Mother’s Day Recipe: Spinach and Gruyere Quiches Recipe

mothers day quiche brunchAn outstanding quiche relies on a few simple elements: a creamy egg custard, buttery homemade crust, and flavorful cheese and vegetables like spinach. This savory spinach and Gruyere quiche doesn’t disappoint. Check your fridge before shopping, since you probably already have most of the ingredients for a spinach quiche at home.

prep: 20 mins

total time: 1 hour 30 mins
serves: 10

ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 3 bunches flat-leaf spinach, thick stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 8 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 1 recipe Basic Pie Dough, fitted into two 9-inch pie plates, or store-bought is fine
  • 8 large eggs
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

directions

  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks set in upper and lower thirds. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium. Add shallots, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add as much spinach to skillet as will fit; season with salt and pepper, and toss, adding more spinach as room becomes available, until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Step 2

    Transfer spinach mixture to a colander. Press firmly with the back of a spoon to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Divide spinach mixture and cheese between prepared crusts. Place each crust on a separate rimmed baking sheet.

  3. Step 3

    In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Dividing evenly, pour egg mixture into crusts.

  4. Step 4

    Arrange baking sheets on racks, and bake until center of each quiche is just set, 55 to 60 minutes, rotating sheets from top to bottom halfway through. Let quiches stand 15 minutes before serving.

Father’s Day Recipe: Sky-High Aussie Burgers

med105744_0710_ausie_burger_vertIngredients

  • 1 small yellow onion
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck (80% lean)
  • 4 split plain or sesame-seed buns
  • 4 large eggs, cooked over easy
  • Ketchup or barbecue sauce
  • Sliced canned beets
  • Lettuce leaves

Directions

Heat a grill to medium-high. Clean and lightly oil hot grill. Cut onion into thin rings and season with salt and pepper. Grill until lightly charred and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Form ground beef into 4 patties and season with salt and pepper. Grill 4 minutes per side for medium. Transfer to bottom halves of buns. Top each burger with an egg, grilled onions, your choice of sauce, sliced beets, and lettuce.<

Mother’s Day Breakast: Berry-Topped Puff Pancake

exps52838_SD1999448B02_183bIngredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Topping:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons orange liqueur
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • Confectioners’ sugar, optional

Directions

  • Place butter in a 9-in. pie plate. Place in a 425° oven for 4-5 minutes or until melted. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk. In another bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Whisk into egg mixture until blended. Pour into prepared pie plate. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until sides are crisp and golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in orange juice and liqueur. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes longer or until thickened. Remove from the heat.
  • Spoon berries over pancake and drizzle with sauce. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired. Yield: 4 servings. (Recipe: Taste of Home)

Easter Dessert: Strawberry Cream Cake

med103901_0708_strawbry_ck_vertLooking the perfectly refreshing spring or Easter dessert?  This Strawberry Cream Cake is perfect, combining cake, cream, and berries, this treat is twice as delectable as the sum of its parts. The buttery cake soaks up the strawberry juices, while the whipped cream adds an airy richness.

Serves 12/ Prep Time 25 mins / Total Time 1 hour plus chilling

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-ounce envelope)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan, and line with parchment paper. Butter and flour paper and sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture in 3 parts and milk in 2, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined. Spread batter in prepared pan.
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes; invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Using a serrated knife, split cake in half horizontally; place bottom half, cut side up, on a serving plate.
  4. Make topping: In a large bowl, combine strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar; set aside. Place 2 tablespoons cold water in a small saucepan, and sprinkle with gelatin; let soften 5 minutes. Place saucepan over very low heat, and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool.
  5. Using an electric mixer, beat cream and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl until very soft peaks form. Continue to beat, and gradually add gelatin mixture; beat until soft peaks form.
  6. Arrange half of strawberries over bottom cake layer; top with half of whipped cream, leaving a 1-inch border. Cover with top half of cake, cut side down. Top cake with remaining whipped cream, leaving a 1-inch border. Refrigerate cake and remaining strawberries separately, at least 1 hour (or up to 1 day). Just before serving, spoon strawberries over cake.

