Category Archives: Vegetables

Vegetable Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas out of the ovenThese enchiladas evolved recently from a batch of leftover grilled corn and some great summer squash that I had on hand. I offered to bring a batch of roasted corn salsa to a friend’s gathering, and when I learned he was also in need of a main dish, I thought to make the enchiladas. My chicken enchiladas are always well received- I recently served them as an accompaniment to chicken tortilla soup (that was the star because Hannah had requested it for her birthday dinner) and was reminded of how great they are to make for a relatively large group. Although my friend is not a vegetarian, he is a healthy eater who is drawn to a diet heavy in veggies. His cousin, who was actually the real host, is a vegetarian, so I figured she would appreciate the gesture. I was tempted to make homemade enchilada sauce this time around, but settled for the jar variety in the end. While I still love my “standby” chicken enchiladas, these are a great vegetarian alternative. I love grilled or roasted vegetables, but you could substitute steamed vegetables for the filling. You could also use frozen or canned corn, or add beans…really, the possibilities are almost limitless when it comes to dishes like this.


  • 1 Large Red or Sweet Onion – cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 Medium Yellow Squash – cut into 1/4″ rings
  • 2 Medium Zuchinni- – cut into 1/4″ rings
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers (can substitute another color) – seeded and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2-3 Ears of Fresh Sweet Corn
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • 1 Medium Jalapeno Pepper – seeds and membrane removed and finely chopped
  • 3-4 TBS. Corn Oil
  • 2 TBS. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 TBS. Ground Cumin
  • 1 TBS. Chili Powder (adjust to taste)
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 10 – 12 Fresh Corn Tortillas
  • 1 28 Oz. Can of Enchilada Sauce (mild)
  • 10-12 Oz. Queso Chihuahua – grated (can substitute Monterey Jack or Mexican blend – just make sure cheese does not contain spices)
  • 1 TBS. Fresh Cilantro – chopped


Combine all of the cut vegetables (except corn), garlic, corn oil, balsamic vinegar and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper in a medium sized mixing bowl. vegetables ready to roastAllow to marinate for at least 20 minutes (as long as overnight).  In the meantime, preheat grill to medium (or oven to 375 Degrees if oven roasting). Peel the corn and remove all of the silk. Brush corn with additional corn oil and season generously with Kosher salt and Pepper. Place vegetables in a grilling basket or grilling tray. (If oven roasting, lay in a single layer on a baking dish) Add vegetables and corn to the grill or the oven. Grill, tossing (turning, in the case of the corn) occasionally, until vegetables are tender.  When corn is cool enough to handle, cut kernels off of cobs.Thru March 20 131 In a bowl, combine corn and other grilled vegetables with 1-1.5 cups of shredded cheese.enchilada roasted vegetables Preheat oven to 375 Degrees. Pour a thin layer of enchilada sauce into a  9×12 baking dish and set aside. Pour a thin layer of enchilada sauce into a pie plate or onto a plate. Heat 3-4 tortillas in the microwave for 10-20 seconds just to soften so they don;t crack apart when rolling. Add a tortilla to the enchilada sauce (in pie plate) and soak on both sides. Add about 2-3 TBS. of vegetable filling to the tortilla, roll up tightly and place seam side down into the 9×12 baking dish. Repeat this until you have used up all of the filling – you should end up with 10-12 enchiladas depending on how fat you make your enchiladas. Pour a layer of enchilada sauce over the enchiladas Cover with a layer of sauceand top with remaining cheese (you can add more if you like). Place in oven and bake until cheese is melted and enchiladas are heated through (about 20-30 minutes).  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Sushi and Sushi Rolls

