Grilled Hoisin-Glazed Steak with Vegetables

Hoisin-Glazed steak with grilled vegetables and salad.

Hoisin-Glazed steak with grilled vegetables and salad.

I imagine many families will be gathering around the outdoor grill this weekend to celebrate Father’s Day.  Whether Dad is the one doing the grilling or you’re the one grilling a meal for him, this quick and easy way of cooking steak results in a piece of meat that is tender, juicy and full of flavor.  Along side it on the grill lay some of your, or his, favorite vegetables and you will have most of the meal at your fingertips.  While the grilling is taking place, have someone on kitchen duty making a salad to go with it, and before you know it everyone will be sitting down together to celebrate Dad in the best possible way.

The glaze on the steak calls for hoisin sauce, ginger, and fish sauce, giving it an Asian flair, so I kept that theme going in the meal I prepared by using green and yellow squash, brushed with a little sesame salad dressing as they cooked.  For a salad I made cucumbers and radishes dressed with rice vinegar, sesame oil, and soy sauce.  The recipes for making this complete meal are given below.Whether you make all of it or only part of it, I think you will enjoy it as much as we did.

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HOISIN-GLAZED STEAK 

Yield:   Serves 4

For the steak:

  • 3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated, fresh peeled ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce  (This adds a rich, savory flavor to the glaze, but it’s OK to omit it if you don’t have it on hand.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1  (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed; or any other tender cut of steak  (I used boneless rib eye steaks)

1.  Preheat the grill to high heat.

2.  Combine hoisin and remaning ingredients ( except steak) in a small bowl.  Brush half this mixture on one side of the steak(s).  Place steak glaze-side down on the hot grill rack and grill about 5-7 minutes.

Lay steak on the grill glazed-side down.

Lay steak on the grill glazed-side down.

Brush top side of steak with remaining glaze mixture and turn steak over.  Grill another 5 -7 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.

Brush top side of steak(s) and turn over.

Brush top side of steak(s) and turn over.

For the Vegetables:

  • 1 medium size zucchini squash
  • 1 medium size yellow squash
  • 1 bottle commercially made sesame salad dressing

1.  Slice the squash lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices.  Brush both sides of the squash with the salad dressing.

Squash slices on the grill.

Squash slices on the grill.

2.  Place squash slices directly on hot grill rack or use a fine mesh cooking screen if squash is in danger of falling through the grates.  Cook squash, turning over several times, until nicely marked and just fork tender.

Squash cooked on the grill gets lovely grill marks on it.

Squash cooked on the grill gets lovely grill marks on it.

For the Salad:

  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup cucumber, sliced finely on the diagonal
  • 1 cup finely sliced radishes
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley, or cilantro leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

1.  Combine vinegar, sesame oil, and soy sauce in a medium bowl;  add cucumber and radishes.  Sprinkle with parsley or cilantro and salt.  Toss gently to coat.

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SOURCE:  Adapted from  Weeknight Grilling with the BBQ Queens

Lemon Ice Cream

Lemon Ice Cream

Lemon Ice Cream

I know that the heat of summer is on its way — although we have been spared thus far–and I am ready for it!.  Summer is a lot more bearable when you know there’s a batch of homemade ice cream in the freezer.  I really love ice cream, and  just about any flavor will satisfy me when I have a craving,  so we only splurge once in a while.

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Last summer I treated myself to an ice cream maker, and began to collect recipes for ice cream.  It’s amazing the variety of flavors that people come up with.  One of those flavors is lemon ice cream.  That in itself is not so unusual, but I usually associate lemon with sherbet, not ice cream, so I was very anxious to give it a go.  Also this recipe does not contain eggs, so there is no custard making involved.  What it does contain is a little cream cheese, along with half and half, some whipped cream, and milk, so the finished ice cream has a very smooth and creamy mouth-feel.  Not at all icy.  I particularly love it just as it comes out of the ice cream maker and it’s at the soft-serve stage.  That’s when you put it in a container in the freezer to further harden before eating it.  (If you can wait that long!)

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The flavor of this ice cream reminds me of cheesecake which got me to thinking that if I make it again I would increase the amount of cream cheese to further enhance that “cheesy ” flavor.  And I mean that in a good way!!   Really, though,  I don’t think there’s anything you can do that would ruin this ice-cream.  You could increase the cream and decrease the milk, for a richer product;  or to decrease calories and fat, omit the cream and increase the milk.   This is one really “cool” recipe to play around with.

