Saturday, December 28, 2013

Quiche is quite chic

Its a quick meal from the Christmas ham, leftover bits of cheese, carmelized onions and simple pastry. 

First prepare the pastry, it would like to have a couple hours to cool, but see what time permits for you!  Carmelized some onions as you turn the oven to 450 to preheat. Then roll out the dough to fit your pie pan. Add the ingredients to the shell: ham, onion, two or three different types of cheeses. The egg custard will be poured into this.  My eggs are 5 local eggs, with 2 tablespoons of half and Hal (sorry, but fat is flavor, skim milk doesn't give you the same rise in the custard). Stir these with a fork, but only long enough to break the yolks and incorporate the milk. Overworked means rubbery eggs. Then pour into the shell. Use the back of a spoon to evenly distribute the eggs into the ingredients. Season the top of your quiche with ground back pepper, paprika, keep it simple.  Now place it in the center of the oven. Bake for 15 minutes at 450, turn the oven to 375 for another twenty minutes.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Best Christmas Cookie Cutouts Ever

My good pal Stephanie Archer Smith wants to make sure that her name is clearly mentioned in the post, and in my cafe! Yes, doing that, and now you are published on the web!

Stephanie's Christmas Cutouts
1 cup butter
3/4 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 t ginger
1 tsp baking soda
Cream butter and sugar (of course). Then add the egg and vanilla and cream together, then mix dry ingredients together, add into the cream mix, a third at a time. Refridgerate for 2 hours. Roll out to 1/4 inch, cutout with shape of your seasonal choice. Bake at 375 for 8 – 9 minute. They hold up well and taste good. 

The chocolate drizzle is 1 part butter, 1 part chocolate (bakers plus chocolate chips), 1/2 part coffee, 1 part confectioners sugar.  Heat in double boiler, or carefully in the microwave.  Stir often, and drizzle when you can see good length to your strands of chocolate.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Good Olive Oil

This just in: delicious olive oil, handcarried from a small village in Italy to me. My friends Rebecca and Mike, and Harriet and Steve went for about 10 days. Most of their days were spent in a small Italian village soaking up the irrisistable sense of whats best in life: friends, food, community, and not necessarily in that order. 
My experience With their gift of olive oil was fantastic. A taste of Italy: simple bread for dipping, and butternut squash soup. It made a wonderful autumn feeling in my day. I love this gift--sharing their italian journey, in my humble abode!!!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Balmer Breakfast Burrrrrito

Baltimore's Best Breakfast Burrito
There is nothing so sweet as a slow breakfast on a Saturday morning, no matter the season! Often I've set my Saturday morning up with a run to the city dump or a super early bike ride or "dont indulge in a big breakfast when you are going to yoga" (!). This breakfast I guess is reserved for those slow and pleasant mornings.

If I am lucky we've saved leftover potatoes, so that's sautéing in the pan while I pull out the items that NEED to be in that burrito, because its now or never. So fried eggs, two, over easy, is a given. Add greens: baby arugula, baby kale/sautéing greens, spinach, any will do. Then grilled tomatoes? That'd be good, especially with some camelized onion which don't take too much time to prep.  And they are well worth it. And goat cheese. Honey-goat cheese is the most spectacular version, but goat cheese will do. Salsa? Sure. Cilantro, oh ya! Then into a burrito it goes. Can't make too many of these at one time, or the sensation that I am now a short order cook at a cafe will set in!!! Can't feel like work, just delighting the taste buds. This meal requires a place at the table, and a good glass of water, and maybe a latte.  More than anything, remember to taste how good it is.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Asian Greens

This is a ridiculously easy "brown bag lunch".  Mark Bittmans article at the beginning of this school year is so accurate: most people avoid brown bag lunching it, simply because its too much fuss, and not very interesting once you open it up. This one? I love it. In fact, I look forward to lunch, knowing that this is a healthy lunch, ready when i am. Steam it in the microwave? I think so. Those greens are so good, slightly wilted.

This passion for rice, greens and some crazy spicy concoction and black sesame seeds started on my trip to Nagoya, summer of 2012. We arrived at the airport late at night, fried from a 30 hour journey (zipped into London on our flight out), so we stayed at the airport hotel, with our friends Heather and Blake. They invited us to experience Japan with them, and we said yes. Our first intro was breakfast at the hotel lobby in the morning. Western or japanese breakfast were the option. We had to try the japanese breakfast. I am sure there were other options, but i zeroed in on the steamed rice with various unfamiliar greens--ocean and land greens. So i watched what others were doing, and now this is my favorite go-to lunch...and if we were REALLY smart we'd recognize the smartitude of the Japanese and have a few bento boxes on hand for tidy meal carrying, and easy-on-mother-earth packaging!!! Stop using the brown bag/plastic bags/throw away packaging, an go green with their cute packaging.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Crackers, Danish style

A recipe, gifted from my Sassy Sister Cyclin buddy, Stephanie. Its her recipe, via her Danish aunt, an active 70somethin' living in Copenhagen. So the concept is easy--many different seeds and wholegrains, added with olive oil, flour, baking powder and salt. Here is the impressive result: a homemade cracker that perfectly suits a healthy at-work lunch. And you will actually look forward to eating your pre-preped like those other lunches that you spend the morning plotting how and why to dodge the sensible lunch you brought!!!

Knaekkebrod (crispbread) Crackers 
By Birthe Kroll (Stephanie’ Regenolds' aunt)

1 dl sesame seeds
1 dl pumpkin seeds
1 dl flax seeds
1 dl sunflower seeds
1 dl oats
3.5 dl white flour
2 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 dl olive oil
2 dl water

Combine all dry ingredients. 
Add water and oil. Mix.
Divide into three portions (or more depending on size of baking sheet) and roll each portion between 2 pieces of parchment paper as thinly as possible. Place on large baking sheet and peel off top paper (it will bake on the bottom paper). Gently cut with knife or pizza wheel into bars/rectangles.

Bake in preheated 392 degree oven (I used 350 convection) for about 15 minutes; you want it dark but watch carefully so it does not burn. Store in airtight container when cooled.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Finally, A Juice of my Own

Just juice, made from favorite fruit and citus and green vegetables.  This concoction is organic spinach, and organic kale...then blood orange juice, meyers lemon juice, lime juice, apples and mangos.  It was mixed in a food processor.  Why did I choose a food processor?  Because I do not know if I am going to make a habit of this, so i do not want to invest in equipment.  I need to know that I love the flavors, and love what good micronutirients and vitamins I am putting into my body with this combination.  I made a batch that lasted two mornings.  Guess I can make a bigger batch to make it last longer, but it's a balance:  freshness vs convenience.  The consistency was thick, but not daunting.  This batch had alot of citrus.   It has a nice sweet and tangy flavor, which works with the morning time.