Friday, January 4, 2008

COMFORT AND JOY!!!!!!!!!!!!

You know how sometimes people will ask you,"What is your favorite food?" Well, I get that question and am also asked a lot, "What's your favorite dish to cook?" Both questions are hard to answer if you love to cook like I do. I really cook for a couple of reasons......I love good tasting food.....I thoroughly enjoy the entire process of shopping for and preparing a meal for family and friends, and I find that I am really focused when I'm working with food. It's very Zen-like for me. I have a high level of confidence when I'm cooking and I get such a sense of accomplishment when I share a good tasting dish with folks. I do love the accolades! And the criticism? Well, you gotta take that too and hopefully learn from it. These past few years I have also realized that I am a person who likes to be in control of situations when I feel capable and qualified. Unfortunately that feeling of confidence and capability does not spill over into some other things in my life and I am wholly aware of when to step aside and let the pros take over. I hope this keeps me realistic and humble. I just do know what I do well and I wish that sense of purpose and satisfaction for everyone in their endeavours. I learn every time I pick up a cookbook or watch someone else prepare food. I really think that anyone can learn how to cook. It's just like anything else where some people have a knack for certain things. I grew up surrounded by women who were fabulous cooks. Just good ole plain food. Delicious dishes that made me want to learn how to give that to the people I love. Cooking is not just pots and pans and meat and taters....it's really a combination of a big dose of love (you gotta wanna!) and realistically, some skills that have to be developed and honed in order to be successful. Learning some basic cooking skills will carry anybody thru life. You gotta know what can go with what. You have to know how to season, and you better know there's a big difference between high heat and low heat. Lots goes on there in the middle. I'm not a great chef and I never claim to be, but I am a good cook and that's because I love what I do and I take pride in doing it the best way I know how. I study every day and sometimes the dog does eat my homework. I like to say that not every ball gets knocked out of the park, there have been many runs, drips and errors! (Just ask Gerald!) I think some folks are born with a talent and opportunity and mine happened to be cooking. Just like some people are born to be scholars, surgeons or scientists.........and they all gotta eat sometime!!!

Here's a great Quiche recipe that I got my friend Beverly. She came up with the original version. We served this at the little tea room she and I developed the menu for and it was a big hit. I added the mozzarella because I didn't have enough cheddar one day. The mozzarella gave it a real creamy texture. This is a great dish for any time of day or night. It makes a great easy and filling supper. I made this for brunch the morning after Christmas when the boys, their girlfriends and our grandson Logan was here. God Bless 'em...they are all good eaters and my cup "runneth over" that day!! comfortcook@gmail.com



CARPETBAGGER"S QUICHE

2 9 in. prepared pie crusts, thawed if frozen (store bought works great and I used the
boxed pre-rolled kind from the biscuit dough section)
1 Box frozen chopped spinach thawed and drained very well
1 small onion diced
1/4 cup (or more to taste) Bacon Bits (Please use Real bacon bits here)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 Extra large eggs
1 Large can evaporated milk
*Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (fresh ground makes a difference here)
A pinch of cayenne ( I think cayenne compliments cheese dishes; a pinch adds a
great background, not heat))

Preheat oven to 350. If using a pre-rolled pie crust, spray bottom of 9 inch pie pan.
1. Divide and sprinkle half the diced onions into each pie crust.
2. Follow with half the mushrooms over onions.
3. Add half the drained spinach layer over mushrooms and onions. (Spread evenly over top)
4. Top the spinach with the bacon bits
5. Sprinkle the mozzarella over entire layer

6.In a separate bowl, beat eggs and evaporated milk till well blended. Add salt (*remember bacon is salty and already in recipe) and both peppers, more black than cayenne.

7.Divide wet batter and pour evenly and gently into each crust. Top each quiche with the shredded cheddar ( and I do embellish here) and bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes. Quiche is done when sides are set and middle is still a bit spongy. To test, insert a butter knife and when it comes out clean, the quiche is ready. Do not over bake.
Cover with foil to keep warm or serve at room temperature with a big green salad and a crusty baquette or a loaf of warm bread. Softened butter (or margarine) with some honey mixed together is a great condiment to serve to spread on the bread.
Throw some fresh fruit in a bowl and you look like a pro and most importantly, it shows you care. "Comfort and Joy!"

