Time for food, but given the recent set of medical stupidity one must go a bit lighter. So maybe eggs, but sunny-side up, over easy, scrambled, just is NOT going to do it for me.
I WANT TASTE!. I WANT TEXTURE! I WANT SAVORY…. So a quiche, but one with real bacon, real veggies, and lots of cheese and eggs..
Quiche is essentially an custard made with milk and eggs poured into a pie crust and baked. You want just enough eggs to set the milk, but not so many that the quiche becomes truck tire. You want a bit of wobble in your quiche as it comes out of the oven. Wobble means silky, melt-away custard in every bite.
The fool-proof part comes courtesy of the French. They long-ago settled on the perfect formula of one part egg to two parts milk. A standard large egg weighs two ounces and a cup of milk is eight ounces, so a good rule of thumb is two eggs per cup of milk. One can bump this up a bit to make a more substantial quiche and go with three eggs and a cup and a half of milk in a nine-inch pie crust.
Or as one person wrote:
I always use the Julia Child ratio: put the eggs in a large measuring cup and add enough dairy (cream/half & half/milk) to bring the total up to 1/2 cup per egg. So, if you used 4 eggs, you’d add enough dairy to make 2 cups of custard. So simple to remember and a perfect blend of dairy and egg: not too thick, not too liquid, just right.
Now as per quiches, they have a reputation as a fancy French entree, and for being rather persnickety to prepare, but quiches are actually very easy to make. With a little science, some good chemistry, a proper ratio and a bit of technique, quiches can be a very good selection for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a late night snack.
There are some things key to good quichery :
- Flaky Crust
- A tasty Filling
- Proper Baking
First of all, the pie crust must be tender and flaky. A good tart crust, works well.
The filling must have some kind of structure so the pie will hold together when sliced. As the eggs cook, they set, forming a custard. A basic quiche recipe using the proportions of 1-2 cups of dairy with 3-4 eggs will work. Any other add ins, (bacon, sausage, mushrooms, onions, etc) need to be fully cooked and cooled, BEFORE adding to the filling. In this case, 1 cup dairy to 4 eggs, plus my add ins. I am looking for hearty here.
Following baking times and temperatures are KEY to a quiche that is cooked but not rubbery. I.E. The center is set and the outside edge is golden brown.
You can fill your quiches with just about anything; they’re wonderful refrigerator Velcro. Leftover bacon, cooked chicken, ham, cooked vegetables, bits of cheese transform into a “slice of heaven”
Irish Soda Bread
Ah, St. Patties is surely upon us, the annual celebration of drunken people wearing “Kiss Me I’m Irish”, buttons, even when they hail from South East Asia ….
One thing served at this time of the year is Soda bread, a type of quick bread in which bread soda (or baking soda) is used for leavening rather than the more common yeast. The ingredients of traditional soda bread are flour, bread soda, salt, and buttermilk. Other ingredients can be added such as raisins, egg or various forms of nuts.
The buttermilk in the dough contains lactic acid, which reacts with the baking soda to form tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide. In Ireland, the flour is typically made from soft wheat; so soda bread is best made with a cake or pastry flour (made from soft wheat), which has lower levels of gluten than a bread flour.
Various forms of soda bread are popular throughout Ireland. Soda breads are made using either wholemeal or white flour. The two major shapes are the loaf and the “griddle cake”, or farl in Northern Ireland. The loaf form takes a more rounded shape and has a cross cut in the top to allow the bread to expand. The griddle cake or farl, is a more flattened type of bread. It is cooked on a griddle allowing it to take a more flat shape and split into four sections.
As an extension, one can divide the dough into a set of muffing pans and create a soda bread muffin or biscuit, one can add lemon zest, or serve hot with butter and citrus jellies / marmalade …
Hungarian Chicken and Dumplings with onion
Yet another adventure in my search for cold weather comfort food. Food that tastes good, is reasonably good for you, does not require the budget of a small mid-eastern principality to afford, and serves the desire for hearty, hefty meals that cold weather brings. The people of Eastern Europe have been producing this for more than several centuries. Some of my closer associates have deep ties into Hungary and the Ukraine, so I have reached out to them and asked for examples. I have not been disappointed in the reaction.