LEMON ICE CREAM

Yield:  Makes a half gallon

This is what you need to make it.

This is what you need to make it.

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces cream cheese (use reduced fat variety if you prefer.)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 package lemon gelatin
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 4 cups milk  ( 1 quart)
  • yellow food coloring, optional

1.  With electric mixer on medium, combine the cream cheese, sugar and gelatin.  Mix well.

2.  Gradually add in the half and half, lemon juice, zest, and lemon and vanilla extracts.  Beat until smooth.

3.  In another small bowl, whip the cream.  Fold into the lemon mixture.

4.  Add the milk and incorporate evenly into the mixture.  If you are using yellow food coloring, add a few drops, and mix in well.

5.  Transfer to the canister of an ice cream maker and follow maker’s instructions for whipping.

6.  Place ice cream in a freezer container to harder sufficiently before serving.

Please note:  This recipe makes a large quantity (total of about 8 cups ) and in my ice cream maker I could only process half of the mixture at a time.  Since the ice cream canister needed to refreeze between batches, I spread the process over two days, keeping the ice cream mixture cold in the refrigerator over night.  The second batch of it came out as good as the first.

Creamy, cool, lemony, refreshing!!!

Creamy, cool, lemony, refreshing!!!

Breakfast Quinoa

Breakfast Quinoa

Breakfast Quinoa

I was excited to make this recipe to try out serving quinoa as a hot cereal.  This highly nutritious grain has been gaining favor with us ever since I first prepared it and served it in place of rice.  It’s toasty, nutty, flavor is very pleasant, to say nothing of its high protein content.  So I was particularly anxious to see if we would like it for breakfast.  I found it to be very enjoyable, but Mr. D. thought it was a little too sweet for him as a cereal.  However, I think that children might like this very much, thinking that it resembles dessert.

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The recipe is very easy to make, and you can top it off with a mixture of seasonal fruits and coconut, or nuts.  The recipe calls for using coconut milk, but I used almond milk instead.  The recipe also suggests strawberries and bananas as the fruits, but you can see by my pictures that I used mango and blueberries along with toasted coconut.  The cooked quinoa is slightly sweet, and creamy, so you can use a tart fruit as a flavor contrast.  Like most whole grains it is quite filling, and we were satisfied with just this for breakfast, but if you need more, you may want to add an egg on the side.

You will most likely be toasting the coconut, so remember to keep an eye on it as it is toasting, so that it doesn’t burn.

BREAKFAST QUINOA

Yield:   2  Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

    coconut flakes, almond milk, mango and quinoa make up a nutritious breakfast.

    coconut flakes, almond milk, mango and quinoa make up a nutritious breakfast.

  • 3/4 cup light coconut milk ( or almond milk)
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2  cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2  cup sliced bananas

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.

2.  Rinse quinoa well in a fine strainer or sieve.  Place in a medium sauce pan.

3.  Combine quinoa, coconut milk, water, brown sugar, and salt.  Bring to a a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed stirring occasionally.  Stir mixture constantly during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

4.  While quinoa cooks, spread coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake at 400* for 5 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool slightly.

5.  Place about 1/2 cup quinoa in each bowl.  Top each serving with 1/2 the strawberries and 1/2 the bananas, and 1 Tablespoon toasted coconut.  Serve warm.

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SOURCE:   Cooking Light

Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Quesadillas

Grilled chicken and vegetable quesadillas.

Grilled chicken and vegetable quesadillas.

As much as we like to eat grilled chicken, there are just so many ways to season it, or baste it with BBQ sauce, so when I come across a different way to fix it that is quick, tasty and healthy, I’m willing to try it out.  Such is the case with this recipe.  Chicken wrapped up in a package that you eat with your hands is fun to eat.

While your grill is preheating you season the chicken with a rub-on spice mixture, and slice up the onions and peppers.  Cook everything all together on the grill, then wrap it in a flour tortilla with some cheese, and toast it till the cheese melts.  Now, with dinner in hand, grab something cold to drink along with it, and enjoy your meal on the deck or patio.  Pretty simple, yes?   And diet friendly besides. A serving is one filled flour tortilla.  Calories: 310, Fat: 13 g., Carbs: 20.4 g.  You could even add a tomato and avocado salad and still keep the calories under 500 for a whole meal.

GRILLED CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE QUESADILLAS

Servings:   4

Ingredients:

Season the chicken with a rub made from these herbs and spices.

