Lucy’s Basic Quiche

I was asked to bring quiche to a Christmas brunch with friends, but it’s been years since I made a quiche, even though I love it. This was as good a time as any to rev up my cooking skills. The proof will be in the eating!

There is a lot you can do with a quiche, and it’s hard to go wrong with the ingredients. The basic mixture of eggs, milk and cream of some sort plus seasonings is fairly standard. Some people bake the crust first in a blind-bake, but I’ve always had good luck just putting it in the raw crust. I think it’s the addition of a little flour in the egg mixture that does the trick. Others swear by coating the crust with egg white. Whatever works, right?

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Pour boiling water over ¼ cup of sun-dried tomatoes. Let this soak while you do the rest of the preparation.

Sauté the following in a little extra virgin olive oil, or do what I did and nuke the veggies about 2 minutes to soften them.
2 cups broccoli florets or 2 cups sliced Brussels sprouts
½ medium onion, diced
equivalent of 5 mushrooms, sliced (depends on size of mushrooms)
other veggies could be added, too (like spinach, chard, kale)

Prepare egg mixture:
4 or 5 eggs
¼ cup milk
½ cup commercial sour cream
¼ cup flour
1/8 teaspoon fresh marjoram leaves (chopped)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Beat until smooth, then add ½ cup grated cheese (variations below).
Drain and chop the soaked sun-dried tomatoes and add to mixture.
Pour over softened veggies and mix so all veggies are well coated.
Pour all into unbaked crust and bake about 50-60 minutes until brown and firm in the middle.

Pie Crust:
1½ cups flour
dash salt
½ cup baking oil (not olive)
2 Tablespoons cold milk
Mix the oil and milk until milky and well combined. Pour over the flour and salt. Mix well with a fork, then press the dough into the pan to make a nice crust. For this recipe, I used a 10-inch 1 ½” high tart pan with straight sides, but could be done in a regular pie pan (large).

Variations:
To make two quiches, I doubled the recipe and made them different.
1) In one, I put 2 cups broccoli florets, used Swiss cheese, and topped it with freshly grated Pecorino Romano.
2) In the other, I put 2 cups thinly sliced Brussels sprouts, used pepper jack cheese, added 1/8 teaspoon Thai red peppers (crushed) to the egg mixture, and topped it with crumbled feta.

I grow the tiny Thai red peppers in a pot outside my kitchen door. Sometimes I use them fresh, 2 or 3 in a pot of soup or stew. The ones I used for this had been dried and kept in the fridge for whenever I need dry red pepper flakes.

NOTE: Even with all the tasty ingredients, these both seemed a little bland. The one with Brussels sprouts, peppers, Jack cheese and feta seemed a bit tastier, but could have used even more of the peppers.

A hui hou!

Apple-Plum Crumble

On a daily basis, I eat one of the large organic Fuji apples from Costco. The last time I bought a box, I saw these huge beautiful plums, which I bought on impulse. I love fruit, but there are just so many you can eat in a day!

Flipping through some of my favorite web sites, I found a recipe I could adapt to my own taste buds. It may have originally been adapted from Jamie Oliver’s site, but I couldn’t find it there.

Directions for topping:

Mix until crumbly:
• 1 ½ cup + 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
• ½ cup dark brown sugar (firmly packed)
• 1/3 cup butter
Add ¾ cup oats and set in fridge. Preheat oven to 390F

Directions for fruit filing:
Cut 6 large plums and 2 large apples into big chunks. (I don’t peel the fruits.) Put in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. Cook on slow heat until fruit is soft.

Place in a lightly buttered oven dish and cover with topping. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the top is brown enough for you.

Top with anything your stomach craves – plain cream, whipped cream, ice cream… You get the idea!

A hui hou!

Pumpkin Scones

Few of my recipes are original. Like most average cooks, I find something online or in a magazine that looks good. I take it and alter it to whatever I have on hand, and/or whatever sounds right.

I found this one from King Arthur Flour Company and had to try it! You can find the original recipe here.

My version was only slightly different. As I was putting them in the oven, I wondered why the recipe didn’t call for sugar. I checked the recipe and there it was – 1/3 cup sugar!

After eating one right out of the oven, however, I realized the chocolate chips (I used about ¾ cup) and the minced crystallized ginger (I had about ½ cup), they were plenty sweet for my taste.

Instead of coarse white sparkling sugar, I sprinkled half a packet of Splenda on top of each before I stuck them in the oven.

Please check out their recipe and try them. They were easy to make and extra delicious for a fall treat!

