armadillas


Finding giants

Boy, is it HOT! Today we reached temps of 102. I’m not even going to mention the humidity. Needless to say, I am not a happy camper. And then out of the blue, the skies darkened and opened up until the streets were flooded, lightening and thunder wrestling outside the windows. Naturally, this was the perfect time to crank up the oven and bake up a little snack.

Do you see that? That there is a giant zucchini someone brought me home today. Holy smokes, it’s the size of my thigh! Just look at it! Enormous! Obviously, there’s some kind of epidemic going on around here. The vegetables are taking over, and not just here either. It seems my cousin has had some giants growing in her garden as well.

 Wow

It’s bigger than a soda bottle

I’m telling you, I didn’t even know what to do with it. I mean, where do you even begin with something so large? After a little research, I decided to make a galette. Have you ever heard of a galette? Basically, a galette is a free form pastry found in French cuisine that can be either sweet or savory. In my opinion, it resembles a pie with extra large edges folded over with an open center. Rustic food at it’s finest! oh, how I love rustic food. I may sound crazy, but rustic food reminds me of living out in the country. Or maybe in the old country. It gives me such a feeling of comfort and contentment. It makes me think of homemade bread baking in the oven, stew on the stove, and family gathered around the table laughing and telling stories, impatiently waiting to be fed. It reminds me of grandparents and hard work and doing things the old way as opposed to the quick, easy way. It makes me want to make some ravioli from scratch. Mmm mm mmm!

But today we aren’t making ravioli. We’ll save that for later. No, today we are making galettes- mini galettes to be specific. I discovered this recipe while browsing through Smitten Kitchen’s site (which can be found here under my foodies page) and decided to give it a go with my own twist. You see, galettes are made with pastry dough and we all know how well pastry dough and I get along (not!). Well, I had a can of croissant dough in the fridge begging to be baked up so I decided to be a little innovative. Some flour and a few rolls with my handy dandy rolling pin helped me out with the pastry situation without the added frustration of trying to make it myself. I guess not all things are made from scratch in this household- not yet anyway!

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen (is it weird I always say smitten kitten in my head?)

Ingredients:

  • 1 can croissant rolls
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella
  • Basil (fresh is better but dried will do)
  • 1 tbs garlic
  • 1 egg
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Olive oil
  • Zucchini
  • Baby asparagus

In a small bowl, we’re gonna mix together all our cheeses. Make sure you really get in there because parmesan is rather crumbling and will try to escape the whole process by sticking to the bottom of your bowl. But we know better

Season cheese mixture with garlic, salt, pepper, and basil. Do this to your own personal tastes. I like really bold flavors so I tend to add…extra! Add a tbs olive oil while your at it

Next it’s time to slice up the zucchini. For obvious reason, I don’t need to slice that much. My plant is huge and the croissants aren’t going to give me that much dough. Anyway, once your zucchini is sliced up, lay it out on a paper towel and salt those babies up. This is going to pull the moisture out of your little zucchini disks. After 30 minutes (though I only wait for as long as it took the oven to preheat0, blot with the paper towel

It’s time for the fun part! Sprinkle flour onto your counter. Pop open your can of croissants. Mine yielded 8, which will give us four mini galettes. Using your rolling pin and your god-given fingers, take two triangles and make them into one square so you end up with something like this. See the difference?

Spread squares with cheese mixture. Oh yeah, now would be a good time to chop up your baby asparagus. Put that on top of the cheese

Top asparagus with blotted zucchini. You can chop it up if you like. Fold the edges over as best you can

Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over each galette, and if your as much of a garlic lover as I am, put some of that on top too. Brush your dough with some egg wash (just an egg beaten ). Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes

Voila! Not too shabby if I do say so myself. Next time, I want to try half ricotta and half cream cheese for a tangier flavor. But feel free to experiment with your favorite cheeses. Who doesn’t love cheese?

