28 August 2014

Bacon and Tomato Quiche for Two - Buttermilk Pastry

Bacon and Tomato Quiche for Two / www.delightfulrepast.com

Bacon and Tomato Quiche was an idea that popped into my head when I was being all amazed at the fact that I have too many homegrown tomatoes on hand--a great problem to have, no? I don't have such a glut of them that I need to can them, just enough that I need to think of new ways to use them so that none are wasted.

I also had some leftover buttermilk on hand, and you know how I hate to waste anything, so buttermilk pastry. The first time I used buttermilk in pie dough, it was the same situation. And the pastry came out so great, I was really excited thinking I had invented something. But, no, I googled it and found buttermilk pastry was already a thing!

Anyway, I also wanted to make just enough quiche for two, so pulled out a Pyrex 207 Petite Pie Plate with scalloped handles. But, as I mentioned in my Peach Pie for Two post, this item has been discontinued. If you don't have it, or can't find a used one, you can order one of these: Anchor Hocking 6-Inch Glass Pie Plate or Fox Run 7-Inch Pie Tin.

When I bake or par-bake an empty pie shell, I don't use pie weights and never have any trouble with the pastry slumping down into the dish. That is perhaps because I chill the pastry before rolling it, put it into the pie plate without stretching it, make a lovely high, crimped edge, dock it (poke it all over, sides as well, with a fork) and chill it well again. 

You can find more detailed directions for making pastry here at my How to Make Pie Crust By Hand tutorial. What are your favorite pastry tips and techniques?

Bacon and Tomato Quiche for Two - Buttermilk Pastry / www.delightfulrepast.com

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Bacon and Tomato Quiche for Two

(Makes one 6- to 7-inch quiche)

The Pastry

1 dip-and-sweep cup (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, well chilled
3 to 5 tablespoons buttermilk 

The Filling

3 slices (about 3 ounces) bacon (I use organic uncured), cut into 1/4-inch-wide slices
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/3 cup lightly squeezed and drained diced tomatoes plus thin slices (patted dry with paper towel) to decorate top
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk (I use organic 2%)
1 teaspoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 packed cup (2 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese

1 In medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Cut chilled butter into thin pats. With fingers, quickly work the butter into the flour, leaving some pieces the size of small peas. 

2 Sprinkle 3 tablespoons buttermilk over flour mixture while stirring with large fork. Add a little more, if needed. 

3 Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and flatten slightly into an inch-thick disk; double wrap; refrigerate for 1 hour. May be frozen for up to a month; defrost, wrapped, in the refrigerator.

4 If dough is thoroughly chilled, let it stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling. Don't throw out the piece of plastic wrap; you'll be using it again. Butter a 6- to 7-inch pie plate. On lightly floured surface, roll out disk to an 11- or 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Place pastry in pie plate, being careful to not stretch the dough. Crimp the edge. Prick the bottom and sides of the crust all over with a fork. Cover loosely with that reserved square of plastic wrap and refrigerate* for 30 minutes. During last 15 minutes, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake the thoroughly chilled crust for 20 minutes.

5 *While pie shell is chilling and then baking, prepare filling. In skillet, sauté the bacon pieces until slightly crisp; drain on paper towel. Pour most of fat out of the skillet and sauté the onions for 5 minutes.  

6 Remove par-baked pie shell from the oven; reduce the temperature to 350 degrees. In small bowl (I use a 1-quart glass measure), combine eggs, milk, parsley, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Scatter a third of the cheese over the crust, then the onion and half the tomatoes, half the remaining cheese, the bacon and remaining tomatoes, half the remaining cheese. Pour in the filling, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Decorate the top with some patted-dry thin slices of tomato. 

7 Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden and a knife inserted an inch in from the edge comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack for about 20 to 30 minutes before slicing and serving. 

* Vegetarians might like my Vegetable Quiche (and it includes one of my Julia Child stories). There are lots of quiche recipes in Julia's Mastering the Art of French Cooking (2 Volume Set).