Season the chicken with a rub made from these herbs and spices.

  • 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp.  salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2  ( 6-oz.) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch thick wedges
  • cooking spray
  • 3 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded – about 3/4 cup
  • 4  (6-inch) flour tortillas
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream

1.  Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2.  Combine paprika, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.  Rub this mixture evenly over chicken; let stand 10 minutes.

Coat the chicken pieces well with the rub mixture.

Coat the chicken pieces well with the rub mixture.

3.  Arrange chicken, onion, and bell  pepper on grill rack coated with cooking spray.

Prepare the vegetables for the grill.

Prepare the vegetables for the grill.

Cook vegetables 4 minutes on each side or until tender.  Cook chicken 6 minutes on each side or until done.  Remove chicken and vegetables from grill;  coarsely chop vegetables.  Let chicken stand 5 minutes, thinly slice chicken.

Chicken and vegetables all cooked.

Chicken and vegetables all cooked.

4.  Sprinkle about 3 Tablespoons cheese over half of each tortilla;  divide vegetables and chicken evenly over cheese.  Fold each tortilla in half over filling; lightly coat tortillas with cooking spray.

Sprinkle grated cheese on half of each tortilla.

Sprinkle grated cheese on half of each tortilla.

Divide the chicken and vegetables between the flour tortillas.

Divide the chicken and vegetables between the flour tortillas.

5.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Place 2 quesadillas in pan;  cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until cheese melts and tortillas are lightly browned.  Repeat procedure with remaining 2 quesadillas.

Place two quesadillas at a time in a large fry pan, and toast to melt the cheese.

Place two quesadillas at a time in a large fry pan, and toast to melt the cheese.

Cut each quesadilla into 2-3 wedges, serve with sour cream.

Cut the quesadillas in wedges to serve.

Cut the quesadillas in wedges to serve.

In my photos you may have noticed that I had 3 large pieces of chicken that I cooked this way.  The next day I used the extra chicken for a chicken caesar salad for our lunches.  Mr.  D. said he got looks of envy from office co-workers.  But it is nice treat when you have a great lunch made from last evening’s dinner and you really appreciate your efforts to plan for extra.

SOURCE:   Cooking Light

Blackberry Pie Bars

Blackberry Pie Bars.

Blackberry Pie Bars.

Once again I’ve been called upon to provide the dessert for a pot-luck affair.  As we approach the end of the school year, many other activities also take a break for the summer and the last meeting of many organizations often involve food in the form of a picnic or pot-luck dinner.  So here we go again —-not that I mind,  it gives me the chance to bake, maybe try out something new, and then tell you all about it.  How cool is that?

Buttery crumb crust, creamy blackberry filling, more buttery crumbs on top.

Buttery crumb crust, creamy blackberry filling, more buttery crumbs on top.

While today’s recipe is called “pie’ bars, they’re not really like pie at all.  There is a bottom crust made of buttery crumbs, with a sprinkle of more crumbs to top, and in the middle a “berry” filling.  The recipe calls for black berries and that is what I used here, but I’ve made these before using raspberries, and they were super yummy too.  These bars are quick to put together, and are a great way to use up frozen berries you might have in your freezer;  you know, to make room for more berries over the summer.

Oh yeah, these are simply the best!.

Oh yeah, these are simply the best!.

I added a little lemon zest to the crust, and lemon juice to the filling and I think it brightens up the flavor, and makes an irresistible combination.  They bake up quite thick, so I cut them into small-ish squares to be eaten with fingers, but if serving them on a plate, these would be set off nicely by a dab of vanilla ice cream.  I like them while still a little warm from the oven, but they are also excellent served chilled straight from the fridge.  Once you give these a try they will undoubtedly become a staple for bringing to summertime parties and get-togethers.  Be adventurous and try other fruits as well.

BLACKBERRY PIE BARSIMG_4227

Yield:  16 – 20 bars

Ingredients:

For the crust and topping:

  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 3/4 cup (12 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, cold

    Blackberries----the stars of  the show!.

    Blackberries—-the stars of
    the show!.

For the filling:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
  • 6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 15 – 16 oz. blackberries, fresh or frozen (thawed and drained of excess juices)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with foil and grease lightly.  In the bowl of a food processor or electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest.  Pulse briefly to blend.  Cut the butter into small pieces, then add to the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Process in short pulses to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until only small pieces of butter remain and the mixture is crumbly.