Tijuana

 

 


When the going gets tough

There are times in the early evening when you both arrive home, hungry and tired, and realize that there is very little in the pantry to eat. This is because you’ve neglected to go to the market. But there are other reasons your pantry seems so bare. The first is the mere simple fact that you don’t feel like cooking. After being on your feet all day (or sitting in an office), the last thing you want to do is stand some more in the kitchen. Any prospect of cooking turns into life or death battle where raiding the food in your cupboards will lead to a certain and untimely end. You’re brain is just too fried to plan a decent meal. The second reason falls to the fact that you accidentally somehow forgot to eat lunch. Now you’re so hungry not only can you not think properly, but nothing can be cooked fast enough to sooth your roaring tummy. Pasta takes too long. Casseroles take too long. There’s no way you’re even going to consider thawing out the pork hidden in the back of the freezer. You need food now!  Also, take-out is not an option because you’re trying to cut back on spending and eating out all in one go. What to do, what to do?!

You make waffles. Unlike pancakes, you can accomplish this task with relative finesse. You make waffles like champion! Or you have your assistant, who is equally as hungry and exasperated as you, make waffles like a champion. The best part is you can easily have them prepare the whole meal without them realizing they’re doing all the work. That is the joy of having an assistant. You can even call them your little sous chef. You’d be surprised how far a title can get someone and their willingness to crack an egg. Seriously, you love your sous chef.

And no, we are not making waffles from a box. We do things from scratch in this household. But today we did decide to try someone else’s recipe as opposed to following our own. Remember how not so long ago I said I was steadily going through the Pioneer Woman’s recipes? Well, the same goes for Joy the Baker. Today’s waffles were borrowed from her. Boy, did they sound good. I mean, who would dare say no to brown sugar bacon waffles? Not I, that’s for sure. I was sold as soon as I saw the word bacon. So, one can imagine the ghastly horror I felt at discovering I had used the last of my bacon up earlier that morning. Guess that’s what happens when you unexpectedly decide to have breakfast for dinner. Oh, bother.  The only thing to do was omit the bacon and lament. Then EAT!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk (milk with 2 tbs lemon juice)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Joy’s recipe also calls for 2/3 cup oil, but somehow in our dash to get food into our bellies…we managed to leave it out. The waffles turned out fine if you decide to follow our mistakes. Also, when omitting the bacon she recommends using cinnamon and nutmeg. I don’t much care for nutmeg, so I bumped up the amount of cinnamon. No worries!

In a large bowl, mix together all your dry ingredients

Find yourself an assistant/sous chef. Have them use their lovely muscles to whip together the wet ingredients. If you are making your own buttermilk, let the milk and lemon juice stand aside in a bowl for 5 minutes. This allows for the chemistry to take place. Grraaawwwwl

(What a lovely hand and forearm)

Now mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. When you’re all done, it’s okay if there are lumps in your batter. You just want to mix it, now kill it with the power of your wrist. Over mixing= no no

 You see that? That is my trusty waffle iron. His name is Olav, and if he didn’t exist I’d be cursed with making pancakes all the time. We’re going to plug him in and wait for him to heat up

Olav, as dear as he is, can be a little picky. Sometimes you try to cook some waffles and he just botches them all up in his mouth. So we’re going to feed him some PAM first. If Olav was a penguin and if our batter was a penguin, PAM would be the engagement pebble to unite the two together in holy lifelong monogamy. Random penguin fact for ya!

 Now that all parties are happy, take over for your wonderful sous chef and pour the batter onto your greased waffle iron. Close him up and wait as patiently as possible. Dinner will be served momentarily

In the meantime, giggle wholeheartedly as your boyfriend sous chef attempts to crack eggs one-handed into a skillet. He witnessed your amazing skills earlier and is determined to master you

Hehe

Haha

Hahahaha

Ahahahahahahaha

Laughter aside, feel free to frown when your assistant decides to take charge and declares he shall be serving cheeseless scrambled eggs. Say what?! Fervently ask what planet he hails from and when he refuses to hear your arguments against a plain scramble, begin plotting against him. Discretely chop up some of your leftover baby asparagus. You’re in enemy territory now…

Subtly, set asparagus aside and continue cooking waffles. When the waffles are done, plate ’em up and butter as generously as you please. Oh, look! One is missing a bite

