Friday, 30 November 2012

Super Salmon Veggie Quiche

Yeah, yeah - I know "real men don't eat quiche" except, mine will and do. A quiche make a light dinner or a hearty lunch. It goes well with a tossed salad or a plate of raw veggies and dip. This can also be combined with a light soup for supper.
I came up with this idea to use left over salmon, because every time I bake a salmon, I have some left over. You can add almost anything to a quiche, kind of like the leftover rice pancake dish I posted earlier. You can use homemade pie pastry or frozen pie shells. They work equally well. If you are gluten free, you will have your own type of pastry shell. I confess I have never made a gluten free pie dough.

Preheat oven to 450F

What you need:1 unbaked pie shell; about 1 and 1/2 cups cooked salmon, broken into bite size pieces, or flaked; 4 whole eggs, (or 2 whole eggs and 1/4 cup egg whites); about 1 cup of milk( for extra richness you can use 1/2 milk and 1/2 cream); 1 cup of shredded veggies, (carrots, zuchinni, broccoli); 1 tbs minced onion, 1 tbs minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste; 1 tbs parsley flakes, and 1 tbs snipped chives; 1 cup of your favourite grated cheese, ( cheddar, edam, or gouda work well).

What you do: Spread the salmon over the bottom of the pie shell. Add grated vegetables and cover with grated cheese. In a medium mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then add seasonings, herbs, and milk. Stir well. Pour carefully over the cheese. It will fill nearly to the top of the pie shell.

Bake 15 minutes at 450 F,then reduce heat to 350 F and continue baking for 30 - 35 minutes, or until the egg is completely set. Cut in wedges, and serve warm. Can also be eaten cold the next day, -(or reheated gently).

 As always - enjoy.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Stuffed Peppers

This is one of those classic comfort food dishes, with the whole meal in one dish. It has vegetables, rice and meat with various spices, that you can adapt and change according to your personal taste.

What you need: 2 or 3 sweet peppers, any colour you like or a variety; 600 gr lean ground beef; 4 cups cooked rice; 1/2  cup finely chopped onion, ; 2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced; 1 cup crushed tomatoes or 1 small can of tomato paste mixed with one can of water; a block of cheddar cheese; salt and pepper to taste, 2 tbs of parsley or cilantro flakes, and/or any other spices you wish to add.
Heat oven to 350 F

What you do:  cook the beef in a skillet until well cooked through. Add all your spices, onion, garlic, salt and pepper, parsley. Stir well. Stir in cooked rice and tomato sauce. cut peppers into sections, and remove the pith and seeds. Fill each piece of pepper with the meat blend. There are usually lots more of the mixture than will fit into your pepper pieces, so take any extra meat mix and smooth onto the bottom of a small baking pan. Place all the pepper pieces on top of the baking pan. Slice cheese and place one slice on each piece of pepper. Place into the oven and bake for about 45 minutes.

Serve hot with a good wine or  beer. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Breakfast casserole

I do a breakfast for St Luke's outreach school in Okotoks twice a month. I am always looking for new things to try, and found this idea on another cooking website. I made a few changes - as always - and it was a big hit.
It has hashbrowns, bacon, cheese and eggs. How can you go wrong?

Preheat oven to 400 F.
What you need:  4 cups of frozen hashbrowns; 2 tbs margarine or butter; 6-8 slices of bacon; 6 eggs; about 4 oz of cheese; 1/2 cup milk; 1 tbs onion powder - or 3 tbs minced fresh onion, 1 tbs garlic powder - or 2 cloves of garlic minced; 2 tbs parsley flakes; salt and pepper to taste.

What you do:  Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove and add margarine to the skillet. When it is all melted, add the hashbrowns, and season with onion, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Cook until pieces are browned and crispy. Remove skillet from heat. Pour the hashbrowns into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Spread evenly over the bottom of the dish, and set aside. In a bowl, mix eggs with milk. Pour over the hashbrowns. Grate cheese and sprinkle over the baking pan. Chop or break the bacon into bits, and sprinkle over the top of the casserole. Bake for 40 minutes or until the eggs are completely cooked.

Optional: You can do all the prep work and put the casserole into the fridge overnight.** Remove from fridge and allow to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before placing into the oven.  Cut into slices to serve.

Enjoy.  This reheats very well.

