Steak Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

Months and month ago now, I went out to dinner with some former co-workers at a restaurant/slash bar here in CT (Eli’s on Whitney for those who are local/interested). One of my friends got a seriously amazing looking steak salad, which totally gave me entree envy. My dinner was good, but hers looked so delicious that I just could not get it out of my head. This salad was composed of greens, candied walnuts, craisins, gorgonzola cheese, Granny Smith apples, and was dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette, and she had it topped with a perfectly cooked steak. I still have yet to have this specific salad, but I knew then and there that I would be putting steak salad on my dinner planning menu in the near future. Now, I knew Ron would not be thrilled about the craisins or apples in the salad (he’s not generally a fan of fruit, and especially not a fruit+meat person), but I knew he’d love the idea of steak in any form, so when I saw this salad in Rachel Ray’s magazine I immediately put it on our menu. She uses spinach and watercress in her version of this salad, but I decided to go with a more general baby greens mix, and I also changed out the Petit Filets for a more budget-friendly cut of beef. This salad turned out so well, that we immediately put in on the menu for the following week, and now looking at the pictures I wish I had the ingredients to make it again tonight.

Steak Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

Steak Salad with Bacon Bits and Blue Cheese
Serves 4

Ingredients:
6 slices bacon
2 lbs steak (Petit Filets are suggested, but use your favorite tender cut- I used sirloin tip steak and cut it very thinly against the grain)
1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar (you could use Sherry, champagne or red wine vinegar as well)
8 cups salad greens (I like using a mix that contains baby spinach)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup blue cheese crumbles

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a grill, or heavy (preferably cast-iron) skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil (for easy clean up), place bacon on sheet, and cook for 15-18 minutes. When cooked, remove to a paper towel-lined plate to get rid of excess fat. Crumble when slightly cooled.

3. Season steak with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Cook on grill or skillet until cooked through to your liking. The timing will depend on the type of steak used, but for a petit filet, about 4-5 minutes per side will cook it to about medium-rare. Let rest for 5-10 minutes once cooked, and then slice against the grain very thinly.

4. In a small bowl, or salad dressing mixer (pretty sure that’s not the real name of that haha), whisk together the lemon juice, garlic clove, mustard and vinegar. Slowly stream and whisk in the olive oil if doing this in a bowl, otherwise just add the olive oil and shake to combine, or use the salad dressing plunger.

5. Place about 2 cups of greens on each plate, split sliced steak, crumbled bacon, blue cheese, and sliced red onion evenly among the plates, and top with dressing.

Source: EveryDay with Rachel Ray, May 2014

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing

Buffalo chicken has to be one of my favorite foods ever…. and of course it’s one of my boyfriend’s favorites! I love it in pretty much any incarnation, whether it be the classic buffalo chicken wings, or a twist on the classic, such as a topping on a pizza, inside egg rolls, in potato skins, etc. If it has buffalo chicken in the title, it can pretty much be guaranteed that I’ll try it.  When this recipe popped up on Smells Like Home a month ago, I immediately put it at the top of my “make after this detox” list. Ron was all for it because even though it’s a healthy salad, buffalo chicken makes everything exciting!

The buffalo chicken in this recipe is baked, which cuts the guilt down even further. It’s breaded in a toasted panko breadcrumb coating, and baked on a wire rack, which ensures that the chicken will stay crispy, rather than soggy.  The creamy avocado ranch dressing is a perfect accompaniment to the salad, although if you wanted, you could certainly serve it with a regular ranch or blue cheese dressing. I will most definitely be making this regularly. Ron has already requested a repeat of this meal, and I will be fulfilling that request soon.

Buffalo Chicken Salad
Serves 2-4 (Depending on how hungry you are!)

Ingredients:
1 recipe buffalo chicken (recipe follows)
Avocado ranch dressing (recipe follows)
Lettuce
Cherry or grape tomatoes
Blue, feta or cheddar cheese
Crumbled bacon(optional)
Scallions or red onions (optional)
Celery (optional)

Directions:
1. Assemble individual salads. Place buffalo chicken on top. Drizzle dressing over salad.

