Quiche …. its what’s for dinner.

Yeah that’s what I said.  Quiche, its what’s for dinner.  My most latest solution to using up veggies that are on the verge of spoiling is to toss them into a quiche for dinner. And did you know that quiche though considered a classic French dish actually originated in Germany?  mmmm, yeah I may have googled that…… Any way…..Having made several lately I have determined the Quiche is highly under-rated as a meal.

What have been my combos of late?  Greek with feta, tomatoes, and artichokes, then there was the Roasted veg including brussel sprouts, peppers and ham.  and of course a little southwest flavor with salsa, roasted zucchini and loads of pepperjack cheese.

Its summer be adventurous, take all those great farmer market finds that have yet to inspire you to cook and put them in a pie crust with butter, eggs and cream…..would I stir you wrong?

 

 

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Pasta of the Week —- Another Cookbook Challenge

Because I completed 95 bread recipes, I figured why not work my way through another cookbook.  This time its the Pasta Bible!  I’m picking one recipe from one chapter each week.  So far 18 down!  Discoveries so far?  Shocking use of thyme.  Have loved the minestrones and well still perfecting my ravioli technique.  Here are a few highlights from my journey so far!

 

 

Two and a Half Years and 95 Loaves of Bread Later………..

 

polenta     Pooris     SunshineLoaf

2014 I began baking bread as a New Year’s Resolution.  Little did I realize at the time it was actually going to take me roughly 2 years to make it through 95 different bread recipes from around the world.  Why was I doing this?  Because chefs have control over their kitchen’s and frankly baking is a wild variable of a culinary art.  I was convinced I’d learn through trial and error, the secrets bakers and pastry chefs had come to know over the centuries that create consistent baked goods.

When I reached the half way mark I wrote about the lessons bread had taught me up until that point.  “One Loaf at a Time”  chronicled some baking and life realizations. The lesson of patience, to never bake angry, to always give your bread away, some things need a second rise, and lastly if you want to do something well do it all the time.  So what have I concluded another 45 loaves later?

Lesson #6:  Leave It Alone:   Is cooking an art or is cooking a science?  My opinion it’s an art form to learn how to make the science work for you.  Translation—to bake beautiful bread trust that the natural chemical process is going to work. Walk away, go do something else and have faith that what you have assembled is going to work.  The best breads came when I’d mix and knead the dough together, would go off to run errands, hang with friends, all the while it was rising.  Come home smash it back down, take a nap, and the second rising was complete. Pop it in the oven, go work out, and trust that when the timer goes off you have some fine bread.  The more you fuss, the more you tweak, the more you check, it’s never as good because you haven’t let it become its natural self.

Needless to say this baking lesson can easily be translated into to daily life.  It always saddens me a little, whether its business or pleasure, to just see people TRYING TO HARD, at life.  I catch myself saying “it just needs to be organic”  as my sing song advice now.

swiss braid   panDeCebada   pumpernickel

Lesson #7:  Bread is Life:   I know it sounds super cheesy.  But honestly after when I baked that last bread and thought about all the things I had learned over the 2 and a half years….the conclusion was to just keep it simple.  Two basic ingredients, flour and water, can make a thousand combinations.  Bread is Life. To make a great life, keep it simple.  If you never bake a loaf of bread in your life by learning the 7 bread lessons you’ll be in a real good place.

Lesson #1: Be patient

Lesson#2: Don’t do things in anger.

Lesson #3: Never do something for personal gain, only for the enjoyment.

Lesson #4: Give second chances.

Lesson #5: Do what you love and do it all the time.

Lesson #6: Let life takes its course.

Lesson #7: Keep life simple.

Ha I don’t know too many bakers but after this I view them in the same category of Buddhist Monks…..zen like beings that just get it.  And isn’t that what we are all looking for?   I’m still baking bread, not every week but here and there.  Occasionally after a long day I come home and find that sifting my fingers through some flour, using the balls of my hands to knead, and smelling that sweet delicious smell of warm yeast just helps to keep things a bit on track.

MexicanBreadoftheDead    NewEnglandFantans     moroccanholiday

Trust me on this—Potatoes in your pasta!

Trenette with pesto french beans, and potatoes.

I’ve been cooking A LOT of pasta lately ( explanation to follow in another post) one of the recipes I recently made was Linguine with Pesto, French Beans and Potatoes.  That’s right potatoes.  Besides potatoes mating with pasta and forming the wonderful  baby known as gnocchi, why would you put the two together?

I remember one time venturing to cook dinner at my grandma’s house, as a “I love you let me help out” kind of gesture. The meal I choose spaghetti.  I was dumbfounded when half the family asked “where are the baked potatoes” when I proudly announced that dinner was ready.  Baked potatoes? Why would you serve baked potatoes with spaghetti?  That would be like ordering a side of toast with your pancakes….crazy.  At the time my mother just leaned over in a whisper and said “I don’t know this family just always has baked potatoes with spaghetti……”

I have held firmly to this “these two foods shall never meet”  idea until it came time to cook this dish.  As I took the first bite my mouth gave a big “YOU SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO YOUR GRANDMA” sort of I told you so thank you.  You might be thinking that sounds heavy.  But honestly the addition of a small handful of red potatoes chopped up, slightly boiled added a light earthy quality to the pasta.  Of course I had to instantly sing the dishes praises over social media.  Where one long lost Facebook acquaintance actually commented in a judgmental way “That’s a lot of carbs for a meal”  God’s honest truth I unfriended them for that.  Don’t judge it till you try it!