Sunday, March 31, 2013

Gruyere, Leek, and Mushroom Quiche

I have made quiche a lot over the years, but I think today I finally got the crust and the filling right! So I want to remember what I did for the next time.The crust I got from this recipe, and the filling I adapted from this recipe. You can mix up the filling ingredients with any meat/veggie/cheese/herb combo you like. But this one is pretty good. 


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/2 cup (1 sticks or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp ice water

-- 2 leeks, trimmed so only the white and lightest green parts remain.
-- 1 lb crimini mushrooms
-- 2 T. butter
-- 2 T. olive oil
-- 1 1/2 cups Gruyere cheese, shredded (approx. 6 ounces)
-- 1/2 cup milk
-- 1/2 cup heavy cream
-- 3 eggs
-- pinch nutmeg
-- salt and pepper


First, start the crust:

1. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and pulse again. Note that too much water will make the crust tough.

2. Remove dough from machine and place in a mound on a clean surface. Gently shape the dough mixture into a disk. Work the dough just enough to form the disk, do not over-knead. You should be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These small chunks of butter are what will allow the resulting crust to be flaky. Sprinkle a little flour around the disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.

Then get the quiche ingredients prepped:

3. Slice mushrooms. Melt 1 T. butter and 1 T. olive oil in a frying pan and fry mushrooms until browned on the outside, stirring occasionally. This will take a while, maybe 20 minutes. Put Mushrooms in bowl.

4. Slice leeks in half lengthwise and then thinly slice into half-moons. Soak the rings in water, mixing well to remove any hidden dirt. Then drain. If you are not sure you got all the dirt out wash them again. Then dry. After the mushrooms are removed from frying pan, add 1 T. butter and 1 T. olive oil in pan and fry the leeks on med heat until they are soft and beginning to caramelize and taste good. Add to the bowl with the cooked mushrooms, set aside.

Then, roll out the crust:

5. Remove crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes in order to soften just enough to make rolling out a bit easier. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. If necessary, add a few sprinkles of flour under the dough to keep the dough from sticking. Carefully place onto a 9-inch pie plate. Gently press the pie dough down so that it lines the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the pie dish.

6. Make a nice crust by fluting the edges with your fingers, then when perfectly formed, transfer crust to freezer to chill for 30 minutes or overnight.

7. Preheat oven to 350°. Line pastry with parchment paper, or aluminum foil, pressing into the corners and edges. Fill at least two-thirds with baking weights - dried beans, rice, or aluminum pie weights. Bake first for 15 minutes, remove from oven and let cool a few minutes. Carefully remove parchment paper and weights. Poke the bottom of the pie pan with the tines of a fork and return to oven and bake an additional 10 minutes or until lightly golden. (Fork holes are for any air to escape.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. 

8. Mix milk, cream, eggs, nutmeg, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Add half your cheese to the crust, then sprinkle on the leeks and mushrooms, then add the other half of the cheese. Pour the egg/cream mixture on top. Transfer to oven, and bake until just set in the center, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 10-15 minutes before slicing.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts and Pine Nuts

Mmmm brussel-sprouty pasta! Quick and healthy. I got the recipe here but souped it up quite a bit to suit my tastes. A good way to use up the brussels sprouts in those huge bags from Costco.

Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts and Pine Nuts


  • 3/4 - 1 pound (300-450g) Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 1/2 pound (225g) dried egg fettuccine
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • shredded parmesan or parmesan-reggiano cheese to top pasta


1. Put pot of salted water on to boil for pasta.
2. Meanwhile, slice Brussels sprouts in a food processor fitted with slicing disk (or by hand).
3. When water is boiling, add fettucine and cook until al dente. 
4. When brussels sprouts are sliced, heat butter and oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook pine nuts, stirring, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and garlic, then sauté over medium-high heat until tender and lightly browned, about 4-6 minutes.
5. When pasta is finished cooking, reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta and add to skillet, tossing with enough reserved water to moisten. 
6. Top with parmesan cheese. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Cauliflower puree

I made this recipe for cauliflower steaks with cauliflower puree the other day, and it was okay. The cauliflower steaks are really just a different way of serving roasted cauliflower which, while good, does not quite live up to the "steak" moniker. I might try making it again with a different sauce in the future.

