Potato and Manchego Mini-Quiches with Greens

Mini Quiches

Spending time with loved ones and friends is on everybody’s priority list these days, or at least I hope it is. (So is taking care of yourself as best you can when life’s “busy.”)

Thumbing through a back issue of Eating Well, their Muffin Tin Quiches caught my eye. Not only were those smoky, cheesy, potato-and-spinach-filled gems screaming my name, make-ahead suggestions were offered. But, how to avoid the milk and smoked Cheddar? Culinary creativity ensued. (Original recipe notes in parentheses below.)

I can have my quiche and eat it, too, yay!

Potato and Manchego Mini-Quiches with Greens (adapted from Eating Well January/February 2017)

4 slices of hickory smoked bacon (the recipe didn’t call for bacon, but ya know…)

1 Tbsp. bacon drippings (or EVOO)

3/4 c. diced red-skinned potatoes (skin on), 1/4″ diced

1/2 c. red onion, finely diced

1/4 tsp. salt

1 (5 oz.) container Green Girl Organic Super Greens: red and green Swiss chard, arugula, spinach, and tat soi (or 3/4 c. fresh baby spinach)

4 large eggs

1/4 c. chicken stock (or milk)

1/2 c. shredded Manchego (or smoked Cheddar) cheese

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika (omit if using smoked Cheddar)

Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt

Preheat oven to 325º F. Coat a six-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

Fry bacon in a large skillet until crisp. (Reserve drippings.) Transfer slices to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Crumble and set aside for garnish.

Return 1 tablespoon bacon drippings to same skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes, onions, and salt. Stir frequently until potatoes are softened, about 5 minutes. Add greens (or spinach); drizzle with an additional tablespoon bacon drippings (or EVOO) if needed to prevent sticking. Toss with tongs until the greens are slightly wilted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, grated cheese (whichever), chicken stock (or milk), and smoked paprika (omit if using smoked Cheddar) ’til combined. Stir in potato mixture. Season with freshly ground pepper and sea salt. Divide evenly into prepared muffin tin. Bake 25 minutes or until set; cool 5 minutes. Remove quiches from muffin cups and garnish each with crumbled bacon before serving.

Per Eating Well these can be made ahead. Wrap (individually) in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to three days or freeze up to one month. To reheat: remove the plastic, wrap in a paper towel, and microwave on high 30-60 seconds.

I haven’t tried the frozen option yet. (I ate them in three days!) They “nuked” just fine. I’m looking forward to serving a big batch to our loved ones and friends — forgot to mention this adaptation was a “half batch” — TMOFW doesn’t eat “greens”, lol! (Double the recipe at will.) Most likely I’ll reheat larger batches in the oven on low heat covered with tinfoil. Ingredients aren’t the only things I adapt!

Take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Brunch is Served

Enjoying brunch three days in a row,

~ Kim

 

French Scrambled Eggs with Homemade Gravlax

Scrambled Eggs with Dill and Gravlax

I have too much time on my hands.

(Either that, or I’m finally making time and following my culinary instincts — and taste buds — or treating myself right.)

Take homemade gravlax, for instance. It requires a 72 hour process of curing and flipping the salmon and seasonings every 12 hours. Totally worth the effort… especially when it comes to making breakfast.

Homemade Gravlax 2

Generally, I’m not a breakfast eater (I know, I know…), but I woke up hungry and in the mood for scrambled eggs — not just any scrambled eggs — Julia Child’s scrambled eggs.

(That’s what I get for reading The Art of French Cooking for fun last winter.)

There’s something about the simplicity of French-inspired scrambled eggs, gently beaten and coaxed into creamy curds with a lil’ butter and some patient attention, combined with long-awaited peace and quiet — and the first crop of irises gracing our dining room table.

Breakfast of Champions

Today my soul wanted… needed… breakfast. Simple. Sublime. Sexy.

My dill plant provided the perfect touch of color and flavor to accentuate the undertones of the gravlax and the creaminess of the eggs (nirvana) — plus a lil’ French press coffee and freshly-squeezed orange juice never hurt.

Yup, definitely worth the effort!

Homemade Gravlax

For a gravlax how-to please refer to this recipe by love & olive oil — which they subsequently credited to Saveur — and whose directions and comments were very helpful, FYI. Good stuff either way! Just be sure to rinse the gravlax thoroughly to remove the salt. (I omitted the usual salt — and pepper — from my eggs to be sure, and they were divine “bite by bite.”)

For a scrambled egg tutorial dang near close to Julia’s, click here. Do your research, people, then please your tastebuds, xo!

Have you made a special breakfast or meal for you lately?

Enjoying nurturing moi (and hopefully you…), 

~ Kim

P.S. You deserve it!

