Egg and Tomato Pie

Is it a quiche?  Is it a tart?  Let’s call it what it really is:  egg pie.  My version has eggs but no cream, so it’s not really a quiche.  I like plain eggs in a pie crust and find creamy quiches too rich.

You will need to plan ahead a little for this one, but it’s not hard and well worth it.  First, roast a head of garlic as seen here.  You can do this an hour before assembling your pie, or you can do it a day or two in advance.  Next, pre-bake a pie crust until it’s lightly brown.  You can use frozen puff pastry instead if you don’t like to make your own.  This is called blind baking.  You weight the crust so that it keeps it’s shape while baking and is ready for filling.  I learned about this the hard way 6 years ago. 

Experience has taught me that the little extra steps and attention to detail make all the difference in a perfect pie.  The crust is crunchy and flaky and buttery.  This filling is savory with a hint of mellow garlic.  We had this as an appetizer because it’s a small pie.  It would also be a great main dish with a green salad or even good for breakfast.

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Egg and Tomato Pie

One blind baked pie crust

2 roma tomatoes

1 or 2 cloves roasted garlic

3 eggs

about 1 cup sharp cheese ( I used a mixture of sharp white cheddar and romano – something very salty like feta would be good too)

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Slice the tomatoes and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and let them stand 10 minutes.  This draws out some of the moisture so they behave while baking.

Spread the garlic all over the pre-baked crust.  Sprinkle half the cheese on top.  Lay the tomatoes on next.

Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper, then pour over the tomatoes.  Top with the remaining cheese.

Bake until the eggs are puffed and the top is slightly golden.  Serve warm.

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Easy Fruit Bars

I’ve tried many fruit bar recipes over the years and they’re all good.  However, the recipes I return to are the easiest to assemble.  This is a perfect recipe for yummy snack bars because the bottom crust and the top crumble are the same.  There’s no need to get out another bowl and mix up a separate topping.  This particular recipe also makes the filling quick and simple by using fruit jam mixed with fresh or frozen fruit.  It gets bonus points for using rolled oats, which means it’s totally fine to have for breakfast.  20170204_102858You can make these bars with any fruit and jam or preserves that you have on hand.  I had strawberries in the freezer and a fresh meyer lemon, so I used those.  I used a rectangular pan and the bars were too thin.  Use a square pan for thicker, sturdier bars.  I really love the toasty, buttery crust and the zing of the lemon with strawberries.  This recipe is easy and satisfying.

Easy Fruit Bars

For the crust:

1 cup rolled oats (plus 1/4 cup for the topping)20170204_103536

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter – cold and cut into cubes

4 Tablespoons cold water (or maybe more)

zest of one lemon, lime, or orange – optional but yummy!

For the filling:

6 ounces preserves or jam

juice from half a lemon (you could use lime or orange juice)

1/2 cup fresh or frozen fruit chopped into bitesize

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place the dry ingredients in food processor and pulse a few times to combine.  Add butter and pulse about 10 times.  Add the cold water and lemon zest and pulse to combine.  Take the top off the food processor and check your progress.  The dough should be crumbly but hold together when pinched.  Add more cold water if needed.

Press a little more than half this dough in to a square pan and bake for about 12 minutes.

Add 1/4 cup rolled oats to the remaining dough mixture and save for the topping.

Take the pan out of the oven and spread the jam on top, then the fruit and sprinkle the lemon juice all over.  You could mix this stuff up in a separate bowl first, but why bother?  Crumble the remaining crust mixture on top and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 20 minutes.  Let cool before attempting to slice.20170204_115135

 

Almond Olive Oil Cake

20161204_132451Two of my favorite ingredients in one delicious recipe make a lovely bake.  I found this cake in an advertisement for olive oil in Food Network magazine (thanks Anna!) and felt sure it would be a winner.  It turned out to be a moist cake with an even crumb and delightful crunchy crust.  It is very similar to a pound cake, but without the dairy products.

Almond Olive Oil Cake

recipe from Pompeian Olive Oil

4 large eggs

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup almond flour (also known as almond meal read more about it here, find it with the ‘healthy’ grains and flours)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk.

20161204_132620Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and prepare a bundt pan for baking

Combine the eggs and sugar and mix on medium- high speed until they become pale yellow, thick and creamy.  This will take about 3 minutes.  Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add the olive oil in a stream.  Add the almond and vanilla extracts.  Reduce mixer speed to low.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt.  This is important because almond flour tends to be lumpy.  Alternately add this dry ingredient mixture and the almond milk half at a time. Do not over beat at this point – I finished incorporating the last addition by hand with a rubber spatula.

