Salmon, New Potato & Dill Mini Quiche

It seems logical, since new potatoes and fresh dill are available, to make some of these special little quiche.

When I think of salmon, dill immediately comes to mind. One of the few herbs you can purchase fresh in the supermarkets year round. Dill is a very pretty herb with its feathery leaves or fronds. It has a fresh, grassy flavor that is often referred to as anise-like. A member of the parsley family, it can bring out the flavors of other herbs.

Dill is a commonly used herb in Middle Eastern and North African cuisine. Fresh dill is often added to seafood dishes, yogurt sauces, vinegars, potato salads, fresh baked breads and soups as well as making a very gourmet looking garnish.

Quiche had become popular in England after WWII, but it wasn’t until the 70’s and 80’s that it really caught on in North America. Today we have many variations in our quiche fillings. There are also crustless recipes of quiche but some would argue that those can only be classed as ‘baked custard’.

Hot or cold, I have always enjoyed quiche. Brion probably could take it or leave it but I think this SALMON, NEW POTATO & DILL QUICHE  will be real tasty.

Salmon, New Potato & Dill Mini Quiche
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Servings
8 MINIS
Servings
8 MINIS
Salmon, New Potato & Dill Mini Quiche
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Servings
8 MINIS
Servings
8 MINIS
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt. Cut in white & yellow Crisco shortening until it resembles small peas. In a 1 cup measure, place egg & vinegar; combine. Add enough COLD water to fill cup. Pour all at once over flour mixture, mixing quickly, until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. This should only take a couple of minutes; DO NOT OVER MIX PASTRY.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Roll pastry out on a lightly floured surface. Cut 8 circles about 5 3/4" in diameter (providing your mini tart shell pans are 4 3/4" size). Line mini tart pans with pastry & place them on a baking sheet. Place a piece of parchment in each shell, fill it with dry beans & 'blind' bake pastry crust for 6-8 minutes. Decrease oven temperature to 325 F.
  3. Divide grated cheese between tart shells; slice cooked new potatoes over cheese. Top with cubed salmon fillet, green onions & fresh dill. In a small bowl, combine eggs, milk & spices; beat well. Carefully pour equally over each tart. Place in oven & bake for 35-40 minutes or until filling is set & slightly golden. Cool in tin before removing to serve. If desired, sprinkle tops with a little bit more shredded Gouda cheese.
Recipe Notes
  • Smoked or fresh raw, ground salmon can be used instead of salmon fillet.
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German Plum Cake / Tart

I know it sounds quite ordinary but we are not just talking about just any plum cake. Variations of the German specialty, ‘zwetschgenkuchen’, exist where some versions are made with a shortbread pastry verses a yeast dough, some have streusel – some do not – some are round, other’s are rectangular. One thing for sure is that they all use the plump, sweet, juicy European plums also known as Italian Prune Plums or Empress Plums. This variety is ideal for cooking not only because of their texture but also because their flavor becomes more complex through cooking.

Fruit and yeast-based cakes are a German hallmark with this cake being a perfect example. Its not overly sweet, has a touch of tartness to it, a small hint of cinnamon and that tender yeast dough.

When I was growing up and my mother used Italian Prune Plums in her canning or baking, I just thought it was because they were available at the time. I had no idea that they played such a special part in German baking until I was older.

I realize this is probably not the kind of thing you feel like making on a hot summer day. I suggest putting it on hold for a rainy day because it is well worth the effort. Just to encourage you further, I’ve added an alternate yogurt dough you could use instead of the yeasted one which would speed things up.

