Smashed Potatoes with Jalapenos

Hello friends! Long time no see! I’ve missed this space and really hope to get back to my regular posting soon!

I just had to tell you about this fabulously simple side dish which Ron told me was the best thing I’ve made recently (don’t worry- he did preface that comment with, “you make a lot of delicious things, but…)  When he says that, I know a recipe’s good. This comes from the most recent issue of Bon Appetit, and was in a recipe spread inspired by Austin, TX (where we just spent a long weekend visiting Ron’s brother and wife, coincidentally). This recipe is so simple (my favorite kind), and just required a few ingredients. I foresee this becoming a staple in our household!

Smashed potatoes with Jalapenos

Smashed Potatoes with Jalapenos

Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 lbs fingerlings or small potatoes

1/2 cup olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup sherry or red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp whole grain mustard

1 jalapeno, sliced thinly into rounds (seeds removed, if desired)

1/4 cup flat leaf parsley (thinly packed), chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil (for easy cleanup). Toss potatoes with 1/4 cup of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 35 minutes, turning once. Potatoes should be done when they can be pierced easily with a fork.

2. Let potatoes cool slightly, and then gently flatten them so that they still hold together, but are slightly smashed. ( I used a fork to do this.)

3. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, and whole grain mustard. Slowly whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, until emolsified. Season with salt and pepper. Add in the potatoes, jalapenos, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Source: Bon Appetit, July 2014

 

 

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Chicken Cobb Salad

Do you ever feel like you need to get some vegetables into your body, stat?! I do! Especially after many indulgences in a row, my body just craves veggies! This is a great way to incorporate vegetables into a meal in a guy-friendly way. I think a hearty salad that has the good stuff, but also some chicken, bacon and cheese is the perfect way to get my boyfriend to eat his vegetables, and be happy about it!  This classic salad was so tasty, and also very beautiful looking! Of course, when you eat it it becomes jumbled like any normal salad, but at least for a couple of minutes it looks so orderly and elegant! … and now I’m really inspired to try some other variations on the Cobb salad like this one, this one and this one.

Chicken Cobb Salad

Chicken Cobb Salad

Serves 4

3 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, and crumbled

2 hard-boiled eggs

1 large head romaine lettuce, shredded

1/2 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice

3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat broiler, place oven rack 6-inches from top. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and place on baking sheet. Broil for 4-8 minutes until lightly browned. Flip chicken over, and broil for 6-8 minutes more, until chicken is fully cooked. Let cool until they can be handled. Chop into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the lettuce with the dressing.

3. To assemble salads, place a serving of lettuce on each plate, and then arrange the chicken, eggs, bacon, cheese, avocado, and tomato on top of the lettuce in rows.

Source: adapted from The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook and Everyday Food: Great Food Fast

 

No-Knead Pizza Dough and Super Simple Tomato Sauce

Have I told you guys yet that for Christmas my boyfriend’s parents got me all this fabulous pizza making equipment? A pizza stone, pizza peel, pizza pan, pizza wheel and server? Yeah, I was pretty excited, and now I have no excuse for not perfecting my homemade pizza. It’s definitely still not there yet, but I’m getting better and better with every pizza I make, and it’s been really fun coming up with combinations of pizza to try. So far we’ve stuck with pretty classic combinations, but I think as time goes on, we’ll become more and more creative! I have a bunch of pizza dough recipes I want to try, and I really like the one I’ve made before (this one), but I know it could be even better. I grew up in New Haven, CT which is known for it’s fabulous pizza (Modern is my personal favorite), and the whole state is filled with awesome pizza restaurants (Christos in Wallingford is excellent), so I have a lot to live up to. Homemade pizza will never replace take-out for me, but it’s still fun, delicious, and makes me feel a little less guilty about my pizza habit.

Pizza

I’ve been intrigued by this no-knead pizza dough for a while. It sounds sooo easy, and after trying it, I concur… It is definitely easier than my other dough recipe, and it was a lot easier to handle as well. I really like the other pizza dough I’ve made, but it is a lot more temperamental and I get a lot more frustrated when I’ve worked with it than I did with this no-knead dough. I had no problem shaping it on the peal, only had a couple places where it tore, and it didn’t have any problem sticking to the peel. The flavor is great too, and I love that it makes enough for 2 pizzas, so I end up making a full batch, and then just freezing one for the following week. It works out perfectly, and I swear that the second dough from the freezer was even easier to handle and tasted better.

This tomato sauce recipe is extremely simple and tasty as well. You just add a few ingredients to a food processor, buzz it all together, and bam, done! This recipe also makes enough for 3-4 pizzas, so you could refriderate or freeze the rest for future pizza making.

