Salmon Quiche with Bacon, Asparagus and Goat Cheese (crustless)

Hmmm.  Facelift, you say?  Clearly, that seemed like work.

But!  While our gourmet dinner club flounders, I have an exciting new inspiration I'll be sharing soon that will hopefully kick-start my sharing in 2015!

What's going on now?  Well, my cooking group is having attendance issues--this is life for adults who work full time, try to go back to school and have, you know, lives beyond that.  I was gifted a trip to an excellent cooking school class booked in the new year and THAT'S very exciting.  And I've been talking about blogs a bunch for unrelated reasons.  It was all bound to come full circle.

In the mean time, have leftovers to get rid of?  I did.  (And not the Christmas kind.  Yet.)  Apparently two people don't take apart 2.5 lbs of salmon very quickly.  Quiches are great because they're incredibly durable, flexible, easy to transport and warm and generally just an extremely forgiving dish.

A note on the quiche itself: You're welcome to put this in a pie shell.  That's just never my favorite part and I'd rather shift those calories into delicious fillings.  Speaking of fillings, this quiche is salmon-heavy.  You could probably reduce the salmon by an ounce or even two and still end up with a very nice quiche.

Further, say you don't want salmon in here.  You cooked two chickens last Wednesday and you've got a carcass you need to strip.  Use that.  (Or, duh, that Christmas turkey.  I did one early turkey dinner already and some of it went into a version of this quiche with red peppers.)  And it's winter so you want to know why I inserted asparagus - go ahead and use peppers and mushrooms.  You don't like goat cheese.  Sub in swiss.  I think you see where I'm going here.

If you want to freeze the quiche, bake it, let it cool completely, and put it very well-wrapped (and flat; it will break or squish if you manipulate before frozen) into the freezer.  When the time comes, reheat from frozen at 325 for 20-30 minutes with a foil cover so it doesn't over-brown.

 Salmon Quiche with Bacon, Asparagus and Goat Cheese (crustless)

9 oz cooked salmon
4 rashers bacon
6-8 stalks asparagus
1 green onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup goat cheese
1 1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
5 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup milk

Preheat the oven to  375 F.

Break salmon into hunks (doesn't need to be precisely bite-sized; you'll cut it into servings as well).  Your asparagus stalks depend on how thick they are.  Eyeball it!  Then chop them into 1/2 inch sections.

Place salmon, bacon, veggies and cheese into one large bowl.  Don't break up your goat cheese too much--the real flavor impact of goat cheese will get lost if it's in tiny pieces.  Crack over the pepper and add salt.

In a second bowl, whisk eggs, cream and milk.  I was going for a mid-range cream consistency as there was extra whipping cream and we drink skim.  You could alternatively use 1/2 cup 10% cream OR I've even tried 5% when I realized I was nearly out of dairy and it worked just fine as well.  Mouthfeel will change, overall presentation or edibility of the dish will not.

Pour the whisked egg mixture over the other ingredients and stir to coat very gently.

Pour everything into a buttered 9" pie plate.  I use a pyrex dish and it comes out very nicely but you could put down parchment if you're concerned about sticking.

Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the top is brown and the center isn't wiggling like custard.

If you chose to freeze the quiche, pop it in the freezer after it's come to room temperature.  Remember not to let it bend or get squished until it's frozen solid.  To reheat later,  use a throwaway pie plate and bake from frozen, covered in foil to keep from over-browning, at 400 for 25-30 minutes.


Update and a Refresher

Hey all,

Life's gotten in the way of updating for a while now. This is not to say I don't have eight recipes waiting in the wings for their turn to shine, however.

Proscuitto, Roasted Garlic and Goat Cheese Crostini

I'm pretty excited to be sharing an updated version of this appetizer which, if you're me, can be used alternatively as an incredible one-man lunch. 

This app was one of my first things I ever posted to the blog and it's a little painful looking back.  No photo, no real measurements, these pseudo-fancy, stumbling-around-in-the-dark directions...  You definitely see all the places you didn't know what you were doing. 

Happily, that's all been fixed up.

