Leek, Bacon, and Mushroom Quiche

Quiche with leeks, bacon and mushrooms

 

quiche with leeks, bacon and mushroom

 

photo 3

 

Last night around 10 pm, I remembered that I had invited a friend over for lunch……uh oh.  I had completely forgotten, and didn’t have anything in mind or ready to prepare.  So I looked in my fridge and pantry……and voila!  I love that you can make a Quiche out of basically anything.  Just as long as you have the mains, which are flour, eggs, cream and cheese, it doesn’t matter what the fillings are.  I think that it’s versatility has made it a mainstay in my house!.  So these were the ingredients I had in my pantry and fridge, but feel free to swap any of the ingredients for the ones you have on hand.

So here’s what you’re going to need:

For the crust:

250g all-purpose flour

150g butter, chilled and cut into 1 inch cubes

1 tsp salt

1 egg

1 tbsp cold milk

For the filling:

1 leek, halved and thinly sliced

2 slices bacon, julienned

1 small can sliced mushrooms, drained

1 egg

3 egg yolks

300ml heavy cream

1 1/2 cups Emmenthal (swiss cheese), grated

1 tsp salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

pinch of nutmeg

 

In a large bowl, add the flour, salt, and butter, mix with a pastry blender until it resembles coarse sand.  Add the egg and milk, and mix with your hands until it forms a ball.  Flatten it with your hand into a disk, and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, make the filling.  Saute the leeks and bacon together over low heat for about 10 minutes until soft and bacon is cooked but not crispy.  Let cool.  In a large bowl, mix the cream, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Add the leek mixture, and half of the grated cheese.  Mix well and set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 190C (375F), take dough out of the fridge and place on a counter dusted with flour.  Roll out the dough into a disk that is about 2mm thick.  Place in a buttered tart or springform pan, cover with plastic and refrigerate for another 20 minutes.

Take the dough out, and with a fork pinch all over.  Cover with parchment paper and place pie weights or beans in the pan.  Cook in the oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 170C (350F) and remove the parchment and pie weights, and cook for another 5 minutes.

Take out of the oven, and sprinkle the remaining cheese onto the bottom of the crust, and then add the filling mixture.  Cook for about 25-30 minutes, or until it is set but still has a slight wobble.  Let cool on a rack and serve warm or at room temperature.  Serve with a green salad and basic vinaigrette!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Fusilli with Goat Cheese Cream Sauce, Bacon and Pistachios

Fusilli with goat cheese cream sauce, bacon and pistachios

 

Lately, with my dieting, work, guest blogging, wedding planning, exercising and dieting, I have been very uninspired to blog.  I mean, who would want to read a post about another chicken breast with spices and a salad????  That is my boring food life at the moment.

Last night though, after a grueling workout, I decided I was going to treat myself.  And treat myself I did.  Not only did I have pasta, that forbidden fruit in dietland, I had it with cream and cheese and bacon.  Yes folks, I went all out, threw caution to the wind and had myself a mini smorgasbord! I was actually planning on having another salad, I had some beets roasting in the oven, the goat cheese ready, the pistachios chopped, just waiting on my rucola to arrive, when I suddenly had a massive craving for pasta.  So, I combined the goat cheese, cream, pistachios with some bacon, and poured that goodness over some pasta.   Let me tell you, my family was happy.  They are not excited at all to be partaking in my diet.

So, if you’re not dieting and you feel like treating yourself too, here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 4

500g Fusilli pasta

1/2 tbsp Olive oil

4 slices of Bacon, finely chopped

2 tbsp of Pistachios, shelled and chopped

250ml Cream

Goat cheese, to taste

Parmesan Cheese

Salt and Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

In a large stock pot, bring water to boil.  Cook the pasta according to package directions.  In the meantime, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and bacon, and cook until it is crispy but not burnt.  Add the chopped pistachios and stir, cooking for another 3 minutes.

Lower the heat to low, and add the cream, goat cheese and salt.  Cook, stirring constantly until the cheese has melted completely.  Turn off heat.

Drain pasta, and toss with sauce.  Sprinkle with some black pepper and parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.

 

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

 

Saveur Magazine Classic Recipes No. 61 – Carbonnade (Flemish Beef and Beer Stew)

Beef and Beer Stew

I had heard about this dish a log time ago.  My friend Kiana, who lives in Brussels, was always posting on Facebook that she was making it.  Initially, I thought she was talking about Carbonara, a.k.a, spaghetti carbonara.  Then, I humbly learned that not only was it not even close to carbonara, but the only thing similar is that it both has bacon in it, at least according to this recipe.

I was obviously intrigued about making this, and was quite pleased upon seeing it in the magazine.  This became a no-brainer, since the weather is quite accommodating here in Madrid at the moment.  This beef stew begs for rainy or snowy days and toasty evenings snuggled under a blankie.  This is the stuff of wood chalets and fire places my friends.  Unfortunately, I don’t have either.  But, I can imagine my friend Kiana and her gorgeous family eating it a-la-ski-lodge, in their pj’s all snuggled around their fire.  Dreamy!

Anyhow, I digress.  The stew is quite easy, and the ingredients readily available.  It is imperative that you use a nice dark beer, preferably Belgian.  I used Chimay Red Cap, in absence of any other type of Belgian beer here in Spain. Kiana recommended Rochefort……if you can find it, use it.  But, what I thought gave this dish such an elegant and nuanced flavor, was the tarragon.  Oh, my beating heart.  The sauce, well, it speaks for itself.  If you don’t make this, you’ll be sorry.  Really.  I’m that serious.

So, on to the ratings:

Overall Points:  8.9/10 – the most points yet!

Difficulty:  Easy to medium, just cause it takes a long time

Availability of ingredients:  Readily available, except maybe for the tarragon

2 lb beef chuck, cut into 2″ x 1/2″ thick slices

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup flour

4 tbsp. unsalted butter

4 slices bacon, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced lengthwise

2 cups Belgian – Style ale, like Ommengang Abbey Ale

1 cup beef stock

2 tbsp. brown sugar

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 sprigs thyme

3 sprigs parsley

2 sprigs tarragon

1 bay leaf

Bread, for serving

Season beef with salt and pepper in a bowl; add flour and toss to coat.  Heat 2 tbsp of butter in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Working in batches, add beef; cook, turning, until browned, about 8 minutes.  Transfer to a plate; set aside.  Add bacon; cook until its fat renders, about 8 minutes.  Add remaining butter, garlic, and onions; cook until caramelized, about 30 minutes.  Add half the beer; cook, scraping bottom of pot, until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes.  Return beef to pot with remaining beer, stock, sugar, vinegar, thyme, parsley, tarragon, bay leaf, and salt and pepper; boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until beef is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.  Serve with bread.  Serves 4.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Saveur Magazine Classic Recipe No.19 – New England Clam Chowder

 

I had high hopes for this recipe.  Being one of my favorite chowders and all.  (Ok, my super-duper favorite is Conch Chowder, but conch is hard to come by here.)  Paolo chose this recipe, he was really excited, loving clams, loving New England.  He also had never tried this and was super intrigued.   Alas, I have to say it was a total disaster.

As I mentioned in my first Saveur Magazine post,  I am going to prepare the recipes exactly as it states in the magazine.  I’ve prepared this dish from another recipe of mine and it has been a complete success.  I have eaten this dish a gazillion times too.  The problem that I found with this recipe, is that it was extremely watery.  A little red flag started waving wildly as I read the recipe calling for 6 cups of water to 2 cups cream.  And no thickener.  And, I would highly advise to place the clams in water to rid them of the sand, because I was straining and straining and straining.  But, anyhoo, I proceeded to recreate it in complete trust and experimental nature.

Needless to say, my two co-judges were not pleased at all.  Another recipe bust, another lunch that we ended up eating mainly bread and the sautéed porcini I had made as a side.  But, tastewise it was delicious.

So, without further ado, the rankings:

Overall points:  4.6/10

Difficulty:  Medium, as it has numerous steps and a wee bit time-consuming

Availability of ingredients:  Easy, if you can’t find fresh clams, frozen will do in a cinch.

10 lb clams in the shell, preferably cherrystone, scrubbed

4 oz. thick-cut bacon, finely chopped

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1 tbsp finely chopped thyme leaves

2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped

2 bay leaves

2 1/2 lb. new potatoes, cut into 1/4″ cubes

2 cups heavy cream

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Oyster crackers and hot sauce for serving

1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a 6-qt. saucepan over high heat.  Add clams, and cover pan;  cook until clams are steamed open, about 10 minutes (discard any that do not open).  Remove from heat, and let cool.  Remove clam meat from shells, and roughly chop;  set aside.  Pour cooking liquid from pan though a fine strainer into another bowl (you should have about 6 cups; if not, add enough water to make 6 cups); set aside.

2.  Heat bacon in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until its fat renders and bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes.  Add butter, thyme, onions, and bay leaves, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add reserved cooking liquid and potatoes, and bring to a boil;  reduce heat to medium low, and cook, stirring until potatoes are cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Add chopped clam meat and cream*; cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper;  serve with crackers and hot sauce on the side.  Serves 8.

* I suggest you lower the heat to minimum, if not your cream is going to curdle.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

Free form Cheese, Bacon and Onion Pie

Ingredients for Cheese, Bacon and Onion Pie

Ahhhh, the pie.  That magical, wonderful, filled with goodness food.  So humble, yet so incredibly fabulous.   I love pies.  I don’t make them that often, but I had to start after perusing a book that belongs to my friends Laura and Jim.

They have this amazing book which I stole borrowed, aptly and simply called “Pie” by Angela Boggiano.  They brought it back from the UK, and it is a veritable smorgasbord of pies!  I swear to you, every time I look through it, I start salivating like Pavlov’s Dog.  I honestly want to make EVERY SINGLE RECIPE.

I decided to tackle this one first, well, because one, it’s fairly easy and I am quite busy what with back to school and the such.  And also, who the heck doesn’t like cheese, onion and BACON??????  Just thinking about the combination makes me hungry.  Then finding out that it also has potato?  Oh….*swoon*.

Cheese, Onion and Bacon Pie

You can whip this up in no time if you’re having guests for dinner, because it calls for store-bought puff pastry.  And, if you’re guests or you are vegetarian, omit the bacon, and it’s still going to be UH-MA-ZING.

Cheese, Onion and Bacon PieServe it with a nice lemony salad, and you have a decadent and delicious meal.

So here’s what you’re going to need:

“Pie” by Angela Boggiano

Serves 4 (but I think it serves more, unless you’re REALLY hungry.

500g ready-made puff pastry

Beaten egg, to glaze

2 medium floury potatoes

1 tbsp vegetable oil

4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, cut into 2 cm strips

2 large onions, thinly sliced

200g mature Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

3 tbsp double or heavy cream

Ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 C.  Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.  Drain and when cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes into thin slices.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes until beginning to color.  Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened but not colored.  Set aside to cool.

Divide the pastry into two portions.  Roll out one half to form a 25cm square, (or in my case, leave it round).  Lay the pastry on a lightly greased baking tray and brush the edges lightly with beaten egg.   Spread the sliced potatoes over the pastry leaving a 2.5cm border,

Potatoes over pastrythen top with the bacon, onions, and black pepper.

Sprinkle with the grated cheese.  Drizzle over the cream.

 

Roll out the second piece of pastry to form a 28cm square (or leave it round, but with a larger circumference than the bottom piece…sorry I didn’t measure mine out!)  Place over the filling and press the edges together to join.  Trim away excess and cut a cross in the middle of the pie.  Brush lightly with beaten egg and bake in the top of the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180 C and cook for another 25-30 minutes, or until golden and risen.

Serve cut into wedges.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White bean, Bacon,and Morcilla Soup

A few years ago we went to Asturias, which is a region in the northern Atlantic coast of Spain.  It is mountainous, verdant, bountiful.  It is also coooooooooold!!!!  There is a dish that I have always been wary to try, Fabada Asturiana, because I didn’t like white beans.  I love beans, black beans and red beans, but had never had white beans.  I just thought they looked weird.  Like white asparagus.  I thought white beans looked like the pasty, malnourished cousin to the powerhouse of red and black beans.  But, like all things that I generally “don’t like”, I had never really tried it.

So, when we were in Asturias, we went to eat at a friend of a friend’s house.  And they brought out the Fabada.  I didn’t know where to hide.  Actually I couldn’t because we were in their kitchen and I was kind of sitting in the corner, so I couldn’t run either.   My parents taught me well though, when you are at someone’s home, always eat what they put in front of you.  So, I bucked up and took a bite.  WOW.  What a surprise.  It was absolutely amazing, and the white beans were so much smoother and more mellow to their red and black counterparts, really letting the rest of the ingredients shine, but complementing them in such a perfect way.  Fabada is a hearty, stick to your ribs winter stew.  To tell  you the truth, I can’t eat that often, because it is quite heavy, chock full of bacon, chorizo sausage, and morcilla (which is blood sausage).  So this soup is my reinvention, and because it doesn’t cook down to stew form, but stays more like a soup, I feel it is a bit lighter.  I also added tomatoes, leeks and carrots which Fabada does not have, but I needed a bit of vegetable to counter the amount of pork in this stew.  I also omitted the sausage, because I wanted it less greasy.  But by all means, toy and tinker with it.  Make it your own.  And for the ham bones, I used Serrano ham bones, but you can use regular if you can’t find them easily.

Serves 6

100 g thick cut bacon, in slices

3 tbsp olive oil

2 Iberian ham bones (or normal ham bones)

1.5 leeks, sliced

1/4 cup chinese cabbage, thick parts, sliced

7 cherry roma tomatoes, cut in half

2 tsp tomato paste

3 small sprigs of thyme

1.5 cups white beans, soaked overnight

3 liters water

1 carrot, sliced

1 morcilla sausage, sliced

Place the bacon, oil, ham bones and leeks in a heavy stock pot over medium high heat.

Saute for 15 minutes, or until the leeks are softened.  Add the chinese cabbage and tomatoes, and saute another 10 minutes.

Add the tomato paste, thyme and let it caramelize, about 2-3 minutes

.  Add your beans and water, cover and raise the heat to high.

Bring to a boil and lower the heat again to medium.  Boil, covered, for about 1.5 hours, adding more water if it is getting too dry.  When the beans are almost tender, add the carrot and the morcilla (blood sausage) and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve with hot crusty bread.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla