asparagus, arugula and feta quiche on a dill and sweet potato crust

“I’ll have dinner ready before I leave this evening,” I said, blithely. Forgetting for a moment that my kitchen is in full-on renovation mode and looks like this right now:

—That’s how excited I was about the prospect of heading out for a few hours. Never mind that the majority of that time would be spent at parent-teacher conferences.
Point: I promised to make dinner. And as I waved my people off to work and school, slung the baby on a hip, and poured more OJ for the toddler, I scanned my kitchen. This place is a mess. I’m using dressers as countertops because any furniture with a flat surface serves as counter space in a pinch.

So. On to dinner promises.
Ingredient list possibilities for my promise keeping endeavors included . . . Sweet potatoes, eggs, greens, asparagus. Feta. A dash of Parm? Why not. Parmesan makes everything better. Including kitchens. Throw it all together and presto: Asparagus, Arugula, and Feta Quiche on a Dill and Sweet Potato Crust. And as fancy as that sounds (or not, I don’t know, I live in kid land—it sounds fancy to me) it’s a cinch to make. Even if your kitchen is all torn up and you’re busy being someone’s parent.

Enjoy!

ASPARAGUS, ARUGULA AND FETA QUICHE ON A DILL AND SWEET POTATO CRUST 

CRUST
1 sweet potato, peeled and grated
dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon onion flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup flour

In a skillet, heat olive oil and toss in grated sweet potato. Sprinkle on salt, dill, and onion flakes and still until combined. Heat and cook through until potato is soft and begins to crisp and brown along the edges.

Transfer to a mixing bowl and add flour, stirring to combine until a sort of dough forms. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then press the crust into a greased pie plate. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.

QUICHE
5 eggs
1 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon diced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 oz Feta cheese
3 handfuls of greens (I used baby spinach and arugula
1/2 a bunch of asparagus—about 12 stalks—trimmed
A dash of parmesan

In the same mixing bowl you used before (save yourself some dishwashing, right?!) crack eggs and whisk together with cream, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add cheese and greens and stir until everything is well coated with egg mixture. Pour into the prepared sweet-potato crust, and then arrange the trimmed asparagus stalks to your liking. Sprinkle a generous dash of parmesan cheese over the asparagus.

Bake at 350 degrees until the top of the quiche is firm, puffed, and lightly browned. About 35-40 minutes.

deviled eggs

I didn’t color Easter eggs with my kids this year. I am one third raging Mom guilt, one third relief (I didn’t have to clean up the chaotic mess!), and a final third healthier for not having to digest the dye which somehow manages to seep through the shells into my boiled eggs.
Emotions in thirds.
I love fractions.

So, when it comes to logical conclusions, it made sense to boil all the eggs I had left post Easter, and devil them. Is ‘devil’ a verb? To devil. Yes. Okay. The grammar girl in me is satisfied.

For your own satisfaction: Deviled Eggs, traditional style (and Whole 30 friendly!).

Enjoy!

DEVILED EGGS
 

6 eggs (or more if you’re serving a crowd)
Mayo (this is my favorite recipe!)
a dash of salt
a sprinkle of paprika

Boil eggs until hard. About 1.5 minute per egg, so for a batch of six eggs, 8-9 minutes. Adjust your time accordingly.

Once your eggs are boiled, drain off the hot water and cool them down ( I flood my pot and freshly boiled eggs with cold tap water) and then peel them.

Slice the cooled, peeled eggs in half, the long way, and scoop the yoke into a small mixing bowl. And then using a fork, (or if you prefer your deviled egg filling extra smooth—a hand mixer) mash the yokes until smooth. Add about 1 part mayo per three parts egg yokes. So if you end up with about 1 cup of mashed yoke, add 1/3 cup mayo. Blend well, add a dash of salt until the flavor is to your liking, and then with a small spoon (I use a baby spoon because I have a whole bunch of those on hand), scoop a dollop of yoke back into the empty egg. Do with with all of the eggs—you may have yoke filling left over (perfect for a slice of toast!). Top with a sprinkle of paprika and serve chilled.

 

spinach and orzo soup with pork


One pot wonder.

Even better the second day.
Soup.

