Spinach, Green Onion, and Smoked Gouda Quiche

I was quite skeptical as I was making this quiche. The dough was quite crumbly and not perfect as the original recipe stated. I was very close to scraping the whole process and starting a new dough, but I decided to go with it and see what happened. I’m glad I did because the texture of this dough was spot on. It didn’t roll out beautifully and create a perfect crust, but the taste was phenomenal. After all, that’s what is really important, right?

The combination of green onions, spinach, and gouda is delightful and a welcomed change of pace in our home. As you can see from the photo above – my toddler approves!

Spinach, Green Onion, and Smoked Gouda Quiche

For the crust:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup milk
3 large eggs
4 ounces (about 1 cup) shredded smoked Gouda cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
pinch fresh grated nutmeg

for the crust

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until smooth and creamy.

In a small bowl, whisk together milk, salt and egg yolk. Add milk mixture to butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and mix just until combined. Scoop mixture out onto a piece of plastic wrap and press into a 4″ circle. Cover well and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove dough from the refrigerator and unwrap. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 10″ circle. Gently transfer and fit dough into a 9″ pie plate – place into the freezer and chill for 15 minutes. Place pie plate into the oven and bake until lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

for the filling

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and cook until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, cheese, salt and nutmeg. Stir in spinach mixture. Pour filling into crust – place into the oven and bake until the center has set, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Source: Culinary in the Desert


March 30, 2011 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

I made this recipe on a whim one Saturday evening. I have talked about our favorite Mexican Restaurant before and I love the chimichurri they serve. This definitely satisfied our taste buds and allowed us to enjoy this classic at home. The original recipe calls for parsley so if you aren’t a cilantro fan parsley could easily be subbed. I enjoy both so I am eager to try this again using parsley.  

Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sacue

For the steak
3 lbs flank steak
1/3 cup white vinegar
½ cup soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 limes, juiced
½ cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika

For the chimichurri
1 cup firmly packed parsley or cilantro, trimmed of stems
3-4 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried oregano
½ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp red pepper flakes

Lay the flank steak in a large dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, lime juice, and olive oil. Season with salt, black pepper, white pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and paprika. Whisk until well blended, then pour over the steak. Turn once to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for 1-8 hours.

To make the chimichurri combine the cilantro, oregano, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times. Stir in the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve immediately or chill for several hours, making sure to bring sauce to room temperature before serving.

Prepare a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Grill steak approximately 3-4 minutes per side (depending on your preferred temperature).

Serve immediately with chimichurri.

Source: flank steak adapted from Allrecipes, Chimichurri from Simply Recipes 

March 25, 2011 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Strawberry Spinach Salad

I’m not sure why this happens, but every spring I start enjoying spinach salads, we eat them throughout the summer, and every fall and winter they disappear. Maybe because this particular version is my favorite and strawberries aren’t plentiful in the winter? Whatever the case, I’m sure glad it is spring time and this salad has found its way back onto our table.  It’s fresh, light, and a great alternative to the traditional side salad.

Strawberry Spinach Salad
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
½ cup white sugar
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp minced onion
10 ounces fresh baby spinach
1 quart strawberries – cleaned, hulled, and sliced
sunflower kernals (for garnish)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, and onion. Cover, and chill for one hour.

In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries, and almonds. Pour dressing over salad and toss. Refrigerate 10-15 minutes before serving.

Source: Allrecipes

March 23, 2011 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Chicken Marsala


This is not a new recipe on the blog. In fact, it is one of the most popular and because of that I thought it deserved some updating. I recently made this dish and forgot how much I really do love it. It is better than any marsala I have ever eaten out. The complexity and depth of flavor is spot on and I can’t wait to make this again SOON.

Chicken Marsala
6 chicken thighs, bone in
1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
salt and ground black pepper
2 Tbsp oil
2 ½ oz. (about 3 slices) pancetta, cut into 1 by 1/8 in. pieces (bacon also works fine)
4 Cups sliced mushrooms
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 tsp tomato paste
1 ½ c. Marsala


Pat the chicken dry. Place flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow baking dish or pie plate. Dredge chicken in flour to coat shaking off the excess.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken in a single layer and cook until golden brown (approximately 4 minutes per side). Remove Chicken and set aside. Return the skillet to low heat and add the pancetta. Sauté, stirring occasionally, scraping the bottom of the skillet to loosen the brown bits. Once the pancetta is browned remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to drain. Add the mushrooms to the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Saute, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms begin to brown. Add the garlic, tomato paste, and cooked pancetta and cook, stirring constantly, until the tomato paste begins to brown, about one minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the marsala. Return to high heat and simmer vigorously until the sauce has reduced and is slightly thickened. Add the chicken back into the pan for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Stir in the Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Source: adapted from Good Things Catered, originally from America’s test kitchen

March 21, 2011 at 6:00 am 4 comments

Devil’s Food White Out Cake

Every year before my birthday, I agonize over what kind of cake I’m going to make. There is only one requirement – it must involve some sort of chocolate. I ended up choosing Dorie’s cake this year because I thought it would be very similar to my favorite cake. Turns out – it was very similar, but it didn’t surpass my old favorite. However, this cake was delicious and definitely a made for a pretty presentation.

