Month: October 2013

Apple, Cheddar and Ham Quiche (with Gluten Free Crust)

  We’re attempting to clean out our pantry.  We have a bad habit of stockpiling food like the apocalypse is going to happen tomorrow and then never getting to it before it expires.  We’re also trying to clean out the freezer.  This is another one of those ham recipes I mentioned.  We’re also trying to keep wheat products to a dull roar because I’ve been noticing that more wheat seems to equal more acne (though, of course, it could just be coincidentally lining up with my crazed post-pregnancy, still-nursing hormones).

  How convenient that we had a ton of instant polenta in the cupboard and my Mr. had a plan for using it to make crust then, huh?  Two birds with one delicious stone folks.

6 Tbsp instant polenta
1.5 c water

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 large apple, cored and cut into 3/4″ chunks
1/4 lb baked ham, roughly chopped
pinch of cinnamon
3 large eggs
1/2 c sour cream
3/4 c milk
1 tsp sea salt
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
1 Tbsp sage leaves, chopped

  To create the crust, mix your polenta and water together on the stove top.  The polenta should include directions on how to do this.  It will take about 5 minutes for instant polenta.  Once it is combined and heated, grease a pie plate and press the prepared polenta into it.  Bake the crust for 16-20 minutes at 425 degrees on a middle rack in your oven.

  Meanwhile, melt your butter in a medium sized skillet and saute your shallots.  Cook them for around 3 minutes, or until they begin to soften.  Add your apple to the pan, cover and cook for a few moments over medium low heat until the apples just begin to soften.  They will further soften in the oven, so don’t cook them for any longer!  Add your ham and cinnamon and stir to combine.

  In a bowl, combine your eggs, sage, sour cream, milk and salt and whisk. 

  Lower your oven temperature to 325 once the crust has been removed.

  Spoon your cooked apple mixture into your crust, top with cheese and pour your egg mixture over everything.

  Bake the quiche for 30-40 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before serving.

  So I’ve kind of got 2 reviews to do on this one…the crust alone and the quiche.  Good news, both were awesome!  I’ve always preferred fritattas to quiches, because I wasn’t ever a huge fan of the crust (I know, I know…something wrong with me…) but I love this.  As for the quiche, this recipe is wonderful as well.  It didn’t use up much of our ham, but it was a great use for that small amount.  The original recipe warns to not give in to the temptation to swap it out for bacon.  I know that sounds blasphemous, but the concern is that the bacon flavor will completely overwhelm the taste of the apples.  The ham works perfectly.  It’s a nice counterpoint to the apple’s sweetness without blasting everything with its flavor.  G liked it, we liked it.  It’s a keeper.

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(Really) Last Minute Fishnet Fingerless Gloves

  Holy cow folks, Halloween is Thursday…do you have a costume?

  Obviously, living in Michigan and planning on taking 2 wee-bits out trick or treating in the predicted rainy, 48-60 degree weather, I won’t be wearing that, but I did wear it for the indoor masquerade party we attended this past weekend.
  My costume was thrown together at the last minute, and while the skirt was finished in a decent amount of time, when I finally put it all together I realized I needed something on my arms to complete the look.
  I was already wearing fishnets on my legs, so I wanted to keep some continuity there and decided fishnet fingerless gloves would be the way to do it.
  I grabbed a second pair of fishnets, snipped the legs apart and pulled them up my arms.  I made the mistake, with the first one, of clipping a hole for my thumb before making holes for my other fingers to fit through.  Don’t do that.  You wind up with a hole way down on your wrist that your thumb has no chance of ever reaching.  It makes sense when you think about it, I know…let me be the dummy for you.  Anyhow, clip holes (usually one string is enough to open it up) to poke your fingers and THEN thumb through and pull the stocking up your arm.  Chances are it’s going to reach further up your arm than you’d like, so cut a slash where you’d like the top to be, remove both stockings from your arms and cut them off at the same height.
  Next, grab some matching 1/4″ elastic and weave it through the netting at the top of your glove.  Your elastic should be long enough to comfortably fit around the portion of your arm where the top of your glove should sit with a small excess for joining the two ends.  Once your elastic is woven through, sew the ends of the elastic together and you’re ready to go!
  Obviously these aren’t going to add a whole heck of a lot of warmth to a costume, but if you’ll be partying inside and your get-up needs just a little something more, these get you more bang for your buck than is really reasonable for a 5 minute project!