Time for operation scrambled eggs! When your sous chef, who is trying to work their way up to head chef, exits the kitchen, quickly drizzle some olive oil in a pan and add asparagus. Don’t forget a spoonful of garlic. Salt and pepper everything

Sauteing the asparagus will take no more time than 2 minutes. Maybe even one. Throw in your plain eggs and cook until warm

Pour your yummy scrambled eggs into a bowl and top with a little bit of parm and mozzarella. Waltz on into the other room with your eggs and waffles and try not to look too snooty. Not everyone has as refined tastes as yourself

Hello dinnnaaaaaaaar! Leftover waffles make a lovely snack for later. Just toast and butter. Or you could put some fruit jam on them. Yummm

Tijuana


Sleeping in after a long night

Ah, there’s nothing like sleeping in on a Saturday morning. The sun is shining, the weather is breezy, and you aren’t obligated to leave the comfort of your chambers for nothing. Except, perhaps, your grumbling tummy. After all, you haven’t eaten in a good 17 hours. But it’s too late to make breakfast (in some opinions) and you’re not quite awake enough for something heavy. There, my friends, is the beauty of brunch. Not breakfast, not lunch, but a magical combination of both.   In college, brunch was probably my favorite meal…and I was always sad when I had to go into work and miss out on the yogurt bar which was only served on Sundays. It was a conspiracy, I tell ya!

Aside from a brunch bar with tangy yogurt, fresh fruit, and crunchy granola, I can’t think of anything more perfect to feast on for brunch than a yummy quiche. With a glass of milk. And a ripe peach on the side that smells impeccably of summer. Yes, we are about to die and go to heaven. Might as well write your wills out right now.

I must admit I had my doubts about quiche. You see, I’ve never tasted a quiche before. Souffles, yes. Quiche, no. So I was quite surprised when I padded to the kitchen, opened the refrigerator, noticed the bacon and asparagus, and then pulled out the eggs, milk, and cheese. I knew exactly what to do with all these ingredients. It’s like I was possessed! With such a delightful outcome, I’d happily become possessed again. I’d volunteer!

Perhaps you’ve never had quiche before either. Maybe you’re not much of an egg person and would rather move on to the cereal cabinet or see if there’s any deli meat left in the fridge. I promise you will not want to miss this. The quiche is divine, not eggy like one would expect, and if I had known how good it would turn out, I would’ve been making it for years.

Ingredient:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1/2 package bacon
  • 1/2 tbs garlic
  • 1 handful baby asparagus
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (but I bet fontina would be a star in this dish)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Let’s start with the bacon! We’re only going to use half a package. We’ll save the rest for some BLTs. Go ahead and take your half package of bacon and cut it into bite size chunks. Place it in a skillet over medium heat and fry it up! Hello, love!

Set bacon aside. Next, drain the majority of the bacon grease from your skillet. Seriously, we aren’t cooking with it today, though a hint of flavor won’t hurt

Return skillet to heat and melt a pat of butter. Throw in your asparagus! On a whim, add the garlic. And a sprinkling of lemon juice. It’s habit! I can’t help it…

Oh yeah, and make sure you cut off the ends of your asparagus stalks. Oh, and preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Phew, that was close!

Now that your bacon and asparagus is all nice and cooked, whisk together milk and eggs in a medium bowl. Shake in your salt and pepper

Stir in bacon and asparagus. It would probably help if you chopped up the asparagus (this should probably be done in step 2). Stir in cheese as well

Your batter is ready. Spray a pie pan with nonstick spray (like PAM) and slowly pour in your quiche batter. I emphasize the slow part. No sloshing, please!

Pop her in that hot oven for 35 minutes. Our goal is for the center to be set…and for the top to be a Mediterranean golden brown! Ta-da!

Oh, baby! It was so good I had to have seconds. I probably could have eaten the whole thing by myself. No joke. Talk about scrumptious! You may want to pat your asparagus dry before mixing it into the batter. It makes the bottom of the quiche a little soupy, otherwise. Enjoy!

Tijuana