I’m Buddy the Elf when it comes to winter. I still shriek sounds of joy at the first snowfall (and every snowfall thereafter). Breathing in the crisp, cold air makes my lungs feel alive. And hikes along the snow-covered banks of the Mississippi etch permanent smile lines into my face. But sometimes, even a good streak of grey days can leave me feeling blue (and leave Hallie feeling like a caged animal). Read more
Can I tell you something? This Food Matters Project is changing my life. We are trying a new recipe every week. It’s quite a miracle. If I actually made New Years resolutions, this would be one of them. It’s also cleaning up our diet. Our meals are more focused around vegetables that, might I add, taste good. No, divine. This week was no different—Roasted Red Pepper Pesto. Fingers dirty. Playing with food. Peeling off red pepper skin. I was in little girl heaven. There’s something beautiful about holding the food you make. Turning it into something palatable. I felt like an artisan. Read more
Progress is defined as the forward or onward movement toward a destination.
It’s cool to watch progress happen. To see how far you’ve come. To see that change really does happen. To see how bad you once were. A couple weeks ago, I made this spinach quiche again. I pulled up my post from two years back. Read it. Looked at the pictures and thought, “Wow, progress.” It’s cool to see. But it’s also a very good reminder of how far I have left to go.
The perfectionist in me couldn’t leave well enough alone. I had to re-shoot it. But this recipe is still the same one I pull out when guests come to town. I love the ratio of egg to crust to spinach. It’s one part healthy and one part decadent, which is just the way I like things. And maybe my favorite part, it’s baked in a tart pan.
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
4-6 tbsp. ice water
3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 c. half and half
3 large eggs
10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 c. grated cheddar
1/4 c. grated parmesan
1/2 large sweet onion, finely diced
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. olive oil
In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter into flour mixture. Combine with a pastry blender or fork until the mixture resembles coarse meal. (You can use a food processor for this step, however, cutting the butter in by hand lends for a flakier crust.)
Add cold water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing with pastry fork until dough holds together without feeling wet or sticky. Gather dough into ball. Flatten into disc, and cover with plastic wrap. Transfer to refrigerator, and chill at least 1 hour or freeze for 15 minutes. (Dough can be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.)
Preheat oven to 425°. Roll out dough to fit the size of a round, removable bottom, tart pan. Add flour to surface to keep dough from sticking. Work quickly as the dough will get warm, making it harder to handle. Flash freeze (place in freezer for 5 min) if it gets too warm. Press the dough into the tart pan. Roll the extra dough off with a rolling pin. Fix any holes in your dough. (I use a little water and extra dough to help mend the holes.) Prick the bottom with a fork to keep from bubbling during the bake. Line crust with parchment or foil and add pie weights. Bake for 10-15 minutes. (You can skip this step and bake the crust and filling at once. I prefer to bake my tart shell first. That way I can ensure my crust will be cooked all the way through.)
Make the filling. Sauté diced onion in olive oil with a dash of salt until translucent. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese in medium bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in eggs and half and half. Mix in remaining ingredients. Pour egg mixture into prepared crust. Bake until filling is set, 15–20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
• Need to make this ahead of time? I recommend making and baking the crust the night before. You can also dice and sauté the onions, as well as thaw and drain the spinach. Morning of, whip the filling together. I wouldn’t recommend doing this the night before.
• Spinach still wet? I use paper towels to squeeze out the extra moisture.
• Wondering whether to buy a dark or light colored tart pan? I’ve used both, but I prefer a light tart pan. The darker pans tend to cook faster, leaving you with a more than golden crust.
• When working with dough, keep it cold. Number 1, it’s much easier to work with cold dough. Number 2, if you work with warm dough, the butter begins to spread throughout, decreasing flakiness. Keep those pockets of butter intact!
Originally, I thought I would coat these cute little guys in a pink vodka sauce. Then I remembered New Years was only days ago. Something lighter was in order. Drum roll please—so I decided to go with Pesto. Spinach Pesto that is.
This recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks—Everyday Food. It’s quick. Easy. Healthy. What more could you ask for?
Spinach Pesto Everyday Food
1/2 c. walnuts
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
4 c. lightly packed fresh spinach leaves
1 garlic clove
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spread nuts evenly on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until golden and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
2. In a food processor, combine nuts, spinach, parmesan, and garlic; season generously with salt and pepper. Process until nuts are finely chopped. With machine running, pour oil in a steady stream through the feed tube; process until smooth.
3. In a saucepan, add pesto to your cooked homemade noodles. (I also sauteed a couple chopped tomatoes and an onion for extra veggies prior to adding the noodles with pesto to the saucepan.) Cook for 5 minutes and serve.
Pesto will keep for 1 week in the fridge.
I have to be honest, I was nervous how this would turn out. First time making homemade noodles with my new machine. First time making spinach pesto. This could have spelled disaster. Thankfully, it was just the opposite. We ate every last noodle and then wished for more.
Is the interior of your Dutch Oven stained brown? Do you have burn spots on your stainless steel pots? Use Bar Keepers Friend, water, and elbow grease to remove. In general, try cooking with fats (oil and butter) at lower heats. If you're needing to char something, opt for a cast iron.