Quiche

 

One of my favorite memories, is going way back to when i was in high school and my first food preparation class teacher ( which at that time i took for easy credits, since i never thought that i would be a professional chef, but was sure i would be a guitar god..) took us to a restaurant downtown at the old antlers hotel…….me and a friend of mine decided to smoke a bowl before going in and eating…..which to tell you the truth, i beleive…is why i became so obsessed at the time with the stupid crazy retarded goodness of a food item called…..Quiche ( pronounced ” keesh”). Maybe it was because my taste buds where enhanced 5 times more than regular…maybe it was because i was concentrating on feeding the munchies monster that was brewing in my soul…..or maybe the Quiche Lorraine I had was actually that good….who knows. All I know is that the restaurant is no longer there, so i cannot go back and have another piece. But that obsession has never left me and still to date… i still search for the perfect Quiche and during my long and still continuing search……. i have tasted some exquisite Quiche, but none of them have ever tasted as good as that first Quiche I tried…….at the Antlers Hotel…..

Anyway …i still love the damn things and every once in a while I get a craving for them. Hawaii doesn’t have many choices of restaurants that serve this delicate, delicious gourmet treats , so like most of my cravings i must make my own. If you never had a Quiche ……. you should definitely give this a try…..remember you can fill it with anything you want…..I chose left overs I had in my fridge can fill it with sausage, potatoes, anything….Left overs are great for a hand held breakfast on the way out the door.  Enjoy!

1 premade pie crust ( prepare as directed on the package) < yes i know how to make my own crust, i just choose not to at this particular moment >

6 slices of bacon, fried crispy and chopped into pieces

1/4 cup onions finely chopped

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1 cup fresh spinach

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 cup whipping cream ( very important. either this or Half and Half. not regular milk.)

3 large eggs with whites included

2 egg yolks  with out whites

1/2 tsp of salt

1/4 tsp pepper

3/4 cups Gruyère cheese shredded ( really any cheese you like, experiment a little, just no fake sliced cheese.)

in a skillet on medium high heat saute bacon till crisp, drain fat and transfer bacon to a paper towel. In the same skillet saute the onions till tender, add garlic and saute till fragrant. Add spinach and saute till wilted. remove from pan . toss with balsamic vinegar and set aside.

**note – squeeze out excess liquid before sprinkling in pie shell.

whisk together eggs and whipping cream till well blended and custard looking. in the cool pre baked pie crust  sprinkle spinach mixture ( see note ). sprinkle cheese. fill pie crust with egg mixture. do not over fill. with a fork lightly stir ingredients with fork to incorporate with egg mixture. Be careful not to break the pie crust.

Bake Quiche till slightly puffed and golden, about 35 minutes at 375 degrees. let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Red Curry Pork Chop with Purple Potatoes and Snap Peas tossed in a Thai Ginger butter

Hello People!

This is my 30 minute meal for the day, after working a 12 hr shift …… all I want is to eat a good meal, not some rubbish from a fast food joint. Also it is to be fast and easy….well this is something I whipped up tonight and wanted to share with you all. the rub in this meal takes the most time, but my secret is to actually put all the ingredients in a mortar or use a robocoupe, im lucky enough to own the bullet which works great.

 

1 pork chop

1 tsp minced ginger

1 tsp minced lemon grass

1 tsp minced cilantro

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp Kaffir Lime

1 tsp Lime Juice

1/8 tsp minced Thai Chili

Salt and pepper to taste

and the braising liquid is your basic store-bought 2 Tbls red curry base and 1/4 cup coconut milk.

Mix all the minced ingredients to gether. salt and pepper the chop to taste. smear 1/2 the minced mixture all over the chop. pan sear on both sides for 4 minutes each on medium heat. make sure to not burn it. add the red curry paste and coconut milk and lower heat to medium low, cover and braise for 15 minutes.

Potatoes and snap peas

3 med purple potatoes

handful of snap peas

3 tbls of soft butter

salt and pepper to taste

boil salted water and cook the potatoes till fork tender.  in the same water quickly blanch the snap peas. Take the remainder of the minced mixture used on the pork chops and mix it with the butter. salt and pepper to taste. toss the potatoes and peas in the butter.

arrange on plate and enjoy your easy quick meal.

 

 

Ricotta Gnocchi with a Braised Beef and Peas

 

Sometimes you try new things… and your left with ingredients in your fridge that you have now idea what to do with…they simply never make things in portion sizes you need it’s always too much or not enough…what a pain.

Well this I an easy dish that I love to death, and is a great way to use up that extra Ricotta you have from the pizza I posted not to long ago.

If you never made homemade gnocchi before get ready for helll…hahah! JOKING!  It is one of the most easiest things in the world to do! People get scared of the name and think it is a labor intensive process that you must have a 4 year degree from a top culinary school to make….NOT!  This recipe was invented by busy, hard-working mothers in the hills of italy who had to use every ingredient they had for nutrition…waste nothing was the rule of the land….

I made that up haha I have no idea what the rule of the land was but im sure it was close.

So the recipe is as follows

8 oz Ricotta

2 eggs

1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

1 tsp minced garlic

1 1/2 cups of All Purpose Flour

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large bowl mixed to gether all the ingredients except the flour. Make sure it is all incorporated very well. This is the time you can season the mixture and taste it to see if its to your liking.

Add the flour in a little at a time, I usually go for a quarter cup at a time and gradually add in the rest. The reason for this is so that you don’t get lumps and if you add it all in at a time you might dry it out too much. You should only add in enough so that the dough come together and is no longer sticky to the touch.

