I realize mushrooms aren’t for everyone but if you do enjoy them, it seems there are no end to recipes you can use them in. As well as making a great filling for your quiche, its nice to add even more color and flavor with crust variations. Keep in mind that the best time to add extra ingredients to your pastry is after you’ve blended your flour and butter together in the food processor and before pulsing in the cold water.
Here’s a few ideas to elevate savory quiche crusts:
Herbs: Try adding 2 tablespoons each of any of these fresh herbs – chives, thyme, parsley, rosemary & sage. If you only have dried herbs, cut back to about 1/2-1 teaspoon each.
Cheese: As we all know, cheese makes everything better! Adding it to pastry is amazing. Try mixing it up with different combinations of cheese: Gruyere in the filling and parmesan in the crust for example.
Spices: Such as turmeric, fennel seed or even a grind of peppercorn (black, white or pink) can significantly alter any savory crust.
Bacon: Even just a little bacon will add some smokiness to the quiche. Be sure to chop it small enough after frying so it can be well incorporated into the crust.
Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Although they add tanginess and a nice smoky red color, they are often best as a background flavor. Since they can easily overpower when used in the filling, add them to the crust.
Wild Mushroom Quiche w/ Parmesan Crust
In a medium bowl, combine flour, grated Parmesan & salt. Cut in shortening & butter, using pastry blender or fork, until mixture forms coarse crumbs the size of small peas.
Combine ice water and lemon juice (or vinegar); drizzle 1/2 of the lemon water over cold flour mixture and stir until the dough just starts to come together or turns “shaggy”. Begin adding a few more tablespoons of water at a time, stirring between each addition. Once most of the water has been used (but you have a tablespoon or two remaining) use your hands to gather the shaggy strands into a ball and knead the dough two or three times. If you have dry bits remaining in the bowl, add a little additional water.
Gather the dough in a ball, dust your counter with a tiny amount of flour, and quickly pat dough into a small flat disk. Cut dough in half and then stack one piece on top of the other, flour side down. Use the heel of your hand and press the dough down and divide once more. Cover each piece with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator, but overnight is best.
Slice green onion & mushrooms. Sauté in butter, add minced garlic, stirring often. Allow to cook for five minutes uncovered so the moisture evaporates.
Cut broccoli into florets & add to pan along with chopped red pepper. Cook another 6 minutes then remove from heat.
Grate Havarti cheese. In a container, whisk together eggs, milk & seasonings.
Remove pastry from refrigerator & place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll dough out to fit a 9-10-inch pie pan. Trim away any excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang to form the crust.
Sprinkle a small amount of the Havarti over bottom; top with vegetable mixture then remaining Havarti.
Bake until quiche tests done. Since the quiche is made with milk instead cream it will take longer to bake. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing. This quiche tastes great just out of the oven, but even better the next day.
- Don't hesitate to use cream instead of milk if you would like a richer filling.
Every person who makes a homemade version of scalloped potatoes usually has had that recipe passed down to them from their mother, their mother’s mother or even further in their history, so the emotional attachment to the recipe immediately precludes any other scalloped potatoes from contention.
At an early age, I remember my mother ‘teaching‘ me the art of making scalloped potatoes. It came down to very thinly sliced potatoes sprinkled with flour, salt & pepper then covered with scalded milk and baked. I think it was dotted with butter and quite possibly topped with bread crumbs. For that matter, there might have even been a few thinly sliced onions involved but I have to admit, I’m a bit fuzzy on that. As plain and simple as it was, it tasted glorious to us.
This scalloped potato recipe starts with Yukon Gold potatoes. They have loads of great flavor and are a beautiful color both when they are raw as well as when they are cooked. For this particular recipe, keep the skin on the potato as it will add loads of fiber to the dish.
Food trends come and go and nothing highlights this more than looking up old recipes. Still eaten today, scalloped potatoes were the prolific side dish of the 1920s. Dairy was no longer rationed and the rich casserole took full advantage of this.
Scalloped Potatoes w/ Mushrooms
In a large saucepan, place potatoes & cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered until tender, 8-12 minutes. Drain.
In another saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms & onion; cook & stir 6-8 minutes or until tender. Stir in garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish; set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk flour, broth & seasonings until smooth; stir into mushroom mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook & stir until sauce is thickened, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in sour cream.