Buffalo Chicken
Ingredients:
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
3 large egg whites
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp Dijon or whole grain mustard
1 tsp minced fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
Cooking spray
1 lb chicken tenderloins ( or boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 3/4-inch strips
1 cup buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot Original)
3 Tbsp salted butter

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil, and place a wire rack on the sheet. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add canola oil and breadcrumbs. Toss together and stir until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Place in a shallow dish or pie plate when toasted.
3. In a second dish or pie plate, stir together the flour, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper, if using. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg whites, water, mustard and thyme.
4. To prepare chicken, dredge each piece in the flour mixture, then the egg whites, then the breadcrumbs. Place on the prepared wire rack on the baking sheet. When all the chicken is coated, spray the tops with nonstick cooking spray. (I highly recommend getting an oil mister- that way you can use your own oil, without all the other ingredients that the cooking spray usually contains.)
5. Place the chicken in the oven and make for 10-12 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through, and the coating is golden brown.
6. While the chicken cooks, place the butter and the wing sauce in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments until the butter is melted. Whisk together to combine.
7. When chicken is cooked, dredge each piece carefully in the buffalo sauce to coat.

Avocado Ranch Dressing

Ingredients:
1/2 avocado, removed from skin and diced
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
Up to 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 small bunch of chives, or 1 scallion, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Place avocado, mayonnaise, sour cream, olive oil, lemon juice, 1/4 cup buttermilk, chives (or scallions), parsley, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, in a blender. Blend for about 10 seconds. Scrape down side, add more buttermilk if desired to change consistency, and blend until completely smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Source: Smells Like Home

Buffalo Chicken Previously: Buffalo Chicken Melts

Here are some other buffalo chicken recipes from around the web that I’d love to try!
Buffalo Chicken Monkey Bread (Confections of a Foodie Bride)
Buffalo Chicken Bites (Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)
Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls (Smells Like Home)
Buffalo Chicken Sliders (Country Cleaver)
30-Minute Buffalo Chicken French Breads (How Sweet It Is)

Grilled Pizza

Hey guys, long time no see!!!   I’m so sorry for the lack of posting recently.  It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, I definitely have, but I guess I’ve been lacking the drive to sit at the computer.  I’m going to blame the heat the last few weeks… easy excuse, right?  Anyway, I thought that tonight I’d post one of the delicious recipes I’ve made lately from my new favorite cookbook- Gourmet Today.  I’ve found so many great recipes so far, and I’m dying to make many many more.  There are seriously hundreds of recipes that jumped out at me when I read through the cookbook.  I am going on vacation tomorrow, down to Virginia, but when I get back I am hoping that my relaxing vacation reinspires me to jump back into blogging.

As you know from the title, this is a recipe for grilled pizza.  Before I made these, I’d never made any kind of pizza, but after seeing how awesome these came out I’ve been dreaming up many more pizza combos I’d love to try out.  I used the basic dough recipe from Gourmet Today, but obviously cooked it on the grill instead of the oven, and while I’d describe it more as “flatbready” I suppose, it was super-awesome.  I made 4 mini-pizza with 2 types of toppings- the first, a caramelized onion and mushroom pizza was amazing, and the second, a BLT pizza was just as good, but more of a summery pizza.  The caramelized onion and mushroom I’d consider a year-round pizza.  Both were incredible.

