Consume: V

IMG_6766

In a really unexpected twist, I am running. I have become a runner. The running part is not extraordinarily unexpected as I have attempted to cultivate this habit (hobby?) twice in the past; both times felt like torture and ended in injury. After each failure I was resentful to the entire idea of running and the apparent ease of other runners. A childish reaction, perhaps, but it was born largely from the disappointment in my own body for its weaknesses. The unexpected twist in this current iteration is the lack of both torture and injury. Hurrah! As it turns out, on past attempts I was pushing too hard, going too fast, and taking on more than I could handle. The gusto I interpreted as strength was actually unraveling any progress I was making. This ego-driven fuel was powering a one way train back to where I started. Now, by taking my time and focusing on small improvements I can relax into the effort and enjoy my progress. I think this is a good lesson to pay attention to and apply to other aspirations. Some things just cannot be rushed.

But, I do wanna rush face first into a cocktail to celebrate the upcoming–if rainy–weekend, amirite?

Reading:
I am in two book clubs and I am about to start books for each, Franny & Zooey by J.D. Salinger and All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr . Let the battle of the book clubs commence!

Listening:
Super into Villager’s and Torres’s new albums.

Eating:
Local fruits and vegetables! It’s finally farmers market season and I am so pleased. I will be visiting the one near Cherry Creek tomorrow morning and I hope to come home with quite the bounty.

Making:
Blistered Shisito & Burrata Bread Salad (via iamafoodblog)
Herbed Focaccia-Pimento-Romesco (via Two Red Bowls)
Strawberry Mango Mint Julep Fruit Salad with Whipped Marshmallow (via How Sweet It Is)

Have a lovely weekend 🙂

Smoky Enchilada Burgers

S&GMexiBurg (12 of 14)
I have made myself very busy lately; I’ve taken on lots of small projects and extracurricular interests and spread myself a little too thin at times. All of this is voluntary of course, and it is coming after a vast, yawning period of boredom so the mild chaos is welcome. This is not a “wow, look how full my life is” post, nor is it another hymn pulled from the busy-god prayer book, it is actually a long-winded excuse for the crazy poor quality of the photos you are about to scroll by, surely with a pity grimace stretched across your face. Thing is, I had one evening slotted for this post and that was the evening a giant black storm descended on Denver and killed my light. Oops!

Either way, the burger tasted good–quite good actually–and with food that’s 75% of the battle. Honestly, the best part of this burger is the tomato-less pico. I knew the flavor of fresh tomatoes wouldnt fit here so I simply removed them from the equation and chopped everything a little finer than normal. It’s like a tasty, fresh, tart, burger confetti. In fact, I liked this simple mix so much I made it again the next night to go atop some pre-made tamales (thanks Whole Foods!).

S&GMexiBurg (4 of 14)

Does the idea of making your own enchilada sauce bum you out? It shouldn’t. It’s actually super easy and it’s a nice trick to have up your sleeve. This is a cheater enchilada sauce, by the way. I’m pretty sure the authentic stuff involves roasting things and then simmering for hours on end. A worthwhile endeavor for another day.

I also overcooked my burgers a touch. Kitchen adventures: RAW & UNCUT.

S&GMexiBurg (1 of 1)

Smoky Enchilada Burgers

Smoky Enchilada Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • salt to taste

Tomato-less Pico

  • ⅓ cup finely minced sweet onion
  • 2 tsp finely minced jalapeno
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice from ½ to 1 whole lime (to taste)
  • Salt to taste

Burgers

  • 4 soft hamburger buns, such as brioche or regular sesame seed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 lb ground beef, 80% lean
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup or 3 slices monterey jack or white cheddar cheese
  • ½ avocado, sliced

S&GMexiBurg (5 of 14)