A Variety of Rolls

A Variety of  Sushi Rolls

Ahi Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and Gian Clam

Ahi Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and Gian Clam

We love sushi and enjoy if often. Believe it or not, our local grocery store has great fresh sushi available, and we have a few good sushi restaurants in the area. Our favorite sushi restaurant is in the back of a tiny Japanese grocery store called Noble Fish. If you go at lunch, the sushi bar is packed. In the grocery area they carry all of the ingredients needed to prepare sushi at home; it is the only place I would purchase fish (sushi grade) to serve raw. Of course if you just want to make vegetable rolls, California rolls, or even Philadelphia rolls, you can get all of those ingredients at a regular grocery store. Most large chain grocery stores now have a specialty.ethnic food section which has most of the necessary ingredients. I used to make my own sushi rice seasoning (it’s not hard, but it can be hard to find the kombu seaweed), but it’s just one more step in the process and you can buy great quality sushi rice seasoning in a bottle. I’m not going to lie, preparing sushi at home is a labor of love – there’s a ton of cutting (somewhat precision) and the rolling takes some practice, but I promise you, that if you love sushi, you will love sushi you have prepared – it just doesn’t get any fresher! I am often asked to bring a sushi platter to gatherings (the ex-boyfriend’s family loved it), and everyone always raves about how good it is! This past weekend I hosted a small group for a sushi making dinner party – nothing like being invited over to make your own dinner. 🙂  If you love sushi, you’ll know what ingredients you’ll need; there are some pretty consistent cast of characters like cucumber, and avocado, but feel free to mix in other vegetables (especially if you want to make veggie rolls). I prepped the rice and the veggies and fish before people arrived and then just set everything out on platters. I basically do the same thing if we’re making it just for ourselves. For the party I provided Ahi tuna, mahi mahi, giant clam, and smoked salmon and, of course, fake crabmeat. I also made some spicy mayo and put out cream cheese (not traditional, but good for Philly rolls). I cut up cucumbers, avocado, scallions, and carrots. Look on-line if you need suggestions; we’ve done all sorts of crazy combinations – that’s the fun of making it yourself. You will also need a bamboo sushi rolling mat and some plastic wrap, as well as a really sharp knife. If you’ve never rolled sushi before, it’s probably best to watch a video or pay close attention to the sushi chef next time you go to a sushi bar (they make it look effortless). Here’s a good video that shows how to make an inside out California roll:  You can modify to make other rolls. One thing I do differently from the video is that I only use a half a sheet of Nori because I like smaller rolls.  I also use the entire mat to help roll, not just the saran wrap as shown in the video. Maybe one of these days I’ll just make my own video.  For the non-rolled sushi – you essentially just place a piece of cut fish on pad of rice that has a little bit of wasabi paste on it. You can purchase a little plastic box type utensil that helpssushi rice shaper you form the rice pads – I love this little gadget. When it comes to wasabi, I prefer to prepare my fresh, using dried wasabi powder mixed with water. You can, however, purchase wasabi paste; most grocery stores carry that, but you may have to go to a Japanese or Asian market for the powder. I’ve listed ingredients for California Rolls, Philadelphia Rolls, and Spicy Tuna Rolls (can make regular tuna rolls by omitting the spicy mayo). Again, once you get the basic idea of rolls down, you can experiment with whatever ingredients and combinations appeal to you. The rolls listed below are all inside out rolls which means that the rice is on the outside of the roll. This is NOT traditional – it is traditional to have the nori on the outside. If you want to make the traditional style rolls, skip the step of flipping over the nori sheet on the bamboo mat. If you like fish roe, you can make inside out rolls and then roll the finished rolls in fish roe to get a nice layer on the outside. Again, there are a ton of on-line resources, so explore and experiment.