Basic Pizza Dough

Ingredients:
1 (1/4-ounce) package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
About 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and dredging
3/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
Directions:
1. In a measuring cup, stir together the yeast, 1 tbsp flour, and 1/4 cup warm water.  Let sit about 5 minutes, until the surface appears creamy- if this doesn’t happen, discard and try again with new yeast.)
2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/4 cup flour and salt.  Add the yeast mixture, olive oil, and remaining 1/2 cup warm water.  Stir until smooth.  Stir in enough of the remaining 1/2 cup flour so that the dough comes away from the side of the bowl.  
3. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface, with lightly floured hands, for about 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth, soft and elastic.  If the surface, or your hands become sticky, add more flour.  Form the kneaded dough into a ball, place in a lightly floured large bowl, dust the dough with flour, and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Leave to rise in a warm, draft free place for 1 1/4 hours, until the dough doubles its size.
4. Once the dough is risen, carefully dredge in flour to coat, and transfer to a lightly floured work surface.  **Do not punch the dough down**  
5. At this point, you can either make one large 14-inch pizza, or smaller individual ones- I made 4 mini-pizzas.  Either way, carefully hold the dough with the bottom surface touching your work surface, and move the dough around with both hands as if holding a steering wheel, letting the weight of the dough stretch into a round.  Once to your desired size, place the round on a lightly floured surface, and work the edges with your fingers to get it to the desired size.
6.  Once formed, your dough is ready to top, bake or grill, depending on which recipe you are using for toppings.
** To grill, heat grill to medium-high heat.  Oil the grates well!  Brush the pizzas with olive oil on each side.  Place on grill over indirect heat (not over the coals- they’ll burn fast!).   Cook about 3 minutes, covered, until the dough begins to have large bubbles on the surface, and the underside is cooked.  If you are going to be putting on a topping that will warm up/melt cheese, remove the dough round to a clean surface with the cooked side facing up, and place your cheese/toppings on.  Return to grill and cook, covered for 4-6 minutes, until the dough is cooked, and the toppings/cheese are ready.  If you are putting a topping on that does not need to be cooked (like the BLT pizza), just flip the dough round over, and cook, covered for about 4 minutes.**  (Grilled pizza instructions adapted from Annie’s Eats)
Notes:
  • You can leave the dough to rise up to a day, covered and refridgerated.  Bring it to room temperature before you shape it.
  • After rising, the dough can be frozen up to 1 month.  Thaw and bring to room temperature before shaping.
  • My pizzas were definitely not round, but they were still tasty- this is a recipe where only practice will make perfect!
  • Watch your dough closely, as it can burn quickly.  My pizzas had a little char to them, but the smokiness just added some more delicious flavor.  Too much though, and it would probably overwhelm.

Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Pizza
Makes one 14-inch pizza, or 4 individual pizzas

Ingredients:
5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound yellow onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced lengthwise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound white mushrooms, or mixed wild mushrooms (such as shitake, cremini and oyster), trimmed if   necessary and sliced
1 tsp red wine vinegar
2 3/4 cups coarsely grated Swiss Emmental cheese, or Gruyere (about 8 ounces)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
Basic Pizza Dough (recipe above)
Directions:
1. In a 12-inch heavy skillet heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking.  Add the onions, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper.  Cover directly with a round of parchment paper.  Cook until the onions are softened and golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 18-20 minutes.  Transfer the onions to a bowl.
2. To the same skillet, add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, and heat until hot but not smoking.  Add the mushrooms, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and red wine vinegar, and cook about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned and any liquid is evaporated.  Remove the mushrooms from the heat. 
3. Cook one side of your pizza dough on a grill preheated over medium high heat (as detailed above).  When done, remove to a clean surface.  Top the cooked side of the dough with the Emmental or gruyere cheese.  Scatter onions and mushrooms on top, and sprinkle with Parmesan.  
4. Place back on the grill over indirect heat, and cook, covered, 4-6 minutes, until the dough is cooked, and the cheese is melted.  Sprinkle with fresh thyme.
Notes:
  • The original recipe calls for Swiss Emmental cheese, but I had some gruyere left over so I used that instead, and it turned out wonderful.  Any type of Swiss cheese would probably do just fine, depending on how strong or mild you like it. 
  • I omitted the thyme because I thought I had some, but when I went to make the pizzas realized I didn’t, but I didn’t miss it at all.  I’m sure it would’ve been good, but I don’t think it’s necessary.
  • I halved this recipe to make 2 individual pizzas.