Skillet Love

Summer Skillet

I used to think cast iron skillets were for frying chicken. Bacon and eggs. Steak. Spam. (And some pretty decent hashbrowns.)

Then Mom gave me these cherished relics — the lil’ Griswold skillet (above), and the Sperry griddle and larger “Never Break” skillet (below.)

Skillet Love 1

Generations of women cooked ‘real food’ in these pans — Mom, Grandma, and Mrs. Rogers (my piano teacher, to whom the “Never Break” belonged) — and I’m honored to be next in line. Considering that Mrs. Rogers was approaching 80 when I was a mere babe in the kitchen (my last piano lesson was over 40 years ago), I’d say her skillet was well-seasoned. The others, too.

Come to think of it, so am I. ;)

I can still ‘see’ Mom cooking breakfasts in that lil’ skillet, and one of my favorites was a Bohemian pancake (of sorts) called “Schmun.” I have no idea if the spelling is correct, but it was fun Googling it… amazing what you can find out about folks when your Czech is rusty or non-existent!

Schmun consists of 2 eggs lightly beaten, a cup of milk, a cup of flour, and a pinch of salt, whisked ’til smooth and fried to golden goodness in a liberally buttered hot cast iron skillet. About mid-way through, you start cutting the ‘big pancake’ into smaller pieces — similar to when the smaller space ships broke off from the Mother Ship in “Independence Day” — and continue frying the ‘independent’ pieces until all the sides are nicely browned. Add more butter… if needed? (That wasn’t a trick question.) Serve immediately with warm maple syrup.

I cooked with that skillet for the first time when I made meals for my folks on the ol’ Norge last year, and it primarily served as a sauté pan. (Mom developed a penchant for microwave cooking during the last decade and got rid of her ‘other’ pans.) Thanks heavens she kept the cast iron! I had yet to discover its wonders.

Then, last fall my sister came bearing a heavy box when she visited. Not only had Mom sent the skillets and griddle, she included two slightly battered lids — one large and one small. Anybody remember those? (I sent the larger one back with my Sis for her efforts, and to share the skillet love!)

Skillet Love 2

Lo and behold this summer, my garden began producing a bounty of veggies — particularly grape tomatoes, or so the label said. (They’re more the size of a plum tomato!) Previous assumptions ‘cast’ aside (I know…), I began to experiment with my skillet stash with divine results.

Tomatoes 1

A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, some sliced tomatoes combined with summer squash, a sprinkle of cracked pepper and sea salt (or Pink Himalayan), and possibly Greek seasoning (or whatever ‘flavor of the day’ tickles my fancy — my adjunct seasonings vary every time, such fun!), and in ten minutes or less supper’s on the table. (Or at least my supper… ) The kitchen also doesn’t heat up from steaming and/or roasting.

I adore cast iron cooking!

No need to be concerned about tomato’s acidity on the skillets — or me. (By the way, that’s not intended as ‘medical advice.’) I did some research and nearly every article said it was a matter of ‘seasoning’ to thwart any ill-effects. Start with a well-seasoned skillet; re-season as needed. FYI, the contrary articles said ‘use your judgment.’ Done deal. I’m pretty sure my skillets have built up a protective coating after a century — plus I take good care of them. (And me!)

I’m reaping the flavorful benefits of kitchen savvy and cooking vessels from women I’ve long admired — that goes for you, too, Sis! — and I’m loving it.

Summer Skillet 2

Enjoying a lil’ skillet love,

~ Kim

© 2014 Kim Bultman and a little lunch

Deconstructed Migas

For nearly a decade, I hauled goods that ultimately ended up in the hands of the consumer.  Although most of my loads consisted of the large variety (steel, glass, and lumber for future shopping centers, hospitals, and homes), I occasionally toted canned goods or department store items.

Once, I even hauled a load of wine bottles to a vineyard. :)

Which reminds me… now that the season of accelerated wining and dining and shopping is upon us, be sure to thank a truck driver.

As a professional driver, it was my responsibility to pick up cargo on time, secure it safely, and make delivery dates before the appointed hour.  Although grueling at times, trucking allowed me to crisscross 45 of the 48 contiguous United States and see some of the most spectacular scenery you could ever hope to see.  It also gave me an opportunity to sample some fabulous regional food.

The first time I had Migas was at a café in Brownsville, Texas after I’d read a post by The Pioneer Woman.  She extolled their virtues in terms I could understand (divine and heavenly, to name a few) and I agreed with her assessment from the very first bite.  Thanks, Ree!  A girl can work up a powerful appetite driving all the way to Brownsville.

Interestingly enough, Migas means different things in different parts of the world.  In Spain, they’re made with day-old bread, olive oil, garlic, and spinach — or alfalfa.  In Portugal, they’re made with bread, garlic, olive oil, wild asparagus, tomatoes, and fresh coriander.  (For a few other interesting variations, click here.)  Down South (or at least farther South than Oklahoma), Migas consist of eggs scrambled with tomatoes, onions, peppers, corn tortillas, and cheese.