Thinly slice potatoes. Arrange half of the potatoes in baking dish. Spread half of the hot mushroom sauce over top; sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheese. Layer remaining potatoes , sauce & cheese & sprinkle with French Fried Onion Toppers if using.
Bake, uncovered, until heated through & cheese is melted, 12-15 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving. Top with sliced green onions to garnish.
Some years ago I acquired a great little book from the Lea & Perrins Company. The main focus of the book was to promote their Worcestershire Sauce.
Worcestershire sauce was created in the heyday of the great English table sauces. In 1838, the commercial Worcestershire sauce was ‘born’. The story of the origins of the recipe for the sauce is entangled in a web of legends, but the common thread is that its place of origin was India. Versions of how the recipe came to England usually credit a member or members of the prominent Sandys and/or Grey families. Typically the stories indicate an effort to reproduce a Bengali recipe for a sauce with the assistance of chemists (pharmacists) John Wheeley Lea & William Henry Perrins of Worcester. In most editions of the tale, the first attempt is a failure, but the results are stored away; fermentation occurs and a later tasting reveals the delightful concoction now enjoyed all over the world.
The exact recipe is ‘secret’, but it is known to include both common and exotic ingredients: anchovies, shallots, chilies, cloves, tamarinds (brown pods from a tropical tree), garlic, sugar, molasses, vinegar and salt. There are about as many ways to incorrectly pronounce Worcestershire as there are ingredients in the sauce. The tremendous depth of flavor of the sauce is the result of many different ingredients being fermented individually, blended and fermented again.
Worcestershire sauce contains something for everyone …. sweetness, acidity and saltiness. This probably explains the reason we still see it on our grocery shelves 184 years after it was first created.
I’ve used this simple little recipe from the Lea & Perrins book numerous times and it always tastes great.
Beef Cabbage Rolls - Reconstructed
Cook cabbage & rice: set aside. Sauté chopped onions; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine beef, cooked rice, salt, Worcestershire sauce, egg & catsup (or BBQ sauce).
Roll out meat mixture between 2 sheets of parchment or foil paper into an oblong 1/2-inch thick. Spread meat with cabbage & onions & sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
Using the help of the bottom sheet of paper, roll up in jelly-roll fashion. Place on greased shallow baking pan.
Bake for 40-50 minutes. Slice & serve as is or with a sauce of your own choice.
Salmon croquettes are basically a version of a salmon cake, salmon balls or patties and can be fried or baked. They were originally made of beef, probably leftovers that needed to be used up. Croquettes originated in France in about 1898 by the founder of classical French cuisine, Escoffier. As Escoffier’s chefs started to travel throughout the world, they took the recipe with them to other cultures where it was transformed based on local cuisines. From the original beef croquette, it branched out into salmon croquettes, chicken, vegetarian, and many other versions.
There are many variations of ‘croquettes‘ on the market, and just about every culture has developed their own recipe. Constantly, new recipes are formulated and something new is invented and created. With the input of different cultures, the original recipe has taken itself into many directions, different applications and ingredients. Very often salmon croquettes (cakes, balls or patties) are made with canned salmon though there are quite a few newer recipes that use fresh salmon that has been either chopped finely or ground to mold into the various shapes.
I think, using a zesty orange-pineapple glaze is the perfect compliment to these baked salmon balls.
Baked Salmon Balls w/ Orange Pineapple Glaze
If using canned salmon, drain & flake well. If using fresh salmon, brush with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill for about 6 minutes or bake wrapped in foil at 350 F. for approximately 10 minutes. When cool, flake salmon. Add carrot, green onion, potatoes, tartar sauce, egg, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, cilantro paste, Old Bay Seasoning, salt & pepper. Combine well.
Using a small scoop (about 1/2 oz size), measure salmon mixture out into palm of your hand & gently roll into balls. Mixture should make about 32 balls.
Roll salmon balls in Panko crumbs & place on a well buttered or sprayed baking sheet. Lightly spray tops with spray as well.
Bake about 30-40 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove from oven.
Place all glaze ingredients into a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir gently & simmer for 15-20 minutes or until liquid begins to thicken slightly & reduces by half.
Drizzle over salmon balls or serve on the side. These salmon balls are nice served with rice & a steamed veggie.
