastry thaw by while making the mac n cheese mixture. Remove from the box, lay out flat.
In a bowl, add flour, salt, & pepper. Add the cream slowly while mixing. If you add it too fast, it will get lumpy. If this happens, don't worry, you can run it through a wire strainer to remove the lumps. Set aside.
Set the stove to low, in a large saucepan add milk.
Once milk is starting to bubble on the edges, add the swiss cheese.
Stir constantly until melted. If you walk away, remove the pan from heat or it will burn on the bottom.
Add some of the swiss mixture to the flour & milk mixture to thin it out to a gravy consistency.
Add that mix back into the swiss cheese mixture and cook until thickened.
Take a little taste, add salt or pepper to your taste.
Add the pasta to the pan and stir until all the pasta is coated. Set aside.
Cut puff pastry into 6 circles that are larger than the bowl/muffin pan you are using.  You will want the pastry to extend beyond the bowl/muffin cup.
For each serving, line the bowl/pan with the pastry.
Add a small dollop of butter in the bottom.
Fill each bowl or muffin cup with the mac n cheese
Fold the pastry over the top or make little flutes around the edge like a pie.
Put a dollop of butter on top of the pastry or brushe melted butter on edges
Bake until pastry is puffy and golden brown. 
If making in a casserole, cut out 6 - 4 x 4 pastry squares
Put all of the mac n cheese in a greased 9 x 13
Place the squares on top, they may overlap, brush with melted butter.
Bake until pastry is puffy and golden brown.
Serve with salad or a green veggie.




Queso Smothered Beef Burritos with Fire Roasted Corn

Filling
8-10 Flour Tortillas
1 lb browned/drained ground sirloin
1 can green chiles
1 can undrained Rotel tomatoes & green chiles
1 medium onion, fine chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
Add all ingredients except cheese to the browned beef,
simmer on low to keep warm.

Queso
2 cups of shredded Asadero cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoon of finely chopped Onion
4 teaspoons of grounded Cumin
4 ounces of chopped Jalapenos OR
1/2 teaspoon of Salt
8 ounces of canned Green Chilies
  • Heat all ingredients on medium in a double boiler.
  • Stirring constantly until metlted and smooth.
  • Chiles give it a distinctive Mexican flavor I guarantee you'll love.
Fire Roasted Corn
12 oz bag of frozen corn
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/2 cup half and half
  • Pour chipotles into a small strainer set over a bowl to separate chiles from adobo.
  • Pour corn into a saucepan, add milk and enough water to just cover corn.
  • Add one pepper and 2 Tbsp of adobo to saucepan (add/reduce to taste)
  • Cook until hot.
Assemble each burritio with a scoop of beef and monterey jack cheese. Fold in the ends, then roll.  Ladle on the cheese sauce, garnish with olives or jalapenos if you wish. 
Serve with Fire Roasted Corn, Chips & Salsa


4 oz deveined and julienned Poblanos
1/2 cup of 'half-and-half'

