Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pastry Dough for Quiche

Pastry Dough for Quiche
(1 serving)


1¾ cups All-Purpose Flour
½ tsp. Salt
12 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, cut into ½ inch cubes & freeze 10 minutes before use
3 tbsp. Sour Cream
¼ cup Ice Water
1 large Fresh Egg, egg white only & slightly beaten


In a food processor, combine flour and salt with 3-1 second pulses. Next add the butter and pulse about 10-1 second pulses or until butter is about pea size. In a small bowl combine sour cream and water. Pour half of mixture into processor and pulse 3-1 second pulses and then repeat with second half of mixture. Check dough for dry flour and whether it holds together. If so, add 1 to 2 tbsp. more of ice water and pulse 3-5 1 second pulses. Turn dough out on to a work surface and form into a 6 inch disk. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until firm but not hard. Roll out dough to a 15 inch circle about ¼ inch thick. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and unroll over a 9 or 9½ inch spring-form pan that has been sprayed over bottom and all of the wall. Working your way around the pan, gently lift dough and put into pan pressing into the bottom corner. Dough should come up sides and just over the top. Cut off any dough beyond that. If dough cracks or has any holes, fix with scrap dough. Refrigerate any leftover scrap dough in case needed later. Cover the dough inside the pan with foil (spray side touching dough) and fill with dry beans (3-4 cups) for weight. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and put in a pre-heated 375 degree oven on a rack in the lower middle section. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until exposed dough is lightly browned. Remove from oven and carefully discard the beans and foil. Fix any cracks or holes with leftover dough. Replace in oven for another 15 minutes or until bottom is lightly browned. Let cool while you prepare filling.

Note: You can use this dough for pies too.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Quiche for a Mother's Day Brunch

Mother's Day is coming up in May here in the USA (2nd Sunday of May).  It's one of the busiest days in the year for a restaurant.  There are always long waits at all the good ones.  Why not skip all that this year and do a "Mother's Day Brunch" for that special woman (or women) in your life?

This week and next I'm going to offer some recipes you might want to consider for such an occasion.  There are two "Quiche" recipes this week and two different "Cinnamon Roll" recipes next week.  In each case, there is one recipe that's unique but still easy to make.  While the other recipe will take a little more effort on your part.  They're all  well worth the trying even if it's not on Mother's Day.

The harder Quiche recipe involves making the pastry dough for the it.  It's a good dough recipe and could be used for any pies you make as well.  Now you could buy some refrigerated pie dough for the recipe.  But if you do that, you'll need to use both pieces in the package.  This Quiche recipe is for a deep-dish style and you need the dough going up and just over the pan's rim.  The "Pastry Dough for Quiche" recipe will appear tomorrow.

On Thursday, the recipe for "Deep-Dish Mushroom Quiche" will appear.  It uses two different mushrooms.  If you have trouble finding both, just substitute another mushroom that you like or double the one you can find.  The recipe calls for Gruyere cheese, which is a type of Swiss.  It's price is on the high end. I mention a couple of options in the note at the bottom of the recipe by name.  They to are a little pricy and can be hard to find.  You really can use any type of Swiss cheese that you like and can find.  However, using on of the other three cheeses named will improve the taste of the dish.

A recipe for "Hash-Brown Crusted Cheese Quiche" will be on Friday this week.  This one is interesting because of using the hash-browns for the crust.  You can take this same process for the crust and use it on other Quiche recipes if you desire.  It kind of makes a statement on the plate when you serve it.

If you like the idea of having a brunch for mom (family & friends too) there are more recipe ideas you could use under the various recipe tabs above.  Because brunch usually has both breakfast and dinner items, you can find a dish or two to compliment the Quiche recipe you pick.

Here are a few recipes available in the recipes tabs that you might like to try with the Quiche.  Chicken MarsalaGrilled Flank SteakDeviled Eggs (V), Greek Layered Dip (V), Jane's Salad or Fresh Corn Salad (V) are from the tabs above.  If you have my cookbook, here are few more to try; Italian Baked Chicken, Connie's Hash Brown Casserole and Roasted Asparagus.

