Sunday, November 17, 2013

So much quiche in my life

I go through a lot of phases, and recently I've been in a quiche phase. Ya I know, how very bougie of me. I'm especially fond of a recipe for spinach, mushroom, and ham quiche from the Amy's Bread cookbook, which is a fantastic bakery in NYC that always has lines out the door in the morning. My eyes roll back in their sockets whenever I take a bite from their baked goods, which I miss terribly. I made this quiche twice in the past week already, and it has catapulted me into a quiche-making frenzy in which I'm constantly scouring Tastespotting for quiche recipes in my limited free time. This recipe is that good, oh yes.

Recipe adapted from Amy's Bread

Notes: The original recipe is for one deep dish quiche, but since I don't have a deep dish pie tin, my adjusted ingredients list is halved from the original recipe. Also, I was too lazy to make the crust from scratch, so while the recipe linked above has instructions on how to make the crust, I just used Pillsbury pie crust, found in the dairy aisle next to the refrigerated cookie dough. No shame.

  • 1 pie crust (see notes above)
  • 1/2 tsp oil
  • 4oz white mushrooms (approx half of one of those boxes), cut into 1/8" slices
  • 1/2 of a medium white onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup finely diced ham
  • 5oz frozen chopped spinach (approx half of a frozen package)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • Dash of ground cayenne

Preheat oven to 350F. Line pie tin with the crust and trim off the edges. Cover with foil, and add weights, then pre-bake for 12 minutes. Remove foil, bake for an additional 5 minutes or until lightly browned, then remove from oven and allow to cool.

While your pie tin is baking in the oven, you can prep the filling. Heat oil over medium heat and stir fry your mushrooms + dash of salt/pepper until the mushrooms release water and begin to brown, which should take above 5 minutes.

Add onions and minced garlic, and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.

Add spinach and ham, and cook briefly until cooked through. I used straight up frozen spinach instead of taking the time to defrost and drain it, so I cooked until the spinach clumps were completely defrosted broken up. Remove from heat.

After a couple minutes, when the mixture is no longer piping hot, stir in the shredded cheese.

To make the custard, combine half and half, eggs, salt, cayenne. Beat well with a wire whisk or fork until well combined.

Once the crust has cooled, it's time to fill! I like putting my tin in another tin to protect against accidental spillage. It didn't happen but it could. Loosely pack in the spinach and ham filling until it's near the top.

Pour in the custard filling until it's within 1/8" of the top of the pastry.

Transfer pan to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the eggs in the filling begin to puff up and the center jiggles a little bit when shaken. Allow to cool until warm before cutting and consuming, or else risk oozage.

This pic is from my first quiche, which sliced rather nicely. My second one was not as lucky since I cut it preemptively, and hence it isn't pictured. It was still delish.

My friend made this meme. All I want is a boy like this, too much to ask? ;( sigh...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sweet Potato Hash

There's this restaurant a couple blocks away from my apartment called North Star Cafe and it's one of my favorite brunch places (not to be outshone by Katalina's Cafe Corner however). I dined there with a friend awhile back and ordered their sweet potato and turkey hash, which was amazing but also seemed super simple to reproduce at home. 

I frolicked around the internet for direction on how to reproduce this dish at home, and found simple steps from The Kitchn so I gave it a try, although I didn't follow their measurements. This is one of those recipes where you have to do lots of prep the evening before to make the hash, and then bake it with the eggs when it's food time. Also, I was trying to find sweet potatoes but they only had Japanese yams at my local Asian supermarket, which is why it looks like I'm cooking regular white potatoes when they are indeed sweet. I guess I could rename this Japanese yam hash, but it doesn't have the same ring to it.