Sushi Rice:

Prepare sushi rice (small grain sticky rice – purchase specific sushi rice if possible) according to manufacturers directions. Standard is 2 Cups of water combined with 1.5 cups of rice. Combine water and rice in a pot, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook covered for 20 minutes. cook the sushi riceRemove from heat and allow to sit covered for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork. If you have a rice cooker: cook according to suggestions on rice cooker. Add 1/4 Cup sushi rice seasoning while rice is hot; mix gently with a fork until well combined. season sushi riceAllow rice to cool completely before using for sushi. For homemade sushi rice seasoning:


  • 4 Cups Sushi Rice- Prepared, Seasoned, Cooled
  • 6-10 Imitation Crab Sticks- sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 English Cucumber- peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4″ strips
  • 1 Avocado – peeled, pit removed and cut into thin slices
  • 3-6 Sheets of Nori (Roasted Seaweed) Sheets – I use 1/2 sheet per roll
  • Roasted Sesame Seeds (light or black)- optional
  • Prepared Wasabi
  • Pickled Ginger
  • Soy Sauce for dipping

ingredients 2


Lay a piece of Nori on a bamboo sushi mat covered with plastic wrap. Gently press an even layer of rice over nori until completely covered; you’ll want to keep a bowl of water around to rinse your fingers frequently because they will become to sticky from the rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds (if using) and flip the rice coated piece of nori over on the mat. About 2/3 of the way down the piece of nori, lay two pieces of imitation crab next to each other so that they reach the outer edges of the nori. If they extend over, trim them to fit. Lay 2 cucumber slices just above the crab slices (again, make sure they reach the edge without going over). Lay a 2-3 slices of avocado over the crab and cucumber. Using the mat, roll the edge of the nori (the edge closest to you) over the other ingredients, pulling the mat backward, continue rolling until the entire nori sheet has been rolled. (Watch the video referenced above, or another on-line video if you have never done this – it’s easier to understand visually). Use a very sharp knife to cut the sushi roll into 6-8 pieces; you will probably find it best to wipe the knife clean in between cuts. Serve with prepared wasabi, sliced pickled ginger, and soy sauce.


  • 4 Cups Sushi Rice- Prepared, Seasoned, Cooled
  • 6 Slices of Smoked Salmon – cut into pieces about 3/4″ wide.
  • Cream Cheese – softened
  • 1/2 English Cucumber- peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4″ strips
  • 8-10 Scallion (green parts only) strips
  • 3-6 Sheets of Nori (Roasted Seaweed) Sheets – I use 1/2 sheet per roll
  • Roasted Sesame Seeds (light or black)- optional
  • Prepared Wasabi
  • Pickled Ginger
  • Soy Sauce for dipping


Cover nori with rice and sesame seeds and flip on mat as directed for California rolls. Spread about a 1/2 layer of cream cheese across the nori (about 2/3 of the way down the sheet) Lay slices of smoked salmon on top of spread cream cheese and add strips of cucumber and scallions just above the layered salmon. Roll and slice as directed for California rolls.


  • 4 Cups Sushi Rice- Prepared, Seasoned, Cooled
  • 6-10 1/4 inch wide strips of raw Sushi Grade Tuna
  • 1/2 English Cucumber- peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4″ strips
  • 1 Avocado – peeled, pit removed and cut into thin slices
  • 6 TBS. Spicy Mayonnaise* (to make homemade: combine mayonnaise with desired amount of Siracha hot sauce)
  • 3-6 Sheets of Nori (Roasted Seaweed) Sheets – I use 1/2 sheet per roll
  • Roasted Sesame Seeds (light or black)- optional
  • Prepared Wasabi
  • Pickled Ginger
  • Soy Sauce for dipping

* For regular Tuna Rolls – eliminate the spicy mayonnaise.


Cover nori with rice and sesame seeds and flip on mat as directed for California rolls. Spread a thin layer about 1/4 inch wide of spicy mayonnaise across the nori (about 2/3 of the way down the sheet. lay two pieces of tuna strips next to each other so that they reach the outer edges of the nori. If they extend over, trim them to fit. Lay 2 cucumber slices just above the tuna slices (again, make sure they reach the edge without going over). Lay a 2-3 slices of avocado over the tuna and cucumber. Roll and slice as directed for California rolls. Drizzle sliced sushi pieces with additional spicy mayonnaise if desired.

Enjoying some Miso Soup while we Roll

Enjoying some Miso Soup while we Roll


Corned Beef, Cabbage, and Root Vegetables

Traditional Corned Beef Cabbage and Vegetables

Traditional Corned Beef Cabbage and Vegetables

I love St. Patrick’s Day because I love corned beef! I moved to Michigan on St. Patrick’s Day of 2000 – I moved from the Seacoast Region of New Hampshire, so I carried with me live lobsters. That was the only year I can remember not having the traditional corned beef and cabbage boiled dinner on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve heard conflicting stories about how traditional this meal actually is – I’ve also heard conflicting stories about how Irish I am; so the way I figure, my alleged Irish heritage is as empirical as this dish. I’ve learned over the years that this dish is one of those “love it or leave it” dishes. On several occasions I’ve served this meal expecting elation from my guests, only to instead hear “I’ve never really liked corned beef.” And let’s be honest, the corned beef is the star of the show here – the cabbage, potatoes, carrots, parsnips etc., well, they’re really just boiled vegetables. In such situations, one must be sure to have great bread, and great dessert (see other posts). I know people who prepare this meal in the slow cooker – I’m sure it’s equally good, but I have always cooked it the way mother did (she never had a slow-cooker), boiled on the stove. I serve this with a variety of good mustards and horseradish cream sauce (see below). Use leftover corned beef and potatoes to make corned beef patties and serve as benedict for  breakfast.


  • 5-6 Lb. Corned Beef Brisket (with seasoning packet*)
  • 2 Large Sweet or White Onions – peeled, cut in half
  • 6 Large or -12 small Potatoes – peeled or skin-on(use favorite potatoes – redskins, baby redskins, Yukons, small white, fingerlings) (cut potatoes in 1/2 if using large)
  • 8-10 Large Carrots/Parsnips – or combination (peeled and cut into 1.5″ pieces) (can substitute baby carrots- about 2 cups)
  • 1-2 Heads of Cabbage – core removed and cut into wedges (use toothpicks to secure wedges if desired – I never bother)


Place Corned Beef Brisket, seasonings, and onions in a large stockpot and cover with water (water should cover meat by about 6″). Bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Reduce heat so that water is at a high simmer or gentle boil (you don’t want it to boil over – it’s messy) and cook for 3.5-4 hours. Add remaining vegetables to pot and cook for an additional 30-40 minutes until potatoes and vegetables are tender. Use a slotted spoon to remove vegetable and transfer to a large serving bowl or high rimmed platter. Remove brisket and slice – add to platter and serve immediately.

Horseradish Cream Sauce:

  • 1 Cup Sour Cream or Creme Fraiche
  • 2 TBS. Prepared Horseradish (more if desired)
  • 2 TBS. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper – to taste

Mix all ingredients until well combined. It’s best to allow the sauce to sit in refrigerator for at least 2 hours to really develop the flavors. Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving so that sauce is close to room temperature.

St. Patrick's Day Table 2013

St. Patrick’s Day Table 2013



Vegetarian Chipotle Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin soupAnother “re-post,” but this is a little different because I am making the soup vegetarian. This soup will be the starter course at my “Friendsgiving” gathering this Sunday. I’m expecting 26 adults and a couple of little ones, so I will be doubling the recipe. I am serving buffet style, so I will serve the soup out of a hollowed-out pumpkin, but guests will eat out of small bowls. I’m really mixing traditional Thanksgiving recipes with some non-traditional dishes for this gathering, and I’m hopeful that my guests will enjoy the eclectic  menu. Serves 8-10 as a starter, or 5-6 as a main course.


  • 3 15 oz. Cans of Pumpkin Puree
  • 4-6 Cups Vegetable Stock or Broth (homemade is ideal, but if not available use a good quality brand)
  • 1 Medium Sweet or Yellow Onion – chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – chopped
  • 1-2 Chipotle Peppers (canned in adobo sauce) – chopped
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • 2 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 2 TBS. Lime Juice
  • Salt to taste (about 2 tsp.)
  • Creme Fraiche (optional – garnish)
  • Cilantro (optional – garnish)


Add olive oil to a large stockpot and heat over medium. Add the onions and cook until softened (but not browned). Add garlic, chipotle, and cumin and cook until garlic is aromatic (about 1 minute). Add the pumpkin puree, 4 cups of vegetable stock, oregano, and salt. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for 25-30 minutes. Check consistency; add more vegetable stock to thin the soup. Puree soup in blender (or use an immersion blender). If you prefer, you can skip this step (soup will have bits of onion, garlic and chipotle), but I think it’s worth the little bit of extra work to get a smooth soup. Taste, and add more salt, cumin or chipotle (if you want more heat). Return to stockpot and add lime juice. Serve warm and garnish with creme fraiche and cilantro (optional). This re-heats well, so it’s a good make ahead recipe.pumpkin soup in pumpkin


Roasted Golden Beets with Feta, Basil and Pumpkin Balsamic Drizzle

Roasted Golden Beets with Feta, Basil and Pumpkin Balsamic Drizze

Roasted Golden Beets with Feta, Basil and Pumpkin Balsamic Drizzle

I’m kind of bummed that this doesn’t look that great in the photo because my “roasted beet loving friend” and I loved this new creation. I’m a huge fan of roasted beets, and an even bigger fan of roasted golden beets – they don’t turn all of the other ingredients pink, and they have an earthy less sweet flavor. If you can’t find golden beets, by all means use red/purple beets. You could also substitute mint for the basil, but I prefer basil. For the drizzle, I used pumpkin oil and cherry balsamic vinegar. Again, there are plenty of options for substitutions here. In fact, when I was first thinking about a drizzle, I thought I would use walnut oil, but I didn’t have any. However, the pumpkin oil adds a great contrast to the beets, so it’s worth trying to find. I love fruit flavored/infused balsamic vinegars because I feel like they have a little more depth than just plain balsamic, but if you prefer, use plain balsamic or any other hearty vinegar. The measurements here are not exact and don’t need to be – adjust all according to your taste. Serves about 6.


  • 6-8 Medium to Large Golden Beets (can substitute red/purple beets)
  • 2-3 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 2-3 TBS. Pumpkin Oil (can substitute walnut oil or other favorite oil)
  • 10-12 Basil Leaves – chopped
  • 1/4 – 1/2 Cup Feta Cheese
  • 2-3 TBS. Cherry Balsamic Vinegar (can substitute regular balsamic or other favorite flavored vinegar)
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper


Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Place unpeeled beets on a foil lined baking sheet and coat generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover beets with another piece of foil and crimp edges to seal and form a packet. Roast beets for 30-45 minutes (depending on size of beets) until tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle. Peel off skins, cut off ends, and slice beets into bite-sized pieces. through Sept 24 014When beets are completely cool, add crumbled feta and chopped basil. Through October 9 011Gently mix – adding more feta or basil as desired. Season with oil and vinegar and salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or chilled.


Roasted Beet Salad

Roasted Heirloom Beet Salad

Roasted Heirloom Beet Salad

I figured since my next post is going to be another ice cream post, I’d better post something a little healthier. This salad is super easy and very delicious. I served this with a citrus vinaigrette, but I’ve had it with a walnut vinaigrette dressing which is also delicious. (I intended to make a walnut vinaigrette, but I was out of walnut oil). The star of this salad is the roasted beets. Two keys: buy good quality beets – try to find heirloom varieties if you can- and roast the beets rather than boiling them. The roasting process really amplifies the flavor of the beets and when you season them in advance with salt and pepper, you end up with a great combination of savory and sweet flavors. I used goat cheese, but you could use feta or another good semi-soft or crumbly cheese. I also used straight arugula because I love the peppery flavor, but you could use any good combination of mixed greens (even something hardy like kale would be good).


  • 4-6 Medium Sized Fresh Beets (Purple, Golden, or other Heirloom variety)
  • Fresh Arugula or other Greens
  • Goat Cheese or other semi-soft or crumbly cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Vinaigrette (citrus vinaigrette recipe follows)


Preheat oven to 375 Degrees. Clean beets and cut off both ends (leave skin on). Rub beets with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Place a piece of tin foil (large enough to easily cover beets) and add the beets. photo (88)Place another piece of foil on top of the beets to cover and crimp the two pieces of foil together to form a sealed packet. Roast beets for 20-35 minutes (depending on size and freshness of beets) until they are fork tender. Allow cooked beets to cool enough to handle and then peel off the skins and slice to desired thickness (or cut into chunks if you prefer). Assemble the greens on salad plates, add the beets, and cheese; drizzle with vinaigrette.

Citrus Vinaigrette:

  • 3 TBS. Olive Oil (use orange, blood orange, or lemon infused olive oil if available)
  • 1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 3 TBS. Orange Juice
  • 1 heaping tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a jar or container with a lid. Shake well until all ingredients are well combined.

Southwestern Pasta Salad

photo (84)It’s still summer and I am still inventing recipes which utilize leftover fresh Michigan corn. This one might be one of my new favorites (although you can never go wrong with risotto or salsa). Not only did I use leftover corn, I used my leftover chimichurri sauce. This is one of those “so easy, but such a big hit” recipes. I chose to use orzo as my pasta, but really you could use any type of pasta – whatever your favorite is or whatever you have in the cupboard. You could also mix in a variety of other vegetables, I stuck with tomatoes and corn. I also added queso fresco, but it would be great with feta cheese (that would take away a bit of the southwestern flavor, but it would sure taste good). My measurements are approximate – add or reduce as you enjoy. Keep in mind that the chimichurri sauce is loaded with garlic, so this pasta salad packs a good punch. If you’re serving this at a party and are worried about the garlic content, certainly reduce the amount used in your chimichurri sauce.


  • 8 oz. (1/2 a box) of Orzo Pasta (or your favorite pasta, but larger pasta will shapes will require more pasta)
  • 1.5-2 Cups Grape or Cherry Tomatoes cut in 1/2 or 1/4s)
  • 1.5-2 Cups Corn (leftover fresh or canned or frozen)
  • 1.5 Cups Queso Fresca- crumbled (or substitute your favorite cheese)
  • 1/4+ Cup Chimichurri Sauce


Cook pasta (according to directions) to “al dente” phase. Drain pasta and run under cold water to cool completely and stop the cooking process. Combine pasta and vegetables in a large mixing bowl – adjusting vegetables and chimichurri sauce; mix and adjust ingredients to desired amount). photo (77)Add cheese and mix again until well combined. Serve cold or at room temperature.


Grilled (Roasted) Corn

Roasted Corn - editedGrilled corn is a summertime favorite – a staple in our household. Years ago when I lived on a horse farm in New Hampshire, we would have a huge pig roast – almost as popular as the roasted pig was the roasted corn. We would soak the corn in the husks in a big bucket of water and then throw the corn on the grill. The corn essentially steamed in the husk, and it was tender and delicious, but it didn’t have that “roasted” flavor and it was inconvenient for guests to have to husk their own corn. Now when I grill corn, I simply brush it generously with olive oil and season it well with salt (Kosher or coarse sea salt works best) and pepper. On occasion I’ll add some cayenne or a cajun rub, but, mostly, I’m a traditionalist. When selecting corn, I’m of the school of thought that you should NOT peel back the husks to inspect the corn. My mother taught me that the minute the kernels are exposed, their sugars start reacting and the corn’s freshness is sacrificed. The trick is to just take your chances and, most importantly, just buy extra corn in case you come across one or two less than perfect ears. As fate would have it, I usually end up with all perfect ears which means I have extra for leftovers. Leftover grilled corn is great for roasted corn salsa, roasted corn risotto, or roasted corn mayonnaise for steak sandwiches. I’ve also used it in pasta salad, soups, and savory scones.