I hope you will try the recipes offered this week at sometime if not for Mother's Day.  As I mentioned early, next week I'll offer a couple of "Cinnamon Roll" recipes.  In the mean time, "Happy Cooking" and please help spread the site to family and friends.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Green Salsa Verde

Green Salsa Verde
(2½ cups)


1¼ lb. Fresh Tomatillos, husked, rinsed & quartered
1 cup (lightly packed) Fresh Cilantro
1 medium Fresh Serrano Chili, seeded & quartered
1 small Fresh White Onion, chopped
2 cloves Fresh Garlic, smashed
1 tbsp. Canola Oil
as needed Salt & Black Pepper


Place the tomatillos, cilantro, serrano chili, onion and garlic in a blender and puree until smooth. In a medium sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Transfer tomatillo mixture to pan and season with salt and pepper as needed. Bring the salsa to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 10 minutes or until reduced to about 2½ cups. Cool in refrigerator before serving. The salsa should keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Note: You can control the heat (spiciness) of the salsa by leaving the seeds in or using a jalapeno or some other chili pepper. Leave the chili out if you don't like having some heat in your food.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pico de Gallo (Chef Saul)

Pico de Gallo (Chef Saul)
(2½ cups)


1 small Fresh White Onion, small dice
4 large Fresh Tomatoes, seeded & small dice
1 medium Fresh Serrano Chili, seeded & fine dice
2 tbsp. Fresh Cilantro Leaves, chopped
1 clove Fresh Garlic, minced
2 tbsp. Fresh Lime Juice
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
to taste Salt & Black Pepper


Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss together well. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for at least an hour before serving. Can also be refrigerated and served cold. Refrigerate after use and it should keep a day or two in good form.

Note: Again if heat in your food is a factor, you could use a jalapeno instead. Even a poblano chili to lessen the heat works.

Note: For a little change in taste, try adding some small diced fresh pineapple to the mix.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Part 3 of Mexican Cuisine (Salsa, Dips & Chips)

Anyone who has gone into a Mexican restaurant, at least in the USA, knows you automatically receive chips & salsa when the waitperson comes to the table.  For us it's a staple of Mexican cuisine.  Now these restaurants don't serve the same chips & salsa as everyone else.  Most try to do their spin on the dish.

Some places just serve bought corn tortilla chips.  While others fry their corn tortilla chips up fresh each day. Still others offer fry up flour tortillas to serve with their salsa.  A few offer the options of corn or flour too. Healthier establishments might even serve baked chips in place of the traditional fried ones.  Thankfully for you it's easy enough to either (fried or baked) at home.

I'll eat both but prefer the fried flour tortilla chips when I can get them.  Of course there are so many different types and styles that you can buy in grocery stores.  If I go that route, my preference is for a grocery chain in the Midwest called Hy-Vee.  They sell under their own brand, a multi-grain tortilla chip.  In my option, it's the best on the market.  At least of the ones I've been able to try.  But everyone has their favorite, so for them.

All those chips mentioned above are great by themselves but go to a whole new level when you add a salsa and/or dip.  I'll mention just a couple of dips before going to salsas.  Guacamole is classified under a dip or a salsa.  It just depends on who you ask.  I'll call it a dip for today  Another popular dip is the Rotel tomato, Velveeta and meat one.  This is considered Southwest or Texas style spicy food.  Not really Mexican.

Mexican salsa (Southwest & Tex-Mex too) is really varied in spice, taste, texture and ingredients.  First off you can have fresh or cooked salsas.  Tomatoes and Tomatillos seem to comprise the majority, but there some without either ingredient.  White onion is another stable in most salsas.  As is some kind of a chili pepper.

You can find bean salsas using mostly the pinto or black bean as they seem to be the most popular beans in Mexico.  Mango, Jicama, sweet potato, cactus, pumpkin seed and Chayote (vegetable pear) can also be found as main ingredients in a salsa.

Tomorrow's recipe is for what in Mexico is usually referred to as Classic Tomato Salsa.  It's also known as Salsa Ranchera or Salsa Mexicna but most people in the states know it as "Pico de Gallo."  It's the king of fresh salsa and has numerous variations to the recipe.  This recipe is from my friend, Chef Saul, in Cabo, Mexico.

