Home In Disarray

February 22, 2012

You ever make quiche? I do, try it!

You ever make quiche?  I do, try it!
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My husband, Craig, who purportedly hates both pastry of any kind, as well as “eggy” dishes will happily gobble down quiche. Know why? It’s tasty and pretty simple to throw together with leftovers.

First you start with your crust. You can use a frozen one. I’m not particularly fond of them and prefer using Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe for the perfect vodka crust. It’s easy, albeit a little time consuming. I swap out home-rendered leaf lard for shortening. Pig fat always tastes better.
Pastry mat

Pie crust

Pie crust

Pie crust

Pie crust

Pie Crust

Pie Crust

Pie Crust

Once your crust has been assembled, poked with a fork, etc, freeze it. Then line with foil and bake it at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or so.
Blind Baking Pie Crust

Then remove your foil(carefully!) and pop the crust back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes til it seems fairly solid.
Blind Baking Pie Crust

Blind Baking Pie Crust

Now prep your ingredients.Quiche Ingredients

I started by sauteeing my mushrooms
Sauteeing mushrooms

And got everything else grated and chopped up and ready to be added to the crust.
prepped quiche ingredients

Here are the egg mixture ingredients.
prepped quiche ingredients

I think I used a dozenish eggs, about a cup of cream, and salt and pepper. Once the crust comes out of the oven, start layering in your fillings. I did 2 layers of each, weighting the second layer of cheese (which should be the top)heavier than the first.
layering quiche filling

layering quiche filling

layering quiche filling

Then pour in your whisked up egg/cream + salt and pepper mixture. Then pop it in the oven.
layering quiche filling

Bake it until it’s no longer liquidy in the center (it will continue to firm up after it comes out of the oven) when shaken gently. I removed mine about 20 minutes into baking as the pie crust edges seemed to be browning up a little. To prevent them from burning, I make some protector thingies out of foil to cover up the crust a little.
Baked quiche

foil strips to prevent crust from burning

foil strips to prevent crust from burning

Let it cool down and either eat slightly warm, at room temp, or cold! I generally refrigerate the quiche prior to serving it as it helps to solidify the filling considerably.
baked quiche

Other good fillings:
Spinach
Bacon
Chevre (drool!)
Spam!
Basically any leftovers that aren’t going to exude large volumes of liquid when baked

Warm custardy quiche

Posted in: Baking, Cooking, Food
February 22, 2012

Ricotta and spinach stuffed shells

Ricotta and spinach stuffed shells
By

This is a classic, and somewhat close to what I remember eating as a kid, but probably with a bit more spinach. It’s fairly healthy, but also tasty and a good use of some homemade red sauce if you have some hanging out in the freezer.

Your ingredients
1 box of “large” shells
1 lb(ish) – whatever size a small container of ricotta is – ricotta(I’ve also heard that cottage cheese works fine and is way cheaper, but I’ve never tried it)
1 brick of chopped spinach
garlic powder
1 egg
Salt
Pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes
1 jar of spaghetti (marinara type) sauce
Grated mozzarella

dried pasta shells

Ok – boil your shells. Keep them from sticking. You only want them to be pliable, but not fully cooked. Much harder than a traditional “al dente.” I put mine in a large bowl and drizzled with a little olive oil, then mixed around to help keep them from sticking as I worked on my other projects.

Now get your filling mixture done. I mixed a container of ricotta with a box of chopped spinach that’s been defrosted and squeezed out. I added some powdered/granulated garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper until it was tasty.
spinach ricotta shell filling

Then I added in an egg to help bind it a wee bit.
spinach ricotta shell filling

Then put some pasta sauce in the bottom of a pan. My filling mixture filled enough shells to fill two pie plates.
pan prepped for stuffed shells

Set up your assembly line
stuffed shell assembly line

Use a spoon to scoop the filling into your shells
spinach and ricotta stuffed pasta shell

And place them seam side down into your dish.
spinach and ricotta stuffed pasta shells

Top with more sauce
spinach and ricotta stuffed pasta shells

Then with cheese.
spinach and ricotta stuffed pasta shells

Then bake at 350 for about half an hour. Keep covered with foil for 20 minutes if you want your shells not to dry out and get a little crispy on top. Leave uncovered if you like a crisp top part.
spinach and ricotta stuffed pasta shells

Enjoy.

Posted in: Baking, Cooking, Food
February 22, 2012

Super massively easy chicken stock

Super massively easy chicken stock
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This is the lazy/easy way. It’s not quite as good as the “right” way that involves chicken feet, and other various uncooked chicken parts, but it works fine and makes great stock.

