Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tanja's Quiche Lorraine

The recipe today comes from Germany and is sent by Tanja Michael. Tanja was on a tour bus sitting on the opposite side of the bus from where I sat during a recent trip to Las Vegas. We struck up conversation and when I learned that she was from Germany, my German heritage stirred. We shared a little about ourselves and before we departed Tanja offered to share her Quiche Lorraine recipe.

I will post the measurements from grams to cups and etc. A BIG thank you Tanja for sharing her recipe!

Tanja’s Quiche Lorraine

Ingredients: 1 pack of puff pastry

250g smoked ham (black forest type), finely diced

250g Emmentaler (swiss cheese), grated

4 eggs

1 tub of crème fraiche

1/2 mug whipped cream

1-2 bunch of parsley

LOTS OF paprika spice (hot and noble sweet), salt, pepper, Maggi

Preparation: Swill a little water round a springform baking tin and line with puff pastry. Stir the eggs, crème fraiche, whipped cream and spices with a hand mixer. Taste it ;-)) mmmmh, delicious! Then fold in the ham, cheese and parsley. Pour the egg mixture into the baking tin and place in the oven. Cook on 190° c for approx 40 minutes

Enjoy your meal !

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Mexican Hot Chocolate

  1. Place coconut milk, water, cacao powder and agave in a Vitamix
  2. Puree on high speed until smooth
  3. Blend in stevia, vanilla, cinnamon, chili, cayenne and salt
  4. Heat mixture in a saucepan until warm
  5. Top with Whipped Cream (optional)
  6. Reblend and Serve

Note: Stevia is a sugar substitute. Adjust the cinnamon to your taste.

Serves 4

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash Polenta with Mushrooms


  1. One 2-pound butternut squash—peeled, seeded and sliced 1 inch thick
  2. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
  3. 1/3 cup pine nuts
  4. 1 large onion, finely chopped
  5. 1/2 teaspoon dried sage, crumbled
  6. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  7. 6 cups water
  8. 2 cups coarse polentaUnsalted butter
  9. 4 ounces smoked Gouda, shredded (1 cup)
  10. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
  11. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Arrange the squash on a large oiled baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, until tender. Transfer the squash to a bowl and mash coarsely. (You should have about 1 1/2 cups.) Spread the pine nuts on a pie plate and toast in the oven for 4 minutes, until golden. Coarsely chop the nuts. *
  2. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and sage and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, 25 minutes; add a few tablespoons of water if the onion looks dry. *
  3. In a saucepan, bring the 6 cups of water to a boil. Whisk in the polenta and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook over very low heat, stirring frequently, until tender, about 35 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of butter along with the mashed squash, pine nuts, onion, Gouda and half of the grated Parmigiano cheese. Pour the hot polenta into a buttered large cast-iron skillet. Flatten the top of the polenta slightly without spreading it to the edges; refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.
  4. Rub the surface of the polenta with softened butter and sprinkle with the remaining grated Parmigiano cheese. Bake in a 375° oven for 1 hour, until the top and side are lightly browned and crisp. Let stand for 20 minutes before cutting it into wedges.
  5. SERVE WITH Sautéed mushrooms, braised greens or tomato sauce.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Walnut Balsamic Vinaigrette

Walnut Balsamic Vinaigrette

Good-quality balsamic vinegar and walnut oil make all the difference in this dressing. If you can find a roasted walnut oil, its intensely nutty flavor will not be overpowered by the rich balsamic vinegar. This vinaigrette is also delicious with delicate baby spinach, mâche, or baby greens.
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons toasted walnut oil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oilSalt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the vinegar, mustard, and both oils in a glass jar and seal the lid tightly. Shake the jar vigorously to combine. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste. (The vinaigrette can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 month. Let it return to room temperature and shake vigorously before using.) Makes 1/2 cup

Walnut Balsamic Vinaigrette

Walnut Balsamic Vinaigrette

Good-quality balsamic vinegar and walnut oil make all the difference in this dressing. If you can find a roasted walnut oil, its intensely nutty flavor will not be overpowered by the rich balsamic vinegar. This vinaigrette is also delicious with delicate baby spinach, mâche, or baby greens.