A hui hou!

Chipotle Chicken Casserole

From an early age, as a preacher’s kid (or P.K. as everyone referred to us) I was led to believe that you can’t get into Heaven without a covered dish. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the Midwest where a potluck supper was a primary social occasion, but usually a casserole doesn’t appeal to me. It always felt like an unappetizing way to get rid of leftovers.

Since I’ve become an adult, I have discovered that a casserole doesn’t have to be the lifeless, tasteless dish I remembered from childhood. I adapted this recipe from the March 2011 issue of Cooking Light, and made it into one of those “quick and easy” ones that might be worth fixing from time to time.

Chipotle Chicken Casserole

Coat either an 8-inch square glass baking dish or a glass loaf pan with cooking spray. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.

I used 5 of the largest chicken tenders (breast meat) out of a large Costco package. I zapped them in a microwave until softly cooked. In other words, they weren’t raw but they weren’t overcooked, either.

I shredded these into a bowl and added about 1 ½ tablespoons of chopped cilantro, 3 ounces cream cheese (fat-free works here), ½ teaspoon each of ground red pepper and ground cumin, plus salt and pepper to taste.

In a saucepan, sauté half a large onion and lots of garlic (I used 6 cloves). Add a cup of chicken broth, and about a cup of your favorite salsa verde and a little water. I used my own chipotle salsa; see my recipe here. I stirred in the chicken, cream cheese and seasonings combo with the liquid mix in the saucepan.

In a large skillet, I heated 10 6-inch corn tortillas, about a minute on each side, then cut them into quarters.

Starting with a layer of the chicken mixture, alternate layers of the tortilla quarters, ending with the chicken mix. Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese, or Mexican Cheese mix over the top and bake for 15 minutes until lightly browned and the cheese is bubbly.

Before serving, I topped it with more fresh chopped cilantro and served with sour cream on the side. Fat free sour cream can be used here, if you are watching your fat intake.

I might add more salsa next time, as it seemed a bit dry to me. Also, I like things fairly spicy, so I suggest you use your own taste buds to determine how much to add. I served this with corn on the cob and salad. It made two meals for two people, but we ate large servings. Again, let your own needs determine how many it will serve.

I think this could easily be doubled if you plan to take it to one of your own potluck occasions! This is one of those recipes that you can play around with, I think, but isn’t that true of most casseroles?

A hui hou!

Roasted Pig’s Head

In my freezer, the head of the pig I got from Masazo’s Piggery in Na`alehu remained, mostly because I wasn’t sure how to prepare it. Every recipe I found online talked about half a head of a smallish pig. This was a whole head from a 400 pound pig, probably weighing between 16 and 20 pounds.

The eyeballs, ears and snout were a bit intimidating! Fortunately, I had the help of a physician who (sort of) knew what we were seeing. We didn’t cook up the head as a whole, but cut off jowls, tongue, and ears to roast separately from the rest of the head.

Please understand that neither of us knew what in the world we were doing, so we took bits from various online recipes. We sprayed the head with canola spray, then rubbed in a mixture of 5-spice powder and ground up sea salt. Garlic cloves were tucked into all cavities, and a cut onion stuffed in the mouth.

We started off with 1 ½ hours in a 375 degree F., oven, basting periodically with a honey-water mix. Then we turned the oven down to 325 degrees F. for another 3 ½ hours.

I won’t gross you out with some of the other pictures I took during this process, but the end result wasn’t really too bad. We sliced meat off the cheeks and served with fresh local corn on the cob. The meat was super rich, and I thought it a bit chewy.

I froze some of the other meaty sections to make Pozole later, a Mexican pork and hominy stew that is traditionally made with meat from a pig’s head and served at Christmas time.

The whole ordeal was quite an experience, although I’m glad there was only one head on the pig. I’m not sure I would want to bother with another one!

A hui hou!

Roasted Tomatillo-Chipotle Salsa

Happy Memorial Day!

Today is the day many people use as the excuse to declare the opening of official grilling season. What better complement to your grilled veggies or meats than a tasty, easy to make, salsa?

This recipe was given to me by my daughter, Inga. I’m not sure where she got it, but once I tasted it at her home recently, I knew I had to make it soon! The day after I got back from my trip to the mainland, I bought the tomatillos and got to work. I had all the other ingredients already. I’ve eaten some everyday since then!

If you are a gardener, you might want to try growing your own tomatillos. Inga has great luck with them, but I haven’t. I may try again this year, but they are easier to find in my local grocery store.