Hazelnut, Mushroom and Gorgonzola Eggs

  Today’s recipe came about due to a great over abundance of egg whites when my Mr. was working on perfecting his dairy free creme brulee recipe.  He pulled out some of his usual magic, and this delicious breakfast was born.

1/2 lb Crimini mushrooms
1/4 c hazelnuts
2-3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 c gorgonzola cheese
6 egg whites
salt and pepper

  Melt your butter over medium high heat.  Once the butter is prepared, saute your mushrooms and hazelnuts for around 5 minutes until the mushrooms are browned.  Turn the heat down to medium, add your egg whites to the pan and scramble them with the mushrooms and hazelnuts.  Just before removing from the pan, add your gorgonzola and salt and pepper to taste.

  I didn’t share this with G, just scarfed it down while sort of snarling at anybody who got too close to me, so I can’t vouch for its child-friendliness.  By this point, you probably know if you’re in the “oh god yes, give me more stinky cheese and fungus in my food!” boat or not and can tell if you’ll enjoy this or not.  If you like that sort of thing, you’ll love this.  If not, perhaps try one of the other recipes from the archives.

Preschool Tiger and a Masquerade Skirt- Halloween sewing ’13

  Ok, a late post today, but pictures as promised!
  First, G’s completed (?) costume.  He’s currently unhappy with the lack of a tail, and I’m a little unhappy with the lack of stripes on his sleeves, but, his baby brother needs something to wear, so I need to at least get something for R done before I perfect G’s.

  The pants I made from scratch.  I couldn’t find any orange pants, and pants aren’t all that hard to fabricate anyhow, so, whatever, but the sweater I bought and then added the tiger tummy and stripes to.  I try to occasionally not re-invent the wheel every time.
  My other project this week has been a bit of an insanity moment.  Wednesday a friend of ours posted about a masquerade event she’ll be performing in the orchestra for.  It sounds insanely cool.  It’s a recreation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque Of The Red Death” with all the differently colored rooms, all sorts of different performers, and, one would assume, all of us dying of the plague at some point during the evening.  We decided Wednesday afternoon we’d go.  It’s Saturday evening.  Thursday morning I decided I needed to make a skirt for it.
   Because I don’t have small children or other obligations or anything, right?
  But, somehow, I managed to get this finished last night.

  In actuality, it’s a very simple skirt.  I put pockets in it, because, in my opinion, all skirts should have pockets, but aside from that, all this is is a giant tube of fabric, gathered down to be stitched onto wide elastic with a double needle.  I even used the selvage of the fabric at the hemline because, one, I liked the color, but two, that way I didn’t have to do any hemming.
  All in all it took me about an hour, maybe two to make, and most of that was gathering the fabric.
  So two costumes and neither one on people.  How rude of me, huh?  Sorry guys, but it’s too crazy over here pre-Halloween to try and do all the necessary makeup/hair/accessorizing at a time of day when pictures have any kind of decent lighting before the day of the event.  That being said, if you want to see my full masquerade costume (and probably the same will be true of the boys’ trick or treating costumes), follow me on Twitter or Instagram.  I’ll do my best to post pics there as soon as we’re all dressed!

Chicken, Artichoke and Mushroom Lasagna

  I warned you there are more ham recipes coming…there are, but not today.  Today it’s chicken.  And mushrooms.  And artichokes.  Yum.