German Plum Cake / Tart
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Servings
6-8
Servings
6-8
German Plum Cake / Tart
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Servings
6-8
Servings
6-8
Ingredients
Streusel
Yogurt Cake Dough (an alternate to use instead of yeast dough)
Servings:
Instructions
Yeast Dough
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup warm milk & allow to become frothy, about 5-10 minutes. With an electric hand mixer, beat together sugar, salt, warm melted butter, egg & vanilla. When yeast is ready, Combine with egg mixture. Add flour, 1 cup at a time to wet mixture. Stir well after each addition; dough should become smooth & elastic. It will not be firm enough to knead into a ball, more like thick batter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap & set in a warm, draft-free place to rise for an hour or until doubled in bulk.
Streusel
  1. In a small bowl, combine streusel ingredients. Using fingertips, rub mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
'ALTERNATE' Yogurt Dough
  1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder & salt. In small bowl, beat together yogurt, milk, oil & vanilla. Make a well in center of dry ingredients; add wet mixture & combine until dough forms a ball.
To make Plum Cake Tarts
  1. Generously butter eight - 4 x 3/4" mini tart pans or press out a rectangle of dough about 8 x 10" size on a baking sheet or a jelly-roll pan could be used. For tart pans, divide dough into 8 pieces & press dough out over bottom & up sides. For the rectangle shape, dough could be rolled out on parchment paper & laid directly on pan.
  2. Lay plums close together in rows, covering the entire dough. If using YEAST DOUGH, set pan in a warm place & let rise rise an hour. Sprinkle the streusel over the top & bake at 350 F. for 30-35 minutes or until top is golden. If using YOGURT DOUGH, evenly sprinkle farina over dough before placing the plums on the pastry ( it helps to keep the pastry from becoming soggy). Arrange plums on pastry; distribute streusel over cake. Bake at 350 F. for 30 minutes or streusel is light golden.
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Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie or Tarts

Rhubarb was originally cultivated for its medicinal properties and was not used in European cooking until the late 18th century. The history of rhubarb is very complicated but simply put there are only two broad categories, medicinal and culinary.

Thought of by many as an old fashioned ‘vegetable’, it never has really fallen out of favor. In Germany, rhubarb season is from April until June. There are countless recipes using rhubarb as the German people are very passionate about eating produce they have grown themselves.

I have an inherited love of rhubarb — the way it tastes, its huge beautiful foliage, its hardiness, productiveness …….

RHUBARB SOUR CREAM PIE  (German Rhabarber Sauerrahn Kuchen) has been in my pie ‘go to’ file forever. The combination of these two ingredients works magic. Just for something different, I decided to use the same recipe but make it into tarts today.

Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie / Tarts
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Servings
6
Servings
6
Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie / Tarts
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Servings
6
Servings
6
Ingredients
Topping
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine oatmeal, brown sugar, margarine, flour & citrus zest. Cut in margarine until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon & nutmeg; beat in sour cream & egg. Gently fold in rhubarb. Pour into pastry shell. Sprinkle topping mixture over the filling.
  3. Bake at 400 F. for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F. & bake for 35-40 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.
Recipe Notes
  • In order to obtain nice slices, refrigerate pie until cold then slice & heat a bit in the microwave if preferred.
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Brunch – Celebrating Mother’s Day

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

In the food service industry, brunch on Mother’s Day is huge. What better way is there to celebrate your mom then by taking her out of the kitchen on her day. As is the case with many culinary traditions, the origin of brunch is a bit hazy.

There are numerous theories, such as the English tradition of feasting after a hunt, or from the Catholic tradition of fasting before church and having a large meal after services. By 1930, ‘brunch’, that blend of breakfast and lunch had caught on in the United States. From some of the classic dishes restaurants offered such as eggs benedict,  brunch evolved into decadent spreads that even included morning cocktails.

Today as we celebrate Mother’s Day, many special memories come to mind. My mother passed away in 1978 but even after 39 years, time has changed nothing. I still miss the sound of her voice, the wisdom in her advice, the stories of her life and just being in her presence. I miss her today as much as the day she left us and I always will.

It is also with loving thoughts, I celebrate my mother-in-law, Dolores, for her loving and kind ways and for raising that ‘special’ man I love sharing my life with. To my sisters, who give so much of themselves to be the great mom’s they are.

In July 2016, I posted a blog entitled ‘Brunch in Thibery, France. It has some more brunch ideas for croissants, crepes and french toast you might like.

For today I have two brunch items in mind. One is BAKED EGGS IN PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM CAPS  and the other a SAVORY SALMON & DILL MUFFIN.  Enjoy your day!

Salmon/Dill Muffins & Baked Eggs in Mushroom Caps
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Salmon/Dill Muffins & Baked Eggs in Mushroom Caps
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Ingredients
Salmon/Dill Muffins
Baked Eggs in Mushroom Caps
Servings:
Instructions
Salmon/Dill Muffins
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 8-cup large muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour & baking powder; add grated cheese, salmon & fresh dill. In a small bowl, beat together egg, milk & oil. Make a well in center of flour mixture; add wet ingredients, mix only until combined.
  3. Fill muffin cups half full; divide cream cheese between the 8 cups. Top with remaining batter to evenly fill cups. Bake 15-20 minutes or until they test done.
Baked Eggs in Mushroom Caps
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove stalk from mushroom caps. Make sure mushrooms do not get cracked so the eggs & sauce leak out. Place mushrooms in a baking dish that will keep them from tipping. Divide pasta sauce between mushrooms & spread. Break an egg into each mushroom. Pour cream over the eggs, drizzling to try to cover the whole surface.
  2. Carefully place mushrooms in the oven for about 20 minutes. When eggs are almost set lay cheese slices on top & continue baking for another 5 minutes.
Recipe Notes
  • Cooking times can vary between ovens; watch eggs closely.
  • If you prefer, you can scrape out the mushroom 'gills' to make more room for the filling.
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Lemon Chicken

Lemon chicken is the name of several dishes found in cuisines around the world which include chicken and lemon.