January 20, 2011

The Smoking Vegan


Shrimp Fajitas ~ Wednesday's Dinner

A typical day for me consists of two good rounds of cooking meals, maybe some menu planning, fraternity shenanigans, some warm comments regarding meals, and then moments such as the one I experienced this week, meeting The Smoking Vegan.
This semester we have a new pledge...Sydney. 
Our first encounter began with an introduction,  names, etc. and then the worst news I, a former bakery owner, could ever receive.  Aubrey was equally dismayed at this announcement.  Mr. Sydney is a full on vegan.  No dairy, no meat, no eggs, no no no!
I am sure the look on our faces was one of stupified bewilderment.  We felt jilted, abandoned, forsaken.  It's our life's work, the concoctions of butter, flour, cream, sugar, sprinkled with bacon that he has rejected.  Well, how can I question a young man's resolve?  How can I be the cause of his demise?  So we proceeded with a small kitchen interview to see, what in fact, this new recruit would be eating here.  We came to the conclusion that we do have some things he might enjoy, that are free of any animal products...rice, beans, rice with beans, rice and salsa, beans and chips, any fruit or veggie void of the lusciousness of a buttered saute skillet, but food nonetheless.
So as I was leaving for the day, pondering my new challenge.  I take a double take behind me to what...? What do I see, but the committed, unwavering, solid as a rock Vegan?  SMOKING!  Oh how did I want to just take that cigarette and fry it up with some good bacon and a pound of butter, topped with cheddar cheese.  Don't think I just walked away.  No. I confronted the smoking scoundrel and simply stated, "A Vegan? Right!"  Well, okay I guess he is entitled to correct part of his life, but Vegan?  I mean really! For every puff I just see that big soy dinner blow up in smoke.
I am so mean.  No, I'm sarcastic.  And if this isn't a better opportunity for sass and sarcasm, what is?  I am still a softie when it comes to my 'boys'.  So, Aubrey and I made our little grocery trip to buy the hungry pledge some Silk soy milk.  We also had enough heart to make him his own batch of chili, his very own bowl of butterless veggies, and his portion of rice which was free of any of the fajita shrimp or chicken. 
Come on, this is his home away from home.  Who else is gonna cook food for him?  It's gotta be me. Sydney, as long as you're here, we'll feed you.  And when you decide you can't stand by watching your future brothers indulging in homemade biscuits that are 3 inches tall, we won't judge, we'll just fill up your plate.

January 19, 2011

Food Crusade



I have it in my mind to change school lunch forever at my child's school.  I have done the research, and what surprised me, is when checking out the school lunch info for Kansas, there I found a full PDF recipe book for scratch made food, yet none of the schools are using any of it.  It isn't gourmet, but it sure as heck isn't a *&%$# Crispitos!  Well, guess what, the Food Crusade has begun!  My child attends a small private school, so my mountain is not quite as steep as the behemoth of the local public school.  But I am determined to get my way.  My crusade is for the greater good.  It's just not that hard to cook real food each day for hungry kids.  How did this ever become optional? I am not the only one fed up with poor food choices at schools. Check out these websites... http://www.fedupwithschoollunch.blogspot.com/ and http://www.jamieoliver.com/campaigns/jamies-food-revolution/petition !  And when you check out Jamie Oliver's site, wave your mouse over your state and you might be very surprised to see how many people have voted for change!  Make sure you cast your votes! Spend some time on that site, it's so worth it.   I am so impressed by his commitment to this issue.  He isn't from the US, yet he is here trying to fix probably the one thing that is a central part of our nations health breakdown.  FOOD!  SUSTENANCE! The most basic need of all humans. And the single largest element in our childen's daily life, school, is feeding them something not suitable for animals.  Can you hear me yelling?  Okay, I'm simmering down a bit.
Well, tomorrow I will be meeting with our school Lunch Lady, with high hopes that we will develop a new and beautiful relationship, changing the meals at my son't school from something that tastes and looks like cardboard to something flavorful, colorful, healthy, and made with love. It certainly is not my intention to hurt anyone's feelings, but we are all grown-ups here and I am real tired of grown-ups making excuses for doing less than their best for our children. And I don't feel bad calling the food cardboard, because no one there is cooking anything.  How can a box be insulted?
So, friends say a prayer for me.  I will let you know how it goes tomorrow! In the meantime, while your perusing over the links I mentioned, you will find that they will connect you to lots and lots of success stories.  No more excuses, it's not a question of "if it's possible", but a question of "when do we start?"

Right now!

January 18, 2011

More Phi Phood!

