Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Easy as Quiche

As much as I love the idea of hopping out of bed bright and early to cook a gourmet breakfast for my still-dozing boyfriend, the realist in me knows that my love affair with the snooze button will trump even the greatest of ambitions on a Saturday morning. Hence, my affinity for the quiche. It's the perfect breakfast entree for those of us who simply wish to wake and bake. (No, not that kind of wake of bake.) What I'm referring to is the ability to prepare a quiche the night before you wish to serve it, leaving only the (optional) warming and slicing of the dish for the morning.

Best yet, a quiche is fairly simple to create, but seems a little more thoughtful than picking up a bag of bagels or box of donuts for your breakfast guests. Think of making this egg-sensation as an exercise in layering. Once you have all the ingredients ready to go, it's really as simple as that.

Step 1: Place cheese on bottom of pie crust.

Step two: Add (cooked) sausage, onions, cranberries and sliced apple mixture to the pile.

Step three: Pour eggs and half-and-half combination on top to fill remainder of pie.

Step four: Bake and enjoy!

If you're looking for a healthier version of this quiche, I'd recommend using turkey sausage in place of Italian sausage, and a little less cheese than what the recipe calls for. The difference in taste is virtually imperceptible.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gift Ideas for Cooks

Some people fans of re-gifting; I'm not one of those people. The thought of giving away a gift that was meticulously selected for me with good intentions makes me feel bad. That's why I am probably even more delighted than the average gift-receiver when I open a gift I truly love. It's a two-fold pleasure really because I a) walk away with a gift I can't wait to (insert gleeful verb here) and b) don't have to feel that pang of guilt in my stomach for potential thoughts of donating, re-gifting or, worst or all, hoarding.

This year at Christmas, I was given a beautiful set of handmade, pewter measuring spoons with a wooden display strip from The Tin Woodsman Pewter Company. Not only do I love that the open space above my sink is now occupied by them, but I'm thrilled that these spoons are as functional as they are aesthetically pleasing. Oh yeah, and I also love that I no longer have to furiously dig through a drawer in my kitchen the next time I need accurate measurements. To give a gift you can be sure a (self-proclaimed or professional) cook will love, check out Corky Pollan's Gifts for Cooks.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Who Made Turkey Boss?

While I value tradition and the familiarity of certain foods as fixtures in holiday celebrations, a part of me also secretly dreads the monotony of a turkey entree and guiltfully hopes for something a little different on my plate come the holiday season. When my boyfriend and I decided to stay in LA for Christmas, albeit our many Midwestern family members, I decided to change up the usual Christmas holiday menu and replace turkey with Cornish game hens. Keeping the cook-an-entire-bird concept helped me justify my selection's holiday-worthiness, while the cranberry sauce basting added an extra element of flavor. With just the two of us celebrating together, serving individual game hens provided us with the perfect amount of food - as well as a new dinner option we can build into a future tradition, or just keep on hand for a special night in.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sweet Salmon

I'm a huge fan of eating and cooking healthy foods, but also have a major sweet tooth (read: sweet jaw) that tends to overtake these healthy intentions at times. Fortunately, I've recently been able to wrangle my subconscious and conscious thoughts into one well-meaning team when it comes to my dinner resolutions. Tonight, this resolution was embodied in a honey-soy broiled salmon, which is fortunately easier to cook than it is to say ten-times fast. Follow this recipe and you won't be disappointed.