21 August 2014

Popcorn and Caramel Corn

Popcorn / www.delightfulrepast.com

Stovetop popcorn used to be my culinary nemesis (you can read about it in Popcorn - My Culinary Nemesis). That was two and a half years ago, and I'm back to let you know I can now make flawless popcorn! My skill improved a lot after that post because I tried all the helpful hints readers left in the comments. 

In choosing a pan, I had always thought the heavier the better. I thought I'd be even more likely to burn the popcorn if I used a lighter pan. Wrong! Using a lighter pan meant I could actually lift the pan and shake it. I don't like just scraping the pan back and forth on the stove, so I lift it up an inch or less and give it a shake several times during the popping. 

Then just recently someone told me the one thing that finally turned me into a popcorn master! Are you ready? Drumroll, please ... See Step 2 below. (Really, you need to read Step 2 and then come back for the next paragraph.)

Yes, those 30 off-heat seconds made all the difference. Now I have few to no unpopped kernels, ever! Now that I have popcorn confidence I'm venturing out into variations. Like this caramel corn. I must tell you, I have no idea what exactly is caramel corn, kettle corn, etc. This is just something I stirred up one day, and I had to call it something. 

If you have a better-slash-more accurate name for it, do let me know. And do share your likes and dislikes and tips for popcorn and its variations. I should tell you, my caramel corn is much less sweet than most, and I hope you'll try it this less-sweet way. Also, for those who care about such things, it contains no corn syrup.

Caramel Corn / www.delightfulrepast.com

(Makes about 10 cups) 

1/3 cup popcorn kernels 
2 tablespoons organic canola or coconut oil* 
1/8 teaspoon salt 
Optional: 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

* Update 09/13/17: I just tried it with extra virgin olive oil, and it worked beautifully! 

1 Put 4 popcorn kernels ("test" kernels) in 3-quart saucepan (I use the Farberware Classic Stainless Steel 3-Quart Covered Saucepan) along with the oil and salt. Heat over medium high heat. 

2 When the 4 kernels pop, add the rest of the popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat, and count 30 seconds. 

3 Return the pan to medium high heat. When it really starts popping, shake the pan gently back and forth over (or slightly above) the burner, holding the lid askew (at least from time to time) to let the soggy-making steam out. 

4 As soon as the popping slows to several seconds between pops, dump it into a wide 4- or 5-quart bowl. If you like butter on your popcorn, melt a tablespoon of it in the hot popcorn pan and drizzle it over the popcorn, tossing well to distribute the butter evenly. 

Caramel Corn 

(Makes about 10 cups) 

1/3 cup popcorn kernels 
2 tablespoons organic canola or coconut oil 
2 tablesoons unsalted butter 
1/4 cup dark brown sugar 
1 tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon water 
1/8 teaspoon salt 

1 Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper. Measure popcorn kernels and oil. Before starting to pop the corn, in 1-quart saucepan start melting together the sugar, butter, tablespoon of water and the salt over low heat, stirring a few times.

Note: You can probably skip lining the pan, but I can't guarantee it!

2 Pop the corn as directed above, but don't use salt and don't add butter. Pour into a very large bowl (to give you room for tossing). 

3 Increase heat to medium and cook caramel until it has been bubbling for one minute. Stir in the 1/2 teaspoon of water and salt; it will foam up. 

4 Immediately drizzle the foamy sauce over the popcorn, tossing well to coat. Spread out on prepared half-sheet pan. Bake at 250 degrees for one hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on the baking sheet.


13 August 2014

Coq au Vin - Chicken in Red Wine - In Honor of Julia Child

Coq au Vin / www.delightfulrepast.com

Coq au Vin - Chicken in Red Wine - is one of those "oven things" I like to cook during fall and winter. But since today is the tenth anniversary of the death of Julia Child, who made the dish so popular with Americans, I made it, at the height of summer, in her honor.

