Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! Black Truffle Stuffing, Pear Kuchen, and a Delicious Leftovers Sandwich at The New York Times, and Gooey Eggnog French Toast at Cup of Jo

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Here's to the soon-ending what's-turned-out-to-be an amazing year. May you all experience a memorable and love-filled holiday.

I produced four of the Fifty States of Thanksgiving in the latest New York Times Food section. The group was a lot of work to cook, style, and shoot. I am very happy with the results. And, needless to say, folks around here ate well in the aftermath….  Each of these is a fantastic dish, if you're still on the hunt for delicious food for your holiday gathering. :)

Above: Delaware, the DuPont family Black Truffle Zucchini Stuffing.

The Elsen sisters' South Dakota Pear Kuchen.

Kansas Harvey House Candied Sweet Potatoes.

A Turkey French Dip from Nevada. This one was the biggest surprise. Totally delicious (keep in mind, it's all in the proportions….).

Once the tryptophan has worn off, here is an indulgence with just enough eggs and sugar to welcome the weekend.  I was asked to produce this for Cup of Jo. It was even better than it looks….

There are some end-of-year goodies I'll be sharing next. Another great giveaway, a giving (and buying) guide, and of course, more really delicious food.

What plans do you have for the last days of 2014?

I need to slow down so I can be a little more deliberate. Time is precious. Our loved ones are gold. More time for loved ones, that's what I'll be doing with the remaining days this year.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Most Custardy Quiche

I did not see this coming.

That somehow, Food52 - where I am a contributor to Halfway to Dinner and Heirloom Recipes, including delicious stories such as this, this, this, this, and this (and a fab new one on the way….) - would share my little ole Saturday evening quiche with the Instagram Universe.

And then I would be demanded (well maybe not demanded) to share the recipe. It isn't a story I made for the camera. I just made it for my mouth, trying to use up a surplus of goodies in the fridge.

Good thing you all have asked for this recipe though, because it is SO GOOD. Once you have the groundwork laid, you can sub out the fillings of your choice. I had done roasted squash before (albeit with kabocha instead of delicata), and used pan fried speck instead of caramelized onions. Both are wonderful, so either works just as nicely.

I also happened to have handfuls of garlic chives available and so I thought, why not?

Here it is -

Roasted squash, caramelized onion, and garlic chive quiche
Serves 6-8

for the filling-
5 eggs - use only pasture-raised eggs if at all possible - the custard will be so much more dynamic
3 or 4 egg yolks, depending on how rich you're willing to go (same as above)
1 1/2 cups delicata or other pumpkin squash, halved, insides scraped out, and coarsely chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup heavy cream - use pastured milk, as it will be more flavorful
1/3 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems
2 tbsp garlic chives, finely chopped - regular chives, or roasted garlic cloves work just as well
good olive oil 
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

for the dough - I adapted the Four and Twenty Blackbirds cornmeal crust, which was deeelicious
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup stone-ground cornmeal
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoons granulated sugar
¼ pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
½ cup cold water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
a few ice cubes
Pulse the flour, cornmeal, salt, and sugar together in the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and pulse briefly to coat.  Pulse at 5 second intervals until mostly pea-size pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay; be careful not to overblend). 
Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice in a measuring cup or small bowl. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the ice water mixture over the flour mixture, and pulse until it is fully incorporated. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, and pulse until the dough comes together in a ball, with some dry bits remaining.
Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with more small drops of the ice water mixture, if necessary, to combine. Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, to give the crust time to mellow. Wrapped tightly, the dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.
Bring disk out of fridge and remove plastic. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough  to 1/4-inch thick, turning 1/4 turn with each go of the rolling pin for evenness. Drape into an 8-inch springform pan, freeing dough from edge as you press it down with the back of your finger, flush to base of pan. 

Use any particularly high or thick points to patch thin areas or mend cracks. Prick all over with a fork and chill in the refrigerator.

Sauté the onion over medium low heat in a cast iron skillet, using good glug or two of olive oil. Stirring occasionally, you don't want the onions to brown, rather to sweat them and then allow them to slowly give way to the pan. This is a 20 minute or so process of occasionally stirring and then going about the rest of the work. If you don't have that time, many groceries carry onion jam or a package of caramelized onions in the specialty department. 

Meanwhile, roast delicata (or other squash) tossed in olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper on the stovetop or in the oven. For the oven, I do about 40 minutes at 325 (F) until the bottoms are dark but the flesh is still soft, or in a cast iron skillet over medium heat for the same result. This can be done a day or two in advance and refrigerated until needed.

If you did the above in advance, preheat oven to 400 degrees (F). Place a sheet of parchment over dough and weight with baking weights, beans, or rice. Blind bake for 15 minutes, or according to your oven. Check after 10 minutes and see that the dough is not wet or particularly soft. Remove weights and paper and bake for a further 10 minutes or until crust is golden. Remove from oven, lower oven to 300 degrees.

Whisk together eggs, cream, nutmeg, thyme, garlic chives, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the squash and onions, and pour mixture into pastry. Top with grind or two of pepper and bake for 30 minutes, or until custard has *just* set. There should be the slightest jiggle in the center when agitated. Cool inside the oven with the door ajar for 10 minutes or so, and then fully cool on a wire rack. 

Release spring collar from around pastry. Use two spatulas or palette knives to transfer quiche to a serving platter. Serve with a shaved brussels sprouts dressed in lemon juice or with a mixed green salad, and enjoy!

If you are new to my blog, I am so pleased this is our first meeting! Welcome. Please have a look around and if you feel like it, leave a comment or reach out and say hello!

To that end, you also need to know about my latest giveaway, which is still happening. Scroll down to the giveaway part and enter - there's still a week left!

I'm in the middle of five (!) fantastic food projects and working my way through the fridge, bit by bit. Tough life. If you already follow me on Instagram, you'll see plenty more of the fun I have in the coming days…. More wonderful, delicious things soon… XO ;)