Puff Pastry Quiche Lorraine

While traveling in Florida recently, Greg and I discovered the lovely little town of Venice. We enjoyed great restaurants and friendly people. One little French cafe in the downtown area was so charming that I would make the drive again just to go there.

The pastries were divine, and we ended up splitting a few things so that we could try more. While there we had a delicious puff pastry quiche that I had to recreate when we returned home. It is a simple quiche made with prosciutto and Swiss cheese, and the crust was a delicious, flaky puff pastry.

When we returned home, I had to try to recreate the amazing quiche. I would prefer homemade puff pastry crust, but the purchased frozen puff pastry that I used was a good substitute. Feel free to substitute a regular pie crust.

Puff Pastry Quiche Lorraine
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 oz. to 4 oz. prosciutto, cut into strips
  • ¼ c. finely diced onion
  • 6 lg. eggs
  • 1½ c. whole milk or half and half
  • 2 c. grated Swiss cheese
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Thaw puff pastry in refrigerator overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 425℉.
  3. Sprinkle a board with flour and roll out puff pastry to fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Fit pastry in pie plate and refrigerate until ready to fill.
  4. Melt butter in a skillet. Cook prosciutto quickly, in batches, in butter, until crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
  5. Saute onion in skillet, until tender, adding more butter if needed.
  6. In a large bowl whisk eggs and milk until well blended. Add prosciutto, onion, cayenne, salt, and pepper and stir to blend.
  7. Remove pastry from refrigerator and put egg mixture into crust.
  8. Bake at 425℉ oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325℉ and continue cooking for 30 to 40 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

 

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Almond Poppy Seed Muffins

almond-poppy-seed-muffins

I have a question for the ladies out there. Do you ever take your purse and dump it out? Dump every little coin, paperclip, hair tie and piece of trash out of it? Then pick through the contents, get rid of those things that are cluttering it up and placing your necessities neatly back inside your purse.

With the painter almost finished here at our house I have been thinking about what I have that is really necessary and what can be considered clutter. It’s as if I have “dumped” it out and I am starting over. Just thinking about the purge makes me feel invigorated.  Imagine if you will, how much better our lives would be if we applied “dumping the unnecessary” to ourselves.  How much better would we feel to get rid of the negative thoughts that are cluttering our minds every day?

These muffins are wonderfully moist and delicious. The finishing touches are not necessary, but I love the added crunch on top. I promised easy recipes, and that is still my goal. This week’s recipe is easy, but I’m not sure how many of you will have almond paste lying around. These muffins are well worth the trip to the grocery store though. This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks. One that is well worn with plenty of vanilla splashes and creased pages. Almond Poppy Seed Muffins is from Marcy Goldman’s The New Best of Better Baking.com. You may add one teaspoon of lemon extract and a little lemon juice for a fantastic lemon poppy seed muffins.

 

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Almond Poppy Seed Muffins
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 4-oz. almond paste, minced
  • ½ c. finely ground almonds
  • ½ c. (4-oz.) unsalted butter
  • ¼ c. canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • ⅓ c. milk
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2¾ c. all-purpose flour
  • 2½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. poppy seeds
  • FINISHING TOUCHES
  • Slivered almonds
  • Coarse Sugar for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Position the oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend the sugar and almond paste together well, about 2 to 4 minutes. Add the ground almonds, butter, and oil and blend well. Fold in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds and blend, scraping the bottom of the bowl occasionally to ensure nothing gets stuck in the well of the mixing bowl. If the mixture seems too loose, add a touch more flour. It should be the consistency of thick cake batter.
  3. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Top each muffin with some slivered almonds and sugar. Place the muffin cups on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake about 30 to 35 minutes, until the muffins are nicely browned and spring back when lightly touched. Let them cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning them out onto a rack to cool completely.

 

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Triple-Flavored Big-Batch Cookies

triple-flavored-big-batch-cookies

 

Sometimes things happens that awakens an interest that you never imagined having. This particular thing has happened to me, as of late. I find myself wanting to learn as much about beekeeping as I possibly can.

A couple of years ago Greg and I came home, after being out of town for several days, to find hundreds of dead or almost dead honeybees in our living room floor. At the time I wanted nothing to do with them and contacted several beekeepers to rid myself of them. I thought that they were in the walls of our house and not being very fond of bee stings; I could not imagine coexisting with them in the same house.

Now I know that they were swarming and simply looking for a place to start a new hive. As it turned out, they were not in the walls of the house. They had, however, moved into a vacant camper behind the barn. Last year a local beekeeper, Michael, caught a couple of swarms here on the farm. The bees stayed in the camper for a while, but it was evident several weeks ago that they no longer occupied the camper.

I have bought two books but admittedly have only read parts of them. Greg and I will be going to the beach soon, and they are my intended reading material. In the meantime Michael has another nuc here on the farm and is going to help me set up a hive. I am still not too keen on the stings, but I’m excited about this new hobby of ours. If you are a beekeeper yourself, I would appreciate any information that you are willing to share! (notjustsundaydinner@yahoo.com)

Today’s recipe has all the goodness of peanut butter cookies, oatmeal cookies, and chocolate chip cookies. These Triple-Flavored Big-Batch Cookies are delicious, and this recipe makes 10 to 11 dozen cookies. You can freeze a portion of the cookie dough if you do not care to bake so many at one time.

