Monday, June 9, 2008

Oh quiche me!

I love breakfast.

Most people are way to busy for this meal and grab a cup of java or eat a quick bowl of cereal. There has to be one day in a week of seven that you can sit down and eat a nice slow breakfast. We do it on Sunday. I call it big breakfast day and I love it best when we have a lot of hungry people over.

There is no meat at my breakfast table but no one seems to notice. I don't have a problem with eggs as long as I don't consider them too long. Don't do it, it will only gross you out. I do buy my eggs organic and from farms that let there chickens have some kind of life outdoors. If they have farm fresh eggs at the farmers market then I stock up.

The best part of this dish is that you can make it today and have it again tomorrow for breakfast or lunch.

I was a little too young to understand what all that real- men-and-quiche thing was about. Is there men food and women food? Last I looked we all had the same digestive parts. I know most men don't store fat like we do but I know plenty of male chocoholics and I have yet to meet a man who would not eat my quiche.

Here we go...

You are going to need basics:

Eggs, we will be making two quiches so you will need nine eggs.

Cheese, this is the heart of the dish and we will be using three different kinds of cheese. You should have a bag of shredded mozzarella in the frig already. Now you need to buy some shredded cheddar and a very small piece of Swiss or you can just buy a few sandwich slices at the deli.

Milk, or if you are feeling a little naughty half and half.

Green chili's, Ortega should send me a birthday card I eat more of their canned green chili's than anyone I know. -Remember not to get jalapenos the cans look very similar.

Onions, if you don't like onions very much you can use green onions which are milder. I use a yellow sweet onion.

Two Marie Calenders pie crusts. I know I should make my own, I know they have whole wheat pie crusts but I swear this pie crusts is like heaven. It is flaky, greasy, and tastes like a heart attack, indulge.

Spinach, you will need a regular size bag. Don't get frozen, get fresh. It is easy to chop and it stays a pretty green in your dish. The frozen is just messy and watery.

Salt and pepper.

350 degree oven pre-heated.

Get all those eggs into a big mixing bowl (no shells, very funny) beat them and add about a third cup milk or half and half.

Chop up all the spinach and the onions and add to the eggs. I use about a half cup of onions because I love onions.

Add a whole can of green chili's (the small can)

Chop or grate your Swiss, about a half cup. A hand full of Cheddar and a hand full of mozzarella all go into the eggy goo. You can add more cheese if you like.

It doesn't look very pretty but it will taste like Easter morning.

Pour half of the "batter" into each pie shell. Marie Calenders crusts are deep so your egg mixture will fill a little more than half the shell.

I like to sprinkle a little more cheese on the top before I throw them in the oven.

Ovens vary so they could be ready as quickly as thirty minutes, it takes my oven about 45 minutes to get the job done. The goal here is to make sure the eggs are firm. I gently touch the middle with my finger to be sure. You don't want to cook them too long and remember they will keep cooking while they cool.

I like to serve quiche with salad if it is brunch or lunch. A salad that goes great is a spinach and strawberry salad.

Raw, washed, whole spinach leaves, sliced strawberries, chopped pecans, thinly slice purple onion and Briana's dressing, the one with the pretty strawberry on the label. It is not a berry dressing it is a slightly sweet balsamic. A little cracked pepper on top is wonderful if you like pepper.

If it is a breakfast meal for my family I will make some roasted potatoes.

I chop up red potatoes and sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch chunks, coat them with olive oil, salt and pepper I will even throw in a handful of whole garlic cloves if I have them. You can also add rosemary, it is so aromatic. You throw all this into a shallow baking dish and into a 400 degree oven until they are nice and brown. Try to avoid turning them more than once or twice.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"Chicken" Parm...

I am not even a tiny bit Italian but I love Italian food. As a vegetarian you can still enjoy some of the most wonderful grub inspired by Italy. Here is a dish I have always made for my kids. It is cheesy, yummy and great comfort food.

I am not sure what it is about cheese that makes us so happy. I am a little lactose intolerant but I love, love, love cheese. I have always found the best way to make my kids smile (even the grumpy 22 year old) is to make a warm pasta dish with melted cheese on top. I do my best to buy from companies that are kind to their dairy cows and do not add any hormones or antibiotics to their feed. If the cows are not allowed to roam don't bring the cheese home. That wonderful cow has given it's milk to make this beautiful cheese she should at least be able to walk around, eat grass, and feel the sun on her body.

[First you should make a quick garden salad and throw it in the frig to get cold and crispy. My favorite things to put on a salad are pine nuts, feta cheese, onions peppers, greens, sliced grapes or dried cranberries. I dress it lightly with a little pepper, olive oil and white balsamic.]

You might need to go to the grocery store for a few things but most of this stuff you should have.

Spaghetti the really long spaghetti from Trader Joe's is fun you can also buy linguine or rigatoni.

Olive oil.

Salt and Pepper.

Spaghetti sauce. If you are in a big hurry just get a jar of your favorite stuff but if you have time for a little slow cooking make your own. There is a "recipe" for my favorite sauce here on the TNV blog just go to the archives for Puta what a Nesca.

Mozzarella cheese. I always have a bag of grated in my freezer but you can slice it if you like.

Parmesan cheese, if you buy that green can I will have to come to your house and pull your hair. You can find Parmesan freshly grated in the dairy section at the grocery.

"Chicken" patties. Almost every soy company has their own version and I like them all. They come in a box of four and look like breaded fast food chicken patties. They are fine in this dish but I wouldn't make a sandwich with them.

Lets get started...

First boil a big pot of water for the pasta (remember pasta likes to swim!).

Then unwrap your patties and put them in a 350 degree oven, I use a cast iron pan because I like the extra iron that comes with cooking in one, it can also go in the oven with no hassles. You can also use a casserole dish. Let them get warmed up and a little brown.

Heat sauce if you are using a jar, and re-warm sauce if you did it from scratch.

Pour sauce over patties, top with cheese(s) then put it back in the oven to get nice and melty. I have always added a layer of finely chopped spinach to the top of my patties before I added the sauce, the kids never noticed and I got them to eat spinach.

Cook your pasta until it is tender, strain and add a little olive oil to keep it from sticking. I like to add some crushed garlic but it can be a little stinky for small children or after dinner romance.

I make a nice pile of pasta add a patty with lots of sauce to the pile, sprinkle with some chopped basil or parsly, a little more parm and YUMMY!

Don't forget your salad and a nice warm loaf of bread if you are not worried about carbs.

I wish I had a gondola...