BLT Pizza
from Annie’s Eats, dressing from Annie’s Eats and Alton Brown via foodnetwork.com
Makes 4 individual pizzas

Ingredients:
Basic pizza dough (recipe above)

For salad topping:
4 cups green leaf lettuce, or mixed greens
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (drippings from cooking reserved for dressing)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
For bacon vinaigrette:
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp bacon drippings
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar (preferably dark)
1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
Directions:
1. Combine the ingredients for the bacon vinaigrette in a small bowl, or salad dressing bottle, and whisk (or use handy emulsification device) to combine.
2. Combine the lettuce, tomato and onion in a large bowl, and toss to combine.  Add 1/4 cup of dressing to the salad, and toss gently to coat.  Add the bacon and feta to the salad, and toss gently to combine.
3. Make your grilled pizzas (recipe above), cooking both sides.  Top your cooked pizza dough with some of the salad mixture, and serve!
Notes:
  • This salad is great on it’s own, so if you don’t want to make pizza, or if there is leftover, eat it plain!
  • You can also use the vinaigrette to dress any salad…. In Alton Brown’s original recipe he uses basically double the amount, and tops 2 quartered heads of radicchio.  For quantities for his recipe go here!
  • This is one of the most refreshing summery pizzas I’ve ever had, and although topping a pizza with salad may seem a bit unusual, I can’t wait to make some other summery salad pizzas.

    Pasta Salad with Cheddar Cheese, Pepperoni, Roasted Red Peppers and Chickpeas

    Pasta salad seems like such a classic summer dish to me- all you have to do basically is cook up some pasta, toss in some dressing, and some ingredients of your choice.  It is a quick meal that has only a minimal amount of time in a kitchen that can be stifling in hot weather- especially when you have the 100 degree weather we had here in Connecticut this past week- that paired with the very likely chance that we would lose power due to the intense storms that were going through the state, made this a perfect dinner- although what I would have done had the power gone out mid-pasta cooking I can’t quite say- I may have been out with my grill in the pouring rain trying to boil water.

    So I know that the June issue of Bon Appetit told us to get away from cold fusilli salad- but hey- I love cold fusilli salad, and like I’ve said before- I DO WHAT I WANT!!!  Take that Bon Appetit (don’t worry I still love you).  Anyways,  I used tricolor fusilli for this pasta salad because it’s pretty, and then threw in some additions… since I was not just making it for myself, I had to think about things that my boyfriend likes to eat (which pretty much rules out all vegetables other than peppers).  I settled on cheddar cheese (because I have a massive amount of it in my fridge due to an awesome sale at Whole Foods), pepperoni, chickpeas, and roasted red peppers (got to have some kind of vegetable in there, right?).  For the dressing, I chose one that my mom has used on her pasta salad in the past, which I think is quite delicious, and that is Ina Garten’s vinaigrette for green salad- although, I of course being the rebel I am didn’t have anything resembling green in my salad- other than the spinach fusilli.  I like using a vinaigrette in pasta salad rather than a mayonnaise based dressing because that’s just how I roll.

    Pasta Salad with Cheddar Cheese, Pepperoni, Roasted Red Peppers and Chickpeas

    Ingredients:
    1 pound pasta (I used tricolor fusilli)
    4 ounces pepperoni, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    2-3 ounces Cheddar Cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    2-3 roasted red peppers, cut into 1/2 by 1 1/2 inch strips
    1 can chickpeas, drained
    Ina Garten’s Vinaigrette (recipe to follow)

    Directions:
    1. Cook your pasta in boiling salted water until al dente, drain.
    2. Toss the pasta with the pepperoni, cheese, peppers, and chickpeas.
    3. Add vinaigrette, and toss everything to combine.

    Notes:

    • These are pretty rough estimates for how much of each ingredient to use.  It’s really all up to you individually- these are about the amounts I used this time, but you can do it all to taste- add more or less ingredient as you see fit.
    • Substitutions and additions are also welcome.  You can use mozzarella instead of cheddar.  Salami instead of pepperoni.  Add in some halved cherry tomatoes, or sundried tomatoes, or cucumber, or sauteed zucchini or summer squash.  Add what you personally like!
    Ina Garten’s Vinaigrette 

    Ingredients:
    1 tsp Dijon mustard
    1 tsp minced fresh garlic
    3 tbsp Champagne vinegar (or other wine vinegar- red or white)
    1 tsp Kosher salt
    1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
    1/2 cup olive oil
    Directions:
    1. In small bowl, whisk together mustard, garlic vinegar, salt and pepper.
    2. Slowly whisk in olive oil until emulsified.

