Quiche Lorraine

Quiches

Quiche Lorraine

Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

This is the classic quiche. It has the basic egg custard poured over bits of bacon. You could also replace the bacon with diced, cooked ham sautéed slightly.

Ingredients:

  • 3 to 4 oz bacon, cut into pieces
  • 1 8-inch partially cooked pastry shell in the pie pan or placed on a baking sheet (link)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ to 2 cups milk (or whipping cream)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Nutmeg, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
  2. Sprinkle the bottom of the pastry shell with the pieces of bacon.
  3. Beat the eggs, milk and seasonings in a mixing bowl until blended. Pour the mixture into the pastry shell.
  4. Set in the upper third of the preheated oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the quiche has puffed and browned.

Comments: This is a very simple and quick recipe. What takes up the most time is making the dough and the pastry shell but if you have that ready ahead of time you can whip this up for a quick, last minute weekday dinner. If this one’s too “eggy” for you, try the Quiche au Fromage de Gruyère.

Rich Marbled Chocolate Cake

Cakes

Rich Marbled Chocolate Cake, pedazo lado

Adapted from Crazy for Chocolate

While on my spring break, my friend’s parents invited my parents and me over for dinner. Of course, they asked me to bake a dessert. I already had my eye on this one and I chose to make it because, after all, who doesn’t love chocolate? It’s quite simple and looks really nice, a good crowd-pleaser.

The Unbaked Cake

The Unbaked Cake

The Cake

Ingredients:

  • 125g (4 oz.) dark chocolate, chopped, or dark chocolate chips
  • 125g (4 oz.) butter, softened
  • ½ cup (125g/4oz) white sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1¼ cups (155g/5 oz.) self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1/3 cup (80mL/2¾ fl oz.) milk
  • 1 tbsp milk, extra
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease a deep 20cm (8 inch) round cake pan.
  2. Place the chocolate in a microwavable bowl and melt the chocolate according to the directions on the package.
  3. Using electric beaters, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and creamy. Add the eggs gradually, beating thoroughly after each addition.
  4. Using a metal spoon, fold in the sifted flour alternately with the milk. Add the extra tablespoon of milk and vanilla. Stir until combined.
  5. Divide the mixture in two and add the melted chocolate to one portion. Mix well.
  6. Spoon the two mixtures alternately into the prepared pan. Swirl the mixture with a skewer. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Leave the cake in the pan for 15 minutes. Then remove it from the pan and let it cool.
The Baked Cake

The Baked Cake

The Chocolate Icing

Ingredients:

  • 100g (3 1/3 oz.) white chocolate, chopped, or white chocolate chips
  • 4 tbsp cream
  • 100g (3 1/3 oz.) dark chocolate, chopped, or dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Place the white chocolate and 2 tablespoons of cream in a small microwavable bowl. Melt the chocolate according to the directions on the package.
  2. Repeat the melting process with the dark chocolate and remaining cream.
Icing the Cake

Icing the Cake

Assembling the Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cake (recipe above)
  • Chocolate Icing (recipe above)

Directions:

  1. Let the cake cool completely.
  2. Place alternate blobs of the white and dark chocolate mixtures on top of the cake.
  3. Swirl with a skewer for a marbled look.
The Finished Cake

The Finished Cake

Comments: The original recipe called for 1 tablespoon of brandy, which I substituted for the extra tablespoon of milk. I was originally planning on not simply omitting it but the tablespoon of liquid improves the consistency of the batter. I did not have an 8-inch cake pan available so I ended up using a 9-inch one. If you do so, the cake will not be as tall and you must shorten the cooking time to around 30 minutes. The cake is best if eaten on the same day it is made. Finally, when you are spreading the icing over the cake, make sure to work fast because it solidifies quite quickly and it becomes harder to spread.

Rich Marbled Chocolate Cake, pedazo

Brownies de Blanca Cotta

Brownies and Bars

Brownies de Blanca Cotta, close-up

Adapted and Translated from La cocina divertida de Blanca Cotta by Blanca Cotta

No joke, these are my absolute FAVORITE brownies. These bring back memories from way back in my childhood. I suppose you could say they are more “European-style” brownies. They are very rich and fudgy on the inside and have a crackly surface. They are superb. I apologize to any Americans reading this but I was a bit disappointed when I came to the U.S. and tasted the American brownies. Even the ones that are supposedly “fudgy” have nothing on these. Don’t take my word for it; try them out!

