Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lot's of Cooking Going On!

Well the kitchen has been a busy place the last few days -- lots to "take with" and a new addition to the family menu (for me and my husband at least, not sure the kids were too into it).

First was the quiche -- the PTA at the kids' school always has a welcome back brunch for teachers right before the first day of school. Last year I volunteered to bring 2 quiches, but forgot (typical). Miraculously, I remembered this year. I made two quiches, using store bought crust. They took forever to bake -- but they were finally finished and I ran them over to the breakfast (better later than never). Have no idea how they tasted, as I had to drop them off... may make them for dinner sometime (not with spinach and mushrooms of course)

Quiche Lorraine (with bacon)
Quiche with spinach and mushrooms.

One pie crust per quiche
Gruyere or Swiss cheese
Heavy Cream

Cook filler. I wilted spinach and sauteed mushrooms for one quiche, I fried the bacon and cooked the onions for the other. Put the filler on the bottom of the crust, beat 3 eggs and 1/2 c. cream, added the cheese (about 1 cup) -- pour over the filling, bake at 350 for 45 minutes (until knife comes out clean). Let cool slightly.

Turkey Meatballs in Marinara

1/4 c. plain dried bread crumbs
1/4 c. chopped flat leaf parsley
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 T. whole milk
3/4 c. grated Romano cheese
3/4 t. salt
3/4 t. ground black pepper
1 lb. ground turkey
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
5 c. Marinara sauce

In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, milk, 1/2 c. cheese, and the salt and pepper. Add the turkey and gently stir to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat. Shape the meat mixture into bite-sized balls.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Working in batches, add the meatballs and cook wthout moving or turning the meatballs unitl brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn the meatballs over and brown the other side, about 3 minutes longer. Continue to cook until all the sides are golden brown. Add the marinara sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the flavors blend, about 5 minutes.

I think I wrote about these before. I made these at 9pm one Sunday night (with Mad Men on TV) for a baby shower for a friend at work. Giada was my girl... and hooked me up with the recipes.

Marinara Sauce
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 small onions finely chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 celery stalks finely chopped
2 carrots peeled and finely chopped
1/2 t. sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 t. ground pepper
2 (32 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent (about 10 minutes). Add the celery, carrots and 1/2 t. each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves until simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves, season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste.

Speaking of Giada.... I made my first risotto last night. I've heard that it's hard and time consuming, but I've also been sort of obesessed with the idea of risotto for dinner. Again, I turned to Giada and found a reasonable recipe... not too much butter, and only 4 cups of chicken stock, which I had in my freezer.

4 c. chicken stock
3 T. butter
3/4 c. chopped onion
1 1/2 c. Arborio rice
1/2 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Cover the pot and continue to heat over low flame.

In a large heavy saucepan, melt 2 T. of butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. ADd the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaoporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 c. of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 c. at a time, stirring constatnly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the heat. STir in the Parmesan cheese, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and the salt and pepper. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl and serve immediately.

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