Quiche, the great savory dish that originated in Germany, was perfected by French cooks who went on to create one of the most popular quiche in the world called the quiche Lorraine. Since then, many new variants of the quiche have been added. But all of those creative modifications involved mainly the filling, and the crust had that same nice and familiar, but plain taste. For that reason, many cooks didn’t bother with the crust dough preparation; instead they would buy good frozen puff pastry and concentrate on the filling.
Enter the unique mushroom crust quiche! To my knowledge, the first publication of the recipe was in the mid 1970’s in ‘Sunset’s Favorite Recipes’ cookbook magazine. The main advantage of this recipe is that the mushroom crust is nice and light as well as it goes with almost any quiche filling.
For a crunchier crust, use wheat thins instead of saltines, regular onions instead of green or change up the spices. Use your choice of cheese, instead of Swiss go with Monterey Jack, gruyere, Jarlsberg or cheddar. Add bacon, sausage or some pulled turkey as I did. Of course, nothing wrong with just using veggies and cheese …. endless possibilities!
Mushroom Crust Quiche
In a skillet, melt 3 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms & garlic; cook until soft. Stir in crushed crackers. Remove from heat & press the mushroom mixture evenly over the bottom of a well-greased 8-9-inch pie pan.
In the skillet, melt 2 Tbsp butter. Add green onions & cook until soft; spread over mushroom crust.
Sprinkle about 3/4 of the grated Swiss cheese over the onion then top with the cooked, pulled turkey.
In a small container, whisk together eggs, milk, spices, salt & pepper. Combine the remaining Swiss cheese with the parmesan & sprinkle it over the turkey. Pour egg mixture over all & bake for about 30 minutes or until set. Allow to stand for a few minutes before serving.
We tend to believe that if something takes more work, it automatically means that it has more value. Of course, anyone that follows this blog knows that I, being a ‘food industry’ person, quick isn’t generally what I’m all about. But in a world that thrives on making things complicated, dare to be simple some times. Enter the Stove Top Stuffing universe….
These chicken leg ‘quarters’ make such a nice meal when paired with stuffing. The smoky bacon flavor, the earthiness of the mushrooms as well as the slight sweetness of the cornbread stuffing complement each other well.
In a society that gravitates towards labels stamped with terms like organic or GMO-free, sometimes the simplicity of quick fix food can be a treat.
Chicken Legs w/ Mushroom Cornbread Stuffing
In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp; remove with a slotted spoon to paper towel. Drain, reserving 2 Tbsp of drippings.
Sauté celery & onion in drippings until tender. Add mushrooms, herbs & seasoning; cook & stir for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in stuffing mix, celery leaves, parsley & bacon. Add broth & gently combine. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 13" x 9" baking pan or line with greased foil paper.
Wash & trim any excess fat from chicken leg quarters. Loosen skin over thighs to form pockets for the stuffing.
Fill thigh 'pockets' with stuffing & place in baking pan. Place any remaining stuffing around the 2 leg quarters to bake at the same time. Cover with foil for about 30 minutes then uncover & finish roasting until chicken is cooked through & stuffing is lightly browned.
The exact origin of the classic ‘macaroni and cheese‘ is unknown, though it likely hails from northern Europe. Although there were French dishes with pasta and cheese as early as the 14th century, it was an English writer and business woman called Elizabeth Raffald who first wrote the recipe for what we would recognize as macaroni and cheese in 1769. Elizabeth’s recipe was for macaroni, cooked in a béchamel sauce with cheddar cheese added and sprinkled with parmesan.
Many countries have a profound love and deep historical connection to a version of this dish including the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and of course Italy where pasta was first popularized in Europe. It is also possible that some of its origins may trace back to the Alps of Switzerland.
Pasta itself is neither Swiss nor European in origin; it dates to at least 3500 BC in Japan and China, likely spreading to the Middle East and northern Africa via the Silk Road. Some studies believe that the 7th century nomadic Arabs then likely brought it with them while travelling from Libya to Sicily, from where it spread north along the Italian peninsula.