Cook’s note:  This cake can wait in the refrigerator for up to a day.

(Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart)

Peppermint Cheese Cake Layers: The ultimate holiday dessert!

This layered cake, courtesy of Southern Living Magazine, is pure heaven for both the taste buds and the eyes.  It will make an impressive end to any holiday meal or party!

189285_415990718474592_1250846181_nIngredients
3 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup crushed hard peppermint candies
Sour Cream Cake Layers:
1 (18.25-oz.) package white cake mix
2 large eggs
1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
White Chocolate Mousse Frosting:
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup white chocolate morsels
2 cups whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Garnishes: White chocolate curls, peppermint candies

Directions
1. Prepare Peppermint Cheesecake Layers: Preheat oven to 325°. Line bottom and sides of 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides; lightly grease foil. Beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, and 2 Tbsp. butter at medium speed with an electric mixer 1 to 2 minutes or until creamy and smooth. Add 3 eggs, l at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add flour and next 3 ingredients, beating until blended. Fold in candies. Pour batter into prepared pans. Place cake pans in a large pan; add water to pan to depth of 1 inch.
2. Bake at 325° for 25 minutes or until set. Remove from oven to wire racks; cool completely in pans (about 1 hour). Cover cheesecakes (do not remove from pans), and freeze 4 to 6 hours or until frozen solid. Lift frozen cheesecakes from pans, using foil sides as handles. Gently remove foil from cheesecakes. Wrap in plastic wrap, and return to freezer until ready to assemble cake.
3. Prepare Sour Cream Cake Layers: Preheat oven to 350°. Beat cake mix, next 3 ingredients, and 1/2 cup water at low speed with an electric mixer 30 seconds or just until moistened; beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans.
4. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour).
5. Prepare White Chocolate Mousse Frosting: Cook 2/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Add morsels; cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature (about 30 minutes), whisking occasionally.
6. Beat cream and 2 tsp. vanilla at high speed with an electric mixer 1 to 2 minutes or until soft peaks form. Gradually fold white chocolate mixture into whipped cream mixture, folding until mixture reaches spreading consistency.
7. Assemble Cake: Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or plate. Top with 1 frozen cheesecake layer. Top with second cake layer and remaining cheesecake layer. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread top and sides of cake with frosting. Chill until ready to serve. Garnish, if desired.
Melodie Belcher; Lagrange, Georgia, Southern Living

Thanksgiving Make-Ahead Dessert: Brown Sugar Cranberry Tart

Brown Sugar Cranberry Tart

The sweet-and-tart berries in the creamy custard pop when you take a bite.
Makes one 9-inch tart

Ingredients

Tart shell

  1. 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  2. 1/3 cup sugar
  3. 1 large egg yolk
  4. 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Filling & Topping

  1. 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  2. 1/4 cup water
  3. 2 cups cranberries (10 ounces)
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  7. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons half-and-half
  8. 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
  9. Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  10. Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Directions

  1. MAKE THE TART SHELL In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk, vanilla and salt, scrape down the side of the bowl and beat at low speed until smooth. Gradually add the flour, beating until the dough just forms a ball. Pat the dough into a disk and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper into a 12-inch round. Carefully peel off the top layer of parchment paper and invert the dough onto a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Peel off the parchment paper and gently press the dough into the pan. Trim the dough flush with the rim. Patch any cracks with the dough trimmings. Lightly prick the bottom with a fork. Refrigerate the tart shell until firm, about 30 minutes, or freeze for 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line the tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the tart shell for about 30 minutes, until the rim is lightly golden. Remove the foil and weights and bake the tart shell for about 5 minutes longer, until it is lightly golden all over. Set the tart pan on a baking sheet. Increase the oven temperature to 375°.
  4. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE FILLING In a medium saucepan, combine the granulated sugar with the water and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Add the cranberries, cover and cook over moderate heat for 3 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove the pan from the heat and let the cranberries cool to room temperature. Drain the cranberries well; reserve the cranberry syrup.
  5. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the brown sugar and flour. Whisk in the half-and-half and the almond extract. Spread the cranberries in the tart shell. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the reserved cranberry syrup over the cranberries, then pour in the almond custard.
  6. Bake the tart in the lower third of the oven until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer the tart in the pan to a rack to cool completely, at least 2 hours. Dust the tart with confectioners’ sugar. Cut the tart into wedges and serve with whipped cream.