Coffee Martini
I've also been hoping to do a blog re-design for a while now.  Various attempts have stymied me because, let's be real here, I'm no designer and Blogger's templates will only take you so far.  Equally important, though, is that I think the tone of the blog has evolved since I first imagined it.  I naively thought I was working in a difficult space when I started this blog.  To be clear, I have (especially since we bought an island and microwave stand) copious amounts of space compared to most apartment kitchens.  I'm actually quite blessed.  I still try to work in the parameters of simple techniques and tools, but the facts are, most people can't construct a five-course meal in an apartment and still have room to breathe.

(I can't, either, but I tend to take up copious amounts of room when I'm cooking.)

The new concept/image is close to gelling for me so you'll probably see a face-lift soon.  You'll also see this excellent coffee martini recipe!  (Much sooner than the face-lift.)

In the mean time, thanks for hanging out with me.  I have a couple of consistent readers these days (at least, according to the analytics), so considering my absenteeism and my general lack of trying when it comes to accruing an audience, I feel pretty special.

Talk to you soon.


Cassoulet-Inspired Stew

For some reason a few years ago, I got obsessed with cassoulet.  Not sure why; occasionally, I just fixate on a dish.  I read about eight recipes and then seared some sausage and chicken in the same pot and made a soup.  

Authentic, non?

Over time, this cassoulet-inspired stew has taken on an ultra-flavorful life of its own.  There are so many flavor notes in this thing I barely know where to start.  As an added bonus, I will also tell you that if you’ve roasted a chicken lately, the two thighs and other remaining meat on your carcass will be a perfect amount of meat for this stew—and since you’re already cleaning off that carcass, throw it in a pot and get yourself some stock base too.

This stew is also chock-full of protein, which is important to me as I lift weights and muscle growth means lots of protein intake.  It’s also on the rich side—the sausage fat gets folded back into the sweating veggies but you can skim it easily when cold and the reheated portions get better and better.  Or, if you're really kicking it in the gym, enjoy your slick of savory yum.

Cassoulet-Inspired Stew

2 sausages, sliced in to ¼ inch rounds*
½ onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ½ cups chicken stock
1/3 cup white wine
Bouquet garni  (several springs fresh parsley, 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme, 2 bay leaves)**
½ tsp celery seed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 (19 oz) can white kidney beans***
1 ½ cups chopped, cooked chicken
Parmesan rind, optional
2 cups (loosely packed) rough chopped kale
Extra chopped parsley, for serving

Cook sausages in large soup pot on medium-low heat.  I didn’t specify because almost any type of sausage would work here—I prefer bratwurst as that sage-y stuff is my favourite.  Allow some fat to melt before the meat really gets its sear on.  When cooked, remove sausage rounds from the pot and set aside; retain rendered fat.  

Place onion, garlic and carrots into the pot and sweat for 8-10 minutes, or until they’re golden, soft, and their juices have cleaned up most of the brown scrummies on the bottom of the pot.

Return the sausage to the pot (and any accumulated plate juices); add the next six ingredients.  Bring the pot to a gentle simmer, uncovered, and cook for another 30 minutes, skimming occasionally.  Allowing it to stay uncovered means it will reduce just a little and thicken up.

In the last five minutes of cooking, grab your kale and stir it into the stew.  When it’s cooked down and wilted, pull the bouquet garni but if you’ve used parmesan rinds, leave them in until the soup’s done.  It’ll just ooze salty cheese taste into the soup indefinitely.

For serving, sprinkle on the extra parsley.  A crusty, seedy loaf goes really well with this broth.

*Tip: To make this easier and keep your knife less goopy, freeze sausage for approximately half an hour before slicing.

**Bouquet garni are just a bundle of herbs.  I place mine in a tea bag rather than tying them up as it’s neater.  I didn't chop the herbs into the soup to keep it a little clearer but that's definitely a fine alternative.

***You could substitute nearly any bean here but I prefer a light-colored variety for aesthetics.  In the version pictured above, I'd used canned chickpeas as they were what I had on hand.