Once you have a nice dough, you want to cut it into fours. Roll each section into 1 inch ropes, cut into 1/4 inch pieces and use a fork to lightly roll each piece so that you create a rigid surface so that the sauces has an area that it can grab on to. Place them in the freezer till your ready to cook.

when your ready to cook them, get a pot of water with a pinch of salt on the stove. Bring it to a boil. This is the easiest thing in the world to cook, it will tell you when it is cooked. Place them in the pot of boiling water and they sink to the bottom…when they are done cooking they will float to the top. It will take no more than 5 minutes to cook. When they are done place them in the sauce of your choice and toss. get to eating!

Now if you would like  to try my Braised Beef and Peas……its super simple to. It just takes time. here’s the recipe

( quick tip: use a cheap cut of meat, since your braising it for 2 to 3 hours )

1 lbs of meat like short ribs, or pot roast,

1 can beef broth

1/4 cup red wine ( good wine please )

1 can tomato sauce

1/4 cup chopped onions

2 tsp minced garlic

1/4 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp thyme

1 tsp butter ( cuz butter is the bomb )

1 inch square of milk chocolate ( secret ingredient it removes the acidity from the tomato sauce )

1/4 cup frozen peas

salt and pepper to taste

Season the meat with Salt and Pepper. In a pot or pan with high sides, melt the butter and brown the meat. Remove the meat and add the onion, garlic and herbs,,,saute till the onions are translucent. Deglaze with the Beef broth and add the meat back in the pot. Add the rest of the ingredients and braise on low for 2 hrs….the meat should be shredded and tender. The liquid should be reduced by half . Add the peas and reduce a little more till you have a nice luxurious sauce. That is it……toss the gnocchi and enjoy.

 

Homemade Spinach and Bacon White Pizza

So living in Hawaii, even though it is a beautiful place and i do love it, leaves my food soul empty some times. The lack of actual descent….or should i say different cultural delicacies is making my taste buds go wild. So i must pull out all the stops and bring the flavors of the world to my plate my self.

So this week my insatiable taste buds where screaming for pizza….not just that fake disgusting mass-produced style card board with ketchup thing that most individuals consider pizza…i mean fresh crisp light dough that is baked to a golden brown and smothered in kick ass flavor packed toppings! I havent had a NY style white pizza in I don’t know how long…with a creamy roasted garlic sauce , sautéed spinach, home-made smoked bacon and topped with three cheeses…Ricotta, mozzarella and freshly grated  Parmigiano….My God it was delicious…..and so easy to make. i will try to post a pic right now to show you what it looked like…It all started by an argument with my Sous Chef on what a White pizza is…being that he never has been to New York , i tried to explain to him that he didn’t even know what a real pizza is….which just fueled our creative culinary imagination and we decided we had to have a Pizza Cook Off !! ……i WON HAHAHAH!The best thing is that it was extremely simple to make…like it should be. Simple, Fast , Fresh and Good…

I think that one of the most important parts of the pizza is the dough…it is truly the canvas for what ever you wish to create, so pick a good dough. If you don’t want to take the time to make a good dough from scratch then go to your favorite pizza joint and ask to purchase some. But i must stress…NOT PIZZA HUT !! it is an abomination of a great staple…..you can go to even your local specialty store like whole foods, and I believe they even sell dough in the grocery store in a tube like bisquits…anyway.. use one that’s good. I also think it’s a great idea to have a Pizza stone…it is cheap and gives you that nice crunchy crust.

So lets stat with the recipe.

First pre heat your oven to 350 degrees and place your Pizza Stone inside so it can get nice and hot.

second grab your ingredients and Mis en Place…( organize your self and ingredients, must recipe errors come from poor organization )

White Sauce:

2 tbsp of butter

3 tbsp of flour

1 cup of milk

1 tbsp minced roasted garlic

1 tbsp dried oregano

1/2 cup Parmigiano-reggiano

pinch of nutmeg

Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat butter in a small sauce pan. Add the flour and stir till mixed. Very important do not burn the roux. Yes! you just made a Roux! The technical term for a flour and butter mixture.

whisk in milk slowly so that all the lumps have been incorporated into the sauce. Stir in the remaining ingredients, remove from the heat and let stand so the flavors will come together. The sauce will thicken up on its own, if it gets to thick you can thin it out with a little more milk.

ok, so now that is done, back to the pie….

2 c. fresh mozzarella

1/2 c. Ricotta

2 tsp minced roasted garlic ( i love garlic )

1/4 c. sautéed spinach ( squeeze out excess liquid )

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

olive oil to drizzle

6 bacon slices ( cooked and chopped up )

So dust a clean dry counter top with a little flour and roll out your dough to the size and shape you want. I myself don’t worry about the shape too much , cuz its going in my belly anyway, but the thickness is important. I like thin crust so i roll it out to about an 1/8 ‘ thick. Now comes the fun part.

place you dough on the back of a lightly oiled sheet pan, this is so you will be able to slide it on to the hot pizza stone when you ready to put it int he oven.

smear your white sauce over the dough, evenly distribute your toppings… add your spinach, ricotta ( just add in little spoon fulls all over the pie ), bacon, roasted garlic, sprinkle red pepper flakes all over, cover with an even layer of mozzarella. Salt and Pepper to taste.

now open your pre heated oven and slide the rack out with the pizza stone on it. Slowly and carefully slide the pizza on the stone. push the rack back in and close the oven door. Cook for 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your dough. When the dough edges are nice and brown, switch your oven to Broiler ..setting it on Low..Broil till the cheese is bubbly and golden.

Pull out the pizza and the stone. it will be extremely hot be carefull.

And like all good things…you have to let it rest for a few minutes. Dont start cutting and eating yet..you will burn your taste buds and want be able to taste your creation. Also letting it cool develops a more flavor packed meal… cuz all the ingredients get to mingle and get to know each other….when they do…Pow! a sinful marriage of deliciousness! Hope You all enjoy.