Whatever the truth, this humble pasta w/ cheese dish has become an ultimate comfort food in a plethora of cultures and countries around the world. There have been many inventive twists put on this classic. The 1953 edition of the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, calls for a sauce made from Velveeta, onion and cream of mushroom soup. Other variations sub in Brie, figs, rosemary and mushrooms for the traditional cheddar based sauce. Adding applesauce might sound like a weird addition, but it works. Just like cheddar melted over a piece of apple pie is an unexpectedly delicious treat.
I used some orecchiette pasta, which cups the sauce well and amped up the flavor with smoked turkey chicken sausage. Comfort food at its best!
Apple Sauce Pasta & Cheese w/ Turkey Chicken Sausage
Dice onion & slice smoked sausage. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan; sauté onion until almost tender-crisp then add sliced sausage & continue to cook for a few more minutes.
Bring a pot of water to a boil & prepare the orecchiette pasta according to package directions. When it is cooked, drain it well, drizzle it with the remaining Tbsp of olive oil. Shake it around a bit in the strainer to keep pieces from getting stuck together.
Heat the milk & applesauce in pot that was used to cook pasta, stirring constantly. Do not bring to a boil.
In a Dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter & whisk in the flour. Cook mixture for two minutes, whisking all the while then whisk in the hot milk/applesauce mixture. Cook for 2 more minutes continuing to whisk while the mixture is thickening.
Remove the Dutch oven from the heat & stir in salt, pepper, sage, gruyere (save a bit for garnish if you wish), cheddar, onion & sausage slices. Combine evenly then add cooked pasta & stir until pasta is evenly covered with sauce.
Place the Dutch oven in the oven, uncovered & bake for 30-40 minutes or until the orecchiette on top just begins to turn golden brown at the tips.
- Alternately, you can skip the oven time as the ingredients are already cooked. I thought some sautéed leeks made a nice garnish along with the gruyere.
This peach chutney galette has all the flavors of a classic peach pie, plus the pop of fresh ginger, apple cider vinegar and spice.
I love chutneys and find that just about any fruit can be made into one. Each chutney is a balance of sweet, sour, savory and spice with endless variations. When it comes to the ways you can eat or serve it, a few that come to mind are:
- Add it to a chicken sandwich
- Serve with cured meats & cheese
- Serve on the side with empanadas or meat pies
- Eat it with any cooked pork meal
- Serve with grilled sausages or roasted poultry
- Serve it with pate
- As a topping for warm Brie cheese
- Mixed into Greek yogurt
- Puree it & use as a dipping sauce
- Served on a burger
Peaches are one of those fruits that make their way into summer chutneys so why not put some in a galette and see what develops?!
Peach Chutney Galette
In a small bowl, combine sour cream & ice water; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar & salt. Using a pastry blender or fingertips, cut in the butter until mixture resembles BOTH coarse crumbs & small peas. Sprinkle the cold sour cream mixture over dough, 1 Tbsp at a time, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute it. After you have added all the sour cream mixture, dough should be moist enough to stick together when pressed; if not, add additional cold water, 1 tsp at a time. Do not overwork dough.
Press dough into a disk shape & wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for a day or two or it can be wrapped airtight & frozen for a month. Thaw, still wrapped in refrigerator.
In a saucepan over medium heat, add apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, star anise, cloves, pepper, cardamom & sea salt. When mixture starts to bubble, fold in about 2 cups sliced peaches. Bring the mixture to a boil; turn down heat to a lively simmer. Cook, stirring often, 20-30 minutes, or until mixture has thickened enough to easily coat a spoon. Set aside to cool.
When chutney is cooled, preheat oven to 350 F. On a large sheet of parchment paper, roll or press out chilled pastry into a 12-inch circle.
In a large bowl, stir to combine remaining peaches, cooled chutney, 1/4 cup sugar & cornstarch.
Spread mixture evenly over dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Gently fold pastry over peach chutney filling, pleating to hold it in. Brush with egg wash (if using); sprinkle with sugar.
Bake 35-45 minutes until filling bubbles up & crust is golden. Chill at least 2 hours to prevent the filling from running out. Serve as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
No matter what the stuffing or style is, love for the empanada is not a difficult one to understand. They are cheap, easy to eat, transportable, and versatile.
Empanadas look as good as they taste; perfect food for a picnic. Eating outdoors, spaced apart is probably one of the safest ways to gather during the ongoing pandemic crisis. The great thing about picnicking is that you can do it practically anywhere you can throw a blanket down. If you can’t make it to a park or field, your yard, porch or any flat surface with a little grass (or sand), some sun (& shade) will do.