Hello Bloggers...
Well our Slacker Monday corn dog lunch went off without a hitch! Pretty sure you don't need a recipe for that.  And we made some homemade chili for the guys last night.  The recipe is down below!  It was nice seeing all the guys and beginning to get into my old routine.  I can honestly say I had an entire month of slacking while we were on winter break, but it was sprinkled with some great highlights, such as the little Christmas Party we held in Kansas City.  It was Nicholaus, my Phi Delt right hand man, Miss Aubrey, my Chef Assistant, and Hayley, my ever wonderful darling daughter.  We braved some bitter cold to venture all the way (2 hours) to Kansas City to eat lunch at Room 39, then divine desserts at Andre's.  Room 39 is absolutely my fave! It is this quaint little urban cafe in the KU Med area, on 39th Street.  For me, it's not just the food, but the entire experience and this little place that abounds with atmosphere.  Hardwood floors, old tin ceiling, small, cozy, and espresso made the right way!  Mix that with the wonderful company of my young friends and it makes for a perfect day.  Be sure to check out http://www.rm39.com/.  They have a second location in Leawood, Kansas as well.  After filling up on fab food and coffee, we trekked across town to make our way to a special little place near The Plaza called Andre's.  I am originally from KC and spent lots of time on The Plaza, but never once went to Andre's.  "Confiserie Suisse" is Andre's. They hand make every chocolate, torte, candy, tart, etc.  Until you check out their website, nothing I can say here will do justice to the talented work done there.  http://andreschocolates.com/. By the end of our little party we were quite content having had delicious food, great coffee, amazing chocolate, and great company. 
But, back to the grindstone....
Here is our recipes for the chili and cornbread. Don't worry, we scaled them down a bit to feed about 4-6 hungry people.

Chili
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground sirloin ~ I use 90/10 so I don't need to drain the meat.  If you want to drain the meat, cook it separately first, then add it to the sauteed onions & garlic. Proceed with the recipe as directed.
2 cups corn
2 cans Rotel
2 cans petite diced tomato
1 small can tomato sauce
1 small can green chile
1 can each - pinto, kidney, black beans Drained & Rinsed
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Brown the onions & garlic in the olive oil, add the beef and cook until done. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, and cook until bubbling.  Then reduce to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring often. 
Serve with shredded cheese, tortilla chips or cracker and Corn & Green Chile Cornbread. Enjoy.

Corn & Green Chile Cornbread
Oven 400
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 can rotel undrained
1 can green chile
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, mix egg, milk, rotel with juice, green chile, and oil.
Add liquid ingredients to dry, stir until moistened, not too much. Pour into a greased 8 inch square pan or 9 inch round pan.  Bake 20-25 minutes.While still warm, drizzle honey over the top making sure to spread over the entire surface.

January 16, 2011

Phi Menu!

Hello Sunday!
I missed my blog while I was away.  I am so excited to have 11, count 'em, 11 followers! I know it's not a lot, but it means a lot!
At the fraternity, we plan our menus two weeks at a time.  I will be posting the weekly menu each weekend.  I cook lunch and dinner Monday-Thursday and lunch only on Fridays. If you hate menu planning, feel free to take this menu and adapt it to your family.  I will be posting recipes with photos as we prepare each item, so as long as you have something for Monday's, you could use our recipes for the rest of the week.  We try not to repeat items very often, but it does happen, usually for favorites.  Anyway, I hope you find the menu helpful in your week of meal planning.  Just email me if you have any questions at cafegirl16@gmail.com.

By the way.....
I tend to make Monday's an easy, out of the freezer type of lunch.  I don't hate Monday's, rather, I like them.  But I like them at home! So, I plan a lunch that is easy to prepare in 1 hour or less, so I can spend the morning at home, cleaning up the weekend hullabaloo that remains after my family scampers off to work and school...so forgive me if you don't like corndogs, but these boys like some 'bad' food once in a while and with me, they get it on Monday.  Technically, they aren't due for my cooking until Tuesday due to MLK, so anything will make them happy!

Week of January 17-21
Monday
Lunch-Corn Dogs, Tomato Basil Bisque, Fresh Fruit
Dinner-Homemade Chili, Homemade Corn & Green Chile Cornbread
Tuesday
Lunch-Baked Macaroni & Cheese, Peas, Fresh Fruit, Homemade Roll
Dinner-Queso Smothered Beef Burritos, Fire Roasted Corn, Salsa & Chips, Green Salad
 Wednesday
Lunch-Curried Tuna Melts on Wheat Berry Bread, Blueberry Muffins, Fresh Fruit, Potato Chips
Dinner-Shrimp Fajitas, Southwest Veggie Fried Rice, Pico de Gayo, Sweet & Spicy Pinto Beans
 Thursday
Lunch-Philly Cheesesteaks, Sweet Potato Fries, Fresh Fruit Salad
Dinner-Homemade Chicken Pot Pie, Cranberry Jello Salad, Biscuit
Friday
Lunch-Spaghetti w/Homemade meatsauce, Caesar Salad, Fresh Green Beans, Garlic Bread

 This menu gives you 9 meals to work with, 8 if you don't count my slacker meal of corndogs! So, if all you needed were ideas, here they are!