Reserve 3/4 cup of the mixture for topping the bars.  Add the rest of the mixture to the  prepared pan and press to form an even layer of crust on the bottom of the pan.  Bake 12 – 15 minutes, until light golden.  Let cool 10 -15 minutes before proceeding.

In a medium bowl, make the filling mixture.  Combine the eggs, sugar, sour cream, flour, salt, lemon juice an vanilla.  Whisk until smooth.  Gently stir in the blackberries with a spatula.  Spread the filling mixture over the pre-baked crust in the baking pan.  Crumble the reserved topping mixture evenly over the filling.

Bake until the top is beginning to brown and the bars are just set, about 45 minutes.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.  Chill to firm up before slicing and serving.

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SOURCE:   The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather

A One-dish Wonder

Sausage, zucchini, and feta casserole.

Sausage, zucchini, and feta casserole.

We had this dish for dinner on a recent evening and once again I am in awe of how such simple ingredients can meld together and produce such an outstanding meal.  It is a pasta casserole that combines pantry items with fresh vegetables for a hearty, family-friendly meal.  Any leftovers are even better the next day as the flavors have time to meld.

The edges of the pasta get brown and crispy with cheese.   Yum!

The edges of the pasta get brown and crispy with cheese. 

The recipe as I originally found it calls for 5 cups of thinly sliced zucchini as the main vegetable, but whenever I see an amount like that for one item I immediately think of it as 5 cups of ANY vegetable or mixture of vegetables.  Given that I had only 1/2 a zucchini on hand, I knew I would need to add other vegetables to make close to the quantity the recipe specified. So I added 6 stalks of asparagus, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces and a medium carrot thinly sliced, plus the onions called for.  These, the pasta,  and 1/2 pound of sweet Italian sausage were the main ingredients that I used to make this casserole.

The recipe makes about 6 servings, so for two of us, there was enough for another meal, and it reheat easily in the oven covered with foil so it remained moist.  My husband commented twice on how good it was and how much he enjoyed it.  With that kind of reception I can’t wait to make it again.

ZUCCHINI, SAUSAGE, AND FETA CASSEROLE

Yield:   6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2  1/2 cups uncooked ziti  (short tube-shaped pasta)
  • 8 ounces chicken sausage
  • cooking spray
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 5 cups thinly sliced zucchini ( about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 cups vertically sliced onion–about 1 large one
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. all purpose flour
  • 1/2  cup ( 2 ounces )crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup ( 2 ounces ) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F

2.  Cook pasta in boiling water 5 minutes, omitting salt and fat;  drain

3.  Remove casings from sausage.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add sausage to pan; cook until browned, stirring to crumble.  Remove from pan.

4.  Heat oil in pan.  Add zucchini, ( and any other vegetables you may be using), onion, salt, pepper, and garlic.  Cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally,

Sauteing all the vegetables together.

Sauteing all the vegetables together.

5.  Combine broth and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add broth mixture to pan; cook 1 minute.  Combine zucchini mixture, pasta, sausage, and feta cheese in a large bowl  ( or pan pasta was cooked in );  toss well.  Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7 – inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.

Mix pasta with vegetables and sausage in a baking dish.

Mix pasta with vegetables and sausage in a baking dish.

6.  Bake at 400*F for 20 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned.

Serve with a salad for a complete meal.

Serve with a salad for a complete meal.

SOURCE:   Cooking Light

Strawberry and Apricot Crisp

Strawberry and apricot crisp.

Strawberry and apricot crisp.

I can’t seem to get my fill of strawberries this year, so here’s another dessert I made recently that combines fresh apricots with strawberries.  Fresh apricots are available pretty much thoughout the month of May, so combining them with strawberries is a natural.  I don’t know why I’ve never thought of that before, but I’m glad this recipe brought it to my attention.  The results are crazy good especially when you add on a crumble topping that includes pine nuts.

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In this crisp the apricots hold their shape while the strawberries become sauce-like.  Bake it in a 9 or 10-inch baking dish or pie plate for the right ratio of fruit filling to crumble topping.  Served with a scoop of strawberry ice cream takes it over the top.   Just sayin….

STRAWBERRY AND APRICOT CRISP

Yield:    6 servings

Crumble ingredients:

Make the crumb topping from these ingredients.

Make the crumb topping from these ingredients.