In Canada, we usually either use breading or batter to coat the chicken before cooking it and serving it in a sweet lemon flavored sauce. A completely unrelated dish from Italy, also called lemon chicken is where a whole chicken is roasted with white wine, fresh lemon juice, fresh thyme and vegetables. In France, lemon chicken generally includes Dijon mustard in the sauce and is accompanied by roasted potatoes. I would presume the German version would be a chicken schnitzel with fresh lemon.

Having an inherited love of ‘sweet things’, lemon chicken has always appealed to me. I prefer to make a tempura batter to dip the chicken strips in and then fry them on a griddle. I’m not big on anything deep fried so this is as close as it gets for me. Some years ago I came across a recipe on a kraftfoods.com site for a very unique and easy ‘lemon sauce’ for chicken. It might not appeal to everyone but we enjoy it every so often.

Lemon Chicken
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Servings
2-3
Servings
2-3
Lemon Chicken
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Servings
2-3
Servings
2-3
Ingredients
Tempura Batter for Chicken
Lemon Sauce
Servings:
Instructions
Stir-Fry Vegetables
  1. Prepare vegetables & saute in 1/2 cup chicken broth until tender-crisp. Drain broth & reserve for later.
Tempura Batter
  1. In a bowl, whisk together all batter ingredients. Slice chicken breast into thin strips & place in batter; mix well. Heat griddle to 325 F. Add a small amount of oil; remove chicken strips from batter & place on griddle. Fry on each side until cooked & golden. Lay on paper towel to blot off oil.
Lemon Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan, combine jelly powder & cornstarch. Add 1 cup chicken broth, dressing, garlic & ginger; stir until jelly powder is dissolved. Simmer over medium heat until sauce is thickened, stirring frequently. Add reserved broth from vegetables.
  2. Combine vegetables chicken & lemon sauce. Serve over hot cooked rice, if desired.
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Mini Fruit Crumble Cakes

Crisp or crumble, call it what you like, its just simply good to me. I think, over the years, I have made fruit crumble in just about every flavor and shape possible.

Crumbles became popular in Britain during WWII when crumble topping was an economical alternative to pie due to shortages of pastry ingredients. Other ingredients such as breadcrumbs or oatmeal helped further reduce the use of rationed flour, fat and sugar.

Crumble cakes can be made either sweet or savory. The sweet variety usually will contain fruit topped with a crumbly mixture of butter, flour and sugar. With the savory version, meat, vegetables and a sauce make up the the filling with cheese replacing the sugar in the crumble mix. The crumble is then baked until the topping is crisp. Generally the sweet dessert is served with custard or ice cream and the savory variety with accompanying vegetables.

Fruits that are commonly used in making crumble include apples, blueberries, peaches, rhubarb and plums or a combination of two or more. Due to its simplicity, this dish has remained popular over the years.

The MINI FRUIT CRUMBLE CAKES  I made for today’s blog were made with various kinds of preserves but you can prepare your own fruit for the filling or simply use canned pie filling — your choice!

Mini Fruit Crumble Cakes
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Servings
8
Servings
8
Mini Fruit Crumble Cakes
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Servings
8
Servings
8
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour & sugar. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly; set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture. To remainder add baking powder, baking soda & nuts.
  3. Beat egg slightly in a small bowl. Stir in yogurt & lemon zest. Add to dry ingredients; stir just until moistened. Spread 2/3 of batter over bottom & part way up sides of 8 - 4" x 3/4" mini tart pans. Spoon pie filling over batter. Drop remaining batter by spoonfuls over filling.
  4. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture; place tart pans on baking sheet. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until done. Serve warm or cold.
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Apfel-Streuselkuchen – German Apple Coffee Cake

German-inspired yeasted coffee cake is a very popular type of cake all over Germany and Austria. It is very different from the typical butter cake associated with streusel coffee cake in North America. Whereas a butter cake is rich, sweet and fine grained, kuchen is light and slightly porous with a complexity of flavor that can only be found in yeast leavened baked goods. Of course, there are many different variations, but the important part is the streusel or crumbled topping, which consists  of a combination of flour, sugar, butter and spices.