When I went out to the shops yesterday, there were not any organic bone-in skin-on chicken thighs or whole legs to be found. Not feeling up to cutting up a whole chicken, I decided to try it with the organic boneless skinless thighs that were available.

I also could not get my hands on any fresh or frozen pearl onions, so I had lots of modifications to make. So this is not Julia's recipe, though I was inspired by her. I met and chatted with Julia on several occasions years ago, and I know she'd be the first to tell me to just go for it.

"Once you have mastered a technique, you hardly need look at a recipe again." ~ Julia Child  

Turns out I like it even more with the boneless skinless chicken thighs! Oh, and I don't flame the brandy. I have cabinets and other flammable things too close to the stove to be messing about with fire! How about you?

Coq au Vin - Chicken in Red Wine (in honor of Julia Child) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Coq au Vin - Chicken in Red Wine

(Serves 4 to 6)

3 ounces bacon (about 3 slices)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
6 to 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (1.5 to 2 pounds)
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup chopped onions
1/2 pound carrots, in 1-inch diagonal slices
2 cloves garlic, coarsely smashed, optional
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 to 2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup drinkable Burgundy or Pinot Noir
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, halved or quartered
3 tablespoons brandy
3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley

1 Cut bacon slices crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide pieces. In a 4- to 5 1/2-quart enameled cast iron French/Dutch oven, sauté the bacon pieces in 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat until lightly browned and crisp. With slotted spoon, remove bacon from pan. Drain off all but a tablespoon of fat and reserve it to use as the recipe proceeds, unless you prefer to use all olive oil.

2 Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels, and season with pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Brown the chicken in a single layer (might need to do it in two batches), about 10 minutes, using as much of the bacon fat or olive oil as needed. Remove to platter.

3 Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Add chopped onions and sliced carrots to pot. Cook for 5 minutes, until onions are very soft. Sprinkle flour over vegetables. Cook for 2 minutes, working flour into the fat. Whisk in broth. Simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened. Whisk in tomato paste.

4 Add wine, bay leaf, thyme and 1/4 teaspoon salt to pot. Add chicken and bacon back to pot. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Cover with foil and lid and place in oven to cook for 1 1/2 hours at 300 degrees.

5 Take pot from oven; remove bay leaf. If not serving it today, let chicken cool to room temperature in the sauce, up to 2 hours, then cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days.

6 On serving day, set pot over medium high heat and bring to simmer. Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet heat 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil. Add mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Sauté mushrooms over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in brandy. Add to pot. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.


Coq au Vin - Chicken in Red Wine (in honor of Julia Child) / www.delightfulrepast.com

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07 August 2014

7 Favorite Peach Recipes to Celebrate Summer

Peach Pie with Lattice Crust / www.delightfulrepast.com

Here are 7 Favorite Peach Recipes to celebrate the height of peach season. Let's start with my favorite, Peach Pie with Lattice Crust; then Gluten-Free Peach Pie, Peach Galette, Peach Cobbler and Peach Pie for Two. 

If you love peaches as much as I do, you'll want to preserve your summer bounty to enjoy throughout the year; so I'll show you how to Freeze Peach Pie Filling and make Peach Freezer Jam.

What is your favorite way to enjoy peaches? Do you prefer yellow or white peaches? Peach season will be over soon, so be sure to get your fill and share this post with your friends on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Just click on the name of the recipe to go to that recipe post. 


Gluten-Free Peach Pie / www.delightfulrepast.com

Peach Galette/Crostata/Rustic Tart / www.delightfulrepast.com


Peach Cobbler / www.delightfulrepast.com

Peach Pie Slice / www.delightfulrepast.com

Peach Freezer Jam / www.delightfulrepast.com

Peach Pie for Two / www.delightfulrepast.com

Peaches are my favorite thing about summer. I hope you're having a wonderful summer!