I know you’ll look for any excuse to make this – and eat it, too! For those of us who watch our waist, this recipe contains almost no calories and no fat!

Roasted Tomatillo-Chile Salsa

10 ounces tomatillos, husks removed, tomatillos rinsed and dried
(The number would depend on the size of tomatillos, but generally about 12-15)
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 chipotle chiles (canned in adobo sauce)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1pinch sugar
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat broiler. Place tomatillos and garlic on a baking sheet. (I sprayed it with a light coating of canola oil spray)

Broil, turning occasionally, until charred, about 8-10 minutes.

When cool enough to handle, squeeze garlic from skins into a blender. Add chipotles and tomatillos to blender. Process until combined. Add salt, sugar and cilantro. Pulse until smooth.

Notes from Inga: I don’t cut the tomatillos. They get very soft after cooling down from the broiling and you can throw them in the blender whole. I buy the smallish can of chipotles and it will usually make 3-4 batches. I get a few baggies opened up and ready to fill. Once I open the can, I put 3-4 in each baggie, plus the ones in the blender for the current batch, then split the sauce between each baggie. I keep the baggies in the freezer for the next batches. Some chiles are bigger than the others, so that’s why some baggies get 3 chiles and others 4. Just eyeball it.

A hui hou!

A Hidden Beach Wedding

One of the pleasures of teaching is my capacity as a retired United Methodist minister to officiate at the weddings of students when they ask. This past Friday, I had the honor to join two very special people in marriage.

We walked about 200 yards along the water on a gravel path to a spot that is fairly well hidden from the traffic of non-Hawaii visitors. Along the way, is this turtle designed out of the white coral, so perhaps it is not so well hidden as we thought.

The black lava gave a classic background to pictures of the bridal party.

Pounding surf provided the wedding music.

Obviously, I wasn’t able to take pictures of myself, so Betsy took the three photos in this post that include me. Here the couple are saying the vows the wrote for each other.

It’s not legal until the license is signed. Fortunately, we had a picnic cooler to serve as our table.

The wedding brunch was served amidst tropical flowers on the deck after we returned to the home that overlooks the ocean.

A toast was raised to the new couple with a mixture of pink champagne and mango nectar, topped with floating sliced strawberries.

We all took shelter when Jeff popped the cork.

Jeff made Eggs Benedict with homemade Hollandaise for the main course along with crisp hash browns and sliced tomatoes. Local Ono fish took the place of the typical Canadian bacon or ham, with English crumpets instead of English muffins.

Betsy made Healthified Carrot Cake using my recipe and Jeff did his first cake decorating to show the names.

You can’t have a wedding without the traditional “cutting of the cake.”

Everything was delicious as well as beautiful!

Coffee with “Cream,” a canned whipped cream enhanced with rum finished the meal.

I wish the best of everything life has to offer to this beautiful couple! Recipes for the Eggs Benedict and Carrot Cake are below.

A hui hou!

ONO FISH EGGS BENEDICT (per person)

Ingredients: one third lb Ono per person (two filets), two free range eggs, two crumpets, one McCormick Hollandaise sauce mix, and lime or lemon juice. Each envelope of sauce enough for makes enough for two to three servings.

Cooking: Fry fish quickly and lightly in coconut or mac nut oil. Add lime or lemon juice while cooking. Mix sauce as directed adding lime or lemon juice to the sauce. Toast crumpets. Fry eggs once over lightly in coconut oil on very low heat.

Assembling: Place toasted crumpets on plate, add cooked fish, then top with one egg; pour sauce over all. Add parsley and thin sliced tomatoes for garnish.

Crab, lobster or mahi-mahi can be substituted for the ono.

HEALTHIFIED CARROT CAKE

Ingredients:

• ¾ cup sugar
• ¾ cup packed brown sugar
• 3 eggs
• ½ cup canola oil
• ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• ½ cup whole wheat flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon ground allspice
• 3 cups finely shredded carrots
• ½ cup chopped walnuts
• ½ cup raisins

In a large bowl, beat the sugars, eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flours, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice. Gradually beat into sugar mixture until blended. Stir in carrots, raisins and walnuts. Pour into 2 9-inch round or square baking pans coated with a cooking spray. I prefer to use a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan for a sheet cake (and smaller pieces). Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Frosting:

• 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
• 1 tablespoon fat-free milk (you can use soy milk or almond milk)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
• Dash salt

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, milk and vanilla until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt. Beat until smooth. Spread over top of cake. Store in the refrigerator.