In the past, most German towns and cities had orchards planted all around them, on land that belonged to the community. Cows or sheep grazed underneath the trees and people were free to pick the fruits when they became ripe. Today most of those common lands have been turned into suburbs and the trees are gone. Destruction of the remnants of ancient orchards is ongoing, contributing to the loss of heirloom varieties. Even though the diversity of choice is decreasing, the apple is still by far the most popular fruit in Germany.

Here is my best adaptation of an  APPLE STREUSEL COFFEE CAKE   that I think you might enjoy to try.

Apfel-Streuselkuchen - German Apple Coffee Cake
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Servings
12-16
Servings
12-16
Apfel-Streuselkuchen - German Apple Coffee Cake
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Servings
12-16
Servings
12-16
Ingredients
Coffee Cake
Apple Filling
Streusel Topping
Servings:
Instructions
Coffee cake
  1. In a large bowl, combine yeast, 1/8 cup sugar & lukewarm water; allow to dissolve. Stir in remaining 1/8 cup of sugar, salt, milk, sour cream, lemon juice & vanilla; mix well. Add egg & blend.
  2. With fingertips, rapidly work the butter into 2 1/2 cups of the flour until coarse, meal-like consistency. Add to the yeast mixture & knead in bowl, adding more flour if necessary to make a smooth, elastic dough. Shape into a ball & place in a lightly buttered bowl. Cover tightly and let rise in a draft-free place until doubled in bulk.
Apple Filling
  1. Peel & slice apples. In a small saucepan, combine all filling ingredients except pecans. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until apples are tender, & juice has evaporated. Stir in pecans; set aside to cool.
Streusel Topping
  1. In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon & lemon zest. With fingertips, rub in butter until mixture is coarse & crumbly. Set aside.
  2. When dough has doubled in size, turn out on a lightly floured piece of wax paper. Press out gently into a rectangle about 10 x 14-inches in size. Spread apple filling to within 1/4-inch of edges & very gently press into dough. Roll up from the wide end, jelly-roll fashion.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter a 9-inch tube or bundt pan. Sprinkle half of the streusel in pan. Carefully, (dough will be very soft) with the help of the wax paper, fit the roll into the pan so that the ends of the dough join. Pinch ends of together. Sprinkle cake with remaining streusel. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven & allow cake to cool before slicing.
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Spiced Apple & Carrot Scones

Its true that a good scone is a delicate flavor balance of opposites: rich but light, tender but sturdy, satisfyingly sweet but not overly so.

As baking soda and baking powder came into use as rising agents in the mid 19th century, the familiar light, raised scones began to appear in recipe books.

Scones are closely related to biscuits in that they contain much of the same ingredients — flour, baking powder, salt, shortening or butter.

The making of tender scones lies in the technique itself. The ‘secret’ is to mix the dough as little yet as thoroughly as you can. The less you work at it, the more tender the scones will become.

Scones as well as muffins seem to fall in and out of ‘fashion’. For me, I love them both and never tire of making either one.

This particular recipe I developed some time back with a lot of room for variations. My sister, Loretta and I share a common addiction for scones and fully believe it should be a constant in one’s life. This one is for you, Loretta. Enjoy!

Spiced Apple & Carrot Scones
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Servings
16 minis
Servings
16 minis
Spiced Apple & Carrot Scones
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Servings
16 minis
Servings
16 minis
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, pulse oatmeal for a few seconds; transfer to a large bowl. Whisk oatmeal, flour, baking soda, spices, salt, flax & pecans (sunflower seeds) together until combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk egg, brown sugar, syrup, oil, applesauce, orange zest, orange juice & vanilla together until combined.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, stir a few times, then add raisins, carrots & apple. Fold together gently just until blended.
  4. Scoop onto baking sheet & bake 3 minutes at 425 F. then reduce heat to 350 F. & bake for an additional 9 minutes or until they test done. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes; remove to wire rack.
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Irish Cream Cheesecakes

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

Although St. Patrick’s Day started out as a religious feast holiday celebrating the life of St. Patrick, it has become kind of a mixture of non-religious celebrations steeped in Irish culture, folklore and superstition.