Directions

  1. Heat oil for enchilada sauce over medium heat and then whisk in flour and cook, continuing to whisk, for about 1 minute. Whisk in chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika and tomato paste. It will turn into a big difficult clump and might take a bit of arm power to mix in, do not fret.
  2. Pour in a small amount of broth, about 2-3 tablespoons, whisking constantly. Once worked in, add another small amount of broth, whisking constantly. Repeat until either broth is all used or the sauce is about the consistency you want (a little on the thick side for these burgers). Note, the sauce will thicken a little as it sits, keep that in mind.
  3. Taste the sauce for salt. Add some until it tastes right to you. Remove from heat. You will have extra sauce for sure, use it later in the week to make enchiladas later or store in the freezer until you have time.
  4. Mix together the minced sweet onion, cilantro, & jalapeno in a small bowl. Add salt and lime juice until it taste good to you. Note: I like it to be on the tart side because it balances out the smoky heaviness of the enchilada sauce, but do your own thing.
  5. Split buns if needed and toast either in toaster or under the broiler
  6. Preheat large skillet with about a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.
  7. Split hamburger into three or four sections, depending on the size of your buns and appetite. Form into patties, remember to be gentle. Create a dimple in the middle of each to prevent major puffing. Season both sides of patties with salt and pepper.
  8. Cook patties in large skillet until cooked, but not overcooked. Everyones patty will be different. Touch the patties to judge the firmness. Use this guide. Right before you take them out of the pan sprinkle patties with monterrey jack and cover so the cheese gets melty.
  9. Build burgers: bottom bun+small amount of sauce+patty with cheese+pico+avocado+top bun with sauce

S&GMexiBurg (6 of 14)
S&GMexiBurg (7 of 14)
S&GMexiBurg (8 of 14)
S&GMexiBurg (9 of 14)
S&GMexiBurg (10 of 14)
S&GMexiBurg (11 of 14)

Alright, that’s it! I recommend you get everything set up and ready to go before you start cooking the burgers. There is nothing worse than seeing your perfect patties cooling on the counter while you scramble to get the toppings together.

Oh, one thing, my husband added some corn chips on his burger to replace the avocado because he doesn’t like avocado (I KNOW) and he was pleased with it, so try that too, if you want.

And please, don’t submit this post to some nationally ranked photography competition, I just couldn’t handle the celebrity status that will surely come with winning that accolade.
S&GMexiBurg (14 of 14)

How To: Build a Better Burger

Burg2

I have had a lot of underwhelming cheeseburgers in my life, too many. Most everyone can throw a cheeseburger together–they are not terribly complicated–but a few key details are often missed and the resulting sandwich is boring, tasteless, dry, and frankly, a waste of time. I try eat pretty healthy 80% of the time and if I use up a portion of the 20% I set aside for the not-so-healthy foods on a poorly made hamburger I get kinda bummed. I want to turn all those blocks of gray, overcooked beef on a soggy buns into a something a little more juicy, complex, and worth the calories.

S&GHamburger (1 of 7)
S&GHamburger (2 of 7)

Cheeseburger Core Ingredients
Ground meat
Bread
Cheese
Sauce
Toppings/Veggies

Cheeseburger Rules & Guidelines

Bread: Choose your buns wisely

  • Reaching for the standard, soft hamburger bun is not always the best choice. A burger with a lot of wet ingredients calls for a bun that can handle it, think ciabatta
  • I am a fan of toasting the bun in all situations but it is especially important in a very soft bread like your standard bun or (my favorite) a brioche bun. Toasting protects the bread from getting soggy from your sauce and the burger juices. Don’t skip it!
  • Think about how much you want the flavor of your bun to shine. A brioche bun will be a little sweet and the flavor will be prominent, as will a pretzel roll.
  • Fun alternatives:
    • Huge, thick texas toast
    • English Muffin
    • Pita bread
    • Halved biscuit

S&GHamburger (4 of 7)