 

Triple-Flavored Big-Batch Cookies
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. rolled oats
  • 3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. chunky peanut butter
  • 1½ c. granulated sugar
  • 1½ c. packed brown sugar
  • 3 egg, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 c. semisweet chocolate chips (or 2 c. semisweet chocolate chips plus 1 c. peanut butter chips)
Instructions
  1. in a large bowl stir together flour, oats, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a very large bowl beat butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour mixture. Stir in chips.
  3. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in a 350°F oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and set. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

 

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Peanut Butter Skillet Brownie

peanut-butter-skillet-brownie

 

 

Binge watching a television show is entirely new to me. Since Netflix came into existence I think everyone in my family has binge-watched something, besides me. Greg went through his Person of Interest days and Savannah has watched several things, including Grey’s Anatomy. Nothing has ever held my interest long enough to sit for hours straight. I don’t even sit through a two-hour movie at home. I suppose there are too many things that I need to be doing.

Things have changed. I recently discovered a show on Starz that I totally have an obsession with now! I still can’t sit down long enough to watch the entire season at one time, but over the past week, I have almost finished two seasons. That is a record for me! Season three will not be on until September so I’m even thinking of rewatching the first two seasons when I finish the last three episodes this week.

I have made a few discoveries.  Binge watching is better with the lights out, it’s better with a friend, and it’s better with food.  What better way to enjoy the show that you love than with a good friend and a pizza, a big bowl of popcorn, or better yet, this awesome Peanut Butter Skillet Brownie? Warm from the oven, plopped right there between you, spoons in hand and digging in while you are completely absorbed with these characters that you feel like you know personally.

This skillet brownie bakes up in 20 minutes and is delicious served with vanilla ice cream. If you don’t care for peanut butter add a few chocolate chips or nuts into the batter or over the top. Serve up warm with a glass of cold milk and you are ready for a marathon of your favorite show!

 

Peanut Butter Skillet Brownie
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 8-oz. dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil or butter
  • ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. peanut butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla.
  3. In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave until melted stirring every 30 seconds. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and add to the chocolate mixture, gently stirring to combine.
  5. Transfer the batter to a well seasoned 10-inch cast iron skillet, smoothing the top.
  6. In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat the peanut butter briefly to soften (20 to 30 seconds). Dollop the peanut butter onto the brownie batter, use a spoon handle to swirl the peanut butter into the batter.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

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Nutella French Toast

nutella-french-toast

 

When I sat down to write this article, I did not plan for it to become so personal. I mention friends and family a lot because they are part of what makes me who I am. Sometimes not all that great, I still need a lot of work, but mostly okay. Today’s article gives you a glimpse of just how ordinary my life is. I hope you don’t mind that I shared this with you.

Valentine’s Day, the day of love and romance, is just around the corner. Valentine’s day has certainly changed for me over the years. As a young married couple with limited funds for extravagances, Greg and I tried to make the day special. There were never any fancy meals in the budget, but we could usually swing a card, and Greg would always come home with a single rose for me.

Fast forward ten years and it became all about the kids. Buying Valentine’s for school and decorating shoe boxes. Making heart shaped pancakes and buying stuffed animals.

After 29 years of marriage, with grown kids, what will Valentine’s Day entail for us this year? I would say we are as romantic as the next couple. However, when I tell you how we will most likely spend Valentine’s day, you may wonder about that. We don’t usually buy cards or gifts. We will wish each other a Happy Valentine’s Day as I hand Greg his coffee, give him a kiss, and he walks out the door for work. We will probably use the day as an excuse to have dinner out if Greg gets home from work early enough. It will be nice and quite, and we will enjoy spending time together, whether we make it to a restaurant for or if we sit at home and watch a few Andy Griffith show reruns. It’s life, it’s not fancy, in fact, it’s mostly downright chaotic. It’s learning to be content and happy in those “not so fancy” times that has made this marriage work for 29 years, though.

So, Greg, if you happen to read my article (or blog) this week, I want you to know I love you and I love our life together. God blessed the kids and me by giving us you. Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you want to make more than a cup of coffee for your Valentine, this Nutella French Toast is a wonderful way to start any day. It is certainly simple enough to make on a weekday morning, but it’s fancy enough for a wonderful weekend treat as well. This French toast is delicious topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, or bananas.

Nutella French Toast
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 8 (1/2-inch) thick slices brioche or challah bread
  • 8 tbsp. Nutella spread, divided
  • Powdered sugar, divided
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and salt. Working in batches, melt some butter in a large nonstick skillet over moderately high heat. Dip the bread slices in the egg mixture and quickly transfer to the skillet. Cook 2 slices of the bread until golden brown, and then flip over and cook the other side. Spread approximately 2 tbsp. of the Nutella on 1 piece of bread and place the other piece of cooked bread on top to enclose the chocolate spread. Gently press so that the pieces stick together. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve with fresh fruit and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

 

 

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