Many St. Patrick’s Day traditions revolve around luck. Ironically, the Irish have been a very unlucky people as history tells. For instance, the rainbow you often see depicted in the St. Patrick’s Day themes, has seven easily distinguishable colors. Both the rainbow and the number seven are symbols of luck.

It is considered lucky to find a four leaf clover or ‘Shamrock’. It has been estimated that there are about 10,000 three leaf clovers to every four leaf clover. According to legend, each of the four leaves represents something: hope, faith, love and luck, respectively.

In the 19th century green became the symbol of Ireland ( also called ‘The Emerald Isle’). The wearing of green on St. Patrick’s Day is considered lucky. Pinching those not doing so began in Ireland many years ago. 

The legendary ‘Blarney Stone’, which is set in a wall of a castle in the Irish village of Blarney, is said to have magical powers. Whoever kisses the stone will have powers of persuasion.

Of course, we can’t forget some of the lucky charms associated with all this folklore.  If you hang a horseshoe over your doorway, make sure it has the open end up or your luck will pour out. The saying ‘see a penny pick it up and all day you will have good luck’. If you are lucky enough to see a falling star or a ‘shooting’ star, you get to make a secret wish.

With all the serious and concerning things happening in our world today, I thought it would keep things lighter just to acknowledge our Irish friends with some ‘fun facts’ on their St. Patrick’s Day holiday.

For the food tribute of the day, I chose to do IRISH CREAM CHEESECAKES .  How can you not love these little treasures!

 

 

Irish Cream Cheesecakes
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Like eating a fudge brownie topped with cheesecake.
Servings
18 cheesecake cups
Servings
18 cheesecake cups
Irish Cream Cheesecakes
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Like eating a fudge brownie topped with cheesecake.
Servings
18 cheesecake cups
Servings
18 cheesecake cups
Ingredients
Base
Servings: cheesecake cups
Instructions
Chocolate Shells
  1. In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar & cocoa; cut in margarine. Add water & mix only until combined. Shape into 1-inch balls; press onto the bottom & up sides of lightly greased miniature muffin pans (1 3/4-inch diameter size).
Cream Cheese Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth on medium speed. Add sugar, Baileys Irish Cream, & vanilla & egg; blend well. Fill chocolate cups. Bake 15-18 minutes. If desired top with whip cream.
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German Schupfnudeln – Potato Finger Noodles

I treasure these old recipes, such precious pieces of German history that have been passed down for generations. Researching food history is a subject I will probably never stop enjoying.

In the 17th century when the potato first came to Europe and Germany, people started developing the recipe for these potato finger noodles with the use of a ‘potato ricer’. The name schupfnudeln  combines the cooking technique with their appearance. Traditionally, given their distinctive ovoid shape through hand rolling. The noodles are a nice alternative to pasta, rice or regular potatoes. There is no universal recipe for this dish, as there are many different regional versions on how to prepare them. The dough is kneaded then rolled into a long, thin cylinder. This roll is cut into pieces about half an inch in width then rolled into the typical shape. Afterwards they are cooked in salted boiling water and lightly pan fried.

Schupfnudeln are made and eaten all over southern Germany. As well as being served in restaurants, you will find them in the Christmas markets and at beer festivals. Whether served sweet or savory, it is necessary that the comparatively flavorless noodles incorporate the flavor of other ingredients. I find them a great compliment to German cabbage rolls or kohlrouladen.

German Schupfnudeln - Potato Finger Noodles
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Servings
80 noodles
Servings
80 noodles
German Schupfnudeln - Potato Finger Noodles
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Servings
80 noodles
Servings
80 noodles
Ingredients
Servings: noodles
Instructions
  1. Previous Day - boil potatoes with skins on in salted water until tender, 35 - 40 minutes. Peel potatoes & either pass through a ricer or grate on a fine grater. Your end result should yield 3 1/2 cups of mashed potatoes. Refrigerate overnight.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk egg together with onion; stir into potatoes. Sprinkle in the flour, salt & pepper, mixing to form a dough. Turn dough onto floured surface & knead for about a minute. Dough should be fairly soft. Roll dough into a long noodle. Divide into 5 even pieces, cut each piece into eights, then pinch each piece in half giving you 80 noodles.
  3. With floured hands, roll each piece into a 4-inch noodle with the middle a little thicker than the ends. Boil noodles for a few minutes before frying. In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add noodles in batches so they are not crowded & saute until all sides are nicely browned. Transfer the noodles to a paper-lined plate to drain off any excess butter.
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