Bacon Leek Quiche

The air is crisp and you know what that means!  Baking!  It’s been gorgeous this week with lovely breezes and fresh air.  There is something about baking with the windows up and and the trees rustling.

Because I have classes to teach two nights a week I try to get dinner sorted for the family.  I also wanted something for the school lunches.  Quiche fit the bill as it can be served cold and would be a nice twist for the kids.

For the pastry make one half of this pastry recipe I do for my apple pies.

Preheat the oven to 425F/220C.

Bacon Leek Quiche 1 2015

In a mixing bowl beat 4 eggs and add 1 1 /2 cups of milk.  Season with sea salt and pepper and a bit of cayenne pepper.  Mix and set aside.  Grate just over a cup of jarlsberg cheese and set that aside as well.  Chop up 4 rashers of streaky bacon and start rendering in a skillet.  While this cooks add a few chopped mushrooms and leeks.  Add a few splashes of sherry.

Bacon Leek Quiche 2 2015

Spoon the bacon and leeks into the pastry shell.

Bacon Leek Quiche 3 2015

Sprinkle the cheese over the mixture.

Bacon Leek Quiche 4 2015

Pour the egg and milk mixture into the pastry.

Bacon Leek Quiche 5 2015

Bake for 15 minutes then lower the heat to 350F/175C and bake for another 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven when the eggs have set.

Bacon Leek Quiche 6 2015

I do like the combo of bacon and leek.  They go very well together!

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Warming Ramen Soup

Awhile back my son and I were checking out new food shows and came across “The Mind of a Chef”.  It’s a bit dull but they did an episode about ramen in Japan.  It piqued my son’s interest so I added it to the list of things to try.

The fascinating thing about this soup is how varied it can be from town to town.  So I did a bit of research and came up with my own.  It is fairly easy to make and full of flavour.

Prep the ingredients before you begin cooking.  Do up the soft boiled eggs and set aside to cool a bit before shelling.  Also cook up some frozen corn and set aside.

For this soup I wanted to use the flank steak we had on hand so I seared both sides in peanut oil.  If you like the steak medium rare keep it on the rare side after the sear.  Cover with tin foil and let it rest while you cook the rest of the soup.

Ramen soup 1 2015

I chopped up red onion, carrots, scallions, some mushrooms, and a few cloves of garlic.  The amount depends on how many servings you are doing.  Total for the five veg I had about a cup and a half.  In a saucepan saute the onion, carrots, garlic and mushrooms in peanut oil.

Ramen soup 2 2015

Add four cups of veg bouillon and bring to a simmer.  Grate about inch or two of fresh ginger, add about a cup of mung bean sprouts, and add a couple of teaspoons of fresh cilantro.  A few squeezes of fresh lime juice brightens the soup. Meanwhile cook the noodles according the package.  Drain the noodles.

Ramen soup 4 2015

In the bowls add the noodles and layer with the sliced beef.  Add the soup over the noodles.  The broth will cook the beef to medium rare at this point.  Top with half an egg, corn, and the fresh scallions.

Ramen soup 5 2015

Omit the noodles if you need to be gluten free.  It’s a very filling soup without the noodles.  I look forward to trying different flavour profiles with different proteins.  🙂

Shaking Up The School Morning Breakfast…

The kids survived their first day of school and handled the homework.  They both really like their teachers and they were really happy to catch up with their friends after a busy summer.  Though our daughter is already doing the countdown for the number of the days left!

We had been getting into a rut with school morning breakfasts of toast because with getting the kids ready, dogs, walked, and lunches made time can get a bit crunched in the morning.  The kids are much better at getting ready without much prompting but there is still a lot to do.  Remember when the South Beach Diet was all the rage?  One of the things they suggested was to make up some little quiches so you could reheat them during the week.  I remembered this idea this week and thought I would do my quiches in mini form.  The response from the kids was yes and can it have bacon?  🙂

Preheat the oven to 425F/220C

Mini quiches 1 2014

In a small skillet start cooking and rendering 5 rashers of streaky bacon.  Add 1/2 a chopped onion, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme, and a few splashes of dry sherry.

Mini quiches 2 2014

In a separate bowl beat 4 eggs.  Add 1 1/2 – 2 cups of milk or light cream.  The more watery it is the less you want to use.  Mix in 1 1/2 cups of grated jarlsberg, tsp of salt, pinch of nutmeg, a couple pinches of cayenne pepper, and pepper to taste.

Mini quiches 3 2014

Pour into 12 regular size muffin cups that are lightly greased.  Don’t over grease as it will get absorbed into the quiche.

Mini quiches 4 2014

Bake for 8 minutes then reduce the temperature to 350F/175C and bake until golden and the egg is cooked.  If you get the mixture wrong with using low fat milk and they come out a bit watery, put them on a baking sheet and bake at 350F/175C until the quiches is less wet.

Mini quiches 5 2014

Served them this morning and the kids loved them.  Easy to make, easy to heat up, and healthy for the kids.  Can’t go wrong!

Oh Pad Thai, Where Have You Been?