SWEET POTATO (Japanese yam) HASH
Adapted from The Kitchn

  • 2 small/medium onions
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 small/medium sweet potatoes or yams I guess
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary leaves
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 pound of your favorite diced breakfasty protein - I used ham, but you can also do turkey or sausage or chorizo if you're feeling fancy
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • Pepper
  • When ready to serve: eggs, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400F (I used 450F since the directions said so, but they came out more burned than I would've liked, so this adjustment is just my suggestion). Cut up onions in half, peel, and thinly slice into half moons. Melt the butter over medium-high heat, and when it begins to foam, add onions and sprinkle with a teeny bit of salt. Lower the heat slightly and cook onions down until caramelized, which should take ~30 minutes while stirring occasionally.

While the onions are cooking down, cube your unpeeled potatoes into 1/2" pieces.

Mince your garlic, toss in with the onions, and stir. Btw, the garlic press is my favorite kitchen tool of all time. I never realized that this is what has been missing from my life until we got one...

When you have about 5-10 minutes left (since you're cooking your onions for about 30 minutes), add your protein to the onions and cook for the remaining time. If you're using sausage pieces, make sure to remove from casing, break into small pieces, and brown with the onions. I used ham so I didn't worry about this. 

Toss your potatoes with rosemary and olive oil.

Mix everything together (potatoes with the sausage/onions) and remove from heat. You can do this in the bowl, but I used the wok cause my wok is enormous.

Line a cookie sheet with foil, grease, and transfer mixture in a thin layer to the lined cookie sheet. Bake for 30-45 minutes until potatoes are softened and browned.

As I said earlier, I baked at 450F for 30 minutes so they came out more burned that I would've liked -- although still tasty, just more polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons than I would've preferred. So I recommend 400F for 30 minutes and checking occasionally, unless you like them this way.

Transfer to a tupperware and keep in fridge for up to 5 days until ready to use.

I did all the above steps the night before. On brunch mornings, preheat the oven to 400F when you wake up. Transfer a relatively thin layer of the hash mixture to a baking dish, and make wells to crack the eggs into. Sprinkle eggs with a bit of salt and pepper.

 Bake for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are hot and the eggs are baked through (I like mine a bit gooey). Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, which I forgot to do, and dig in :D

Ommm. I still have about two servings of hash left in the fridge for meals later on the week which I'm excited about.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

October Recent Eats and Updates

I finished another exam block last week and had time to update. This week has been killer too, but I figured that if I didn't write this up now, it'd probably never get posted so here goes. On one hand, I'm sad that I don't have time to update and post pics as often as I'd like (dinner is always a rush, so I rarely have time to take pics as I cook). But on the other hand, the posts are a tad more exciting since I have more news to share :)

Decorated my room, Chicago on the west and NY on the east! I followed these instructions that I found via Pinterest and luckily I wasn't let down. I shared this pic on Fb and got 60+ likes O_O

New leather jacket, likey? I've always wanted one, and ugh I love it so much that I don't want to take it off.

I met a rando with the exact same hat as me for Halloween, so I harassed him for a pic. I was grumpy cat btw, and my sign says, "I went to a Halloween party once... It was awful."

Transitioning to food pics now...

Ribfest postluck -- a couple of my friends each made ribs and then feasted/voted. My ribs won >:D

Catered food at school events can be quite fancy. Exhibit A: deviled eggs, skewered chicken with snap peas, pinwheel wraps, and cantaloupe. Yum.

Pre-exam brunch with the roomie: slow roasted pork and egg sandwich, and nutella pancake balls. And they tasted even more amazing than they sound, imagine that. Katalina's Cafe Corner is my new favorite brunch spot, no contest. 

I don't even know what these desserts are called because the place was too fancy, but I went here twice in less than three days :/ I feel crazy lucky for living near such a deliciously bougie bakery with the most amazing pastries. Pistacia Vera has my heart. 

And lastly, some scones that I made recently from a recipe on David Lebovitz's website. They're white chocolate and sour cherry, and while he didn't develop the recipe himself, he gets props for having good taste. My roomie said these are good enough to be sold at Pistachia Vera ;P

Cheers til next time!