Today for my family, I am making a wonderful Rustic Roast Beef Sandwich.  For dessert I am going to make a Pear Tart! The recipes are below. Enjoy.
 
Rustic Roast Beef on Sourdough with Tangy Horseradish Aioli
4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Green Bell Pepper, sliced into strips
1 large onion, sliced into thin rings
3 fine minced garlic
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1.5 lb deli roast beef, thin sliced
4-6 sandwich sliced Fontina Cheese, cut in half
1/4 cup Gorgonzola Cheese Crumbles (optional, but yummy!)
Fresh Spinach (optional)
Tomato slices (optional)
1-2 sticks softened butter
1-2 loaves sourdough baguette

Tangy Horseradish Aioli
1 cup mayo
2 Tbsp Horseradish Sauce
Juice of 1/2 lemon
*In a small bowl, mix all ingredients. 
Put sauce into a squeeze bottle if you wish.

Oven 400
Heat a saute pan on medium, then add olive oil and
garlic.  Add bell pepper and cook for 1 minute.  Add
all of the onion and mushrooms and cook another 2-3
minutes.  Cook until onions are clear and brown on
the edges.  Set aside.  Slice sourdough baguette in half
lengthwise, like a big sandwich.  Then cut into 3-4
sections on the diagonal for individual sandwiches. 
Carve out some excess bread on each side, so the
sandwich isn't so thick with too much bread.  
Butter each side.  On the bottom half of each sandwich
 section layer:
4-5 slices of roast beef
A spread of the aioli
A sprinkle of gorgonzola
A spoonful of onion mushroom mixture
A layer of trimmed spinach leaves
Top with Fontina slices & another smear of aioli
Place the top half of the baguette on the sandwich, wrap in foil,

BAKE for about 25 minutes.
Feed your Fans!
**The sandwiches I made did not have Gorgonzola or spinach. I'm slowly trying to get my kids to get out of their 'food comfort zone'. The horseradish sauce was a huge step!

Pear Tart (Galette)
This recipe is sooooo EASY!!! And will impress anyone!
Oven 425
1 prepared Pate Brisee ~ see earlier post
4-6 pears, peeled, cored, sliced thin
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp corn starch
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup triple sec (optional)
Slice pears into a bowl. Mix corn starch, sugar, triple sec, & lemon
in a measuring cup.  Add  sugar mix to pears and gently stir so all the pears are covered with the sugar mix. 
While pears marinate, roll out crust onto baking sheet or
the removable circle from a tart pan.  Lay pears on crust by layering into a circle moving your way out leaving about 2 inches to fold over.  As you can see in mine, it isn't very uniform and it certainly doesn't look like some fancy tarts in books.  To achieve that, you need lots of uniform pieces which requires more fruit than I had.  After layering the pears, fold the edges over the fruit. Pour some of the leftover liquid over the fruit.   Brush with cream, sprinkle with sugar.
Bake 20-25 minutes.  Watch for the edges to brown and the liquid to bubble. 

January 12, 2011

Phabulous Phi Phood!

Today I went back to work, back to my home away from home....Phi Delta Theta.  This is where I get paid to spend all day looking for new recipes, experiment with new ingredients, and preparing it all for the always surprising bunch at Phi Delta Theta.  I had the great fortune of getting this opportunity just after deciding to close my cafe.  We closed the cafe due to my husband needing to travel more for work.  And when I went into it, it was always understood that family comes first.  An alumni member of PDT was one of my catering clients and he had called the cafe inquiring about catering for the fraternity.  Well, after some good discussions I wound up with a great job that allows me to have summers, spring breaks, and winter breaks off! Perfect for our big family. 

School actually begins next week, but we always go back a week prior for inventory, menu planning, ordering, and some cooking.  I have a wonderful young assistant, Miss Aubrey, who is part of the Pro Start Culinary program at Manhattan High School.  She is wise beyond her years when it comes to cooking, baking, and putting up with me.  She and I will be sharing our delicious recipes, fun pictures, and helpful cooking tips with our fabulous Brazen Bloggers all semester.  I have a few photos of great food we cooked this past semester. 

My Grandma's Snickerdoodle Recipe!

Spaghetti and Homemade Meaty Marinara!

A Frat Halloween Treat!

Meatball Subs with our fabulous homemade meatballs! Yummy!

Aubrey's AMAZING homemade sopapillas!

A close up of the ingredients in my super easy to make Roasted Tomato Sauce!

Cinnamon Rolls that will impress your Grandma!

My husband's spicy chili recipe.

Homemade potato soup.
If any of these tasty dishes interest you, make a comment and I will be happy to share the recipe.  But I intend to add them all eventually. 
Check us out tomorrow for our full menu for next week.  So many people keep telling me, that it's the menu planning that seems to paralyze them when it comes to cooking...one friend asked if I would just plan her menu so she didn't have to think! Well, friends, I am going to share my fraternity menu with you each week!  I will share the recipes and the grocery list.  Sometimes, you might want to substitute an ingredient with an pre-made item to save time. For example, we might be making homemade meatballs for subs, but if you want to buy the meatballs, go ahead...you and I both know, as busy as we are, just getting the food on the table is often the biggest challenge.  When you can, try to make your meals from scratch or as close to it as possible. You will most likely be preparing a meal that is very flavorful, colorful, delicious, nutritious and made without lots of artificial yuck! 

  • Use real butter! Margarine or any fake thing is not healthy, I don't care what media says. 
  • Use real sugar! Unless you are a diabetic or have a medical reason to restrict sugar, real sugar is best.  And did you know that 'raw' sugar is just sugar that has not gone through as much of the 'cleaning' process as white?  Yeah...just learned that.
  • Use unbleached flour
  • Low fat and sugar free foods can actually send signals to your brain that release insulin, but since your body isn't getting any fat or carbohydrate, it still feels hungry and unsatiated. 
  • Fresh veggies and fruits are always best, but can be expensive, so get frozen rather than canned if you have to choose.
  • The outside of the eggshell is where the 'bad bacteria' is!
  • Why is it better to not eat rare hamburgers and it's okay to eat rare steaks?  Anyone? The hamburger has to go through a grinder, thus being exposed to machinery that has processed other meats and could not have been cleaned properly.  The inside of a steak hasn't been touched by anything.
  • Putting eggshells down the garbage disposal sharpens the blades.  Says my Mom!
Okay, some fun tidbits to get you thinking. Stay tuned for more to come!
See you soon!

January 9, 2011

Apple Spice Cake with Caramel Hurl Icing...


Yikes! My 8 year old said, "Mom, you should call that Hurl Cake"....OUCH!
The caramel was going everywhere, so I had to put it outside! 

Not much better.


Hey, now this is a view I can live with!
 Well, Ms Rebecca Rather, I did not do you justice.  I know what happened, but after two trips to the store for yet more butter and mascarpone cheese, it was over.  I have resolved that for some reason, I can't interpret the instructions for this recipe.  'Mix the butter, vanilla, cream, and sugar until fluffy, then add the mascarpone, but don't beat too much or it will separate.' Well indeed, I did follow these well written instructions, and indeed it did separate.  So, either my kitchen is too warm, my butter too warm, I didn't whip until fluffy enough, or in fact I went too long with the mascarpone.  So, now my plan is to invest in mascarpone and butter, and make it until it turns out right.  I can honestly say this is my biggest, unsalvagable flop ever.  I have made many flops, but this one takes the cake....aaahhhhaahahahahahahaha.  Can you hear me laughing? I would love some feedback on this post, if anyone is reading this at all....
By the way, despite it's rather unappetizing appearance, the cake and icing are rich and delicious.  If you love baking, check out http://www.rathersweet.com/ and http://www.thepastryqueen.org/.  See you tomorrow.