16 oz lasagna noodles
8 oz mushrooms, sliced 
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 rotisserie chicken, chopped
1 egg
2 c ricotta cheese
2 c mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 c Parmesan cheese,  shredded
~25 oz spaghetti sauce
  Start by boiling your noodles.  While they cook, preheat your oven to  375°.  When the noodles are done cooking, drain them and set them to the side.
  Meanwhile, heat your olive oil in a large pan and saute your mushroom for about 4 minutes, until they are lightly browned.
  In a large bowl, combine your chicken, cooked mushrooms, artichokes, egg, ricotta, 1 c Parmesan and 1 c mozzarella and mix. 
  Next, spread 1/2 c of your tomato sauce on the bottom of your lasagna dish.  Layer noodles, chicken mixture and then cheese in layers until all of your ingredients are used.  You may need to use more than one dish.
  Cover your dish with foil and bake it for around 40 minutes.  Remove the foil and cook another 10 to brown the cheese.  Allow to cool slightly before serving.
  Man I love a good lasagna…and so does my family.  This one is no exception.  I’m really enjoying artichokes in things lately too…they give such a great, tart flavor that contrasts with other flavors so nicely.  G dug into this, so no claiming you can’t make food with artichokes because you have little ones, try it out!

The Busy Girl’s Secret to Fresh Food

  The boys are running me ragged.  R has teeth coming through so he’s up at night and fussy during the day and G has upped his diabolical “make Mommy crazy” game to levels here-to un-imagined.  That means I’ve been kind of a flake.  I can barely keep track of my name, let alone what day I opened a jar of sauce, and who really wants to do a taste test to find out if something has gone bad?

  Instead, I’ve been breaking out my Sharpie and doing this:

  It was a total “oh…DUH” moment.  This way, if the jar gets shoved to the back of the fridge, or I fall into a temporal wormhole (as all moms occasionally do), when I discover that jar, I’ll know that, oh, geeze, this has been in here since mid-October and it’s May now! and throw it out.
  No opening up the certainly-disgusting-by-now jar for a horrifying sniff test…no questioning if it actually does taste funny, a cut and dry open date so I know how old it is.
  If only there were a solution just as simple to help me keep track of my 3 year old…

Pear, Ham and Swiss Melts

  The Mr. and I like to buy locally raised meat.  We’ve been buying pork from a farm in town for a few years now, and usually get a ham in our order.  It’s always delicious, but the problem is, unless we throw a big party where we serve ham, it tends to be a lot more food than we can eat in one meal for our family.  So, in an attempt to clean out our freezer, we’ve been putting ham-based recipes on the menu left and right.  They’re coming…you’ve been warned.

corn tortillas
thinly sliced smoked ham
fresh pear, thinly sliced
Swiss cheese
Crumbled goat cheese
  Dip your tortillas in a bowl of water and place in a pan over medium high heat for a minute and a half to two minutes to steam them (until they begin to develop dark brown spots), flip them and allow to steam for another minute.  Place tortillas on a cookie sheet and top with layers of ham, sliced pears, and cheese. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  This was a great, quick and easy way to use up some ham.  G had some issues with his falling apart when he was trying to eat it, but generally enjoyed this, so it’s kid approved.  I always enjoy paring sweet and savory in a meal, so this was golden for me.  I expect this will be making its way onto our menu again!

G’s Halloween Costume, a Work in Progress

  So I don’t actually have my Drape Drape 3 top from last week finished yet.  I realized how fast the end of the month is coming, and that I hadn’t started on Halloween costumes for the boys yet.  I can definitely wait on having yet another black top in my wardrobe in order for the kiddos to have costumes, so I got to work on these pants for G.

  They aren’t finished yet because those stripes are taking eternity and R is cutting teeth and G is Captain Attitude lately and so I’ve had very, very limited time to sew.  That being said, I think they’re going to be awesome when they’re done.  I’ve lined them with fleece (that’s the pink peeking out at the top) so they’ll keep his legs nice and warm and the outside is cotton with taffeta stripes. 
 Shiny tiger!  Cuz they’re extra fierce that way you know.
  Anyhow, this has been my sewing project this week.  I’m hoping to finish it up over the weekend and get started on the sweater that will be going with them.  Rye has a coordinating costume that I haven’t started yet (yipes!) but his should be pretty quick and easy.  Can you guess what he’s going to be?