Monday, December 31, 2012

Quiche. Goat Cheese Quiche.

One of my favorite things is goat cheese.  So amazing with pears and french bread. (see Ta Da for my goat cheese tray with friends)  When I saw a recipe for a Goat Cheese Quiche, I just had to jump on it.  I didn't want to make one big quiche per the recipe, so I pulled out my 6 inch spring form pans and made 4.

First I mixed frozen (but thawed) hash browns with some butter and egg and pressed it into the bottoms of the pans I had lined with parchment.

While it baked for 15 minutes to get a little crispy, I blended sour cream and goat cheese for the filling.

It seems like a lot of eggs, 12 in all, but really that is only 3 per quiche.  And it's QUICHE!  It's supposed to have eggs.

I used my new emulsion blender to beat in the eggs.

Did I mention it took a dozen eggs?

Next time I'll bake the crust 5 minutes longer to really get it crisp or maybe increase the baking temperature to 400 degrees.  Also, I didn't run the potato up the sides like the recipe calls for; I just covered the bottom.

Anyway, I divided the egg mix into the 4 pans (1 cup of filling each), and threw in a chopped mushroom and green onion into each quiche.  I adjusted the cooking time and baked for 30 minutes until the center was just slightly jiggly.

A salad on the side finished the meal.

So yummy.  We ate 3 for dinner one night, and I ate the left over one tonight.  Breck and Trevor finished off the Cream of Crab Soup and said it reheated well.  It's a good thing.  I worried the crab would get tough, but it didn't.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Brussell Sprouts and Crab

One of the things on my list for 2013 is to gather recipes and photos of the food I make to put a cookbook together.  I realize it's still 2012, but my son Trevor is in town and his diet preferences really stretch me from my norm, so I am starting early.

These, my friends, are peppercorns.  Not special ones from an expensive shop.  Cheap from the shelves of HEB.  Are they not gorgeous?  At the very least, they are interesting.  (Have I mentioned I love my macro lens?)

I ground them up with the mortar and pestle that my son Cameron and his girlfriend Daniela gave me for Christmas.  I wish you could hear the sound it made.  Thanks, guys.  I have been wanting one for a long time.  Looks great on my counter, too.

I used the ground pepper to season some brussell sprouts.  I also used some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and grey sea salt.

I roasted at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

I served them on the side with some Cream of Crab Soup.  Isn't that pretty?

Add some sourdough bread and it was a great dinner for a cold night.

Okay, I forgot the libations.  This Chardonnay was perfect with the Cream of Crab Soup.

Kracken thought is smelled like something for him, so he curled up under the table to wait for his share.

When he realized he was not going to get any, he wandered off, only to be replaced by Rudy.

I do love my Inhibitors.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Yaupon Berries in Winter

It's a photography post, but I bet you figured that out already.

Yaupon berries are about 1/4 inch in diameter
 We had rain over night and I wanted to try out my new macro lens on water drops this morning.

Inedible to people, but the birds love them when they are ripe
 I can tell that I will be happier using a tripod, but I was thrilled with my first attempts in uncontrolled conditions.

When I took this picture of a small stick with moss on it, I didn't even notice the spider threads with water drops on them.  I would have taken more if I had.

Small branch from an oak tree 
 The lens is so close to what I am photographing that I sometimes bumped the leaves and berries causing the water drops to run off.  This leaf is about 1 inch long.

There is no zoom, I am really that close.  The drop in the background has the upside down reflection of the trees that are behind me.

Cloudy day, but enough morning light to get some reflections
I love that I can see tree and leaf reflections in the droplets.

Oh, I can tell I am going to have a lot of fun with this lens.

I can't wait to try it on food!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Clean-Up and Macro

Yes, I'm sorry to say, that is my kitchen.  That is the result of finished off left-overs and piled up Christmas decorations.  Be thankful this post isn't about laundry!

Why on earth am I showing you this mess and the water stained granite?

Because my mother gave me a great stone polish that got everything shining.  Look at the reflections.

Look closely at this one.  You can hardly tell where the counter ends because of the perfect light reflections in the counters.  Love it.  Thanks, mom.

Another mom (and dad) thank you goes out for this beautiful glass bowl.  It could be used as a bird bath outside, but I believe it would be knocked over by pigs or a raccoon, and opted to keep it indoors.

Now a shout out for my husband who got me the macro lens I have wanted for my camera.  I can get so close to my subject without zooming or losing detail.