January 7, 2011

Cake Flop and Pizza Pie



This is the photo from the cookbook.

Well, today I was feeling ambitious.  I decided to attempt the
 "Apple-Spice Layer Cake with Caramel Swirl Icing" page 72, from Rebecca Rather's cookbook, The Pastry Queen Christmas. I think I might be classified as Ms. Rather's" Bakery Groupie". I am sure she has many committed followers.  I love to read anything I can about her, and I for sure love her 'big texas' style of baking. I visited her cafe in Fredericksburg, TX a couple years ago.  For me it was like visiting the cook's version of Graceland.  I know there are many loyal lovers of all of the http://www.foodnetwork.com/ chefs, but Rebecca Rather does it for me.
The cake I made today has 3, yes 3 cups of sugar! 6 eggs! Let's get real, she is not afraid to serve up some serious 'Sweet'.  Unfortunately, I did not do her proud today. I do have every intention of righting my wrong, but nonetheless, I flopped her cake today! Sorry Rebecca!

One of the layers after the flop!

 Well here's how it went.  First I was out of ground ginger, which was my first indication to stop and regroup.  Cake baking was very successful, sans ginger.  But things went south when I decided to omit the reading of the last six lines of the cake/frosting istructions.  It's a buttercream icing mixed with mascarpone cheese and a melted caramel.  Well, I had executed the preparation of all the parts, just forgot to mix the mascarpone with the caramel, and proceeded to frost the layers with the buttercream/mascarpone mixture.  ALL the layers and put it together. Boo Hoo! Mixing the caramel and mascarpone is key to the whole deal!  Funny, I was wondering, hmmmm, why do I need so much caramel.  Anyway, I deconstructed my cake, scraped all the white stuff off and mixed mixed it all together, stuck it in the fridge, hoping maybe it will chill and I can whip it into shape, LITERALLY! Stay tuned for the results as you admire my sorry layer of cake flop above.  In the meantime I managed to whip up some good pizza dough for our dinner tonight.
I retrieved this wonderful and simple recipe for thin crust pizza from http://www.recipepizza.com/doughs/thin_crust.htm.  I always double this for our big family (yeah right, there is one in this family that eats us out of house and home, no names mentioned)  
Instead of baking right after kneading as the web recipe advises, I let the dough rise once.  Then we make our own sauce, sometimes my really yummy roasted tomato sauce or the one we used tonight, a very simple recipe:
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp of each, basil, oregano, minced fresh garlic, or garlic powder

The crust as it is baking
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 28 oz can crushed tomato-I prefer using a crushed italian tomatoes 
In a saucepan, add oil, herbs, garlic, fennel, and sugar.
Cook until it sizzles. Add salt and crushed tomato. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes.
Oven 425, If you have a pizza stone, place it in the cold oven and turn on the heat.
Meanwhile, roll out your crust. Bake on a pizza stone until done. 
Spread sauce over crust, add toppings, sprinkle with your cheese choice, (we use a mix of mozz, swiss, and provolone).
Bake again until cheese is melted and a bit bubbly.
Get it while it's hot and before your teenage boys eat all of it!

 
Finished! Delisioso!







January 5, 2011

Ding! The scones are done!


Who wants the recipe?  You know it probably isn't rocket science, but it comes perty darn close! It's definitely 'delicious science'.  Anyone that becomes a follower, leaves a post, and shares my blog once, will get the recipe via email!  Trust me! It's worth it.  We had customers at the cafe who had come from South Carolina telling us they were the best they ever had! Just send an email to me at cafegirl16@gmail.com after your post and I will email you back! Thanks!


The Mix (a simple yet divine concoction)

This is no low fat party!

The real stuff is all that will do! (unsalted)

The secret is really cold butter and cream.
(At the cafe we even used to make the mix and chill it!)

Only by hand with one of these babies (a pastry blender, not the wire kind)

What it looks like after blending

Somehow these keep sneaking into my kitchen...pretty cute little critter.