Thursday's recipe is "Green Salsa Verde" which is green most of the time.  However, it is also made with tomatoes instead of tomatillos and then it is red.  It's good as a dip but is used more as a sauce with many dishes.  That is one other use for all salsas really.  They can be used for dipping chips, as a sauce over a burrito or as a condiment or relish to be served along side an item.

Don't forget that besides these two recipes, I have several already on this blog or in my cookbook.  In fact, the recipe for canned salsa in my cookbook has even passed the test of Hispanic individuals.  Several have commented that it is better than what their families make.  They also won't admit that to their families.  Not bad for a Gringo, I say.  Well "Happy Cooking" until next week and please share this with friends.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Grilled Chicken Burgers & Peach BBQ Sauce

Grilled Chicken Burgers & Peach BBQ Sauce
(4-6 servings)


1 tbsp. Canola Oil
¼ cup Yellow Onion, minced
½ tsp. Salt, divided
4 large Fresh Peaches, peeled,seeded & chopped (see note)
2 tbsp. Brown Sugar
2 small Fresh Tomatoes, seeded & diced
1 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp. Minced Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
2 tbsp. Fresh Cilantro, minced
2 tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 ½ lb. Fresh Ground Chicken Breast
4-6 Hamburger Buns (your favorite)


In a large saute pan over medium heat, add oil. When oil is hot add the onions and half of salt to pan. Cook until onions soften (about 5 minutes). Next add the peaches, tomatoes and continue cooking another 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, brown sugar and Chipotle peppers and cook 5 minutes more. Remove pan from heat and add in cilantro, lemon juice and remaining salt and let cool. Using a blender or food processor, process to consistency you desire. Return mixture to the pan and simmer on low for 15 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken and ½ cup of sauce. Using a fork or your hands, gently combine and form into 4 or 6 loose balls. Press the balls into patties and grill over medium-high heat until you have an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove to a serving platter and grill buns while letting burgers rest. Serve with remaining Peach BBQ Sauce and other desired condiments.

Note: You can use frozen peaches for this recipe. Thaw 2 cups chopped and reserve the juice. Just add where directions mentions fresh peaches. Include juice with the peaches.

Note: If you want to get fancy with the ground chicken try grinding it yourself. Use a food processor for grinding. Cut breast meat into small cubes, put single layer on a sheet pan and place in freezer for about 30 minutes. In small batches, pulse about 30 to 40 times. Repeat as needed with the remaining batches. Check the ground chicken for any large pieces. Remove these and pulse them a few more times. Then just follow directions above.

Ideas for Future Efforts

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Grilled Butter Burgers

Grilled Butter Burger
(4-6 servings)


1 ½ lb. Fresh Lean Ground Beef
3 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, melted and slightly cooled
as needed Lawry's Seasoned Salt
as needed Onion Powder
as needed Garlic Powder
as needed Black Pepper
4-6 Hamburger Buns (your favorite)
4-6 slices Cheese (your favorite) (optional)


Place ground beef on a large mixing bowl. Pour the cooled melted butter over the ground beef and gently mix with a fork or by hand. Form into 4 – 6 oz. patties or 6 – 4 oz. patties and place on a sheet pan. Refrigerate for an hour or up to one day before grilling. Liberally season each side of the parties with the 4 seasonings listed in the ingredients. Have your grill ready on high-heat, oil grates and place patties on them. Grill on each side for 4 to 5 minutes depending on the degree of doneness you desire. Top with cheese slices (if using) and close lid to help cheese melt. This takes a minute or so depending on type of cheese. After cheese has melted, remove burgers to a serving tray and grill buns to desired brownness. Serve with your favorite condiments.

Note: If you want to get fancy with the ground beef, try grinding it yourself. Use a food processor for grinding. Cut selected steak meat into small cubes, put single layer on a sheet pan and place in freezer for about 30 minutes. In small batches, pulse about 30 to 40 times. Repeat as needed with the remaining batches. Check the meat for any large pieces or stringy gristle. Remove these and pulse this meat a few more times. Then just follow directions above.

Ideas for Future Efforts