  • 1/2 stick  ( 4 Tbpn )cold unsalted butter cut into small  pieces, plus more for the baking dish
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 ounces pine nuts, toasted  ( 1/3 cup )

Filling ingredients:

  • 4 apricots, pitted and cut into sixths (about 2 cups)
  • 12 ounces strawberries, ( about 15) hulled and halved, or quartered if large (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • pinch salt

1.  Combine all crumble ingredients in a medium bowl and massage together with your fingers until butter is incorporated and mixture forms small clumps.  Refrigerate until mixture is cold, at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

Slice up strawberries and apricots, add sweetener.

Slice up strawberries and apricots, add sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch .

2.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Butter a 9-inch round shallow baking dish or pie plate.  Combine all filling ingredients in another medium bowl.  Transfer to baking dish and top with crumble.

Pour into baking dish.

Pour into baking dish.

Cover with crumb topping.

Cover with crumb topping.

Bake until bubbling in center and crumble is browned, about 40 minutes.  Let cool at least 20 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or frozen yogurt if desired.

Out of the oven and the aroma fills the house.

Out of the oven and smelling soooo good!

Serve with a little ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Serve with a little ice cream or frozen yogurt.

SOURCE:  Martha Stewart Living

Olive and Goat Cheese Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

Goat cheese stuffed cherry tomatoes.

Olive and goat cheese stuffed cherry tomatoes.

These little stuffed tomatoes were a real hit at our weekend cookout.  They’re cute to look at, and make a great pop-in-your-mouth appetizer.  Scooping out the insides of cherry tomatoes can be a little tricky, and time consuming, but well worth the effort.  The best tool for the job – I think – is a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon.  If using the small tomatoes is too labor intensive, then try using grape tomatoes or the Campari variety for an appetizer that is 2-3 bites in size.

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These tomatoes provide bright spots of color on a tray of appetizers, or also included on a cold salad plate.  For the diet conscious, its reassuring to know that each tomato is only 14 calories, with 1 g. fat, and  1 g. carbohydrate, but  43 mg. potassium, ( a good thing) and 21 mg. sodium, ( not great, but not too bad).  So these can be enjoyed pretty much guilt-free.  I hope you like them and will give them a try real soon.

OLIVE AND GOAT CHEESE STUFFED CHERRY TOMATOES

Yield:  Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:

Hollow out small tomatoes, fill with a goat cheese and olive mixture.

Hollow out small tomatoes, fill with a goat cheese and olive mixture.

  • 24  cherry tomatoes,  about 1 pint.
  • 3 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped olives.  I used Calamata olives, but green olives may also be used.
  • 1 Tablespoon low-fat milk
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped parsley

1.  Slice about 1/4 inch off the top of each tomato.  If necessary, trim a sliver off the bottom so the tomato sits flat.  Gently scoop out the seeds with a small spoon or the tip of a small knife.

2.  Mash the goat cheese, olives, milk and pepper in a small bowl until well combined.  Fill each hollowed tomato with a generous 1 teaspoon of the cheese mixture.  Sprinkle with some of the chopped parsley and more pepper, if desired.

Bright and appetizing!

Bright and appetizing!

SOURCE:  Eating Well

Spring Tonic Quiche

Spring Tonic Quiche

Spring Tonic Quiche

This may seem like an odd name for a recipe, but it comes from Barbara Kingsolver’s excellent book, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral:  A Year of Food Life.  In it she describes a winter of  relying on root vegetables and home-grown  canned goods, so the first green shoots to emerge from the earth in the spring were pounced upon by her family.  The minerals contained in these new shoots were believed to provide renewed vigor and energy for bodies tired of being cooped up all winter.

This recipe uses fresh young asparagus but if you’re in an area where fiddleheads** are available they would be a wonderful replacement for the asparagus.  The quantity of the recipe is designed to fit into a 9″ or 10″ pie pan.  If you’re using a shallower quiche pan  use 3 eggs and cut back the buttermilk to 3/4 cup.

The buttermilk called for in this recipe gives the custard a “tang” that is typical of buttermilk.  If you prefer a more traditional flavored  filling you may use regular milk instead with equally good results.  This quiche cuts and hold its shape vey well especially it you let it rest for about 15 minutes before serving as the recipe suggests.

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SPRING TONIC  (ASPARAGUS ) QUICHE

Asparagus, chives, cheese, buttermilk, eggs and Worcestershire sauce make the filling.