Meat: Handle with care

  • Always choose a ground meat that has a high fat content, even higher if you plan on cooking on the grill instead of the stove top. If your choice is naturally leaner (such as ground turkey or lamb) add some fat by gently mixing in shredded bacon or other fatty meat.
  • Keep meat cold and wet your hands before forming into patties. Heat will start to dissolve the fat so keep the meat in the fridge until the last minute. Wetting your hands will keep the meat from sticking to your hands and create a small barrier between your body heat and the fat.
  • Do not overmix the meat. If you’re adding herbs or other flavoring to the meat be as gentle as possible. If you mix it too much the meat will become very tough.
  • Form into patties & then season generously with salt & pepper on the outside.
  • Do not squeeze into patties. Form gently into loose patties that just hold together.
  • Push a dimple into the center of your patties before cooking. This will keep them from getting really small and thick.
  • Do not overcook! Use a instant read thermometer if you have one, or use your finger to judge the firmness of the patty — guide (this method takes practice but it’s the one I use. Anyone wanna buy me a Thermapen?)
  • Fun alternatives:
    • Ground lamb mixed with prosciutto
    • Ground pork mixed with italian sausage
    • Ground chicken mixed with bacon
    • Salmon

S&GHamburger (3 of 7)

Sauce: Opt for complimenting condiments

  • Consider the overall flavors of your burger and do not be afraid of skipping the pre-made condiments to create your own. Skies the limit when it comes to sauces, just make sure what you choose marries well with your toppings. If you’re unsure of the flavor profile dip your toppings into the sauce and taste to see if it works.
  • Fun Alternatives:
    • Aioli
    • Tzatziki
    • Queso
    • Hollandaise

Cheese: Melty is always good, but not a rule

  • Typically I like a strong cheese flavor with good meltability but I’ve had burgers with thick slices of mozzarella or a mound of strong blue cheese that were really good too.
  • Remember some cheeses are incredibly strong in flavor. If you pick something like blue cheese, watch your proportions; you don’t want the burger to just be a vehicle for a mouthful of cheese.
  • Fun Alternatives:
    • Feta
    • Brie
    • Shaved parmesan

Toppings/Veggies: Go classic or crazy

  • Lettuce, tomato, sliced red onion. Classic. Delicious. Go this route if you like, I often do. But it can be really fun to play with toppings. As always, keep the overall flavor profile in mind when you choose. For example, you might not want to put pickles on the same burger as pepperoncini, they are too similar in flavor.
  • Toppings offer the opportunity to bring some texture into play. I nearly always appreciate something crunchy on burgers.
  • Ask yourself, what kind of flavors or textures could be played with here?
  • Fun Alternatives
    • Crushed potatoes chips
    • Roasted red pepper
    • Olive tapenade
    • Vinegared cucumbers

S&GHamburger (5 of 7)

Core Steps:

  1. Pre-prep all toppings and sauces completely. Arrange in an organized way so burgers can be quickly assembled once done cooking
  2. Form beef into patties with a dimple in the center. Season the patties well with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook patties in a lightly oiled skillet over medium-high heat until cooked but still slightly pink the center, let rest for 1 minute.
  4. Toast bread and top with sauce, burgers and toppings.

I encourage you to get creative with flavors and come up with your own “house specialty” burger. Below, I’ve included some links to interesting burger recipes to inspire you. I’ll be back later this week with my own version, see you then.

S&GHamburger (6 of 7)

Pictured Here:Lamb Burgers with Spicy Aioli (Via Bon Appetit)
Taco Burgers (via How Sweet It Is)
Bahn Mi Burgers (via Food52)
Portabella Turkey Burgers (via FoodNetwork)

Consume: IV

IMG_6704
(owl cat)

My husbands birthday is coming up in the next few days and I could only be more stoked if it was my own birthday. Birthdays are hands-down my favorite holidays. I love giving gifts; there is something about the quest for a perfect gift that just sets me afire. Birthdays also mean awesome meals at fancy restaurants. I like the opportunity to have a whole day devoted to being aware and thankful for the presence of someone you love, to acknowledge the simple blessing of their existence. Not to get all hippy/spiritual/ohm on you. So tonight we are going to put on our classy people clothes, go out to restaurant that we would normally tell ourselves is impractical, and celebrate that he gets to live and breathe next to me; making up song lyrics in the morning as we get ready for work, annoying our pets with the intensity of our love for them, and binge watching Veep together. Perfect holiday.

Have a great weekend!

Reading:

The latest issue of Bon Appetit. There is a project detailing everything you need to know to make soup dumplings. Y’all. I’m gonna make it happen.

Eating:

I think for dinner tonight we are going to try and eat at Guard & Grace. My boss once brought me back a dessert from here. It was the restaurants take on a ding dong and it was honestly one of the best desserts I’ve had in recent memory.

Watching:

This video that was on Reddit today. Holy moly I want to pet that cat so bad. The word “cat” feels too cutesy here.

Making:

Rosemary Lemonaide Julep (via Crepes of Wrath)

Slow Roasted Salmon with Cucumber Yogurt & Preserved Lemons (via Amateur Gourmet)

Whole Roasted Cauliflower in Chedder Beer Sauce (via Joy The Baker)

Greek Chicken Roulade

ten

There are certain flavors combinations that I reach for again and again, and the classic flavors of greek salad is one of them. I think most everyone enjoys these flavors together, besides weirdo olive-haters and who cares about them? (on a side note, I seriously dislike black olives. I will eat nearly anything, but black olives taste distinctly like blood to me and I just cannot deal). So maybe I copped out a little here; I’m not exactly breaking any down any culinary boundaries with this recipe. I mainly wanted to give this a shot because these are ingredients that I have on hand nearly all the time and I don’t like spending money if I don’t have to? There’s your honesty for the day.

Seven
Six

Lack of creativity aside, I was pretty nervous about the hummus here, but I think it works. It’s a strong flavor so feel free to adjust the amount to match how much you personally like hummus. After the chicken was done cooking, and I was done trying to take its’ portrait, I looked at my husband anxiously to see if he would give it a passing grade. I wouldnt say he’s a “foodie”(gag) by any stretch, but he has taste buds and that makes him qualified for such an evaluation. Luckily, he liked it. The unfailable greek flavor combo wins yet another round.

As is the point of this blog, I used the core ingredients, steps, and rules from my previous post to create this recipe. I hope you find them helpful in creating your own version of chicken roulade too.

Two
Three
Four

Greek Chicken Roulade

  • 4 6-8oz Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • ¼ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped & pitted kalamata olives
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
  • 4 tablespoons hummus
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, for sauteing
  • 3 garlic gloves
  • 1 stem of rosemary or oregano
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ tablespoon unsalted butter

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Flatten chicken breasts between two pieces of saran wrap to ¼” thickness. Salt and pepper both sides and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Mix together sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese & parsley. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  4. Spread 1 tablespoon of hummus on one side of each breast, leaving about a half inch of space all around edge. Top hummus with ¼ cup of tomato/olive/cheese/parsley mix.
  5. Starting with the narrow end of each breast, roll into tight pinwheels. Secure each breast in the roll by tieing with bakers twine every inch or so (or use toothpicks).
  6. In a saute pan that has been pre-heated over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil. Once oil is hot, drop in the rolled breasts, turning every few minutes to brown on all sides. Add more oil as needed. Do not worry if breasts do not cook all the way through.
  7. Onced browned, remove breasts from skillet and return to baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put breasts into pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes until heated and cooked all the way through.
  8. Meanwhile, lower empty skillet to low heat and do not wipe out. If very dry, add a little more oil. Saute garlic and whole sprig of rosemary until fragrant.
  9. Add white wine to skillet and reduce to about half. Add chicken broth and reduce to half. When reduced, add a small pat of butter to pan. Taste sauce for salt and pepper, adjust as needed. You may add lemon juice or some chopped parsley to sauce if you want. Pull out rosemary sprig before serving.
  10. When chicken breasts are done cooking, let rest for 1 minute and then cut into slices. Spoon pan sauce over breasts once plated.

