Weekend cooking adventures

Posted in baking, cooking, Ottawa

I have been unfortunate enough to be suffering from a summer cold over the last week. This has meant I’ve spent a lot of time sleeping and not so much time doing other things. The weather in Ottawa has been pretty dreary lately, but last weekend was really quite nice — sunny and warm, good weather for getting out on the bike or renting kayaks on Dow’s Lake. But of course, I was really too sick to be doing that, so instead I stayed inside and ‘rested’ by baking and cooking.

The first thing I did when I got up Sunday morning (well, after I had brewed some coffee) was make some delicious strawberry muffins. The proportions of ingredients might look a bit off, but I assure you the muffins are very tasty, with an almost biscuit-like dough and lots of fresh strawberry flavour.

Fresh Strawberry Muffins

2 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
6 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
2 eggs
1/2-1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
strawberry muffins
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and 1 cup of the sugar in medium bowl.
3. Toss in strawberries, set aside.
4. Beat together eggs, butter, milk and vanilla in small bowl.
5. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; stir until just combined.
6. Spoon batter into muffin tins lined with paper.
7. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of sugar on top of each muffin.
8. Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in middle of muffin comes out clean.

The other dish I decided to make later in the day, as part of dinner. I wanted to try out my new Le Creuset pie plate, which I had purchased to replace one that I broke a few weeks ago. I was feeling a bit annoyed at myself for breaking it in the first place, since it was a Christmas gift from Rich the very first Christmas we were dating. Anyhow, to break in the new dish, I whipped up this quiche after a very quick run to the grocery store to pick up a few missing items. It was quite good, although if I made it again I would add more cayenne pepper and more salt and pepper. Otherwise, all it needed was some baguette and a glass of wine.

Garden Vegetable Quiche

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8-10 mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon basil (or 1 tablespoon fresh basil)
4 eggs, beaten
2 carrots, shredded (1 cup)
1 1/2 cups half-and-half (or 1 cup light cream and 1/2 cup milk)
1 1/2 cups swiss cheese, shredded, divided
10 asparagus spears, washed and trimmed, divided
1 tomato, sliced in 1/4 inch rounds
parsley sprigs, garnish (optional)
1 10-inch pie shell or one 10-inch crust from your favourite pie dough recipe
Vegetable Quiche
1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
2. Roll out pastry to fit 10-inch quiche or pie pan.
3. Melt butter in skillet.
4. Add onions, garlic and mushrooms to pan and cook 8-10 minutes or until soft.
5. Add flour, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, salt and basil to pan and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and set aside.
7. Beat eggs with half and half (or light cream and milk), 1 cup cheese and carrots.
8. Add mushroom/onion mixture to egg/cheese/carrot mixture and stir to combine. Sprinkle in remaining cayenne.
9. Slice 5 asparagus spears into 1-2″ pieces.
10. Lay asparagus pieces on the bottom of pie shell.
11. Pour filling (cheese/egg/carrot mixture) over asparagus in pie shell.
12. Crimp edges on pie shell (if not done previously) and place pie pan on cookie sheet.
13. Bake for 20 minutes.
14. Remove from oven.
15. While quiche is baking slice remaining asparagus spears into 1-2″ slices or leave 5″ long for decorative design.
16. Arrange tomato slices and asparagus pieces on top of quiche in a wagon-wheel pattern or other attractive pattern.
17. Bake an additional 20-30 minutes or until quiche is firm to the touch and knife comes out clean.
18. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese and parsley.
19. Bake 10 minutes.
20. Remove from oven.
21. Let cool (5-10 minutes) before slicing.
22. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.

(both recipes from Recipie Zaar.)

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