Add the cream


Add the apricot and almond on top of the
bottom dough, then place other on top

Cut into 6 or 8, like a pizza.  Do NOT 'saw' them. 
It's a straight down then up motion for each cut...
Why? Sliding the knife seals the dough on the sides and they won't rise and flake.
 Then move each piece apart from the center, leaving room for rising.

Brush with cream and sprinkle with sugar. 

Bake at 425 for 10. Turn pan a half turn. Bake for another 5-10

I've been accused of putting my scones on a pedastool

Yum!

January 4, 2011

Here it is!

Well, first of all...about Dillon's.  I decided to hit Dillon's instead of Hy Vee for my grocery list. First it was the beautiful display of bagged oranges.  The sign read $3.99 for Grapefruit.  Not once, but on all four sides of the display.  I asked, and in fact it was the correct price for the oranges.  Then it was bread...$2.88 for a loaf of air, water, yeast, and flour.  I couldn't stomach it.  But I pressed on.  It was black beans that put me over the edge.  A legume in a can for over $1.00.  So, I shamefully abandoned my cart in clear view of a staff member, stating I had an emergency and had to leave quickly.  It wasn't a lie.  It was better for all involved if I left before there were casualties.  I had a Starbucks capp to soothe me as I drove right over to my HyVee.  Well, HyVee, you were less than impressive today, but bread was $1.88 and black beans were $.73.  I was happy. 
Now for quiche.
Here's my recipe
1 recipe of Pate Brisee (Fancy schmancy for 'Pastry Crust)
1 shallot sliced into rings - reserve a few rings for garnish, chop the rest
1 cup fine chopped onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms - saving a few pretty slices for garnish
1 cup diced deli ham
2 packed cups fresh spinach, cleaned and destemmed
1/2 cup cooked and crumbled breakfast sausage (optional)
1/4 cup butter
2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
2 cups shredded swiss cheese
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
pinch of salt
3 Tbsp water
1 cup heavy cream
5 eggs
Instructions:
Heat oven to 400.
Gently roll the crust onto the rolling pin and lift onto dish. Very gently let the pastry fall into the pan and press carefully to form into sides and bottom of dish.  Cut off excess pastry.  Using a fork, pierce the bottom of the pastry several times.  This keeps the crust from bubbling up by letting out air.  Using foil or parchment paper, line the bottom of the pastry.  Add pie weights or beans.  Press gently against the sides to assure there is pressure against the sides.  This keeps the crust from sagging as it bakes. 
Bake for about 20 minutes or until sides begin to brown slightly. 
Begin to prepare filling while crust is baking.
When crust is done, empty beans/weights into a large bowl to cool.
Remove foil/parchment. 
The crust on the bottom won't be as 'done' looking as the sides.  

Filling:                                                                                               In a saute pan, on medium heat, melt butter.  Add onions & shallots. Cook until almost translucent. Now add mushrooms, ham, & sausage.  Cook until heated through.  Now add spinach.  The spinach will cook down a lot, so it only takes about a minute.  Make sure to add it all at once. Remove from heat and set aside. 
In a small bowl or measuring cup, add flour, salt, pepper, and mix. 
Add the water to make a roux.  This will act as a thickener for the quiche.  Add a small amount of the cream stirring until it thins out.  Then transfer the roux into a medium mixing bowl.  Add the eggs and remaining cream. Whisk it all together very well. Set aside.     Mix the swiss and gruyere cheeses together.  Now, spread about 1/3 of the cheese on the bottom of the crust, add the meat & veggie filling, top with the remaining cheese.  It will be very full.  Now, slowly pour the egg mixture over the filling. I use a fork to move the filling around so the egg mixture can get into all the crevasses of the filling. Now you can place the mushrooms and shallots on top as a garnish. 
I usually place the dish onto a baking sheet just in case
it spills over. Place in the oven, and reduce
temp to 350.  Bake about 40-45 minutes, turning a half turn once at 20 minutes.  The quiche will get firm and not jiggle when it's done, but be careful not to overcook it. If it needs to bake longer, check it every 3-5 minutes until done. 
Serve with a nice spinach salad and enjoy!