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard 3 tablespoons toasted walnut oil 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the vinegar, mustard, and both oils in a glass jar and seal the lid tightly. Shake the jar vigorously to combine. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste. (The vinaigrette can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 month. Let it return to room temperature and shake vigorously before using.) Makes 1 1/2 cup

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Citrus Salts

Citrus Salts
At a recent cooking class I attended, the instructor spoke of the variety of salts available today and prices. I purchased a box of Maldon Salt which is imported from England. It is a flaked salt and great sprinkled on salads and vegetables. I was happy to find this article on Heidi Swanson's blog, "101 Cookbooks". I have an abundance of citrus fruits available in CA and plan to duplicate some of these salts.

This is a copied article from the blog "101 Cookbooks" written by Heidi Swanson.
"I used Maldon sea flakes here, but you can certainly experiment with other kinds of salts (this looks beutiful). Also try to buy good, organic, citrus. And avoid waxed citrus. If that is what you have on hand thought, just be sure to give it a good scrub with warm water. Also dry completely before zesting."
For each type of salt you will need:

1/2 cup flaky sea salt
1 tablespoon citrus salt
"Preheat your oven to 225 F / 105 C. Combine the salt and citrus in a medium bowl and mix well. Really work the zest into the salt, making sure there aren't any clumps of zest. Spread across a parchment lined baking sheet. If you are making mare than one flavoe of salt, repeat this as many times as necessary. For example this time I made 6 salts, and I arranged them across two baking sheets (see photos)."
"Bake for 70 minutes, or until the citrus is completely dried out. Flecks os zest should crumble when pinched beteen your fingers. Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit. At this point you can pulse each salt a few times in a food processor if you like, which is what I do. Or, you can enjoy it as it is. Salts keep in an air tight jar for a couple of months."
"Prep time 5 minutes, Bake time 70 minutes."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lentil & Sweet Potato Soup

Lentil & Sweet Potato Soup
We do not have much cold weather in San Diego. I must capitalize on it when I can and make the comfort food for cold days. Incidentally, cold in San Diego is somewhere in the 60's.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
3 cups peeled and chopped sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon chopped ginger
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup red lentils
5 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup whipping cream *optional
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon vegetable oi
1/4 cup sage leaves
Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 2 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add carrots and sweet potatoes and saute for 5 minutes.
Add ginger, chili flakes, and cinnamon and saute for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add lentils and stir to coat with oil.
Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until vegetables are very soft and lentils have exploded.
Puree soup in food blender or with hand blender. Return to pot, stir in whipping cream and season with salt and pepper. Stir in lemon juice and maple syrup. Reheat when needed.
For Garnish: heat oil in a small skillet over medium high heat and fry sage leaves for 30 seconds or until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Place on soup.
Serves 6

Monday, January 16, 2012

Aspargus Risotto with Pancetta and Truffle Oil ....... Post 1100

A beautiful risotto studded with green asparagus and flecked with pancetta. This tastes even better with the truffle oil giving it that final flourish.

1 lb (500 g) thin asparagus stalks, woody ends removed
2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
4 slices pancetta, diced
1 cup (250 mL) chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1½ cups (375 mL) arborio rice
5½ cups (1.375 L) hot chicken stock
2 tbsp (25 mL) butter
½ cup (125 mL) Parmesan cheese
1 tsp (5 mL) truffle oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Dice asparagus stalks into 2-inch (5-cm) lengths, reserving tips.
2. Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add pancetta and fry for 2 minutes or until fat has rendered. Add onion, garlic and asparagus stalks and sauté for 3 minutes or until onion is softened. Stir in rice and cook until rice is coated with onion and oil, about 1 minute.
3. Pour in about 2 cups (500 mL) stock and cook, stirring frequently until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add another 2 cups (500 mL) stock and stir again and cook until liquid is absorbed. Add last cup (250 mL) of stock and asparagus tips. Cook until stock is absorbed. The rice should be al dente. If not, add up to ½ cup (125 mL) more stock. This whole process should take between 20 and 25 minutes.
4. Beat in butter, Parmesan and truffle oil and season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lamb Shanks Braised With Cinnamon and Honey Post 1100