Empanadas can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They can be served as appetizers or snacks (hot or cold), but they can easily make a full and satisfying main course.
The very basics for an empanada are a combination of three things; dough, filling and a cooking method. The dough can be made from wheat flour, cornmeal, mashed plantains, potatoes, yuca, sweet potatoes etc. and the fillings can consist of meat, fish or vegetables. The cooking method is usually to be baked or fried although some can be cooked on a griddle or grill.
According to food historians, empanadas with seafood filling first appeared in a 1520 cookbook, published during the Moorish invasions.
I was real interested to see what I could do to make some salmon empanadas taste special. We found they were good as a hot meal served with the remaining ‘sauce’ or eaten COLD for a picnic lunch.
Salmon Picnic Empanadas
In a small bowl, combine sour cream & ice water; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, sugar & salt. Using a pastry blender or finger tips, cut in butter until mixture resembles both coarse crumbs & small peas. Sprinkle the cold sour cream mixture over dough, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute it. Do NOT overwork dough.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least an hour.
In a skillet, melt butter & sprinkle with flour. Allow to cook for a few minutes. In a bowl, whisk together broth, milk & soy sauce. Slowly add to flour/butter mixture, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Remove from skillet & set aside.
In the skillet, sauté salmon filet in 1 Tbsp oil until JUST cooked. Remove to a dish. With a fork, 'shred' salmon; set aside.
In the skillet, sauté vegetables in remaining Tbsp of oil for a couple of minutes. Add seasonings, shredded salmon, 1/3 cup prepared soy sauce & grated cheddar. Toss to combine; set aside to cool.
Assembly & Baking
Divide chilled pastry into 10 balls. Roll each one in cornmeal. Place a ball between 2 sheets of plastic wrap & roll into a 6-inch circle.
Divide filling into 10 portions. Place a portion on one side of the pastry circle, leaving about a 1/2-inch border (on filled side). With your fingertips, moisten edge of pastry with a bit of milk or water. Flip opposite side over filling & press edges together to enclose it well. Use a fork to make the classic look.
Repeat with remaining pastry & filling. Lay empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 20 minutes or until pastry is baked & slightly browned.
In a dream world, desserts would be low in calories and fat and eating one cookie wouldn’t tempt us to eat five more.
By now, everyone knows what a molten chocolate cake is (also known as chocolate lava cake). Practically every restaurant has a version of the recipe on its dessert menu. Its basically the richest chocolate cake imaginable, in miniature form. The key is to purposely under bake it so it will reveal the thick, hot fudge-like center that oozes out when you spoon into it.
But, there’s one way to achieve healthier baked goods and that’s to add legumes. Yes, the very same beans that we put in soups, chili, dips and countless savory recipes make surprisingly tasty desserts.
If you’re using beans as a flour substitute, its typically a 1:1 ratio. When it comes to replacing fat ingredients with beans, a little caution is needed. Fats are not only used for flavor but also texture and mouthfeel for dishes. For brownies, you can replace oil with 3/4 as much black bean puree. For cookies, you can replace up to half the butter or shortening with the bean puree. For quick breads and muffins, replace butter or shortening with half as much bean puree. This is only a general guide as other ingredients may need to be altered too. Always good to experiment first.
The end result, of course, with any substitution should not just improve the nutrition content but leave you feeling satisfied and not still craving the decadent variety. We found these black bean lava cakes certainly did that!
Black Bean Lava Cakes
Make flax egg & set aside.
In a food processor, combine black beans, sugar, applesauce, apple cider vinegar & sea salt. Pulse to combine for about 1 minute.
Add rice flour, cocoa powder & flax egg. Process until combined about 30 seconds.
Add baking powder & continue processing for another 30 seconds.
Grease (4) 5-oz. ramekins with oil. Make sure to grease well. Add 1/4 cup batter to each ramekin.
Place a piece of chocolate in center of each & divide remaining batter between the 4 ramekins, spreading evenly.
Place on a baking sheet & bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven & cool for 10 minutes.
Use a knife to loosen edges, then flip ramekins over on to serving plates (they should come loose easily).
If you wish, sprinkle with powdered sugar & serve warm.