The real winner of that dish was the cauliflower puree. Making it is more of a multi-step process than I usually go through but the final product is worth it in my opinion. I served some (with no salt and pepper) to Kiran and he loved it too! So I find myself making it again a couple weeks later, and want to keep the recipe handy.

Cauliflower puree
  • 1 1-pound head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup whole milk
1. Preheat oven to 250°F. 

2. Using sharp heavy knife, cut cauliflower into florets. 

3. Combine florets, 1 1/2 cups water, and milk in medium saucepan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (no salt and pepper if making for babies!) Bring to boil and cook until cauliflower florets are very tender, about 10 minutes. Strain, reserving cooking liquid. 

4. Spread florets on large rimmed baking sheet, and bake 10 minutes until slightly dry. While florets are baking, you may want to boil down the water/milk mixture a little. Not totally necessary though. 

5. Transfer florets to blender. Add some cooking liquid and puree until smooth, adding more liquid until you reach the consistency you like.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Kale Skillet from Goop

I wanted to dislike Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow's online column. The whole idea of a multi-milionaire beautiful movie actress daring to give advice and thoughts to regular people over the interwebs struck me as so downright patronizing. "This is how you lose weight," I expected to read, "Just eat less, it couldn't be easier!" I eagerly dove into the column, looking forward to picking on her "fashion tips" which I was sure would include lots of ultra-expensive designer clothing, or travel suggestions including private planes and the like. After reading her columns for a few years now, for sure there has been some of that, but along the way something else happened.

I started saying "ooh that looks good!" when I was reading the columns more often than not. For what I thought was an out-of-touch celebrity, Gwyneth sure had a lot of good ideas. Despite my best efforts, she was winning me over.

Today she won the war. I saw this recipe for a Sweet potato, black bean, and kale skillet in her latest issue, and this recipe is right up our alley! In fact I have made something similar in the past which we quite enjoyed. I wanted to see if Gwyneth's recipe would be better, and I'll be damned if it wasn't.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Kale Skillet


serves 2-4

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 hearty handfuls kale, torn into bite-size pieces (can substitute 1 bunch any greens)
  • 1 lime
  • olive oil
  • pinch of sumac (I substituted seville orange rind for this, you could also substitute lime peel instead)
  • pinch of cumin
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • habanero sauce (I added this to make it spicy!)

-- tortillas (corn or wheat)
-- avocado
-- sour cream or plain yogurt
-- minced cilantro (optional)


1.Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Lay cut surface flat on a cutting board and slice in half again lengthwise. Then, slice into ¼ inch thick pieces. 

2.Place large sauté pan over medium high heat and drizzle with olive oil. Add sweet potatoes, sumac and cumin to pan and cook for a minute until they begin to brown, stirring throughout to coat (if you wait to add salt and pepper, the potatoes will brown up a little better). Cover after a minute, bring the heat down to medium and let cook for about 5-8 minutes, stirring once or twice, until they’ve softened up.

3.Add black beans. Stir to mix. Add kale, season with salt and pepper, mix and cover. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, uncover and stir. (If it's feeling a bit too dry at this point, drizzle a little more olive oil.) Cook for another minute or so until kale is cooked to your liking.

4.Drizzle with lime and serve with avocado slices, cilantro, warm tortillas and sour cream if desired.

** for baby food, make the vegetable mixture without salt and pepper, puree some for baby, and then salt and pepper the rest for the adults.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Homemade Brownies

Before this week, I've always made brownies from a box mix. And since they were good and easy to make, I never thought about making them from scratch. Why bother?

Well, who knew how EASY it was to make brownies at home from scratch? These are just about as easy as from a box, really. And not just any brownies, but the most delicious brownies I've ever had! With ingredients I always have on hand! After making this recipe twice in the last two days, I am in trouble for sure. 

Mmm-mmm better brownies

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt (pinch)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; gradually stir into the egg mixture until well blended. Stir in walnuts, if desired. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the brownie begins to pull away from edges of pan. Let cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares.