easter quiche
April 9, 2013, 12:25 pm
Filed under: asparagus, recipe | Tags: , , , , , ,

Long time no talk huh? Alas, just waiting waiting waiting for spring. And it didn’t come! Easter was very cold. But managed to make a nice dinner for the fam. Mom brought the nice flowers. And I made a quiche.

easter table 2013

easter table 2013

And here’s a close up of that quiche. I’m sort of proud of it, even though it kicked my butt.

asparagus and mushroom quiche

asparagus and mushroom quiche

Whenever I’ve made quiche it’s always been one of those little flat ones. Kind of uninspiring! I love those deep ones you get at a restaurant. How to make I wondered. A quick google of “deep dish quiche” helped me to find documentation of Smitten Kitchen’s similar quest. According to her notes, this was no easy feat. I don’t know what I was thinking, that I could manage to whip up something that a real cookbook author had trouble with, but guess I am temporarily mad from the lack of springtime. So–my first attempt–why not?!–for my family easter dinner, what could go wrong, eh??

For the crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/4 cup ice water
Neutral oil, for brushing springform

Sheesh. First the dough, an amazingly buttery thing, didn’t really come together. I did it in the food processor and not in a mixer like SK. Put the flour and salt in, and then whiz in the butter chunks until pebbly. Drip in the water, and it should come together a little bit.

I didn’t put enough water in, and it was all pebbly. But I’d already dumped it out, so I just pressed it together and popped it in the freezer for a bit. Rolling it out was hard and crumbly every where, but i dusted some water on it, and forged ahead. Pressed it into the tin and patched it up. I hung the crust over the edge as suggested, and then –as i don’t have pie weights or beans on hand–i dumped a bunch of split peas and lentils in there and baked it up. The instruction said 30-40 mins to cook the crust. It really did take forever. And halfway through I noticed that it had shrunken and fallen down. I didn’t have enough beans in there holding it up. So I just took it out of the oven and patched some more dough in there up over the edges and then put it back in the oven. Took beans out–hand picked out the ones that fell past my parchment boundary. And cooked it some more.

It looked ok, not super brown, but sort of cooked, and I was ready to move on.

The filling.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound mushrooms chopped
1 pound asparagus chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter
4 green onions, chopped (incl. some green parts)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (use 1 teaspoon only if dried/jarred)
3/4 cup grated swiss cheese
3 cups (475 ml) milk
1 cup (475 ml) heavy cream
7 large eggs, lightly beaten

Saute the mushrooms in oil with S & P, and add in the asparagus when mushrooms are nearly done.
Whisk eggs, milk and cream (SK used 2 cups cream–i used less and added an extra egg)

Now you’re ready to assemble. Layer in the cheese the asparagus mushroom, green onion and some egg. More cheese veggies, and egg. All is well. Decided to leave top cheese for later. Into the oven. Minutes later look in there, and naturally–I’ve managed to create a non-tight crust, and the egg is leaking out on the baking sheet (at least I knew enough to put one under it!) ACK! My nice deep quiche is rapidly becoming a thin sad little one. Not much I could do though, so just hoped it would cook up fast enough to seal itself. And it did. I put on the top cheese and finished cooking it. The unmolding was not too hard. And looked kind of like a crown or something! Nice rustic looking crust. No one cared I think, as the crust was sooo good!

Alls well that ends well I guess. A bit of a mess to clean up, but an educational experience for me. If I can do it, I’m sure you can too!

It was really really good and worth a shot!!


pumpkins and fall scenes of the farm

some of the pumpkin collection

I warned you. It was a bumper crop! In this picture we have melonette de jaspee vendee (little yellowish ones). And Winter luxury pie pumpkins. So far, I’m made pumpkin bean soup, pumpkin leek soup, and a maple pumpkin pie. Sheesh, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet! Yes pumpkin will be on the menu this sunday! Thinking to do maybe a pumpkin spinach gratin, and of course a pie, probably my regular one.

Here’s the rest of the collection.

grand entrance to casa turdacres!

Don’t ask about the ladder!! These big ones are musquee de provence. It said they would be about 20 lbs, but these are more. Yikes! Hard to lift them. I’ve given away a few of the bad boys, but clearly need to start delivering them to unsuspecting neighbors or something!!

Yep, we’re working on our trashy yard vibe this year. Here’s our new patio arrangement…

casual seating plus water garden!

Featured in this area is our *new* aluminum glider (2.00 and came with free cushion!), alongside part of our 150.00 haul of old metal furniture. The water garden is a new thing. Notice the white pipe at the top left? That’s draining water off a flat roof over the patio which, for some unknown reason, was never fitted with a drainpipe! Water just accumulates up there and then it runs off on in one corner–rotting the roof line! Well now, we fixed that!

Water now runs out the pipe and into the galvanized trough which our neighbors had discarded. The plastic bit of gutter guard is in there, can you guess why? It’s an animal escape system. We learned the hard way that animals can’t get out if they fall in. RIP squirrel buddy 2010.

Yep we’re doing crazy rustic round here. Including a newly installed hoop house (cost 10.00 for a screen door). We made this bad boy from a trampoline frame, plastic sheet, some rebar stakes, plastic electrical conduit and…binder twine! It still needs some work, but we were happy to test the design. It gets pretty hot in there. Clocked it at 122 one day!!! So we’ll need some venting options.

dad likes to do a project when he comes down. this was a doozer!

While we have a lot of projects on the go (I won’t even show you the cardboard mulch project in the lower garden, or the new brick project for the potager)..one thing remains the same. Sure love that barn. It’s just so pretty!

barn with new hoop house neighbor

Strawberry cheesecake
January 20, 2012, 5:36 pm
Filed under: cake, dessert, food issues, recipe, strawberries | Tags: , , , ,

Strawberry Cheesecake

2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 cup sour cream
3 eggs
1 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 package (10 oz.) frozen strawberries, thawed
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, sliced

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.


I made a pecan graham cracker crust for this cake. It was good!

Dump one sleeve graham crackers, and 1/2 cup pecans into food processor. Whirl. It’s about

3/4 cup graham crackers and 1/2 cup pecans
3 tablespoons butter melted.

Press into pan and bake 350 for 5-8 minutes.

Beat 1/2 cup sugar, cream cheese, lemon juice and lemon peel with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.

Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each egg is added just until blended. Pour into crust.

Bake 50 minutes or until center is almost set. Apparently a lot of people overcook their cheesecake. Mea culpa. I read about it and you’re supposed to see about 2 inches or so of jiggly. That stresses me out, but I tried it. The first bite was less cooked I thought but if that’s how you do it, ok I guess!

Cool cheesecake. Top with strawberries. In a medium saucepan cook em then mix in cornstarch, blending well. Add a bit of water if necessary. I think next time I’d use a combination of jam in there. I thought the frozen nature of the berries was not nice! Little doode, who doesn’t like strawberries and at first scraped his topping off, ate the berries when he was informed that they were from Argentina! To him a mark of exotic goodness? Dunno, we were thinking how crazy it is that our frozen organic fruit came from so far away.

December 30, 2011, 6:52 pm
Filed under: recipe, spinach | Tags: , ,

I can never seem to use up a whole box of filo. So it was time to make some spanakopita.

What a nice dinner this was. And pretty easy too! The hardest part is to remember to take the filo out of the freezer to thaw! This recipe took about half a box–or 7 to 8 sheets. But really, it’s so forgiving! Go crazy.

Spanakopita pie

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 mushrooms
10 oz frozen spinach thawed and squeezed dry
1 egg
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
8 sheets phyllo dough
1/4 cup olive oil for brushing filo

How to make it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 10 x 7 inch baking pan.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and mushrooms until soft. You could add garlic but I didn’t.

In a medium bowl, mix together egg, ricotta, and feta. Stir in spinach and onion mixture. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough in prepared baking pan, and brush lightly with olive oil. Lay another sheet of phyllo dough on top, brush with olive oil, and repeat process with two more sheets of phyllo. The sheets will hang over the edge of the pan. Spread spinach and cheese mixture into pan and fold overhanging dough over filling. I had a space in the middle so I added a folded sheet of filo to cover it. Brush with oil, then layer remaining 4 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each with oil. Tuck overhanging dough into pan to seal filling.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Cut into squares and serve while hot. Also good cold but it won’t be crispy.

christmas menu 2011
December 28, 2011, 5:23 pm
Filed under: carrots, leek, recipe, rutabaga | Tags: , , ,

Somehow we ended up having 3 thanksgivings this year! We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with my parents. And had a great lentil loaf. Then Best pal and her man came down for American Thanksgiving. We did a redo of the lentil loaf dinner. Good but a bit dry compared to the first one. Finally, Doode’s parents came down the week after American Thanksgiving, so we did another run of lentil loaf. Sheesh. We like the lentil loaf but the big lentil loaf and gravy dinner no longer seemed special. We needed a different outlook for Christmas. I think the dinner was really terrific!

We had:
Carrot and Feta Parcels–(filo dough packages with cumin and dill spiced carrots)
Brussels Sprouts–pan fried with olive oil and some parmesan
Sage dressing (so the kids would have something they wanted to eat!)
Swede and Leek gratin (the surprise hit in my books!–though not sure why it’s called a gratin as there wasn’t any cheese in it!)

great lentil loaf
November 27, 2011, 7:10 pm
Filed under: loafs and roasts, oatmeal, recipe | Tags: , , ,

Aha! Finally we’re on the right track. Great lentil loaf and gravy for Thanksgiving this year. Here’s how you do it!

Makes two loaves–another revelation–you need to make extra for sandwiches the next day.

4 cups cooked lentils (you’ll have about a cup or so left over out of a one pound bag)
1 large onion chopped
2 large carrots chopped sort of fine.
2 eggs
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup rolled oats
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp ketchup
salt and pepper to taste
splash of soy on top of each loaf

Saute onion and carrot add garlic. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Smoosh it up a bit. Squish it into two parchment lined loaf pans. I grease them but you probably don’t have to. Splash a line of soy down the middle of the loaf and pop into the oven at 375 for about 45 minutes.

quinoa veggie burger
October 25, 2011, 4:35 pm
Filed under: quinoa, recipe, zucchini

We’re always on the lookout for a good veggie burger. We have a great black bean burger (adapted from Rebar), a good white bean and walnut burger, and now….a quinoa burger??! That’s right.
It’s pretty good! Sometimes the black bean burger weighs a person down. This is a lighter burger with a fresh taste, great for condiments and –no beans!

From Chatelaine magazine

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (about 2 cups cooked)
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 227 g pkg cremini mushrooms, coarsely grated (1 cup)
1 cup coarsely grated zucchini
3/4 cup coarsely grated carrot
1 small shallot, minced (i just used some onion)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Cook the quinoa in 2 cups water til water is absorbed (maybe use a bit less water next time). Saute veggies. Mix ingredients with quinoa. Press into burgers and fry in a pan!