I know, I can’t stop posting about quiches and tarts and things that are technically veggie oriented but are really just carbo-loaded vehicles for cheese consumption. Guilty as charged.
On the other hand, when the Husband told me this was “the best ever,” obvi it’s going on the blog. Sorry I’m not sorry.
Pancetta & Leek Quiche
1 premade pie dough, brought to room temperature
about 4 oz diced pancetta
4 large leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
salt, pepper, crushed red pepper
about 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 cup or so heavy cream (or milk, or half and half, or whatever you have)
about 8 oz shredded Gruyere
optional: handful cherry tomatoes, halved, chopped green onions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Unroll the pie dough and press into a pie plate. Prick lightly with a fork and bake for about 5-6 minutes, just to get the color nice and light golden. Bonus if you can use a crust protector.
In a saute pan, over medium high heat, cook the pancetta until it starts to crisp up. Reduce heat to medium low, and in that nice bacon-y fat, add your sliced leeks. (Note: it will look like a LOT of leeks. Don’t worry – they’ll all fit!). Add salt, pepper, crushed reds, and parsley and let the leeks cook down a good while – about 10-12 minutes, until they’re nice and translucent.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whip together eggs, cream, and a pinch of salt/pepper/crushed reds.
In your (lightly) baked pie dough, spread the bacon and leek mixture evenly. Top with a generous amount of cheese, and then carefully pour the egg/cream mix over the top. Top, as desired, with cherry tomatoes for an extra pop of color.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is nice and golden, and the eggs are cooked all the way through. Top with additional parsley and serve with a side salad.
I think we already established the Husband’s verdict. As for me, any day I get to use the crust protector, that’s a good day.
All of the Safeway grocery stores in DC have an alliterative descriptor, ranging from the innocuous to the offensive.
There’s the Social Safeway up in Georgetown (also sometimes known as the Single Safeway), where it’s rumored you can pick up a date (it’s also just the closest Safeway to the Georgetown campus). There’s the (former) Secret Safeway, which no one could ever find – (now a ridiculously delicious small-batch grocery store; if you visit DC, you must eat their kale slaw). There’s the Senior Safeway, located by the Watergate, where some of our more…experienced citizens live.
And there’s the Safeway closest to us, not-so-affectionately known as the Soviet Safeway. This nickname is based on two primary reasons: 1. its inability to stock fresh bread and anything but the most wilted of vegetables; and 2. its obscenely long lines.
All of this is a (very long) say of saying I don’t buy fresh fish often. The Husband loves this, as he’s just not into fish. As someone who negotiates with my sister for the last piece of lox, I feel differently.
This salmon (not from Safeway) was amazing – recipe based on Cooking Light‘s. It takes a while – but none of it is hands-on; make it the night before, spend a few quick minutes before you leave for work in the morning, and it’s ready in 20 minutes after you get home. I promise it will make for a very fiesta-y Friday.
Roasted Salmon with Horseradish and Homemade Dill Creme Fraiche
**if you want enough creme fraiche to adequately feed more than 2 people, would suggest doubling the ingredients starting with heavy cream going through s&p**
about 1 pound salmon (this is enough for 2 people, with leftovers for lunch)
Prepare creme fraiche: before you go to bed, combine cream, buttermilk and vinegar in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature, about 8 hours. When you wake up, add the dill, about 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cover again and refrigerate, about 8-12 hours. You’ll have a lovely, tangy sauce when you get home from work.
Prepare horseradish “marinade:” combine a pinch of salt, pepper, horseradish, parsley, shallots, capers and olive oil in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly, and then spread over the salmon fillets. Cover and refrigerate, about 8-12 hours.
Cook fish: preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place fish (skin side down) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for about 12-15 minutes, or until done. Serve with creme fraiche and a side of simple, roasted asparagus (which magically takes the same amount of time as the fish!).
The Husband cleaned his plate. I nearly licked mine. Pack any leftover fish with a bit of spinach and a dollop of the sauce, and have yourself a merry little lunch. Also: when was the last (or any, in my case) time you made your own creme fraiche!? There’s something that’s definitely not stocked at our Safeway.
I’ve never made honest-to-goodness chicken soup. Crockpot soup, immersion blender soup, roasted vegetable soup, sure. But the kind of soup my mom made when I was sick as a kid? That kind of soup is sacred territory, the kind only a mom knows how to traverse.
Then, the Husband woke up with the cold I had all last week. And despite ribbing him occasionally on the interwebs, I think I’m a pretty good wife/dance partner/roommate. After all, he deserves that – he’s a pretty good husband/dance partner/roommate, too. So I busted out the recipe book I received for my bridal shower – full of handwritten recipe cards from the best moms I know: mine, my husband’s, my surrogate aunts (aka my mom’s besties), and my husband’s aunts.
This chicken soup was inspired by my mom’s BFF, J – in fact, inspired (but not duplicated) by her mom’s recipe. I’m not even going to wait to give the verdict on this one: it.was.awesome.
Homemade Chicken Soup
2 large bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed
6-8 cups chicken broth (or water)
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped
3-4 bay leaves
10 or so sprigs fresh thyme
large handful whole black peppercorns
about 5 stalks fresh parsley, plus more for serving
3-5 slices fresh jalapeno (depending on your level of tolerance for heat)
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then sear on both sides, about 3 minutes each side. Add enough stock/water to cover the chicken and bring to a boil. Strain the grayish top layer that appears (will make your broth less cloudy).
Add onion, carrots, celery, jalapeno and all herbs. If you’re feeling fancy, tie them together to make a little bouquet garni – this will make it easier to remove it at the end. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until chicken is done, about an hour. Every so often, strain the top layer again.
Remove the chicken and set aside to cool. Remove the herbs and discard. (Make sure to taste your broth and season accordingly!) Shred the chicken from the bone and add the meat back to the pot. Add a spritz of lemon and stir.
Boil water for pasta and cook according to directions; place a small amount at the bottom of large individual bowls. Ladle the soup over the pasta and serve with additional fresh parsley. Feel your sinuses open up for a brief, glorious moment.
The lack of a Sunday/Monday planning post this week is no accident: this is a fly-by-the-seat-of-our pants kind of week. Chez nous, there is no real nightly dinner plan, as I had no real grocery list when my mom (YAY for moms who visit!) and I hit Trader Joe’s this weekend. We had one thing, and one thing only, on our minds: making this mind-blowingly delicious beef bourguignon. (My mom nixed my idea for (another) veggie tart, declaring that the Husband “needs” more protein. Didn’t you see our quinoa dinner, Mom!?)
Of course, this stew comes straight from my mom’s head; no need for recipes there. I’ve laid out a rough guide below – but feel free to tweak for your eating pleasure.
My Mom’s Beef Bourgouignon
a couple of tablespoons of butter
3 pounds beef (cut into stew-sized chunks)
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cartons mushrooms
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
2-3 bay leaves
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
3-4 cups (or even a whole bottle) red wine
a bit of water, as needed
parsley, for serving
In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil and butter over high heat. Saute the beef until browned. On a separate plate, sprinkle flour, salt and pepper; transfer beef on to the plate and add flour, S&P in layers.
In the Dutch oven, saute the celery, carrots and onion over medium heat, until translucent. Add the garlic, cook for a minute or two, and then add mushrooms and tomato paste and cook through, about 10 minutes.
Add the beef back to the pot and pour in white wine. Reduce the wine by half and then add pearl onions, red wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a boil before reducing the heat; cover and simmer for about 45 minutes.
Adjust the seasonings as you see fit, top with fresh parsley, and serve with fresh crusty bread (and CHEESE, of course).
It was a sad day when my mom (and sister) left – but they did leave behind a trail of delicious food in our refrigerator! Word to the wise: this is even better after a few days, when the flavors have had a chance to come together (and the meat has had a chance to break down and become more tender.)
It’s official: I’m starting to feel like a human being again. After nearly five days of not changing out of my pajamas, I finally put on real people clothes this morning and even dragged myself to work. I do feel sort of sorry for my colleagues, who are giving me a wide berth. I promise…I’m packing Purell.
Feeling human again started with making this salad. There are so many strong flavors in here you can’t help but wake up the taste buds. And let’s face it: when you start tasting again – you start feeling and thinking again. Or at least I do. Recipe inspired by Food and Wine, but really, you can do this with anything you have in your fridge.
Warm Quinoa Chickpea Salad
1 cup quinoa
2 bunches bok choy, chopped
10-12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
2 oz feta cheese (goat also works)
3-4 scallions, chopped
juice from 1/2 lemon
a large handful parsley, chopped
simple vinaigrette – I like a dash of olive oil, balsamic, garlic powder, cumin, lemon juice, salt, pepper, crushed reds and just a splash of apple cider vinegar, whisked together
Rinse quinoa well; cook according to directions.
While quinoa cooks, prepare and chop all of your vegetables. Whisk together your vinaigrette and set aside.
With about 3-5 minutes to go on your quinoa, heat olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan. Add minced garlic and chickpeas, cook about 2 minutes, or until chickpeas are warm. Add bok choy and cook for a minute, then turn off the heat.
In a large bowl, add all of your ingredients together – quinoa, veggies, chickpea, etc. Squeeze the lemon juice over the salad. Add the vinaigrette last and serve warm.
This is the perfect meal. It’s healthy, delicious, and oh-so-easy to make. And the Husband, no quinoa lover, had TWO bowls.