I really love soup. Enough to write a haiku about it, apparently. And this one is especially nice. Kind of a fresh take on Italian Wedding Soup—because I’m not a fan of the meatball element. This is easier. The sesame oil and Sriracha sauce add this beautiful flare that nods to Asian influence.

Enjoy!

SPINACH AND ORZO SOUP WITH PORK

2 quarts stock—chicken, beef, vegetable, or pork
2 cups diced pork (any cut)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 c orzo pasta
1 c spinach
2 tablespoons sesame oil
a dash of Sriracha sauce (optional)

In a large sauce pan, heat broth to boiling and add pork (cooked or raw, either is fine). Boil until meat becomes so tender it begins to fall apart. Broth will reduce about one-third. Add salt and taste. Adjust to your liking and then bring pot back to a boil. Add orzo pasta until tender and remove pot from heat. Add spinach and stir into the soup until wilted. Then add the sesame oil and Sriracha (if you like a little heat). Serve hot.

Makes 4-6 servings—or dinner for tomorrow!

making butter

So this isn’t really a recipe post as much as a reflection post . . . because one doesn’t really need a recipe for making butter.
To make butter: Pour whole cream into a bowl, add a dash of salt, whip the daylights out of it, and presto: Butter.

But the actual act of making butter connects you to something else. Something beautiful and nourishing and transformational. Is that an exaggeration? I don’t know. But making butter, for me, feels like all of those things.

As I sit on the counter, watching my stand mixer do the work housewives before me grew blisters for, I marvel at their tenacity. Their determination to do something good for their people. And gratitude is the only word I can think of. I’m thankful for them. For these women, all of them, who came before me to make the world what it continues to become. I’m thankful they cared enough about their people to do the work, day after day. To nourish and feed and love and build life out of nothing. Do to transformational work—in the kitchen and out. I think it fair to call butter making an allegorical act. A work that tells a story. In making butter, one useful nourishing thing is changed into another useful nourishing thing. And isn’t that what it is, to parent and cook? To wife and partner? To work and build and grow? We change ourselves, and those around us, with small daily acts, from one thing into another.

So as you go about this week, take a minute. Pause. Remember. You’re making butter. In and out of the kitchen. As men and women ages before you have done. The unseen, blister-growing, heart work that transforms lives. Well done. Churn on.

chocolate-chip almond cookies

Happy Monday friends!

I wanted to write a post that would bring you off the Easter sugar high nice and easy. And I think this recipe will help. Because cookies are magic like that. Like literal magic.
Say, (in theory of course) you have a screaming toddler who refuses to nap. Then, my friend, then you 1) Brew yourself another pot of coffee, and 2) Pose this question:
“Do you want to make cookies with me?”
Watch. Magic. Happen.
Theoretical child will transform in into something else—at least until she can consume several cookies, fresh from the oven.
You know . . . in theory.

The cookies themselves are magic-tasting. No theories involved.
I love almond because it reminds me of Christmas, which in turn reminds me of childhood, which in turn reminds me that magic truly does exist in the world because mine was full of it.

If you need a dose of magic today, either for yourself or a theoretical child, these cookies may just be the answer you’re looking for.

Enjoy!

CHOCOLATE-CHIP ALMOND COOKIES

3/4 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 c butter-flavored crisco
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 teaspoons almond flavoring
1/2 c cake flour
2 c flour

I have a giant stand mixer that makes mixing up anything a snap, but you can use a bowl and a hand mixer, or a bowl and some elbow grease just as easily.

In a large mixing bowl, begin by whipping the butter and crisco with the brown and white sugar until well combined. (I think crisco is nasty and I never use it SAVE in this recipe. It helps the baked cookie consistency stay soft and chewy). Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the batter and mix until completely combined. Then add the eggs and almond flavoring and whip again. The batter should be almost frothy. Sprinkle in the cake flour (softest flour on earth and makes for a very smooth, soft cookie crumb) and gently mix, adding the rest of the flour one cup at a time, and the chocolate morsels with the final cup of flour.

The batter will be quite thick and heavy, which is exactly what you want for thick chewy cookies. Spoon and clump the dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place evenly on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes in a 350-degree preheated oven. I like my cookies lightly gold around the edges and almost (but not quite) soft in the middle. You can bake them a little longer if you prefer your cookies crunchy.