    Notes:
    • I used red wine vinegar for my dressing because I didn’t have any Champagne vinegar on hand and it was still perfectly delicious.
    • This vinaigrette is originally for a green salad, which you can obviously do as well, but I love the way it pairs with a pasta salad.  If serving with a green salad, it will make enough for 6-8 servings.

    Bacon and Cheddar Quiche

    Once upon a time I wasn’t a fan of quiche… I also wasn’t a fan of scrambled eggs, or other assorted egg dishes, and then something changed!  It was a miracle that began with the addition of cheese and chives to scrambled eggs, and then branched out.  I still am grossed out by sunny side up eggs (something my boyfriend feels the need to terrorize me with now and again), but other than that I have to say I’m an egg fan.  Despite that, quiche is something I’ve never actually made- and neither is pie dough- so making a quiche from scratch encompassed two firsts for me.  I know there are about 7863 recipes for pie dough and quiche out there, but I decided to be all fancy-like and start with the recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, because quiche is a classic French dish and all.  I have to admit that I was a bit nervous about making this- especially the dough, because it’s one of those things that you have to work quickly to make or else!!

    So I read the instructions a bazillion times before attempting to make the dough… and I still think I worked too slowly.  Not that the dough wasn’t good- it really was good- but I feel like it could have been better.  It also puffed up way more that I think it was supposed to which could have been a variety of things- did I work to slowly?  Did the dough get too warm while  I was making it?  Did I not roll it out thin enough?  Was it because I didn’t put a mold, or dry beans, or anything in the crust while I pre-baked it?  I’m not sure- maybe it was a combination.  But despite that it turned out pretty well, although I took it out a little too early at first and had to put it back in for a few minutes because after I cut it I realized it was a little underdone…  Also, Julia Child’s version is pretty custardy, I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be, but I personally like it a little bit denser I guess (I think that’s the right word for my preferred quiche texture).  For my quiche I ended up substituting cheddar cheese for Swiss, and adding bacon, so I basically combined the recipe for Quiche Lorraine and Quiche au Fromage.. but hey, I like cheese and bacon together… they are a perfect match.

    With the quiche, I served a simple mesclun salad with freshly picked greens from my garden- my first crop!!!  I didn’t put anything in the salad this time- just the greens and a simple vinaigrette because I wanted to get the full flavor of the greens, but maybe I’ll do something fancier next time- with cheese, and toasted walnuts or something.

    Mesclun Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette



    Ingredients:
    For the salad:
    Mesclun greens

    For the vinaigrette: (makes about 1/2 cup)
    2 tbsp red wine vinegar
    1/8 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp dry mustard
    6 tbsp olive oil
    Big pinch pepper
    1-2 tbsp minced fresh parsley

    1.  Wash and dry greens thoroughly.
    2.  In a bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt and mustard.  Then slowly add oil, and season with pepper.  If you have a salad dressing shaker, or emulsifier, combine vinegar, salt, mustard and oil, and shake vigorously, or use emulsifier to combine.  Stir in parsley, taste and season as needed.
    3. Place greens in individual bowls, and dress salad as desired.

    Source: Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking


    Notes:

    • I adapted this dressing from the Sauce Vinaigrette recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  This is just a simple recipe for a vinaigrette made from any wine vinegar or combination of vinegar and lemon juice.  Feel free to substitute any vinegar of your choosing – white wine or champagne vinegar I’m sure would be good.
    • You can also add other types of fresh herbs- the herbs mentioned in the original recipe are parsley, chives, tarragon, and basil.  Or if you don’t have fresh herbs, you can substitute a pinch of dry herbs. Or leave the herbs out altogether.  You can also leave out the dry mustard if you want.

