Sunday, September 13, 2009


I love quiche. It's one of the most versatile dishes out there. You can literally put almost anything in a quiche, whatever you're in the mood for goes. Not to mention the endless combinations of different cheeses. It's also excellent (possibly even better) leftover, and is an easy thing to pack for lunch at work.

These are two that I make pretty frequently. The kids like the one with the bacon better, which works for me, because I get to take the spinach mushroom one for lunch :) I usually make 2 quiches at a time, which easily serves 6 with leftovers. This can also be a very budget conscious meal, depending on the type of cheese you use, you could easily make 2 quiches for around $10.

Spinach Mushroom Quiche

1 deep dish pie shell, frozen
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half
10 oz pkg frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 medium onion, chopped
4 oz white mushrooms, sliced
4 oz grated gruyere cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350º.

Saute mushrooms and onions in a small amount of olive oil, until soft. Drain on paper towels to remove excess moisture.

Beat together eggs and cream, mix in the remaining ingredients and pour into frozen pie shell.

Bake on a baking sheet at 350º for 40-50 minutes.

Bacon and Cheddar Quiche

1 deep dish pie shell, frozen
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half and half
12 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
(optional - 4 oz can of chopped green chiles)

Preheat oven to 350º.

Saute onions in a little bit of olive oil until soft. Drain on paper towels.

Beat together eggs and cream. Mix in remeaining ingredients and pour into pie shell.

Bake on baking sheet at 350º for 40-50 minutes.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Bangers and Mash

Bangers and Mash, the comfort food of all comfort foods. Seriously, this stuff will make you want to curl up near a crackling fire and watch old Dr. Who episodes. Ok, you can skip the Dr. Who marathon if you must... but really... why would you want to?? After all this is a staple meal in British and Irish cooking, so one must get into the feel of the meal :) Ok, sorry for the rhyming.

Fortunately, I'm lucky enough to have not only a small Bristish import store nearby, but also a small specialty food store with an excellent butcher who makes his own English bangers. For those not in the know, English bangers are a mild pork sausage, often with a hint of onion and garlic. They're most commonly served as shown above, with a rich onion gravy, over creamy, wonderful mashed potatoes. If you can't find English bangers, Johnsonville sells a nice Irish garlic sausage that works well... or if you're in a total bind, you can use raw bratwurst.

Bangers and Mash

1.5 lbs English bangers or other mild pork sausage links
1 Tbs canola oil

2 large onions, sliced thin
1 Tbs canola oil
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs flour
2/3 cup red wine (I like merlot or cabernet sauvignon for this)
2 cups beef stock
1/2 tsp Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 Tbs Aus Jus gravy mix
Mashed potatoes

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Coat sausages in canola oil, and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake sauasages for 12 minutes, turn and continue cooking another 12 minutes (alternately you can brown these in a frying pan).

While the sausages cook, add remaining oil and butter to a large saute pan over medium low heat. Add sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally until onions begin to carmelize, about 15 minutes.

Sprinkle flour over the onions, cook and stir constantly for about 2 minutes to cook out the raw flavor of the flour. Pour in red wine slowly, stirring to incorporate, then add the beef broth, mustard, seasonings and gravy mix. Stir briskly to mix all ingredients well. Allow to come to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Stir occasionally until mixture thickens to a slightly thin gravy. Add cooked sausages, cover and simmer another 5 minutes. Taste to adjust seasonings.

To serve, place 2 sausages over mashed potatoes and spoon over gravy and onions to taste.

Baked Salmon

Ok Mr. Peabody, fire up the wayback machine! (extra points for anyone who can tell me what that references).

Salmon wasn't a fish I was familiar with until I was probably in my early 20's. I grew up in the 70's, in a small New England town, there just wasn't a lot of crossover food from other areas... ethnic aisle in the grocery store?? Huh, what do you mean ethnic? The only ethnic food around came from a few small grocers who specialized in Portuguese, Greek or Italian food (the 3 major ethnic populations in the area back then), and you had to go to the "city" to get that. And, even though salmon isn't considered to be associated with any particular ethnic group, it certainly wasn't a New England fish. I imagine Maine lobster didn't make too many appearance on the northwest coast of the US back in those days either. Ok, I'm rambling (isn't that the first sign of getting old??).

Regardless of all of the above, salmon didn't make it's way into my life until I moved to Florida in the early 90's. I remember my mother making it for dinner one night and I instantly fell in love with the moist, flaky texture, and the rich flavor that seemed to be able to handle even the strongest flavor enhancements without losing it's character. Yes, salmon and I had a definite future together.

***Flash Forward***

This is now my go to fish. It's wonderful baked, broiled, fried, in salads, and it even holds its own on the grill. The big kicker, though, is that my kids love it... and it's actually GOOD for them (shh... no telling!). Anyway, here's my favorite way to prepare it, this works well on the grill as well... just set the fish on a piece of foil with the sides and ends rolled up so the "sauce" doesn't drip into the fire.

1 salmon filet (for the 5 of us I buy a 1.5lb filet)
1/4 soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine
salt, onion salt, garlic salt, black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Lightly rinse the salmon filet to remove any scales from the flesh of the fish and then place in a ziploc bag.

Mix together the soy sauce, lemon juice and white wine, pour half into the ziploc bag with the salmon. Let this marinate for 20 minutes.

Place salmon filet in a glass baking dish with the marinade from the bag. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the fish is almost done. Pour the remaining marinade over the fish and dot the top with pats of butter (for 1.5 lbs I use about 3 Tbs of butter). Continue baking until the fish flakes easily with a fork in the center of the thickest part of the filet (usually another 5-10 minutes, depending on how thick the piece of fish is).

To serve, cut the salmon into serving size pieces and spoon a little of the pan juices over the fish.