Thursday, August 30, 2007

a quiche is just a quiche...

unless it is Giada's quiche...for a skinny bitch, she sure knows her way around a pie shell and some heavy cream...
I've made this little monster twice...the first time I followed the recipe to a "t". The original calls for salt...once or twice, I have actually considered buying one of those salt licks they make for horses and just setting it up beside the couch, so if there's anyone who can tolerate a salty dish, it's me, but considering all the pancetta, I have to say Giada made a bad call. It was edible, but really, and I mean REALLY salty. coming from me, that's saying a lot.

I switched things up a bit this time due to not having any pancetta laying around...I used regular bacon for the pancetta, shredded mozzarella for the parmesan and half & half for the heavy cream and NO ADDITIONAL SALT. It was absolutely delish!!! I even had the leftovers last night with a big hubs didn't think it reheated all the well, but it was quichable to me!! enjoy!

Giada's Pancetta and Parmesan Torte

1 refrigerated pie crust (half of 15-ounce package), room temperature
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
2/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup shredded Parmesan

Position the rack on the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Press the crust into a 9-inch-diameter tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim the edges; set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crisp, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to paper towels and drain. Beat the cream, milk, eggs, parsley, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend. Stir in the cheese and pancetta. Pour the cream mixture into the crust.

Bake the torte until the filling puffs and is golden brown on top, about 25 minutes. Let the torte cool for 15 minutes. Cut the torte into 12 thin wedges and serve.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

less is more...

There used to be a restaurant called Crocodile Cafe...I have no idea if it still exists, but one thing i do know is that my first dance with the gloriousness that is watercress happened right there on Lake Avenue in Pasadena, California. You really don't get the opportunity to have watercress very often. It's a very underestimated little vegetable. Is it even actually a vegetable?

I've been thinking about the sandwich i always used to have there since the last time I had it which has to have been over 5 years ago. The watercress at the market looked extra happy, green and fresh last week so I decided to take matters into my own hands and try to recreate the masterpiece. I think I did an exceptional job...This little yummy looks simple, and it is, but that is what makes it so good. Take the time to roast the chicken, toast the bread, make homeade mayoniase if you can and by all means, stuff as much watercress on this thing as you can often to you really get the opportunity?

Roasted Chicken Sandwich with Watercress
1 whole chicken breast, split, on the bone with skin
1/2 - 1 cup chicken broth and/or white wine
1/2 a stick of butter
1 lemon
2 T olive oil
sea salt & fresh pepper
any combination of italian herbs...rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme etc. (I just used the little packet of spices they gave me with my takeout from Carraba's the other night that I was supposed to mix with oil and use for dipping bread...)
2 cloves of garlic
1 white onion
1 whole french or italian baguette, split legthwise and cut into 2 pieces
mayonaise (homeade is preferrable, but hellman's will do just fine)
1 bunch of fresh watercress

preheat oven to 350
rinse chicken breasts in cold water
place chicken breasts in an oven safe pan, skin side up (pyrex is my favorite. I cannot live without my pyrex)
wash your hands
pour chicken broth and/or wine in the bottom of the pan with the chicken
season the breasts with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the herbs
zest 1 whole lemon over the breasts and then squeeze the juice onto them
smash the garlic cloves and just lay one on top of each breast
chop the onion into big hunks and add it to the pan
drizzle with olive oil
cut butter into chunks and set them right on top of the breasts

stick those bad boys in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. every once in awhile, baste the chicken with the broth/wine/juice combo.

meanwhile, wash your watercress and cut off their long stems.

when the chicken is done and cooled enough to touch, peel the skin back and pull the meat off the bone into chunks and shred them a bit, but not too much.

drizzle your baguettes with a little olive oil and stick them in the broiler to toast untill golden, then remove them, and spread each half with mayonaise. don't be skimpy, this is not a virtuous sandwich.

assemble the sandwiches by placing a huge handful of watercress on the top half and a bunch of roasted chicken on the bottom and then smoosh the halves together and enjoyyyyyyyyyy!!!

when you go back to the kitchen to put the dishes away, and you notice there are some pieces of chicken still on the bone that you didn't get, and the onion chunks are just sitting there all carmelized and luscious looking in the pan with the delicious juice that the chicken was sitting in, under no circumstances should you resist gobbling those little bits up. while the sandwich is unbelievably delicious, the carmelized onions and leftover chicken bits soaking in jus are the BEST part...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Remember me?

I am ashamed of myself. I am the world’s worst blogger. While I am usually not a fan of the excuse, it just so happens I have a great one. One of the best I can imagine actually. Now that I think of it, I actually have TWO of them, though the 2nd one I thought of is pretty pathetic, but I can tie it into the first one and make it really swell if you give me a second! I’d like to take this opportunity to blame my lack of updates on the fact that in the 30 some odd days since my last post, we have bought a new house (though we are still awaiting a closing date), put our apartment on the market and been to Mexico and back for our much anticipated, very delayed and FREAKISHLY hot honeymoon. All of this activity has not afforded me many opportunities to grocery shop, let alone cook. Plus the heat, the need to use what’s in the pantry rather than lug it across town in the impending move and also, I’ve been putting off admitting this because I am so upset by it but, I kind of hate my new camera. I don’t know. It’s probably not the cameras fault and if I had a clue where the manual was and 30 seconds of free time, I might be able to figure out what I’m doing wrong, but my images are grainy, the shadows are terrible and I am unimpressed and just downright unhappy….phooey!

However, by popular demand and in the hopes of becoming inspired again, I present to you an offering from my archives….the prosciutto, fig and gorgonzola pizzette with basil chiffonade…if I close my eyes, I am still at the precious little wine bar in Raleigh in which I discovered this delicious little nugget with my BFF….i made a few changes to their creation and wish that I hadn’t so the next time I make these, I will go by the book…or rather, by the made up recipe in my head that I am pretty sure is similar to what they used.

A little brght twinkle on the horizon is my newest venture: pies! I’m very excited about this ever since falling head over heels for a strawberry rhubarb number in last month’s F&W. however, turning on the oven when it’s 94 degrees out and the humidity is more or less just a sea of water SUSPENDED in the air is a less than thrilling thought, especially if you ask my hair, so I’m waiting for the first crisp day of fall and I will hit the ground running. I will have to give up my rhubarb, I know, but apples are really my first true love anyway. That rhubarb thing was just a crush. I’m a pretty fickle chick….

Without further ado, I present the pizzette…

Prosciutto, Fig and Gorgonzola Pizette

Heat oven to 350
2 Pita rounds (the kind with the pockets)
Fig Jam
Basil, chiffonade (make a stack of basil leaves, roll them into a cigar and slice them crosswise to make little ribbons)
Gorgonzola, crumbled
(*here is where my major change would take place. I used Gorgonzola because that’s what I had on hand. The originals used Cambazola, which was much milder and more melty. The Gorgonzola was still earth shatteringly delish, but I prefer the milder Cambazola)

Split the pita rounds lengthwise to make 4 round pieces.
Place the rounds smooth side down (the scratchy, inner, textured side up) on a baking sheet and stick them in the oven to crisp up for about 7 minutes or so.
Remove the rounds from the oven and let them cool until you can pick them up.
Spread each pita round generously with fig jam, top with prosciutto (about one thin slice per round) and sprinkle with cheese. Return the rounds to the oven for about 7 more minutes or until the cheese is melted and the prosciutto begins to crisp on the edges. Remove from the oven, cut each pizzette in 4 pieces, sprinkle with basil, pour yourself a glass of full bodied, oaky chardonnay and dig in……..