    Pâte Brisée


    Ingredients:
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp sugar
    6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch bits (if no food processor), or if you have a food processor, quarter the sticks lengthwise, and cut into 3/8 inch pieces
    4 tbsp chilled shortening
    A scant half cup iced water, plus a few droplets more as needed

    Directions:
    1. If you do not have a food processor: Combine flour, salt, sugar, butter, and shortening in a large mixing bowl.  Rub the mixture together rapidly between the tips of your fingers until it resembles bits of oatmeal flakes. (Do not overmix).  Then add the water and blend quickly with one hand, fingers held together and slightly cupped, and gather dough into a ball.    If there are remnants that are not part of the dough, add a few more droplets of water, and add that to the dough.  Press the dough into a ball.  If you have a food processor:  Place the flour, salt and sugar into the food processor.  Add the butter and shortening.  Then flick the machine off and on 4-5 times.  Then while the machine is running, add the ice water.  Flick the food processor on and off a few times.  The dough should mass up on the blade.  If it does not, add a few more drops of ice water, repeating as needed.  When it has massed together, scrape dough out onto lightly floured work surface, and form into a ball. (Do not overmix.)
    2. On a lightly flours work surface, press your dough down with the heal of your hand and away from you quickly, about 6 inches.  (This is called the fraisage.)
    3. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight.

    To make your partially-cooked pastry shell for the quiche:
    **Work as quickly as possible to prevent the dough from getting to warm**
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap, and place on a lightly floured surface,
    3. If hard, hit it with your rolling pin a few times to soften it.  Knead the dough into a flat circle, and lightly flour the top of it.
    4. From the center of your dough, roll the rolling pin back and forth to begin flattening the dough.  Then, with the pin always rolling away from you start rolling out the dough into a circle.  Lift the dough and turn at a slight angle and roll again.  Continue turning, and rolling, until the dough is about 1/8 inch thick, and about 2 inches larger around the sides than your pie plate.  Lightly flour the surface, and top of the dough as needed to prevent sticking.
    5. Gently place your rolled out dough in your pie plate, and gently flatten into the bottom and sides of the pan.

     
    6. Trim off the excess dough around the edges, and on the edges press lightly with a fork all the way around to make a decorative edge.

    7. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork, about every 1/2 inch.
    8.  If you have weights or dried beans, you can line the inside of the dough with buttered aluminum foil or buttered brown paper, and then place the weights/beans inside to weigh down the dough.  Then place in the oven and bake for 8-9 minutes.  Then remove the weights/beans, and bake for 2-3 minutes more until the shell is just beginning to color and shrink from the sides of the pan.

    Source: Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1

    Cheddar and Bacon Quiche
    Serves 4-6


    Ingredients:
    8 inch partially cooked pastry shell (made with Pâte Brisée)
    3-4 ounces bacon (6-8 slices of medium thickness), cut into pieces 1 inch long and 1/4 inch wide
    3 eggs or 2 eggs and 2 yolks
    1 1/2 cup heavy cream, or half cream half milk
    1/2 to 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
    1/2 tsp salt
    Pinch of pepper
    Pinch of nutmeg
    1 to 2 tbsp butter, cut into pea-sized pieces


    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Heat a large pan over medium heat, and cook bacon until done.  Remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.
    3. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, cream (or cream and milk), salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Stir in the grated cheese.
    4. Sprinkle your bacon into the partially cooked pastry shell.  Then pour egg/cream/cheese mixture on top. Sprinkle your butter pieces over the top.
    5. Place in the upper third of the oven.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the quiche is puffed up and browned.
    6. Remove from the oven and serve.


    Source: Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking



    Notes:

    • Make sure, when you are looking to see whether your quiche is done, that the top has actually browned, and it’s not just the cheese.  I think this is why mine was underdone at first- it was just the cheese that had browned a bit, and not the rest of the quiche.
    • The original recipe for Quiche Lorraine calls for Swiss cheese, and I’d definitely like to try that.  Any good melting cheese would probably be good though- I’m thinking a Gouda (because it’s my favorite).  I’d also like to experiment with some vegetable quiches- broccoli, or spinach, or asparagus would be good.
    • Quiche is definitely something I’d like to experiment with a few different recipes on- both the fillings and the pie dough.  This one was good, but it may not be my personal ideal.  Like I mentioned, I’m not so sure I was in love with the consistency.  I thought it was good, but not great for my personal tastes, but if you like custardy quiche, this may be the one for you.