No Knead Pizza Dough

No-Knead Pizza Dough

Makes 2 14-inch pizzas

Ingredients:

3 3/4 cups bread flour

2 1/2 tsp active or instant dry yeast

3/4 tsp table salt

3/4 tsp sugar

1 1/3 cups warm water

Directions

1. Stir together the bread flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl.

2. Add the water and mix together with your hands, or a wooden spoon, until it all comes together. This’ll take a minute or two.

3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and leave to rise at room temperature for 2 hours.

4. Divide dough into 2 portions. If you are only making one pizza, now is a good time to freeze one portion of the dough. Wrap in plastic wrap, put in a freezer bag, and place in the freezer.

Source: Shutterbean

Super Simple Tomato Sauce

Makes enough for 3-4 pizzas

Ingredients:

1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, drained

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 tsp salt

1 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or blended, and blend until smooth. That’s it 🙂 The extra can be refridgerated or frozen for future use.

Source: Annie‘s Eats

To make the pizza:

1. Adjust one oven rack to the lowest setting, place pizza stone on it, and preheat oven to 500 degrees- and let stone sit in the preheated oven for an hour before assembling and cooking the pizza.

2. Shape the other dough on your pizza peal sprinkled with cornmeal or flour (if you have one), add desired toppings, and slide onto pizza stone. Bake for 14 minutes. Alternately, you could use a pizza pan (like the ones with the perforated hole), or you could roll out the dough onto a large (13×18 rimmed oiled baking sheet). If you use either the pizza pan or baking sheet, the pizzas will probably need to bake a bit longer- 18-20 minutes.

Here are some types of pizza we’ve made lately, if you want some ideas!

Pepperoni and Roasted Pepper

Clam, Bacon and Onion (recipe coming soon!!)

Caramelized onion and chicken

Pepperoni and Mushroom

Buffalo chicken pizza

BLT Pizza

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Pizza

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.

    Roasted Fingerling Potato Salad

    Potato salad is one of those quintessentially summer foods- one that time and time again makes an appearance at cookouts, summer parties, and as a side dish to summer grilling staples- steak, barbecued chicken, ribs, etc.  Now while I love the standard potato salad, it can be a bit heavy, and also doesn’t take well to sitting out in the hot sun.  So here’s a different take on potato salad- one that doesn’t include mayonnaise and has roasted, rather than boiled potatoes.  It’s basically just roasted potatoes, with an herb salad on top, and it is different and delicious, and very versatile as you can pretty much use whatever combination of herbs you like….. and it uses fingerling potatoes which are just so darned cute!  Yes, I admit that I am a sucker for cute foods…. and cute packaging…. and fingerling potatoes may be one of the cutest foods out there!  Ya know what’s also cute?  My animals!

    Anywho….. here’s the recipe 🙂

    Roasted Fingerling Potato Salad
    from Bon Appetit, June 2010

    Serves 4-6

    Ingredients:
    2 tbsp plus 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing
    1 1/2 pounds 1-inch-diameter fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
    2 green onions, thinly sliced
    1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
    2 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves
    1 1/2 tbsp Banyuls vinegar or red wine vinegar
    1 tbsp coarse-grained Dijon mustard
    2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, chopped*
    Directions:
    1. Heat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in bottom-third position.
    2. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.
    3. Place the halved potatoes in a bowl, with 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss together so that potatoes are coated.
    4. Arrange the potatoes cut side down on the baking sheet, and roast for about 23 minutes, until they are browned on the cut side.  Turn the potatoes over, and roast until done, about 12 minutes.  Potatoes should be crisp, golden, and tender. Season the potatoes to taste with salt and pepper.
    5.  In a small bowl, combine green onions, parsley, tarragon, vinegar, mustard, and 2 tsp of olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.
    6. Transfer the roasted potatoes to a serving dish.  Top with the herb salad, and the eggs.
    * For hard-boiled eggs, place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with about an inch of water.  Bring the water to a boil, and when it begins to boil, remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 11 minutes.  Transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water.  Drain and peel!
    Notes:
    • I love the original combination of herbs in this dish, but you can really use any combination you like- chives and basil come to mind as some alternates.  If you’ve never had tarragon, it does have a licoricey flavor that some may not like- although, my boyfriend does not like licorice, and he liked the tarragon in this dish. (I never pointed out the flavor either, so maybe he likes licorice and doesn’t know it!)
    • If you don’t like eggs feel free to leave them out.
    • While the fingerling potatoes were excellent in this, any roasted potato would work, just cut them into 1/2 inch wedges and you should be good to go.

    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.