Devil’s Food White Out Cake
For the cake:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup boiling water
4 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

For the frosting:
1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 large)
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

 Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-x-2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To make the cake: sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugars and continue to beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate. When it is fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. At this point, the batter will be thick, like frosting. Still working on low speed, mix in the boiling water, which will thin the batter considerably. Switch to a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with the rubber spatula.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Don’t worry if the tops have a few small cracks. Transfer the cake pans to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (The cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.)

When you are ready to fill and frost the cake, inspect the layers. If the cakes have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. With the same knife, slice each layer horizontally in half. Set 3 layers aside and crumble the fourth layer; set the crumbs aside.

To make the frosting,  put the egg whites in a clean, dry mixer bowl or in another large bowl. Have a candy thermometer at hand.

Put the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes. Uncover and allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 242 degrees F on the candy thermometer. While the syrup is cooking, start beating the egg whites.

When the syrup is at about 235 degrees F, begin beating the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer. If the whites form firm, shiny peaks before the syrup reaches temperature, reduce the mixer speed to low and keep mixing the whites until the syrup catches up. With the mixer at medium speed, and standing back slightly, carefully pour in the hot syrup, pouring it between the beater(s) and the side of the bowl. Splatters are inevitable — don’t try to scrape them into the whites, just carry on. Add the vanilla extract and keep beating the whites at medium speed until they reach room temperature, about 5 minutes. You should have a smooth, shiny, marshmallowy frosting. Although you could keep it in the fridge in a pinch, it’s really better to use it right now.

To assemble the cake, put a bottom layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or on a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a long metal icing spatula, cover the layer generously with frosting. Top with a second layer, cut side up, and frost it. Finish with the third layer, cut side down, and frost the sides and top of the cake. Don’t worry about smoothing the frosting — it should be swirly. Now, cover the entire cake with the chocolate cake crumbs, gently pressing the crumbs into the filling with your fingers.

Refrigerate the cake for about 1 hour before serving. The cake can either be brought to room temperature for 30 minutes or sliced straight from the refrigerator.

 The frosted cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days; let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving, or longer if you have the time.

Source: Dorie Greenspan via npr

March 18, 2011 at 6:04 am Leave a comment

Double Chocolate Mousse

Ever since I can remember chocolate mousse has been one of my favorite desserts. There is something about it that just seems so fancy and indulgent isn’t there?  Surprisingly though, I have never tried making it at home, until now. I was surprised by how easy it was and how perfect it turned out. This will definitely be something I make more often now.

Double Chocolate Mousse
7 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp of your favorite liqueur, or just water if desired
4 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
Pinch of coarse salt

Combine the chocolate and water in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water.  Heat until the chocolate is almost completely melted, stirring occasionally.  Remove the bowl from the heat and stir until the mixture is smooth.  Set aside and let cool to near room temperature.

In a clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and the salt.  Whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.  They should be thick and smooth.

Stir the egg yolks into the cooled chocolate mixture.  Add one third of the whipped egg whites to the bowl with the chocolate and fold gently to lighten up the mixture.  Fold in the remaining egg whites gently with a spatula just until no visible streaks are left.

Portion the mixture into 4-6 individual serving dishes (or 2 larger serving dishes, for a romantic, share-friendly dessert).  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours.  Serve with freshly whipped cream and chocolate shavings, if desired.

Source: Smells Like Home

March 16, 2011 at 5:59 am Leave a comment

Greek Pasta Salad with Steak


My sweet husband cooks dinner for me every year on Valentine’s Day. It is always quite the production. First, he decides on a recipe, then he calls me to ask if we have every single ingredient listed, then he goes shopping and usually has to call me to ask where to find something, and finally he cooks. I’m never allowed to watch or even be in the kitchen. It’s always a complete surprise and he never disappoints. he actually really has a knack for picking out good recipes.

This pasta salad was really delicious. The sundried tomato pesto was a nice change of pace and the fresh herbs gave the dish a nice brightness. I even enjoyed the crunch of the sunflower kernals which I was really surprised about. Everything about this dish was great (and it’s quick too!). I’ll definitely be asking my honey to make this again.

On a side note – this was the first time we tried whole wheat pasta. I had always been afraid that I wouldn’t like it. We actually really liked it and could barely tell the difference. That is definitely one way to feel better about eating pasta.

8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 (1 pound) beef rib eye steak
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup sun-dried tomato pesto
1/2 cup sliced black olives (he omitted)
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 teaspoon basil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons sunflower kernels

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. When cooked, drain, then toss with olive oil, and keep warm.

Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the rib-eye on both sides until pink in the center, 7 to 10 minutes depending on thickness. Remove steak from skillet and cut into bite-size pieces. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the skillet, and stir in the garlic and shallots. Cook 5 to 10 seconds until fragrant, then return the steak to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes or to desired doneness. Stir in the soy sauce, and cook a few seconds longer, allowing it to evaporate.

Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the sun-dried tomato pesto, olives, spinach, basil, parsley, feta cheese and sunflower kernels. Toss with the pasta in a large bowl and serve.

Source: Allrecipes

March 15, 2011 at 6:30 am 1 comment

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