The culinary term “deconstructed” has been rattling around in my brain for awhile, so I decided to give it a go.  Not sure what to deconstruct, I opened my fridge…

Eggs.  Salsa.  Corn tortillas.

Sounded like Migas to me!

Deconstructed Migas

1 tsp. butter

1 corn tortilla

1 egg, poached

1/3 c. salsa (liberal interpretation of “tomatoes, onions, & peppers”)

2 Tbsp. sour cream (in lieu of cheese)

Smoked paprika, for garnish

Chives, for garnish

Melt butter in a small skillet until sizzling.  Add corn tortilla.  Fry until crisp on both sides; set aside to drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, poach an egg in boiling, salted water to your preferred “yolky-ness.”  (New culinary term…)

Place tortilla on a plate and mound salsa in the center.

(I used Salsa Me Krazy, which I won on basilmomma‘s show, Around The Kitchen Sink.  Thanks again, Heather and Brenda!)

Top with a poached egg and sprinkle with smoked paprika.

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and chives on the side.

Commence further deconstruction!

Enjoying culinary architecture & trucking memories,

~Kim

P.S.  This recipe (along with dozens of more favorites from around the world) is featured in Jane Sarchet’s FREE e-cookbook, Project Egg.  For details, click here.

Bye, Bye, Miss American Fry

I’ve always loved potatoes — baked, mashed, creamed, boiled, roasted, you name it — but the ones that make me swoon are fried potatoes.

My fondness for sauteed spuds hails back to my roots, when my folks would take us “up north” fishing.  I can still picture Mom cooking Dad’s early morning catch (generally walleye) in a cast iron skillet, adjacent to a larger skillet filled with sliced potatoes sizzling in butter.  Their aroma would waft through the open screen door to mingle with pine, birch, and lake-scented air and beckon me to blaze a trail to the table, where all of the above was served on a Melmac plate with a side of toast.

Breakfast doesn’t get much finer than that.

During “the trucking years” I looked forward to breakfast more than any other meal — particularly breakfast potatoes.  After a day or night of shifting gears across America, I’d search for a good ol’ fashioned truck stop — not one of those huge, hundred-acre mega-plexes, but a “Mom & Pop” joint — neat and tidy, with a little wear and tear around the edges, and a cook who looked like they’d put in a few miles, too.

After perusing the “breakfast section” of the menu, I’d order any combo that came with American Fries (sometimes hailed as “home fries”) and anticipate that mound of crisp-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside, hand-peeled, hand-cut spuds, pan-fried to a golden brown.  Depending on which region I was in (and which cook was slinging hash), the spuds would hint of butter, bacon grease, or lard — but, they were never greasy — and they typically sported diced onion or peppers.   Potato perfection.

Then came the convenience food revolution and a noticeable decline in “American fries” — often replaced by mechanically cut, frozen cubes dunked in a deep fryer.   Not the same!  I could almost hear Don McClean crooning, “Bye… bye… Miss American Fry…”

Thankfully, I ran across a recipe in the “good ol’ days” that never fails to deliver the taste and texture I’ve been missing.  Although billed as a ‘salad’ (Warm Irish Potato Salad http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/taste/11445761.html), these spuds are entirely suitable for breakfast, and worthy of their title.
 

American Fries (adapted from ‘The Local’ linked above)

4 c. red potatoes, diced

8 slices bacon, diced

1/2 c. malt vinegar

4 green onions, sliced

4 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced

Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Cook potatoes in boiling water until almost tender; drain.  Rinse with cold water; place in a sieve to drain thoroughly.

In the meantime, fry the bacon in a large skillet until crisp; remove to paper toweling to drain.  Reserve drippings in skillet.

Heat bacon drippings over high heat; add potatoes.  Reduce heat to medium-high; cook and turn with a spatula until potatoes are browned evenly.  Add malt vinegar; stir gently until vinegar is evaporated.  Remove pan from heat.  Add green onions, parlsey, and bacon.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

As I said, breakfast doesn’t get much finer than that.

Enjoying spud nostalgia,

~ Kim

What kind of potatoes do you like?

Orange French Toast

One of my favorite treats is a leisurely weekend breakfast.  Orange French Toast, anyone?

But first… an outdoor shot.

No… make that a sunlight “spotlight” photo.

Or wait… how ’bout a close up?

Or maybe a picnic table repast…?

Nahhh… LET’S EAT!