** Can also be frozen. If you freeze it allow to thaw in the fridge overnight before cooking.

Sugar Cookies with variations for holidays or Christmas

Sugar cookies are very easy to make, but even more important, they are so easy to change, so you have a dozen kinds of cookie from one basic recipe. This includes lemon, orange, spice, almond, and lots of colours to make pink hearts for Valentines Day, orange pumpkins and black cats for Halloween, Green shamrocks for St Patrick's Day, and of course, tons of Christmas shapes and colours. You are only limited by your imagination - or the cookie cutters you can find.

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Basic recipe:

What you need: 2/3 cup shortening, 1 and 1/2 cups sugar; 2 eggs; 1 and 1/2 tsp salt; 2 tsp baking powder; 1 tsp vanilla - clear vanilla if you have it. (food colour is optional, depending on the season)

What you do: Cream shortening with sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla.(Add colour if using) Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add in small amounts to the sugar mix, until just blended. Over mixing makes for tough cookies.  Chill dough for 30 minutes. Roll out on floured surface to 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookis cutters into desired shapes. If you want to use them for decorations on the Christmas tree, use a straw to make holes in the cookies before baking. 
Bake 12  - 15 minutes, or until edges are starting to brown.

Can be decorated with icing, and other toppings - non-pareil, sprinkles, candy dots, stars, silver balls, etc.

To adapt this for other flavours, substitute the vanilla for other flavours as below.

Lemon cookies - use 2 tsp lemon extract,add 2 tbs lemon juice,  2 Tbs lemon zest, and a few drops of yellow colouring. Roll, cut and bake as above.

Orange cookies - use orange  in place of lemon extract, juice and zest, and add yellow and red colour to create the orange you like best. Bake as above.

Spice cookies - to basic recipe, use 1 tsp rum flavouring in place of vanilla, and add 1/2 tsp each of nutmeg, allspice, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Bake as above.

Almond cookies - to basic recipe, use almond flavouring in place of vanilla, add 1/2 cup slivered almonds.

Peppermint cookies - to basic recipe, use peppermint extract in place of vanilla, and colour with red or green. You can add 2 tbs of crushed candy canes, or top with crushed candy canes after baking.

Chocolate cookies - to basic recipe add 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and a little water or milk if need to make a good rolling consistancy. Bake as above.

Peanut Butter Cookies

First recipe I ever made on my own, at age 8.  Preheat oven to 350 F

What you need: 1/2 cup margarine; 1/2 cup peanut butter; 1/2 cup sugar; 1/2 cup brown sugar; 1 egg; 1 and 1/2 cup flour; 1 tsp baking soda.

What you do:  In a large bowl, cream peanut butter with margarine, then beat in egg. Add sugars and mix well. Add 1 cup flour in small amounts. Add baking powder to the remaining flour, and add to mixture in small amounts until dough is well mixed. Roll dough into small balls, and place on cookie sheets. Press down with a fork in a cross pattern. Bake 12 minutes or until edges start to brown and centers are dry when tested with  a toothpick.  

Scotch Broth soup - with gluten free variation

Some friends came for lunch a few weeks ago, and asked for this recipe. This one is out of my first cookbook, written when I was between 8 and 12. Any of you with Scottish blood should be very familiar with this hearty soup, based on lamb or mutton - which is a staple in Scotland. Campbells actually makes a good version of this, but it has too much salt for me these days.

What you need: 1 kg of lamb or mutton (shoulder works well), with or without the bone; 1 large onion; 2 cloves garlic; 3 ribs of celery, with the leaves; 3 carrots;1/2 cup pot barley; 3 - 4 TBs parsley flakes; 1 bay leaf, 2 litres water; salt and pepper to taste.

What you do: Cut the meat off bones (if using bone -in) and chop into bite size pieces. Peel and chop onion, peel and mince garlic. Peel and chop carrots into small cubes, and slice celery stalk thinly. I usually leave the leaf part of the celery whole, so I can remove the leaves before serving.
 Heat a little oil in a skillet, and sear the meat, then add onion and garlic. Place bones into a stock pot and add water. Bring to a boil. Add seared meat, and all the vegetables. Add barley and herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Return to boil then reduce heat and simmer for several hours, until veggies are tender, and barley cooked. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Goes well with fresh biscuits, or crackers. Enjoy.

If you are gluten free, omit the barley and add 3 chopped potatoes.