First – start with a rotisserie chicken.
rotisserie chicken

Then take all of the parts that you want to eat off of it, and do what you will with them. Put EVERYTHING else in a crock pot. That means bones, fat, skin, connective tissue (especially connective tissue), etc. And dump the juices that have accumulated in the bottom of the container in too. If you don’t have a whole cooked bird, you can broil some boney chicken parts (wings, legs, backs, necks, etc) until they begin to brown a wee bit and let them stand in for the bird. Then quarter up a small onion or cut 1/2 a big onion into large pieces. Leave the skin and root and other weird stuff on it. Cut 1/2 a head of garlic in half and toss it in, skin and everything. I also added in some baby carrots from the fridge that weren’t gonna get eaten, some whole black peppercorns, and a bay leaf. You may want to put some celery (leafy tops work fine, as do the weird white bottom parts), or parsley, or rosemary, thyme, etc if you have it.

chicken stock ingredients

Add enough water to fill your crock pot and turn it on. Mine is underpowered so I cook it on high overnight. If yours is higher powered, you could probably cook it on low. It probably only needs 3-4 hours, but overnight works fine and it minimizes my effort.

chicken stock ingredients

Then when you wake up the next morning, turn off the crock pot and take the crock out to cool. Let it sit an hour or so until you can handle it.
chicken stock ingredients

Then put a strainer over a bowl (that’s big enough to hold the liquid) and get to straining!
straining chicken stock

Now here’s my haul.
hot chicken stock

I ended up with 2 quarts of the gorgeous golden liquid. Now just stick it in the fridge (you can remove the solidified fat if you want) and use it within a week or two. I’m going to use mine to make a batch of sun dried tomato risotto.
homemade chicken stock

Posted in: Cooking, DIY, Food
February 22, 2012

Man food: Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

Man food: Chicken Enchiladas Verdes
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Ok – these are not from scratch, not healthy, and definitely nowhere near authentic. But they are tasty! The basic concept of the creamy filling came from my high school best friend’s mom. Over the years I have tweaked it, tried adding and subtracting things, and this is what I’ve settled on, though I sometimes add other things if I have them floating around the fridge and need to use them.

Ingredients:
Chicken (whole rotisserie is the easiest, but you could also buy roast parts, roast your own, or poach pieces)
Sour cream (8oz)
Green enchilada sauce (either get a bigger can than mine or two regular size cans)
Roast chiles. The canned ones are fine. If you want to roast and peel your own, by all means! I don’t think that the quality of from-scratch ones shines though, and based on the ingredients list, they’re really not full of weird processed ingredients like the enchilada sauce is)
Cheese (cheddar, pepperjack, jack, or colby jack are fine)
Corn tortillas (they really are better with corn than with flour)

Start with your chicken. Pull the meat off the bones and shred it. Save the bones, skin, connective tissue, fat, and other stuff you’re not interested in eating for some chicken stock – it’s easy! I just put the weird stuff in the lid of the rotisserie package. (Money saving tip – my grocery store puts their lefover rotisserie birds on sale for $2.99 after 7 o’clock at night to get rid of them.)
Rotisserie chicken

Shredded rotisserie chicken

Put your chicken in a bowl, and add some shredded cheddar. I’d say about 2 cups? Add however much you think looks good. This is not a precise recipe.
shredded chicken mixed with cheese

Here are the rest of your add-ins. You want to add your whole small can of chiles, the whole 8oz tub of sour cream (you could try using low fat sour cream or greek yogurt, but the sour cream really does taste better), and just enough of the enchilada sauce to make it loose. You want the mixture to be loose but not soupy. I tasted the mixture and wanted to add a little more heat so I dumped in some crushed red pepper flakes. Cayenne, jalapenos, etc would all work fine too.
enchilada filling ingredients

enchilada filling

Now put some sauce(just enough to coat) in the bottom of a pan. This is a 9×13″ Pyrex casserole. You should own one of these and can probably get it at the grocery store(though amazon’s way cheaper)
pan prepped for enchiladas

Now get to prepping your tortillas. Heat up a skillet on medium-high and toss a tortilla in there. When it starts warming up, flip it over, and proceed to your next tortilla. At this point (if you have enough sauce) you can put some on a plate and a little bit between each warmed tortilla, though it’s not totally necessary. Then make a line of your filling mixture on a tortilla, wrap, and tuck it into your casserole dish.
getting ready to fill enchiladas

filling enchiladas

assembling enchiladas

Lather, rinse, repeat until your pan is full. I only had like 1/4 cup of filling left over after filling the pan.
pan of enchiladas

Dump the rest of the sauce on top, spread it around, and then top with shredded cheese.
unbaked chicken enchiladas

I usually make pans of enchiladas after dinner and stick then in the refrigerator overnight and then bake them for dinner the following day. My husband raided the pan this morning for breakfast so it looks ugly and I didn’t photograph them after. Bake at 350F for 30-45 minutes. You can start baking covered in foil (to keep the tortillas from drying out) and then take the foil off for the last 10-15 minutes to get the cheese gooey.

Posted in: Baking, Cooking, Food