Closer.  You can even see the tiny scratches and bubbles in the glass.

Oh, am I going to have fun with this lens in the spring when everything begins blooming and the bugs come out.  Can't wait.  Thanks, Hon.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Getting Ready for 2013

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  I know I did.  I didn't do many Christmas posts this year. Time was short for this reason and that.  Now I am taking down decorations and planning for the new year.  Before I get too into that, I want to show you a very special pie.

My son's girlfriend, Daniela, spent Christmas this year with us.  She is a wonderful baker who makes cupcakes that she sells on her college campus for charity.  This year she told me she wanted to do something different   She wanted to learn to bake a pie.  I had a bunch of apples in the refrigerator so we pulled out my grandmother's old baking cookbook and whipped one up Christmas Eve.  It was so juicy and delicious.  Thanks, Dani.

I have plans, not resolutions, for the new year that I have been thinking about for some time.
  • Create a bucket list of activities with Breck to look forward to in 2013.  If it works well, it may become our new New Year's tradition over a notepad and champagne on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day.  
  • I am, and always have been, terrible about cards: birthday, get well, thank you, anniversary, you name it.  I want to become more organized in this area.  This will take some work.
  • All our family photos are in boxes not albums and I like it this way, but I would like to scan them and create files on my computer so I can look at them whenever I would like.  It will be fun looking back at 28 years of memories with my guy.
  • We have had a few trees come down due to the drought.  I have a few projects in mind to use some of that wood in creative ways.  Found a great product for curing fresh wood that keeps it from cracking as it dries.
  • On my super wish list is to add a deck and stairs in the back yard.  We love our fire pit and having friends over to cook out on the fire, but getting down the hill in the dark is not fun.  
  • I would love for next Christmas to be totally hand made.  I dabbled this year with success, but with planning I think I can pull this off in a way everyone will be happy with.  It is an aspiration that I need to get on right away, though, to get everything completed.
  • Throughout the year I want to organize and photograph the things I cook.  Not just for blog posts, but to make a cookbook of the things Breck and I really like to eat.  Like I need a new hobby, right?
So there we are.  I'll let you know how things go, of course.  I need to think a little more about them before New Year's Day.  

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Cookie Exchange 2012

I had a lot to be worried about before the party today.  I didn't get all the cleaning done that I wanted to.  I knew this would be embarrassing, and it was.  I survived though.  I would have done more, but there just wasn't time.  Then there was the last minute, mandatory faculty meeting that was unexpectedly called.  Normally I would have had time to get home and get things cooking before everyone arrived, but that wasn't to be.  So there it is.  My little chunk of stress.  In the end it all worked out.

Of all the foods I made, it seems the two biggest hits were the Asian Meatballs (not sure I warmed these up enough, though they were cooked in advance) and the Bacon Wrapped Chicken.

The Bacon Cheeseburger Puffs were good too.

And though this is not the best photo ever, I get to show you the tags my mom had given me last year.  Cute little guys I can write the food item on and it washes off with a dry towel.

This salad has not recipe.  It's just a can of black beans, some thawed frozen corn, cilantro, red onion, cumin, salt, jalapeno, and garlic.  Good served with the chips, but would have been better with some chopped tomatoes.

I have made these skewers before.  Another easy go-to appetizer of cheese filled tortellini, tomatoes, basil leaves, and green pepper drizzled with Italian dressing.

These Apple-Nut Blue Cheese Tarts were the biggest disappointment.  Loved the filling, great flavor, but I didn't like the hard tart shells.  I think this filling would be great rolled in a crescent roll before baking, and in fact will try that next time.

Made these Smores on a whim last minute.  This is another one of those next-time-will-be-different things.  I would do this in smaller servings using mini marshmallows, and I'll make sure to melt the chocolate a little more so it gets smooth for dipping.

These were a hit as well.  Pudding Cakes.  Nice because I could make them in advance.

Enough of the food I made (forgot to photograph the Crab Cakes), on to the cookies.  The stars of the show.

Everyone did such an amazing job, not just with their recipes, but their presentations.

And yes, the cookies were pretty fabulous as well.

We had a nice mix of chocolate, fruit, and nut treats.

I think there was something for everyone to love.

And everyone got a copy of the recipes.

In the end, we circled the table, taking our share of the yummies.

Great way to end the night.  Thanks, ladies.  Shall we do it again next year?