Traditional Hungarian dishes are prepared, using a wide variety of Good, Fresh, ingredients, including meats, seasonal vegetables, fruits, fresh bread, cheeses and honey, using centuries old traditions / techniques for spicing and preparation.
Hungarians are quite passionate about their soups, desserts and pastries and stuffed pancakes, with rivalries between regions in preparation of the same dish. Other signature Hungarian dishes would be Paprikash (paprika stew, meat simmered in thick creamy paprika gravy) served with nokedli (small dumplings), Goulash, Gundel Pancake (pancakes served in dark chocolate sauce) and Dobos Cake (layered sponge cake, with chocolate buttercream filling).
‘Tis the season of Hanukkah, or Chanukah, Chanukkah or Chanuka, depending on your sect and persuasion… Time for a little RogueChef/Shabbos-Goy-Eins special…
Latkes are traditionally eaten by Jews during the Hanukkah festival. The oil for cooking the latkes is symbolic of the oil from the Hanukkah story that kept the Second Temple of ancient Israel lit with a long-lasting flame that is celebrated as a miracle. Despite the popularity of latkes and tradition of eating them during Hanukkah, they are hard to come by in stores or restaurants in Israel, having been largely replaced by the Hanukkah doughnut due to local economic factors, convenience and the influence of trade unions
The word “latke” itself is derived (via Yiddish) from the Russian/Ukrainian word латка meaning “patch.” The word leviva, the Hebrew name for latke, has its origins in the Book of Samuel’s description of the story of Amnon and Tamar. Some interpreters have noted that the homonym levav means “heart,” and the verbal form of l-v-v occurs in the Song of Songs as well.
Latkes need not necessarily be made from potatoes. Numerous modern recipes call for the addition of ingredients such as onions and carrots. Prior to the introduction of the potato to the Old World, latkes were, and in some places still are, made from a variety of other vegetables, cheeses, legumes, or starches, depending on the available local ingredients and foodways of the various places where Jews lived.
Delicate. Crisp outside. Melting soft inside. Very, very satisfying. One of the middle of the night cravings that must be sated if one is to sleep ..
It is a long weekend for some, but for me, it is a chance to get quite a few things done, move project along, and start to clean for an upcoming event. I will not have time to stand over the stove so a slow cooking meal is best.
It is becoming fall, and as such I want SERIOUS hearty food, I want meat, root veggies, legumes, all in a rich and savory gravy. But a stew just is not going to cut it, and I’ve done roasts of just about anything that would walk, fly, swim or slither. Time to take a lesson from some friends. Time to make cholent, a savory, rich, stew of brisket, beans, veggies and all held together by a gravy that can only happen after hours of slow cooking.
Using my slow cooker on low I’ll simmer this for at least 10, maybe 12 hours, or until the collagen in the meat melts …
Cholent (Yiddish: טשאָלנט, tsholnt or tshoolnt) or hamin (Hebrew: חמין) is a traditional Jewish stew simmered overnight, for 12 hours or more, and eaten for lunch on Shabbat (the Sabbath.) Cholent was developed over the centuries to conform with Jewish religious laws that prohibit cooking on the Sabbath. The pot is brought to boil on Friday before the Sabbath begins, and kept on a blech or hotplate, or placed in a slow oven or electric slow cooker until the following day.
There are many variations of the dish, which is standard in both the Ashkenazi and Sephardi kitchens. The basic ingredients of cholent are meat, potatoes, beans and barley. Sephardi-style hamin uses rice instead of beans and barley, and chicken instead of beef. A traditional Sephardi addition is whole eggs in the shell (haminados), which turn brown overnight. Ashkenazi cholent often contains kishke or helzel – a sausage casing or a chicken neck skin stuffed with a flour-based mixture. Slow overnight cooking allows the flavors of the various ingredients to permeate and produces the characteristic taste of cholent.
Two Wine Slobs – Muscato
Recently, Madam Bad Wolf and I have begun to take a bottle of wine with our dinner. Knowing nothing about wine, this has lead to some interesting and intriguing pairings. Perhaps it is time to record these.
In our search for a sweet white wine, not syrup, but not vinegar, a Muscato wine was suggested. Of course the paring was a bit off, as I had grilled salmon and shrimp.