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Archive for the ‘Eggs’ Category

Bacon and cheese quiche on a bed of arugula

Even when you love to cook, there are some days you are just energy-zapped or plain too busy to spend time making a delicious meal. Takeout is tempting you. A pizza delivery is just a phone call away. Just say no! When I’m feeling like this, I often turn to a crustless quiche. It’s easy, flexible, takes next to no time to prepare and is super delicious. A bacon and cheese quiche is what I made last week.

KKF Bacon & Cheese Crustless Quiche

4 eggs

1 1/3 cups heavy cream

About ½ cup of cooked bacon bits (preferably nitrite-free from free ranging hogs)

About ½ cup of grated cheese (your choice)

Nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Butter (preferably grass-fed)

Coat a glass pie dish with butter. It doesn’t need to be a thick layer but make sure the whole surface is covered. (I use my fingers, but you could wax paper or plastic wrap.) Beat together your eggs and dairy, grate in a good five or six scrapes of fresh nutmeg (I never use pre-ground nutmeg) and season with a bit of salt and pepper, keeping in mind that you’re adding bacon so that will add salt as well. Pour the egg mixture into the buttered pan. Sprinkle the bacon bits and grated cheese onto the quiche-to-be. (I kind of push down the cheese and bacon so the egg mix covers them so that the cheese doesn’t burn.) Pop the dish in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes and pow – delicious dinner!

A note about bacon bits: I cook my homemade bacon up in large batches. Whatever I can wrestle away from Test Subject Bill I cut up into chunks and keep in the freezer. That way I can reach in and grab REAL bacon bits any time I need to add them to something. You don’t even have to worry about thawing them.

The great thing about quiche is that you can put just about anything into them. Leftover asparagus? Toss it in. Cooked spinach? Score. Diced ham, goat cheese, broccoli. It’s a great way to use up little bits of leftovers.

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Unusual Ingredients

In my CSA box last week I got a branch with leaves and sort of prickly pods on it. I’m thinking..what the…and check the label on the box. It lists only one thing that I am unfamiliar with: Lychee.

What the heck is a lychee? I immediately googled this strange food. Apparently lychee is a tropical fruit. You peel it and eat it. Or make it into any number of incarnations. How it made its way into my LOCAL CSA box was a bit of a mystery that I intended to investigate. Someone in the Georgia or Florida area has successfully grown lychee…

I found this in the CSA newsletter on the lychees: “Last week I came across a find that I just could not pass up as they are one of my favorite fruits. Lychee  – pronounced lie – chi or lee-chi  depending on who you ask are a wonderful tropical fruit found throughout Asia. They have a thin shell that can be easily peeled, underneath is a juicy eye-ball looking fruit that is similar to the taste and consistency of a grape. These are hard to find fresh but we ran across some being grown in South Florida so we went out of our regular sphere a bit just to get a taste.”

Alien fruit

So I cut upon a lychee fruit and examined it. The white interior was kind of spongy. There was a dark oblong seed in the center. (Could I grow my own lychee tree? Maybe, but I doubt it would bear fruit…) As I munched on the fruit, it kind of reminded me of canned fruit cocktail. Does anyone know if lychee is a common ingredient for fruit cups? Very interesting. Anyway, I didn’t have the energy to turn these little fruits into anything so I just ate them. And they were good.

I also recently got some duck eggs. I don’t know what I was expecting, but they were pretty much just like chicken eggs except huge. Only other difference I noticed was a slightly gamey flavor and that they tend to toughen up faster when scrambled than chicken eggs. One of my favorite I-don’t-have-time-to-cook dinners is scrambled eggs and salad. So I scrambled up a few of my duck eggs and served them up with a salad of CSA greens and tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and vinegar.

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Last week I had a produce panic attack.

There are loads of goodness coming in from the local farms, and I think half of it ended up in my kitchen. Between my CSA box and my inability to stay away from the Suwanee farmer’s market on Saturday mornings, my fridge and counter tops were bursting with produce. It was time to freak out.

What do I do with all this bounty??

So I got to work. I froze a ton of green beans and some raspberries (I can get a few raspberries down here and they are great, but they are just not the powerhouses like the ones I got back on the farm in Iowa). I felt better after that, but still…all that squash…

Zucchini bread and squash muffins

Zucchini bread and squash muffins

So I got to work making squash muffins courtesy of a recipe from my CSA newsletter. Sounds weird, but they really do taste good. (Especially with butter and a little honey!) I made two dozen of those, put some in the freezer and some in bags to give to friends. Then I made a loaf of zucchini bread from my How to Cook Everything book. I’ll have to tell you how that tastes later because it’s in my freezer right now, which is just about to explode.

Last night I made a tomato and cucumber salad with Vidalia onions, with just a little salt and pepper, fresh parsley and a drizzle

Tomato and cucumber salad

Tomato and cucumber salad

of olive oil. Super yum.

I also found a recipe for squash fritters so I thought I would give that a try for a little appetizer. You grate the squash, strain and squeeze out the moisture, then combine with flour (recipe calls for almond flour but I had none, so I used arrowroot flour…anyone know if that makes a big difference?), seasonings, and egg. They ended up looking grate and tasting good (test subject Bill had four or five of them) but they were a bit soggy. I think I wasn’t aggressive enough in

Squash Fritters

Squash Fritters

squeezing out the liquid. Next time those squash won’t know what hit them. They were fun to make, though, and it was actually my first time using coconut oil. Tasty stuff!

For a main course I made a beef and eggplant stir fry with red bell pepper, green bell pepper, misc hot peppers and those light green not-hot peppers that grow around here that I have no idea what they’re called. For the seasoning, I coated the beef strips in this Chinese 10-spice I got at the farmer’s market, then made a

Scratch and sniff

Scratch and sniff

sauce with a little water and cornstarch to thicken it up. The beef was a sirloin steak from Nature’s Harmony Farm. I used the leftover coconut oil from the fritters to do the frying.

It was SO GOOD. The beef was tender, the veggies were slightly crunchy, the sauce was phenomenal. Truely, I wish this was a scratch and sniff blog with a taster option because I can’t even explain how great this smelled and tasted. And all I really did was throw stuff together. A smart cook uses good ingredients so they don’t have to work as hard 🙂 Test subject Bill went back for seconds.

Wheaties, hit the road.

Wheaties, hit the road.

When I woke up this morning there was still work left to do on the produce barrel. I stirred some of the sweet and hot peppers into my morning eggs, tossed in some chopped tomato and topped it with a dallop of sour cream for a southwestern southeastern egg dish. I cut up a baby cantelopue (those things are so darn cute) and used the raspberries I didn’t freeze to make a dessert for my breakfast. (Who says breakfast can’t have dessert?) Add some toast made from Ezekiel bread from the farmer’s market, a cup of tea and a glass of real milk and that’s what I call the breakfast of champions. Wheaties is for chumps.

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.

Finally, and this has nothing to do with produce, but after all that effort I needed a sweet treat. A couple eons ago I had this Care Bear cookbook. It was filled with ridiculously sweet treats for kids to make, but the one thing I made over and over again was the Nutty Shake. It has been probably 20 years since I made one. I was due.

I used some of my homemade vanilla ice cream, some organic peanut butter, milk and replaced the white sugar that the original recipe called for with honey and let it rip in the blender. I think I used a tad too much milk because it didn’t come out as thick as I wanted, but it didn’t matter. I sucked it down and was grateful.

I know this all sounds like a ton of work, but I am so relaxed right now. We ate well and there’s more in the freezer for later. There’s just something about real food that makes me smile.

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