Recipe courtesy of foodandwine.com

Sparking Cranberry Bites: The Perfect Thanksgiving Appetizer!

Take the tartness of cranberries, add in a little sweetness and some creamy brie, and you have one amazing Thanksgiving (or Christmas) appetizer!   Better yet, it’s amazingly easy to make – something to cherish in the midst of the holiday cooking flurry: Simply prepare the cranberries 1-2 days before, then your elegant appetizer is ready to throw together Thanksgiving afternoon.

Sparkling Cranberry Bites

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup good maple syrup
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

Brie of choice
Crackers of choice (*We like Carr’s® Table Water Crackers or Assorted Biscuits for Cheese)

  1. Rinse cranberries and place in a medium bowl. Heat syrup in a small sauce pan just until warm. Pour over cranberries when syrup is warm, not hot, or cranberries may pop. Cool, cover, and let soak in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Drain cranberries in a colander. Place sugar in a large bowl or baking dish. Add cranberries in 2 batches and roll around until lightly coated in sugar. Place on a baking sheet until dry, about 1 hour.

Serve with warm or room temperature brie on crackers. To warm brie, bake in often preheated to 350°, just until melted – about 10-20 minutes depending on size of brie round.

(Recipe from http://clarecooks.wordpress.com)

Set a Festive Fall Table

Naturally, we love good food.  But we also love to enjoy it with people we love.

Fall, particularly, is a time to celebrate: family, friends, the harvest, and the changing of the seasons.  So a festive table setting is only appropriate, and we love these ideas from HGTV:

Add Glitz:
For a sophisticated but not over-the-top look, balance the sparkle of metallics with natural elements, like fall branches or fresh fruit. Erinn’s Tip: “Metallics add a great modern touch to a fall tablescape. Deep copper and bright bronze are a lovely additional to a traditional table. I prefer to bring in natural, textured elements like these seed-beaded placemats so the table doesn’t get too glitzy.” Photo courtesy of Bobbi Fabian. See more of Erinn’s designs in HGTV’s Designers’ Portfolio.

Contrast Colors:
A humble pinecone adds an organic touch to each place setting. Erinn’s Tip: “Have fun with materials; contrast ceramic with glass, wood and gleaming metal. Forgo the old standby tablecloth and opt for glamorous, polished silver chargers and chocolate-brown linen napkins.” Photo courtesy of Bobbi Fabian.

Add an Aromatic Centerpiece:
Who said a centerpiece needed to time-consuming, expensive or even floral? Erinn created this arrangement by grouping scented candles with an earthy potpourri. Erinn’s Tip: “During the fall, natural elements are the best decorations. This potpourri creates a lovely centerpiece and its subtle fragrance is a great addition to the table. Look for large, chunky potpourris and add elements from your own backyard, like pinecones and seed pods, to the mix.” Photo courtesy of Bobbi Fabian.

Accent with Glass:
Golds and ambers pair beautifully with the traditional browns and oranges of fall. Erinn’s Tip: “Glass vases can be found very inexpensively in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes at your local housewares store. They’re fantastic for adding a splash of luminescent color to the room. So go wild! Bring a bunch home, try them out and return what you don’t use.” Photo courtesy of Bobbi Fabian.