I served this with a shaved brussels sprouts salad which is totally in my top 5 salads.

Nine

You’ll have to forgive to poor quality of the photos in this post. The sun did as suns do and totally set on me. I’m not good enough with my camera to make up for nature’s failures, alright?

I’ll right, I’m gonna roulade on out of here. Let’s roulade out boys! I’m on quite the roulade! Ah ha…ha..

How To Make: Chicken Breast Roulade

seven

Alright friends, grab your most uncomfortable shoes and that tie you bought at KMart three years ago on the way to your cousins wedding because it’s about to get fancy. I’m talking really fancy, French fancy. I am going to be using the word “roulade” a lot. But don’t balk, it’s just classy word for “rolled”. You can make many things a la roulade but I want to teach you how to make Chicken Breast Roulade, specifically. Think of it as a giant chicken breast sushi roll filled with cheese (gross).

This is wonderful technique to learn by heart because it’s beautiful and will impress your many important guests. It’s also, of course, easy to make all your own with your favorite mash up of ingredients. Okay lets go!

First, here are some inspiration recipes:

Chicken Roulade with Feta (via Bon Appetit)– (Pictured in this post) This is the most simple and straightfoward of all the recipes. An easy cheese-based filling, no breading and a simple pan sauce.

Chicken Roulades with Chorizo and Manchego (via FoodNetwork) – This one is more ambitious but features a really tasty Spanish flavor combo and a crispy breading.

Chicken & Basil Roulades with Mustard Sauce (via Williams & Sonoma) – A simple breaded version with a basil-only filling.

– Radicchio & Msuhroom Chicken Roulade (via Martha Stewart)Perhaps a more health-conscious choice: unbreaded and a mostly veggie filling.

One

Basically, we are going to flatten chicken breasts till they are all uniformly quite thin, cover one side with a topping (cheese, other meats, herbs, sauteed veggies, etc.) and then roll it up. The roll will then be breaded (or not), browned on the stove, and then thrown into the oven to finish up. You have the option to earn extra chef points for making a pan sauce from the browning pan. Finally, all you have left to do is sip your French white wine, wipe your hands upon your spotless linen apron, throw your thick, glossy hair over your shoulder and soak up all the inevitable admiration.

Two

But before all that, YOU GOTTA FOLLOW THE RULES.

Chicken Roulade Rules & Guidelines

  • Pound breasts until they are of uniform thickness–about ¼-⅛” thick. (wrap breasts in saran wrap or put in a gallon bag and go to town with something heavy like a mallet)
  • Season the chicken breasts on both sides before adding the filling
  • Dont forget to season the filling
  • Keep at least ½” of filling-free space around the edge of the breast
  • Roll the breast from the narrow end first
  • Use ¼-½ cup of filling per breast
  • Use kitchen twine to keep the roll rolled. (or toothpicks if you must. Twine would be so much better though)
  • If using a high amount of filling, I’d advise you to wrap the roll in saran wrap quite tightly and put in fridge for 1 hour before cooking
  • Whether breaded or not, brown the roll on the stove before putting in the oven

Core Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1-2 cups pre-cooked & seasoned filling of your choice (think cheeses, cured meats, herbs, ground nuts, sauteed vegetables, fruit spreads, etc.)
  • Kitchen twine or toothpicks

Chef-It-Up-Bonus-Options

    If breading:

  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup panko or breadcrumbs
    If making a pan sauce:

  • 2 cloves garlic or 1 shallot (or both)
  • 1/2 cup broth
  • ½ wine (optional)
  • 1 lemon

Three
Four

Core Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Rub a baking sheet with oil and set aside
  3. Pound breasts in between two sheets of saran wrap or in a gallon bag to ⅛” – ¼” thickness
  4. Prepare your fillings: Saute or roast any vegetables/greens in oil with aromatics such as garlic, onion, or shallot. Pre-cook any raw meats. Get any raw herbs trimmed and ready. Grate any cheese
  5. Season both sides of flattened breasts and lay flat. Arrange fillings on breasts, leaving a ½” border free. (You can mix all your fillings together before adding to breast or arrange in layers)
  6. Starting from the narrow end, begin rolling the breast up like a pinwheel.
  7. If breading, roll the filled breast in flour,shake off the excess; dip into whisked eggs, dripping off the excess; roll in the panko or breadcrumbs
  8. Secure breasts by tying with kitchen twine every inch or by stabbing through with toothpicks
  9. If very thick with filling, wrap tightly in saran wrap and refrigerate for an hour to harden everything up (so it doesn’t fall apart in the pan)
  10. In a pre-heated skillet with a good amount of oil/butter, add chicken rolls and brown on all sides (4-5 min)
  11. Once browned, remove rolls from skillet and transfer to the pre-oiled sheet pan. Put into oven and cook until done, (10-15 min, depending on how thick you left your chicken and how full of filling it is)
  12. Meanwhile, make a pan sauce with the pan you used to brown the rolls. Keep pan at medium- low temperature without wiping out what was left behind from browning the chicken. Add any aromatics such as garlic, shallot, fresh herbs, etc, and saute until you can smell them. Add wine/broth and let simmer until reduced by ½. Add a pat of butter if you like or salt or a pinch of chopped fresh herbs. Squeeze lemon juice into sauce. Adjust to tastes and remove from heat
  13. Once chicken is done, remove from oven and let rest for 1-3 minutes and then cut into slices and drizzle with the pan sauce

five

A few steps, sure, but most of it can be done ahead of time (everything up to putting into fridge) and most of the work is done by the oven. The effect of the rolled filling, once cut, is very pretty and “restaurant-y”. It is sure to earn you accolades. It’s also damned good way to eat the otherwise boring chicken breast.

As always, I want you to try to come up with your own version of Chicken Roulade using flavors that you are drawn to, but here are some options to get your gears going:

six

Prosciutto + parmesan + mozzarella + basil
Artichokes + sauteed mushrooms + feta
Sauteed spinach + roasted red peppers + pepper jack cheese

I’ll be back later with my own recipe to share. Have fun, be playful.

Consume: III

IMG_6654

Do you ever get overwhelmed by the limitless ways in which to live? At least once a week I find myself wading through another article on the best way to be. Sometimes I am captivated by this new idea on what a considered and purposeful life looks like; more often, I am grumpy about having to once again re-evaluate my entire perspective.

Honestly, I think some of the grump comes from decision exhaustion. Often, just an hour before reading such an article, I had to consider the 20 or so lunch options near my work, weigh the expense of each option, determine the health of each option (it’s own minefield, sweet Jesus), the distance to each, and of course the trickiest of all variables: my current appetite. After all that considering, and the countless other minor annoying choices I’ve had to make all morning, how can I possibly summon the energy and resolve needed to make the choice for myself of whether I want to live a life of dedication, dutiful responsibility, and hard work or if I will indulge my whims, listen to my fickle heart, and place the concerns of others aside to follow my gut wherever it may take me.

I dunno man. I’m lucky I even nailed lunch down, though it took me like 20 minutes to decide that I want to get that one sandwich for the second time this week. Ugh.

Oh but I am very excited for one decision that has been successfully made: what I will be cooking for this silly little space over the weekend. Shit’s gonna be tasty.

———–

Reading:
The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit – My narcissistic tendency to adore nearly all other Rebecca’s aside, I’ve really enjoyed reading this book of, what, essays? A Memoir? Sorta both? I’ve been highlighting enlightening and beautiful passages like mad. Here’s a few worth your time:

“Difficulty is it’s own school, though learning is optional.”