Orange French Toast

1 loaf of French bread, sliced into 3/4″ thick slices

1 Tbsp. butter

1 c. orange juice

2 eggs, beaten

1 t. vanilla extract

1/8 tsp. salt

Powdered sugar

Maple syrup

Orange Nutmeg Butter

4 Tbsp. butter, softened

1 tsp. grated orange zest, plus additional for garnish

1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste

Prepare Orange Nutmeg Butter first.  Mix ingredients until blended; chill in a ramekin, or “scoop” into individual sized servings for fun — I put mine in the freezer for a few minutes before I scooped it.

Next, whisk together the orange juice, eggs, vanilla and salt in a shallow baking dish or bowl; set aside.  Melt 1 tablespoon of butter on a griddle over medium heat.  Dip slices of French bread into orange juice mixture and allow them to “drip off” before placing on the griddle.

Cook until golden; flip and cook second side until golden.  Transfer to a cookie sheet and keep warm in the oven until all slices are cooked.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with Orange Nutmeg Butter and warm maple syrup.

Afterthought:  This would be good with a little Cointreau thrown in (maybe sweetened to taste with honey?) — in the butter, the batter — or both.  (If you beat me to it, let me know how it turns out!)

Meanwhile, here’s a slideshow to treat yourself to while you’re thinking about it…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Enjoying tricks and treats,

~ Kim

Great Expectations

Sometimes my “food enthusiasm” gets the best of me…

Recently, I posted photos from my oven fest (with nary a recipe) and now I’m faced with the prospect of cramming “how I made it” into one doozy of a post, or stringing you along for another week.  (Thank you so much for putting up with me.)

Here we go…

Nothing says homemade like oatmeal cookies bursting with dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.  When I first saw them on Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts (thank you, Erin), they immediately went on my “must make” list.  (FYI, I pressed mine down with a fork dipped in Turbinado sugar before baking — I love Turbinado-topped cookies.)

Recipes are linked to the photos where applicable — it’s the least I could do for making you read the same thing twice…

As for the pie…

I’ve been cranking out pie crust for 35 years.  Some folks even call me “The Pie Lady,” which requires an explanation.  (And a post of it’s own.)  At the risk of teasing you further, stay tuned…

Then there are these eggs…

My culinary repertoire is due in part to family and friends.  (They know I love to cook and they keep me supplied with recipes — a vicarious by-product of “food enthusiasm.”)  This particular dish was SO tasty — and easy — I made it twice in one weekend!

Click on the large photo for Chef Jenn Louis’ recipe or the small one to link to her restaurant — the slideshow is worth the watch!

*Castelvetrano olives weren’t available, so I used Lindsay Green Ripe Olives and was immensely pleased with the results…

Twice.

Jumping ahead to the corn bread…

Sorry, no secret Southern recipe to divulge hereI used a mix.  (For shame!)  But the antique “corn stick” pan is an original. :)

Last, but not least…

I was determined to make an oven-worthy meal after the outside (and inside) temp dropped forty degrees.  My mind settled on pork chops… thick, juicy pork chops… with stuffing.

After perusing Food Network’s website for an hour, I finally selected a chef with ties to my (now) home State.

Oklahoma is famous for a number of things, including Will Rogers, rodeos, football, and Guy Fieri.  Guy Fieri?!

(Ardent “Diners, Drive-In’s & Dives” fans may recall when Guy and his Triple D crew descended on Clanton’s Cafe to experience the wonders of Chicken Fried Steak — among other things…)  I’ve dined there — his picture was on the wall!

If you’ve got a hankerin’ for a plate-sized portion of pork, try Guy’s Stuffed Double-Cut Pork Loin Chops.  Prepare yourself.

ASIDE:  I do my best to make a recipe as is the first time out because chefs spend untold hours tweaking tastes and textures.  (I respect that greatly.)  But when push comes to shove, I punt.

Dinner hour was waning so I “hurried up” the brine.  (i.e. I drank the water, coated the chops with Dijon, sprinkled them with the recommended seasonings, and proceeded…)  You know how it is.

Also, since cremini mushrooms are scarce in our neck of the woods (as are Fontina and shallots, unless you add a 3-hour drive to prep time), I made an “alternate” stuffing:  toasted bread cubes tossed with crumbled bacon and onions (sauteed in olive oil/butter/bacon fat), some minced garlic, 1/2 cup of Ricotta, a liberal sprinkle of dried sage, salt and pepper to taste, and enough pork stock to “glue it together.”  Have at it!

Finally (per the recipe), adding the remaining cremini stuffing to the sauce would have been marvelous, but my bread-y revision would’ve yielded “goo.”  (I baked the excess stuffing in a bowl alongside the chops.)  Next time, I’ll plan ahead.  This truly was an extraordinary recipe and it deserved the “as is” treatment!

Gratuitous Slideshow:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Any “punts” you’d like to share?

Enjoying the thrill of atonement (and a few deviations),

~ Kim