Serve warm with a tall glass of milk!

 

 

the Diver

“One may think of a diver, first reducing himself to nakedness, then glancing in mid-air, then gone with a splash, vanished, rushing down through green and warm water into black and cold water, down through increasing pressure into the death-like region of ooze and slime and old decay; then up again, back to colour and light, his lungs almost bursting, till suddenly he breaks surface again, holding in his hand the dripping, precious thing that he went down to recover.”
—C.S. Lewis (Miracles)

 

I’m going to start off with a note acknowledging that this is a bold, personal post and I know not everyone reading it will agree or appreciate that I felt the need to post it. And that’s okay.

I have loved C.S. Lewis’s quote—or word picture rather—since the first time I read it.
It gives such clarity to the theological truths I live by. This idea of foolish, extravert Grace that strips down to nothing, and descends even farther—so far as to be cloaked by death, but not consumed. And all for something He considered precious, though by all appearances and realities, the “prize” wasn’t worth the cost it required to obtain it.
The very act of God’s plunge gave it value.
Lost things are given value—worth—by the one who searches.

This Sunday we celebrate Easter—the death of death. The plunge and rise of Christ for the sake of me, and you, and every broken heart that ever was or will ever be. It’s a celebration of all the “Re.” —Restoration and Rebirth, Rejuvenation, and Relationship if only we accept the outstretched hand and the offer of air.

This is a blog about food. About the things that nourish need. And I’ll be first in line to admit that my need goes far beyond physical. I crave wholeness in every aspect. Physical and mental, emotional, and spiritual. And praise God, who sent His one and only Son to earth, to plunge and rise again, that He refused to leave those needs unmet—yours and mine.

Happy Easter, Dear Ones.

orange crescent rolls

  Food anchors memory. Ever noticed that? I have so many amazing food memories associated with family, friends, childhood, and holidays.
Pecan pie on Father’s Day (because that’s his favorite).
Clam chowder on Christmas Eve.
I remember one summer when my mom made like twenty-five chocolate cheesecake tortes to sell at a bake sale, only they didn’t all sell so we had chocolate cheesecake torte for weeks.
My Dad made a lobster-shaped birthday cake for my mom one year because lobster was her favorite food, but money was too tight for the real thing.
I had breakfast with my grandpa at the lake growing up—eggs over-easy on toast.
My grandma would make fried bread dough with sugar dusted over top when we came for lunch.
And my great-grandmother was the QUEEN of Sunday dinner.
I have a heritage of being loved and nourished through food. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This recipe is an Easter tradition—one that goes back as far as I can remember.
We would go to bed Saturday night anticipating the rejoicing that would greet us Sunday morning, and all the wonderful shouts of “He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!” ringing throughout the house. This was followed by Easter basket hunting, getting ready for church, and these beautiful, light-as-air, orange crescent rolls for breakfast.

So from my family to yours, Happy Easter!

PS. I’m giving this recipe to you a day early so these rolls can rise in the refrigerator overnight and bake first thing Sunday morning!

ORANGE CRESCENT ROLLS
ROLLS
3 cups flour
1 package active dry yeast
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon grated orange peel

GLAZE
1 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
Enough orange juice to make desired consistency

Advance Prep:
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 3/4 cups iof flour ad the year. In a saucepan, heat together milk, water, sugar, butter, and salt until just warm. Stir occasionally until butter is melted and then add this to the dry mixture. Add the egg and orange peel. Beat on low with an electric mixer or a stand mixer for a couple minutes and then scrape the side of the bowl continually. Beat for three minutes on high. Then, by hand or with a dough hook, add in the remaining flour and mix well. Place dough in a greased bowl and turn to grease all sides. Over with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-24 hours.

Before serving:
About two hours before serving, remove dough from fridge and divide in half. roll each ball into a 9-inch circle and with a pizza cutter, cut into 12 wedges. Starting at the wide end, roll up each wedge. Let rise in a warm oven until doubled. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. While still warm, spread with glaze.

To make glaze, combine sugar, peel and juice in a small mixing bowl and whisk with a fork.

Serve warm

Makes 24 rolls

Originally adapted from CRISCO PRESENTS FAVORITE FAMILY FOODS, copy write 1973, Proctor and Gamble Company.