“To dig deeper into the self, to go underground, is sometimes necessary, but so is the other route of getting out of yourself, into the larger world, into the openness in which you need not clutch your story and your troubles so tightly to your chest. Being able to travel both ways matters, and sometimes the way back into the heart of the questions begins by going outward and beyond.”

“Books are solitudes in which me meet”

Ah, she’s wonderful. There is a lot of heart and wisdom here.

Scrolling:
Why is your millennial Crying? – Hahaha. Haha….ha…..ha ……….. 😐

Eating:
Out too much. Dear wallet, I am sorry.

Making:
Wile Mushroom Pate (via SmittenKitchen)

Springtime Sheet Pan Chicken (via NYTimes)

Smoked Salmon Quiche with Chard, Goat Cheese, and a Thyme Butter Crust

Quiche1

That’s a mouthful of a title, sorry.

This quiche came together over the course of a few busy weekdays. I made the crust in a flash of inspiration after work one day. I had a bundle of thyme leftover from a previous night and I was trying to think of a way to use it. Thing is, thyme is by far my least favorite herb to process. Removing the tiny little leaves from the easily broken branches makes me feel tense and impatient. The only recompense for all that detailed work is the nice smell left on my hands afterwards. Sometimes doing an unpleasant task in one long go makes the task feel less odious to me, so I thought I’d de-stem as much as my patience could muster in one sitting and throw it all in the crust portion of my quiche. So that’s what I did. My modern multiple-tabs-open-all-the-time brain grew a little more focused that day.

Quiche4

Once the dough was whirred together and flattened into a pancake, I threw it — covered in cling wrap — into the fridge to become a quiche whenever I got a spare hour. That didn’t happen for like four days, but that’s alright because the making of the quiche aligned perfectly with a brunch the following morning.

Strangers said it tasted great. I’m going to believe their comments were genuine and not merely politeness.

Quiche6

Oh, I want to highlight one technique I used here that I am huge fan of: using chard stems in a saute. It’s especially nice with rainbow and swiss chard what with their super colorful stems. Once you remove the leaves, simply chop the stems and saute them at the same time you would saute your onions and garlic. Once soft-ish, add the chopped greens. Less food waste, more beauty, and a nice texture.

As is the point of this blog, I used the core ingredients, steps, and rules from my previous post to create this recipe. I hope you find them helpful in creating your own version of quiche too.

Quiche3

Thyme Butter Savory Pie Crust

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 large cold egg
  • 2 tablespoons ice water
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Whisk together flour, salt, and chopped thyme.
  2. Using a food processor or pastry blender, add cold cubed butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal (or little pea sized bits of butter coated in flour).
  3. In a separate bowl whisk egg with ice water
  4. Pour flour/butter meal into large bowl. Pour egg/water mixture over flour. Using a fork, stir flour with egg mixture until nearly blended. Using your hand, squeeze dough together until it is mostly blended and sticking together. Flatten into a disk shape and wrap tightly with saran wrap. Put disk in fridge for at least an hour (or if you’re like me, up to a week).
  5. Preheat oven to 350
  6. On a floured surface, roll out dough until it’s about two inches bigger than your pie pan. Drop dough into pan, press the sides onto pan, and trim the excess. Put dough and pan into freezer for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Line pie shell with foil or parchment paper and weigh down with pie weights or dried beans. Bake dough with liner and weights for 25 minutes. Remove foil and weights and bake uncovered for an additional 15-20 minutes. Take pie out when crust is golden brown.