TIP!!!!
To make one quiche, cut recipe in half, but use 4 whole eggs and 1 extra yolk. You can substitute any kind of cheese. For instance, Monterrey Jack and cheddar or pepper jack takes this dish south of the border. Add some chopped green chilies in addition to or in place of the mushrooms. Add ham, instead of bacon, green peppers, red peppers, steamed broccoli , chives.....play with it and make it your own. Just use the basic egg and milk mixture as your base.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!

2008 came just in time at the Schmidt House. Maybe you noticed that I took some time off around the holidays and am just now getting back in the groove. This was one of our best holiday seasons in a long time, and with that came alot of preparation and celebration. We had the boys and their significant others, our grandson Logan, and friends and neighbors in and out for days. My family back in Illinois had a great time together with their spread out families, also. I always miss them when the rest of us get together here in Tennessee. It's so hard to work with everyone's schedule, but we were in one another's hearts. We also had a great night out with our good friends Mike and Bob ( who are relocating soon) and in between all the hustle and bustle, Geraldo and I had to manage a few dental appointments. I had a root canal (attempt) that became a bigger deal than expected so that knocked me off my feet for a couple of days. Mepergan and baking do not mix. I was loopy for a few days. But Christmas came and the day was great and the brunch the day after was wonderful also. A couple of nights after Christmas, we met Mike and Bob at "Toot's" a surf and turf restaurant in Smyrna and I, quite obviously, got hold of a BAD oyster. The reaction was swift and violent, and I'm not quite ready for any trips to the all you can eat seafood bar at the local Oriental Buffet. I did learn a valuable lesson tho....trust your nose. I was excited to see our friends, and quite truthfully, giddy that I was getting to "eat out". So I dug in with abandonment and paid for it later. I am happy to report that I was the only casualty (from our table) that night, but Gerald got a 24 hour bug a couple of days later. We were both fine for New Year's and watched the ball drop from the comfort of our living room with our furry friends. The four legged kind....not the neighbors.
So I hope all of you had a great holiday season and that love found its way into your hearts and homes. I'm ready to meet 2008 with an attitude adjustment and live in the present.
I do have a couple of recipes that I tried out for the first time. Actually I did 3 new cookie recipes that were all really, really good. I'm paying for that now...I have put on some pounds since Thanksgiving and I knew I would. I really enjoy all the flavors this time of year offers. So, I'm resolving to rework some old recipes and give them a lighter makeover. I've got a quiche recipe we had for Christmas that was so easy and delicious. Everyone loved it..including our big ole boys. They had never even heard the phrase "real men don't eat quiche", so I didn't have that hurdle to get over. I'll get some recipes to all of you later and please email me if you had any tried and true favorites over the holidays or found some new taste sensation. comfortcook@gmail.com God Bless You and Yours and I wish you "Comfort and Joy" for 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GOODNESS GRACIOUS!

GOODNESS GRACIOUS!
Does it get better than this?

BARBEQUE SHRIMP

BARBEQUE SHRIMP
NEW ORLEANS STYLE!!

GREEN GOODNESS

GREEN GOODNESS
Ya gotta make you some of these!

SCHLURRRRP!

SCHLURRRRP!
Grilling Burgers? 10 Great Recipes

TENNESSEE TEXAS CAVIAR

TENNESSEE TEXAS CAVIAR
This is Soooo good!!

CUBAN MOJO CHICKEN

CUBAN MOJO CHICKEN
Light, And Flavorful!!

BAR- B -CUED PORK...SCHLURP!!!

BAR- B -CUED PORK...SCHLURP!!!
GREAT TASTING PORK STEAKS!

CRAB CAKES

CRAB CAKES
Wolfgang Puck's Great Recipe Here

FRESH FISH

FRESH FISH
Delicious, Fresh Orange Roughy Recipes

STEAK, STEAK, STEAK

STEAK, STEAK, STEAK

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