Ingredients:

  • 200g (7 oz.) butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 300g (10.6 oz.) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat to oven to 350F (177C).
  2. Put the butter in a saucepan and place the chocolate on top. Heat over medium heat.
  3. Once the chocolate is softened, remove from heat and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  4. Beat the eggs and sugar with electric beaters in a bowl until the mixture thickens and the top becomes the bubbly.
  5. Add the melted chocolate and continue beating until bubbles form.
  6. Gradually add the flour and keep beating until the surface becomes bubbly once more.
  7. Pour the mixture into a greased 13×9 inch baking dish.
  8. Place in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes. When done, the top will crackle. The inside should be moist but a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.
  9. Allow to cool before cutting.

Comments: I insist you try these brownies; I really do. I have a few recommendations. You most definitely don’t want to overbake them because they will become very hard. I get a bit nervous myself about whether or not they are ready but you will know when the top begins to crackle, I promise. Psst…if they come out a bit raw, no one will mind the melty deliciousness…They are absolutely amazing straight out of the oven but you will get a gooey mess. If you’re making them for yourself, be my guest to dig in as soon as they are out but if you are sharing with others, wait before cutting. You may add nuts if you wish.

Brownies de Blanca Cotta

Buckwheat, Mushroom and Rye Burgers

Vegan, Veggie Burgers

Buckwheat, Mushroom and Rye Burgers

 

Adapted from Going Veggie by Trudy Slabosz

I hate mushrooms. I always have. I don’t like that earthy taste, the almost metallic smell, the consistency…I hate them. Lately, however, I have been feeling a bit more open about trying new vegetables. That’s in part what motivated me to try out these burgers from one of my new vegetarian books. They are really good and you can’t taste the mushrooms at all. Like the book says, it is filled with whole-grain goodness and veggie power!

Yield: 6-12 burgers

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup raw buckwheat
  • 1-2 slices seeded whole-grain bread
  • 1 cup rolled rye (I used oats instead)
  • 2 cups button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 onion
  • small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
  • small bunch fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Buckwheat, Mushroom and Rye Burgers, plato

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 420F (215.5C).
  2. Bring the buckwheat and 1½ cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Gently simmer, covered, over low heat for 30 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the buckwheat is tender. Set aside to cool.
  3. Place the slices of bread in a food processor and process until you have course breadcrumbs; set aside in a separate small bowl.
  4. Add the rolled rye or oats to the food processor and process to a coarse flour. Transfer to a large bowl.
  5. Place the chopped mushrooms in the same food processor and process until you have a ground meat consistency. Transfer to the same bowl as the prepared rolled rye or oats.
  6. Process the onion with the fresh parsley and thyme until finely minced. Transfer to the mushrooms and rye/oats. Add the cooled buckwheat, nutritional yeast, mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
  7. Using your hands, combine all the ingredients, adding the prepared breadcrumbs a little at a time until you have a good burger patty mixture that’s not too wet and holds together nicely. Set aside, covered in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook the burgers.
  8. Roll portions of the patty mixture into balls and drop onto a greased baking sheet. Use a spatula to flatten down the patties. Place in the preheated oven. Bake for 5-10 minutes, then flip them to cook the other side for 5-10 more minutes or until they are golden and crunchy on the outside.

 

Comments: The original recipe included kale chips as a side and a tomato relish topping. I don’t like kale or tomatoes so I did not make them. I made Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges instead as a side dish. In my family we’ve never really had burgers in a bun but I’m sure these would be great in a whole-wheat bun. Add lettuce and tomatoes or whatever vegetable you desire. The book recommends eating them with either soy or regular mayo as well. They might even be good with some hummus. For the seeded whole-grain bread I used Oroweat 12 Grain, which was what we had, but you can probably also use bakery bread instead. If you are vegan, choose a vegan bread to make the crumbs. The original recipe said to grill the patties with some oil on a stovetop or barbecue grill pan over medium high heat. You can do that or use the oven like I did.

Buckwheat Mushroom and Rye Burgers, plato c: batatas