    A Memorial Day Meal: Part Deux

    Here is the promised second half of my Memorial Day feast… the side dishes.



    Spicy Potato Wedges


    Ingredients:
    Russet potatoes (1- however many you want, but 1 potato per person is a good idea)
    Olive oil
    Salt
    Garlic Powder
    Cayenne Pepper
    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Cut potatoes into wedges.  I’d recommend cutting into 6-8 wedges per potato depending on their size.
    3. Toss the wedges in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, add a sprinkling of the salt and the other spices, and mix together to coat the potatoes.  I didn’t measure these, and it’s really up to your individual taste- like them spicy?  Add more cayenne.  Like them garlicky?  Add more garlic powder!  For a rough guide, I’d say for 4 potatoes you can use about 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper.
    4. Place potatoes on a baking pan, in a single layer.
    5. Cook about 40 minutes, flipping the wedges once.

    Tomato, Cucumber and Feta Salad


    Ingredients:
    2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes (quartered if cherry, halved if grape)
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp sugar
    2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
    1/2 tsp dried oregano
    1 medium shallot, minced
    1 tbsp red wine vinegar
    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    Ground black pepper
    1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced into 1/2 inch chunks
    1-2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced

    Directions:
    1. In a medium bowl, toss together tomatoes, salt and sugar.  Let sit for about 30 minutes.  Put the tomatoes in a salad spinner, and spin for about 1 minute, to remove seeds and juice.  Stir the tomatoes around several times while spinning.  If you don’t have a salad spinner, place the tomatoes in a bowl, cover securely with plastic wrap, and shake gently to loosen seeds, and release liquid.  Strain the liquid from the tomatoes through a fine mesh strainer into a measuring cup.
    2. In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the reserved tomato liquid, garlic, oregano, shallot, and red wine vinegar, and heat on medium.  Simmer about 6-8 minutes, until the mixture is reduced.  Remove from the heat, pour into a small bowl, and let cook to room temperature.  When cooled, whisk in the olive oil, and season to taste with the black pepper.
    3. Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, feta, parsley and dressing in a medium bowl.  Toss to combine.

    Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from Cook’s Illustrated

    Notes:

    • I used grape tomatoes in my salad, halving them.  It may take a bit of extra work to get the liquid and seeds to release from these, so you may have to toss the tomatoes around a bit more and squeeze them gently to release their seeds and a little more liquid.  I actually only got about 1/4 cup of tomato liquid for my dressing, but it still turned out perfectly fine, so don’t fret if the same happens to you.
    Cheddar Cheese Biscuits
    Makes about 8 biscuits

    Ingredients:
    2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    2 tsp sugar
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 cup cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
    1 1/2 cups heavy cream
    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, placing over rack in upper middle position.
    2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir in cheese.  Pour 1 1/4 cup of the cream in, and stir together for about 30 seconds, or until it forms into dough.
    4. Remove dough to a lightly floured surface.  Leave behind any dry pieces of flour in the bowl.  If there is extra flour in the bowl, combine with the remaining 1/4 cup of cream, in tbsp increments, until moistened.  When moistened, add them to the rest of the dough.  Knead for about 30 seconds, by hand, until the dough is smooth.
    5. To make biscuit rounds, flatten the dough into a 1-inch thick circle.  Use a round biscuit cutter to make bisuits, and place them on baking sheet.  Reform circle with leftover dough, and cut more biscuits.  This will make about 8 biscuits.  You can also make biscuit wedges by placing the dough in an 8 inch cake pan, and flattening evenly.  Remove dough and place on lightly floured surface, and cut into 8 wedges.
    6. Bake biscuits for 15-18 minutes.

    Source: cooklikeachampionblog.com, originally adapted from Baking Illustrated


    Notes:
    • When making my biscuits, I didn’t have any remaining flour in my bowl, so I ended up only using 1 1/4 cups of cream, so you may not need to do this step either. 
    • I ended up doing wedges because I realized as I was making these that I don’t have a biscuit cutter.  I’m sure I could have used something else to make a circle shape, but wedges are cool, so that’s what I went with.  I loved the cake pan trick, because it made a perfect circle with no effort, and so it was super easy to make equal sized wedges.
    • You can make these into regular biscuits by just omitting the cheddar cheese, the amount of the other ingredients remains the same- but why wouldn’t you want cheese?!?!?!?  I also think that adding bacon or scallions would be awesome in these biscuits.
    • Using diced cheese, rather than grated cheese, was an awesome idea- it gives you these little pockets of wonderful cheesy goodness.  I have to say these are the best biscuits I have ever made- although I still have yet to try duplicating Red Lobster’s biscuits…