I have yet another example of oh duh, why didn’t I try this before?  I suppose it is similar to writer’s block.  You know the dish exists and you hear good things about it but for some reason you don’t try it.  There isn’t any rhyme or reason to it.  But after making this dish I am really wishing I tried making it before.  I’ve never had it before but I knew my husband liked it so I wanted to make it for him.

It’s not overly complicated but there are a few steps.  I followed this pad thai recipe somewhat closely with just a minor change or two.

About an hour before making the dinner I got the sauce and chicken prepped.  I cubed a half pound of chicken and tossed it in 2T of low sodium soy sauce and 1 tsp of cornstarch.  Place in the fridge until it’s time to cook.

Pad Thai 1 2014

In a separate bowl mix the juice of two limes, 2T rice vinegar, 5T oyster sauce, 5T brown sugar, and at least 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes.  If you want more heat add more flakes.  The original recipe asked for fish sauce but I had oyster sauce.  I’ve been waiting for a recipe to come along so I can try it.  It’s fabulous so I need to find more recipes!

Pad Thai 2 2014 Pad Thai 3 2014

Before starting to cook get the rice noodles ready for the dish.  Follow the directions on the packet.  The noodles will be finished off in the wok so don’t cook them all the way separately.  Finely chop 4 cloves or so of garlic and a 1/4 cup of chopped scallion.  Heat 2T of sesame oil then saute the garlic and scallion for a few minutes.

Pad Thai 5 2014

Add the chicken and cook through.

Pad Thai 6 2014

Remove the chicken, garlic and scallions and set aside.  Add a bit more oil to the wok and beat 3 eggs.  Add the eggs to the wok and start to scramble.

Pad Thai 7 2014

When the eggs are about halfway cooked add the oyster sauce mixture and stir well.  Add the chicken, noodles, about a cup of bean sprouts, and chopped cilantro.

Pad Thai 4 2014 Pad Thai 8 2014

The original recipe says to cook until the sprouts are soft but we like them crunchy so I cooked it until it was heated through.  Serve immediately garnishing with chopped peanuts, lime, and cilantro.

Pad Thai 9 2014

This was delicious!  I am kicking myself for waiting so long to make this.  And even try Pad Thai.  This has moved up the list of meals I like to make on a regular basis.  🙂

This Is Not Popeye’s Spinach….

My husband and I were grateful to crawl into bed last night and zone for awhile after a busy several days of holiday and whooping it up for his birthday.   The recovery time is not what it used to be!  We did enjoy watching Guy’s Grocery Games on the Food Network last night as a friend of ours, Luca, who is a wonderful local chef won the game.  So that was pretty cool.  But that was the extent of the excitement we could take.  🙂  As many of you know Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday but we had it on Friday this year as it wasn’t our turn to have the kids for the holiday.  My parents and aunt joined us but my sister couldn’t come as we’ve synced up the holidays so when it’s our Christmas they come too and same for Thanksgiving.  That way all the kids have a chance to be together.

We got our turkey at a local farm and we were late ordering it so I was worried how big it was going to be.  Fortunately they still had a relatively small one at 13.9lbs.  So it fit in the fridge!  We did do the traditional mac-n-cheese, gravy, and roasted veg but I wanted to mix it up a bit with other dishes this year.  To keep us sane we did a lot of food prep the day before.  We were still very busy the morning of though.  I was a bit surprised at that since we planned ahead!

When I was a kid the only two ways I would eat cooked spinach was my mum’s spinach quiche and my Grammy’s spinach balls.  Because I really don’t like cooked spinach.  I mean, why would you take a lovely green and kill it that way?  When I had a sense of smell I couldn’t stomach the smell of cooked spinach and the texture threw me.  But mix it with wonderful ingredients and bake it and I’m good to go.  I’m not sure where Grammy got the recipe and if she was the first in our family to put it on the table but it has been passed on to be made for parties and special occasions.  Of course I changed it a bit because I wouldn’t be my mother’s daughter.  I like to think mum got the habit from her mum.  I also made these for Halloween and I was surprised to see one of our friends who doesn’t really care for veg enjoy these.

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C

Cook 20oz of spinach and drain.  Melt 3/4 cup of butter.  Set this aside to cool a bit.  While the spinach is cooking beat 6 eggs together, chop a medium sized shallot and 2-3 cloves of garlic, and grate at least a cup of fresh parmesan.

Spinach balls 1 2013 Spinach balls 2 2013

When the spinach is ready add the spinach and butter and mix well.

Spinach balls 3 2013

It was at this point I realised I should have made sure I had all the ingredients.  This recipe needs 2 cups of stuffing you cook on the stove.  I had about a 1/4 cup.  So there was a mad dash to the store and a mad dash back.  A bit of a rookie mistake! Mix in the 2 cups of stuffing.

Spinach balls 4 2013

Form into balls and place onto a cookie sheet.  These do spread when baking so treat them like cookies.  The original recipe calls for 20-25 minutes to bake, my Grammy had written 30-35 minutes.  If I bake on regular then it takes about a half an hour.  I chose to do convection and it was about 15 minutes.  Good thing I checked.  It depends on your oven.

Spinach balls 5 2013

If you can serve right away.  We had to do these about an hour beforehand because our bottom oven needed to be in constant use while the turkey roasted in the top oven.  We put them on an oven safe plate and popped them back in for a couple of minutes to warm through.