Lamb Shanks
The only possible accompaniment for this rustic dish of tender lamb shanks is mashed potato but, in a pinch, hunks of crusty baguette will mop up the flavourful juices nicely too. Since frozen lamb shanks often come in packages of three, feel free to braise all of them; the meat from the leftover one would be perfect added to a shepherd’s pie or tucked into a wrap with crisp salad greens and tzatziki. Tzatziki is a Greek sauce made of yogurt, garlic and cucumbers.
2 lamb shanks, about 10 oz (300 g) each
¾ tsp (4 mL) kosher salt
¾ tsp (4 mL) freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
1 cup (250 mL) low-sodium beef or chicken stock
¼ cup (60 mL) liquid honey
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 tbsp (30 mL) Worcestershire sauce
4 bay leaves
Finely chopped parsley for garnish
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
2 Pat lamb shanks dry with paper towels, then sprinkle on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook lamb shanks for 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides. Remove lamb shanks to a large plate.
3 Reduce heat to medium and add onion to fat remaining in pot. Cook, stirring often, for 4 to 6 minutes, until onion is golden brown. Add cinnamon and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
4 Stir in stock, honey, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to scrape up any brown bits from bottom of pot.
5 Return lamb shanks to pot, cover tightly and transfer to oven. Cook for about 1½ hours or until lamb is very tender, turning lamb shanks over halfway through cooking time.
6 Remove lamb shanks to a warm plate, cover and keep warm. With a slotted spoon, remove garlic and set aside. Discard bay leaves. When garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze garlic from skins and mash smoothly. Whisk garlic into cooking juices and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until juices have reduced and thickened slightly. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
7 Place lamb shanks on 2 warm plates. Spoon cooking juices over shanks and sprinkle with parsley.
Serves 2 From my favorite site: LCBO

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Elvis

Presley, mutton-chopped and fuller-faced, sings into a handheld microphone. A golden lei is draped around his neck, and he wears a high-collared white jumpsuit resplendent with red, blue, and gold bangles.
Happy Birthday Elvis
To all who grew up in the 50's and 60's listening to his music, the icon of Rock 'n Roll will live forever. Today would have marked his 77th birthday.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwich

If you were a subscriber to Gourmet Magazine the name Ruth reichl is probably familiar to you. She was editor in chief until the magazine ceased publication.

How to Make a Better Grilled Cheese

Ruth Reichl shares her favorite cooking secrets in a new weekly series

by Ruth Reichl

We spend a lot of time sitting around this office, talking about what we cooked, what we’re going to cook, and what we wished we had cooked. Lately it’s occurred to us that you might want to be part of this conversation.

Starting today, I’ll be writing a weekly column called How to Make a Better... These aren’t recipes, really, just simple ideas that will help you turn good food into great food.

These are little tricks I’ve come up with over many years, and I mostly keep them to myself. But our goal at Gilt Taste is to help everyone become a better cook, and I’m excited to share them with you. I wish you a year of wonderful eating.

(Photos by Whitney Chen)(Photos by Whitney Chen)

How to Make a Better Grilled Cheese Sandwich

A great grilled cheese sandwich is a seriously seductive creature. Warm, tangy and gooey, it should be absolutely irresistible. But here’s the problem: Even ordinary grilled cheese sandwiches, the kind made with white bread and Velveeta, are pretty appealing. Which means that too many people are willing to settle for good enough.

That’s a shame: Making it better is remarkably easy. Here are a few tips, beyond the obvious ones of using good bread (something with character like sourdough) and good cheese (any good Cheddar will do, although I prefer Montgomery).

