Monday, May 31, 2010

Asparagus and Bacon Quiche

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

We were in the mood for something different for dinner. Marty mentioned breakfast for dinner when I'd been thinking about quiche all day. I brought in a large handful of aspargus from the garden so a bacon and asparagus quiche was dinner.  Simple and outstanding.

Of course, I used a homemade pie crust for this! I made the single crust and stuck it in the fridge to chill while the bacon was cooking.  This went together easily.

1 single pie crust: put it in a pie plate and bake at 375 degrees F for 12 minutes

3/4 lb bacon, cooked until just beginning to crisp and cut into 1" pieces
1 1/2 c diced asparagus
1 med onion, diced
4 eggs
1 c milk
3/4 t paprika
1 1/2 c grated white cheddar cheese (which is what I had and it was outstanding in this)

Beat together the eggs, milk, paprika and salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the crust from the oven and add the asparagus and onion. Top with the bacon, cheese and egg milk mix.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

Do you think that Spanish paella and Cajun jambalaya have similarities?  A variety of meats, spices, rice--yes, they are similar.

Here is a wikipedia definition of paella:  Paella originated in the mid 19th century area of Valencia, on the east coast of Spain. There are three widely known types of paella: Valencian, Seafood, and Mixed. Valencian paella consists of white rice, green vegetables, meat (rabbit, chicken, duck), snails, beans, and seasoning.

Seafood paella replaces meats and snails with seafood and omits beans and green vegetables. Mixed paella is a free-style combination of meat, seafood and sometimes bean. Key ingredients are olive oil and saffron.

The version I created this week is a mixed paella. I used chicken breasts and chorizo.  I intended to use shrimp as well but discovered I didn't have any in the freezer. Without the shrimp, the paella was excellent.

In a large paella pan or cast iron skillet, or non stick skillet if that is what you have, saute for 1-2 minute:

2 T olive oil
1 med onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped

Add to the skillet and saute for another minute:

4 T minced garlic

Add to the skillet and saute into the meat begins to brown:

3/4 lb of boneless chicken thighs or chicken breasts, whatever you have, cut into chunks
1/2 lb of chopped chorizo

Add to the skillet:

1/2 c of Bomba, Arborio or Valencian rice--don't use traditional rice, the dish will be too gummy

Next add:

1 qt chopped, canned tomatoes, drained
1 c frozen peas
2 c chicken broth
1/4 t saffron threads
1 1/2 t paprika--try this with smoked paprika for a different taste
salt and pepper to taste

Simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender, about 20-25 minutes.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ham & Spinach Pasta

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

This recipe is such a keeper! Not only is it superb, it is oh, so simple. Looking for a last minute dinner? This is quick to fix, fancy enough to serve dinner guests or for a simple dinner at home.

I love the flavors here of the ham and the spinach. I have used ham, prosciutto, or Serrano hams in this recipe and they all are wonderful with their own unique tastes that slightly changes the flavors.

Before making the sauce, cook 1 lb of  shaped pasta--this dish works best with a short, pasta versus something like linguini.

In a saute pan, saute until the onions begin to soften:

6 T olive oil
3/4 c of chopped green onions (although I used Vidalia onions last night...yum!)
1/4 t of cayenne pepper, or Penzey's black and red, or hot paprika, or red pepper seeds

Then add 1 1/4 c of chopped ham and cook, stirring, 3-4 minutes. 

Thaw and drain:

2 packages, 10 oz each, frozen, chopped spinach

Add the spinach to the saute pan and cook 3-4 minutes over medium heat.

Add to the pan:

2 c of heavy cream

Cook 4-5 minutes until the cream begins to thicken and can coat the back of a spoon.

Add the sauce to the drained, cooked pasta, top with parmesan cheese. And hope for leftovers for lunch the next day!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rhubarb Pie

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

There is nothing fancy about this pie: it's just rhubarb, sugar and flour in a superb crust. And I made one for a silent auction yesterday that sold for $75!!