Quiche2

Smoked Salmon Quiche with Chard, Goat Cheese

  • 1 large bunch swiss chard, stems removed and set aside, leaves chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 6 oz. smoked salmon, coarsely chopped
  • 3 oz. herbed goat cheese, sliced or crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a large skillet, saute garlic and chopped chard stems in olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 4-5 minutes
  3. Add chopped chard leaves to pan, (you may need to do this is stages) and saute until very wilted. They should reduce in size by a considerable amount. If the pan looks dry or the leaves burn, turn down the heat and add a teaspoon of water. Salt and pepper well.
  4. Remove wilted chard to a bowl and let cool. One cool, squeeze with paper towels to remove any extra moisture
  5. Mix together chopped smoked salmon with cooked chard mixture and drop into cooled quiche crust, spread evenly
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together heavy cream and eggs. Season with salt & pepper.
  7. Pour milk/egg mixture over filled quiche crust
  8. Arrange goat cheese on top of quiche
  9. Put quiche in the preheated oven and cook for 40 minutes. Quiche is done when the center no longer looks wet and doesn’t jiggle much when shook. Remove quiche from oven and let cool.

Quiche5

Enjoy the quiche warm, room temp, or cool. Preferably at a brunch with strangers.

Consume: Two


Winter, meet spring.
—-
I’ve taken many scary leaps lately. Sometimes I look at these choices which have followed me around for years, nagging me with their possibilities, and I feel pride. In some ways I have been braver than I have ever been.

But then I see someone else’s work and it’s so incredibly good. It’s a piece of writing that sings with truth and beauty, and now my little projects read infantile, silly even. Are we all capable of producing something beautiful? Is diligent practice and putting in the work a guarantee?

Sometimes I become petulant and decide it’s best not to look outside myself at all, but that only serves to swaddle my ego and I become disgusting to myself.

There is that speech by Ira Glass that’s always all over the internet, the one about hard work and practice and time and the importance of good taste. When I’m feeling particularly pathetic and (oh God) untalented, it helps to watch it. Ah, my writing and my food is awful but, hey, I’m pretty sure I have good taste. I will pluck along.

Anyway, it’s Friday and I’m actually in a fantastic mood, if a little tired. Big full weekend coming up. I hope I get to eat something awesome. 🙂

—–

Reading:
This post is particularly beautiful. I was moved by her thoughts and by the Seamus Heaney poem she included. She is right, the poem is right. I also want to be quickened to “verb, pure verb”. So lovely.

What Part of “No, Totally” Don’t You Understand? – Language will never cease to fascinate me.

The Senses of Good Cooking – When cooking, always trust your most importance sense: common sense.

Watching:
My husband and I went to the Father John Misty show last night and it rocked my world: I Love You Honeybear

Eating:
Homemade bread! I bought the Josey Baker Bread cookbook a few weeks ago and I’ve been slowly plodding my through it. Really great resource for the newby bread maker. We made olive bread and it brought our egg toast this morning up a level.

Making:
Avocado Cucumber Salad
Roasted Lamb with Beet Glaze
Snow Eggs

Basil Avocado Lemon Chimichurri

The chimichurri I ended up making sans-recipe features basil, avocado, and lemon juice. This is mostly because it was just what I had on hand but partly because I wanted to create a creamier, milder chimichurri. I also wanted to fully express its’ versatility.

Basil Avocado Lemon Chimichurri

1 cup basil
1 cup parsley
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tsp red pepper flakes
¾ cup olive oil
salt & pepper to task

  1. Pulse together basil, parsley,garlic, lemon juice, & red pepper flakes together in a food processor.
  2. Drizzle in oil while pulsing the food processor, scraping down the sides frequently with a rubber spatula. Add enough oil so that it becomes less of a paste and more of a sauce
  3. Pulse until you reach your desired coarseness of texture
  4. Add salt and pepper or more lemon juice to taste
  5. Cover and allow to rest in fridge for at least 45 minutes

It turned out great! It was certainly less acidic than the chimichurri from the previous post, which is great in some applications. I tossed some leftover rotisserie chicken with it and served it over pasta with grated gruyere. Sounds weird, but it tasted good and that’s what counts.

We also used leftovers from this recipe and the Bon Appetit recipe as spreads on sandwiches and drizzled over eggs. Perfect.