20161204_145104Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  This will take 50 to 70 minutes.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack.

You can add a glaze if you choose using 2 to 3 Tablespoons milk or citrus juice (I used lime juice) mixed with 2 cups confectioners sugar.  Yum.

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What’s for dinner?

The thing about dinner is that you have to eat it every day.  I know this, but it still sneaks up on me.  The internet is a great resource for recipes but often sucks up any preparation time as I scroll through loads of ideas.

I’ve been sticking to the basics in the kitchen lately.  I made pumpkin bread in November, but never got around to photographing or blogging.  We’ve had too many grilled cheese sandwiches, pizzas, and quesadillas lately.  When I get into a slump,there are a few blogs I rely on.  I’ve been following them for years and I know their recipes are will work.  Here are my favorites:

I hope you find something yummy on one of these sights.

Lemon Meringue Tart

20160906_161913I saw Martha Stewart make this tart on public television and scrambled to write down the recipe.  It looked simple enough, and very delicious.  You simply assemble the brown butter cookie crust, chill it, blind bake it and let it cool.  Meanwhile, whip up the lemon curd so that you can strain it directly into the prepared crust.  While this chills, you can work on the meringue.  Martha Stewart made this beautiful pie and two others in the span of thirty minutes.20160905_122101

20160905_122921I wasn’t even able to finish this project in one day.  However, it was WELL worth it.  The crust is awesome, the lemon curd is fantastic, and the meringue is superlative.  The genius addition of a little unflavored gelatin to the lemon filling makes it hold up well to slicing.  Everything about it is just right.  I will definitely make this again.  If you think it looks good in the pictures, just imagine that it tastes even better.  The crust is tender, the filling is tart and smooth, and the meringue is fluffy and marshmallowy.20160906_155928

20160906_160854Please click through to her website for Martha’s recipe.  You will not be disappointed.

Lemon Tart With Brown Butter Cookie Crust

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Chocolate Birthday Cupcakes

I love baking special treats for birthdays and my son always asks for chocolate cake.  He loves a big layer cake with chocolate frosting and has had the same cake for the past three years.  This year he agreed to cupcakes for a small change.  I used the easiest chocolate cake recipe EVER – which also happens to be vegan.  These cupcakes were topped with rich fudge frosting and kit-kats for that extra chocolate touch.20160902_192930

I blogged about this recipe when my son was three years old, and he just turned nine.  Thank you to anyone out there who has followed my adventures in the kitchen!  Your kind words and enthusiasm keep me trying new things.  (My husband thanks you too.)20160902_191121

Here’s the link to Deadly Good Vegan Chocolate Cake.

The recipe for the frosting is completely brilliant and found on the awesome blog Smitten Kitchen.  It’s really a basic buttercream, but unsweetened baking chocolate is substituted for some of the butter which makes it super chocolately.  Here’s the link for that recipe – scroll down to the bottom of her post to find the frosting.

Pies for a Party

What a fun way to spend an afternoon!  I’m so thankful to have a friend who gets as excited about the finer points of pie dough as I do.  We baked three pies for a family party.  Each creation had a delicious and flaky home made crust. vCheck out our two traditional fruit pies with a lattice top and one scrumptious peach and almond cream tart.IMG_8738 IMG_8739 20160708_180432 I made the dough a day in advance so it was ready and waiting in the fridge.  We rolled all the dough on a chilled marble slab and felt very fancy, very professional.  The marble came from Grandmama Clydie and kept our dough cold in a hot kitchen.

The recipe for the peach tart came from David Lebovitz, and boy was it good! Click through for his post and recipe. I also used the crust recipe he suggested for this recipe, which can by found by more clicking through from his website. This pie was was the first to go at the party. It was attacked as soon as I released it onto the table.

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I’ve been using a pate brisee recipe from Martha Stewart for all my pies lately.  You can whiz this up in the food processor and save it in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to bake.  I channel Julia Child and finish the mixing by hand on the counter for an extra flaky crust.  You can click through for full instructions, or if you’re an experienced pie baker, the proportions are:

2 1/2 cups AP flour

4 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter – cubed and ice cold

about 1/4 cup ice water

For the fruit filling, we used Nathalie Dupree’s book Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.   You will need about 4 cups of fruit, a little sugar and a little cornstarch.  Yummo!  This was the only picture I could snap of all three together.  As you can see, I wasn’t fast enough!

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