In the last year, I have been chilling my crust before rolling it out. This makes it easy to roll out and the chilled shortening--and I have been using 1/3 c shortening with 1/3 c lard--explodes when it hits the oven's heat which makes it flaky.  I made this crust the night before, rolled it out and put it in the pie plate and added to it:

6 c chopped rhubarb
1/3 c flour
1 1/2 c sugar

The top crust was rolled and placed on top of the fruit. I baked it at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes and then at 355 degrees F for 40 minutes.  When I took it to the fund raiser, it was still hot and smelled heavenly!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Rhubarb Cream Pie

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

Today was gorgeous and it was made even more so by the large handful of rhubarb I pulled from our neighbor's garden and my garden. Tonight's dessert: rhubarb cream pie!

This is a family recipe given to me by my aunt Mary Bernhardt Gottliebsen years ago. A couple of summers ago when second cousin Amy was summering with us (that's Northern Michigan speak for spending the summer), I made this pie for her because the recipe came from her Grandma. She hadn't had it before. So for Amy's Mom, Carol, who has nothing to do now since Amy got married last week--it's rhubarb season!

Cream pies are a bit more work than fruit pies. Instead of just mixing 4-6 c of fruit with sugar and flour and pouring into a pie crust, a cream pie requires first baking the crust and cooling, making the cream filling and cooling, and then making meringue and baking.  It is worth it!

Just roll out your pie dough, put in a pie pan, pierce with a fork about a dozen times, line with foil, top with a cup of dried beans (don't worry, you won't eat them), and bake at 375 until the crust is lightly brown, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans. Yes, you can use the beans for real bean recipes. Let the crust cool.

While the crust is in the oven, cook over medium heat and until tender:
4 c chopped rhubarb
1 sugar

While the rhubarb is simmering, mix together:
2 eggs yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 c cream
1/8 t salt
2 T cornstarch
1/4 c sugar

When the rhubarb is tender, slowly add the egg mixture, stirring constantly, and 1 T butter. Continue stirring until thickened, 3-4 minutes. Cool, stirring occasionally.

This recipe then calls for the 2 egg whites beaten with 1/4 c sugar and a pinch of cream of tartar to make a meringue. But I usually use 4 egg whites so that the meringue is thicker. Beat until stiff peaks form.

Pour the fruit mixture into the pie crust, top with the meringue and bake at 350 degrees F until the meringue is browned, about 10-15 minutes. Let it cool completely before cutting.  And then just try to not eat the whole pie in one sitting!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Parsnip Patties

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

I am a huge fan of root vegetables. Carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, beets, turnips--all very different and very tasty.  Tonight we had sauteed veal (in garlic, chili powder and olive oil), and parsnip patties. The combination was perfect.

Many people don't know what to do with parsnips so they just don't try them. This is a wonderful recipe that would be great with beef or pork.  And it's easy.

Mix together:
4 c peeled, grated parsnips (about 2 very large ones)
1/2 c sliced green onions
3 T flour
salt and pepper to taste
a dash of cayenne pepper

Lightly beat:
2 eggs

Stir the eggs into the parsnips to evenly coat.  Heat 2-3 T of olive oil in a cast iron skillet or non stick skillet. Put 2 mounded tablespoons of the parsnip batter into the skillet and then flatten slightly with the back of a spatula. Cook 4-5 minutes and then flip the patties.  Cook until each side is evenly browned.

Line a baking sheet with paper towel. Place the patties on the baking sheet and then put into a 300 degree F oven. Continue with another batch of patties adding more olive oil. When the last batch is completed--this recipe will make 8 patties--add them to the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes.

Serve with a mixture of sour cream and horseradish. We love horseradish and grated our own last fall. I blended 1/2 c sour cream with 2 T of horseradish.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Barbecue Sauce

By Kathryn Washburn Breighner

While there are some fabulous barbecue sauces on the market--and we love them--this tried and true homemade BBQ is very easy and can be adapted to any taste. Add paprika, cayenne, liquid smoke, onions, garlic, molasses, or grainy or dried mustard to this recipe and change up the flavor. I've used this basic sauce for years and it is excellent by itself as well as with "kicked up" ingredients!

In a small sauce pan, simmer over medium heat until thick, 20-30 minutes:

1 t salt
1 T chili powder (your choice of heat)
1/4 c vinegar
2 c water
1 c ketchup (good stuff with no corn syrup added)
1 t celery seed
1/4 c brown sugar

This makes about 2-2 1/2 c of BBQ sauce, depending on how thick you like it (and thus, how long it is simmered). The remainder can be refrigerated for several weeks.