Asparagus, chives, cheese, buttermilk, eggs and Worcestershire sauce make the filling.

Yield:   8 slices

Ingredients:

  • 1 single recipe pie dough, or use 1/2 package refrigerator pie dough
  • 2  1/2 cup asparagus spears or fiddleheads, bias sliced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1  1/2 cup grated cheese ( your choice, but Swiss, Parmesan and/or Asiago are good)
  • 3 to 4 four large eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1.  Preheat the oven to 425*F.  Line a 9 or 10-inch pie pan  or 10-inch quiche pan with the pastry.  Chill the lined dish while the oven comes up to temperature.  This will minimize shrinking while it bakes.

2.  Bake the chilled crust for 10 minutes;  remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 375*.

3.  For the Filling:  Spread the sliced asparagus over the crust.  Place the tips around the outside edge for a nice effect.  Sprinkle the chives and cheese on top.

Layer asparagus, chives and cheese in the crust.

Layer asparagus, chives and cheese in the crust.

Whisk together the eggs, flour, buttermilk, and Worcestershire and pour over the vegetables and cheese.

Egg mixture poured over the vegetables.

Egg mixture poured over the vegetables.

I used the asparagus tips to decorate the top.

I used the asparagus tips to decorate the top.

4.  Place the dish on a baking sheet to catch any spills and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until the custard is firm 3″ in from the edge and a knife inserted in that spot comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

Out of the oven and cooling.

Out of the oven and cooling.

This makes a nice light meal served with a salad.

This makes a nice light meal served with a salad.

**A note about fiddleheads:  These are the tops of ostrich ferns, and they appear in shady woodland spots in early May.  They look like green, fuzzy bumps;  below the brown stalks of last year’s growth.

English: Photo of fiddleheads emerging in the ...

English: Photo of fiddleheads emerging in the spring (taken in Rindge, New Hampshire). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They emerge tightly curled and covered in a brown, scaly papery covering.  They can easily be snapped off when they are no more than 3 or 4 inches high.  To clean them, wash well and remove the papery covering.  Cook in boiling salted water until you can just pierce them with a fork.  Drain and rinse and treat them as you would asparagus.

SOURCE:   The Baking Sheet, King Arthur Flour.

Banana Bread Waffles

Banana Bread Waffles

Banana Bread Waffles

Banana Bread.  Waffles.  Think about those words, say them slowly out loud so you get the full impact.  Banana Bread Waffles!

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I know, they sound impossibly good don’t they?  Well,  just to let you know,  they are!  As usual when bananas are involved it all starts with a few over-ripe ones.  There they were lying sadly, neglected, past their prime.  What would YOU do with them?  Make banana bread most likely, and so would I.  Nothing too original there.  But I wasn’t in a baking mood, so all day I looked at them and felt guilty.  By evening I made up my mind that something must be done with them.  And since the next meal we would be eating would be breakfast and the next day was Saturday, waffles came to mind.

Waffles for breakfast.  What a treat!

Waffles for breakfast. What a treat!

Let me say at the start that they are not all that sweet.  I used a basic waffle recipe, added mashed banana, some sour cream and the typical spices used in banana bread.  The resulting waffle was crisp on the outside, with a thick and soft interior, a lot like the end piece from a loaf of banana bread.  I left the sweetness to be managed by the maple syrup added at the table.  For your further information, the leftover waffles were just great toasted and spread with a little peanut butter, a riff on the favorite Elvis Prestley sandwich!

BANANA BREAD WAFFLES

Yield:   about 6 round waffles

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

    Typical ingredients for banana bread.

    Typical ingredients for banana bread.

  • 1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ginger
  •  pinch cloves
  • 2 eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, or greek yogurt
  • 1 cup mashed banana ( about 3 medium )

1.  In a large bowl (A batter bowl works well because you can pour from it directly onto the waffle iron.), combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, the spices and salt.  Whisk to combine well.

2.  In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter, milk, sour cream and banana.  Add to dry ingredients and stir to combine, but do not over mix.

3.  Heat your waffle iron and bake the waffles as per the manufacturer’s directions until golden brown and crisp.

Bake in a heated waffle iron till brown and crispy.

Bake in a heated waffle iron till brown and crispy.

Serve with butter and syrup.

Add some butter and syrup at the table for a little added sweetness.

Add some butter and syrup at the table for a little added sweetness.

SOURCE:   Inspiration came from a variety of sources with the basic waffle recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.