  1. Do not use margarine - ever. Butter the inside and the outside of the bread. Or try spreading a thin film of mayonnaise onto the outside of the bread instead of butter; it will not only add a persuasive tang, but is also much more scorch-proof on the griddle.
  2. Grate the cheese rather than slicing it for quicker, more even melting.
  3. Mix the grated cheese with a scattering of finely chopped members of the allium family - whatever you happen to have on hand. I like to mix in about a tablespoon of onions, scallions, shallots and a little bit of garlic per sandwich.
  4. Add a gentle swipe of mustard (or horseradish) to the inside of the bread. It adds a nice layer of flavor, an extra tang.
  5. Pat some of the grated cheese onto the outside of the bread, where it will create a wonderfully crisp and shaggy crust, giving your sandwich an entirely new dimension.
  6. Don’t take your eyes off the griddle; the easiest way to make your grilled cheese better is to make sure these babies don’t burn!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Meet #23 Phil M.

Meet Grandson Phil
Today we attended the freshman basketball game of our grandson Phil. Good job Phil. Love those three shot throws!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is a vegan and gluten free recipe adapted from the blog Cinnamon Quill.

Home Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup sorghum flour

3 Tablespoons potato starch (or 1/4 cup*)

1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup raw or white sugar

1/4 cup grape seed or safflower oil (generous 1/4 cup; more like 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon)

1/3 cup pure maple syrup (I like Grade B)

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2-3/4 cup chocolate chips

*For thicker cookies use 1/4 cup potato starch.


Preheat oven to 350F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.


In a medium bowl, stir together all dry ingredients. Add oil, maple syrup, and vanilla, mixing by hand or with a mixer on medium. Dough will be thin. Fold in chocolate chips and let dough stand for 10 minutes to thicken a bit.


Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets. Bake for about 10 minutes–cookies will look a little underdone but will continue cooking after they are out of the oven. Let cool on sheet for 1-2 minutes, then remove to cooling rack. Cookies will be a little brittle until they cool.


Store in airtight container. Makes 16-18 cookies, depending on size.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Green Lentil Soup With Curried Brown Butter

I received the cookbook"Super Natural Every Day" as a recent birthday gift from our daughter Barbara. Barbara and I share a passion for cooking and healthy food. The author Heidi Swanson also blogs "Cookbooks 101" which we both follow. I have occasionally posted recipes from Heidi's blog as I have done today. Her dishes are very tasty as well as very healthy.

Green Lentil Soup with

Curried Brown Butter

You can use either green lentils of green split peas here. Both are delicious, but the green split peas tend to lend a brighter green color to the soup.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, ghee, or extra-virgin coconut oil
 1 large yellow onion, chopped 
3 cloves garlic, chopped
 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
5 1/2 cups / 1.3 liters good-tasting vegetable broth or water

1 1/2 cups / 10.5 oz / 300 g green lentils or green split peas, picked over and rinsed

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
 1 tablespoon Indian curry powder 
1/2 cup / 125 ml coconut milk 
Fine-grain sea salt
 1 bunch fresh chives, minced

small cubes of pan-fried paneer (optional)

Combine the 2 tablespoons butter, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onions soften, a couple minutes. Add the vegetable broth and lentils and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender. This usually takes 20 to 30 minutes, but can take as long as 50 minutes.


In the meantime, warm the 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and let it brown. When it starts to smell nutty and fragrant, stir in the curry powder and sauté until the spices are fragrant, less than a minute.

When the lentils are finished cooking, remove from the heat, stir in the coconut milk and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and puree with an immersion blender. You can leave the soup a bit chunky if you like, or puree until it is perfectly smooth.


Stir in half of the spiced butter, taste, and add more salt, if needed, typically a couple of teaspoons if you used water instead of a salted broth. Serve drizzled with the remaining spice butter and sprinkled with chives, (and paneer cubes if you're using them).


Serves 4 to 6

from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

Prep time: 5 min - Cook time: 45 min