Heat a grill to about 300 Degrees. Shuck the corn and generously coat with olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper or your favorite spicy seasoning mix. You can also sprinkle with fresh or dried herbs if you’d like – so many options! Place the corn on the grill (not directly over the flames/coals). photo (6)Roast for a couple of minutes (until the kernels start to brown) and then turn. Continue until roasted on all sides and tender to the bite.

Mushroom and Leek Quiche

Thru Aug 5 050Although quiche is certainly a year-round dish, I seem to make it more frequently in the summer. It’s great for a light lunch or supper and pairs well with a simple salad. I will often make a double batch when I make quiche – partly because I use store bought pie crust and they come two to a package. On this occasion, I made one full-size quiche and four mini quiches which I shared with friends. Unfortunately, in my rush to package up the quiches for delivery, I failed to take a picture of the finished product – so the picture you see is actually for a similar quiche made with bacon and scallions. One of the greatest things about quiche, in addition to how easy it is to make, is that you can use any combination of ingredients (particularly vegetables) depending on what you have one hand.  I love the flavor of the gruyere cheese – it’s a little nuttier than domestic swiss, but you can purchase pre-shredded swiss cheese which is a big time saver. Quiche freezes well, but it always gets eaten in my house, so I haven’t many occasions to freeze it.


  • 1 Pie Crust (I used Pillsbury, but if you’d like to make your own, my favorite pie crust recipe is listed below.
  • 1/2 Cup Mushrooms- chopped
  • 1/4 – 1/3 Cup Leeks (white and light green parts only) – chopped*
  • 1-2 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 Large Egg Yolks
  • 1 1/4 Cup of Half and Half (or heavy cream)
  • 1 Cup Shredded Gruyere (or Swiss) Cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 14 tsp. Freshly Ground Pepper


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare pie crust and set in a 9″ pie plate. Cover with parchment paper (or wax paper) and add pie weights (or substitute dried beans). Add pie weights before bakingAdd pie weights individualsBake for 12 minutes, remove from oven (remove paper and weights) and allow to cool. In the meantime, in a saute pan heat olive oil and add mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are tender, add the leeks, and remove from heat.  Saute mushrooms and leeksIn a medium sized mixing bowl, combine eggs, yolks, cream and salt and pepper. Add mushroom, and scallion mixture to cooled pie crust and spread evenly over the bottom of the crust. Pour egg and cream mixture into crust. Sprinkle cheese on top of combined mixtures, place on a baking sheet Ready for the ovenand bake for an additional 6-9 minutes, or until the custard is set and cooked through (you can insert a toothpick- if it comes out clean it is set). Serve hot or at room temperature with a simple side salad. Quiche re-heats well in the microwave.

Pate Brise (Pie Crust):

  • 2 1/2 Cups All Purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 Sticks ( 1 Cup) Unsalted Butter – well chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 – 1/2 Cup Ice Water

The key to a good flaky crust is to use very cold ingredients and don’t overwork the dough.

Add flour, salt and sugar to a food processor and mix until combined. Add butter and pulse for 7-10 seconds until flour mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add water in a steady stream through processor tube, pulsing while adding. Continue pulsing and adding water just until dough holds together. Dough should not be wet or mushy, but must hold together enough to roll out – if it doesn’t hold together to form a ball, slowly add a little more water until it does. Divide dough into two equal parts and form into balls, slightly flatten balls (they will chill faster and be easier to roll out). Cover in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour. Remove 1 dough disc from refrigerator and place on a floured work surface. Flour a rolling pin, and roll dough out to desired thickness or size necessary to fit in pie plate. Repeat process for top crust after filling bottom crust.

Israeli Couscous and Roasted Beet Salad

Israeli Couscous and Beet Salad

Israeli Couscous and Beet Salad

It’s Tuesday again (time flies in the summer), so it was concert in the park night. As has become tradition, I made a cold salad and sandwiches (pulled pork with pickled fennel). The salad was inspired by my friend Geaneen’s recent trip to her sister-in-law’s organic farm; she returned home with beautiful petite beets and some fabulous green onions. I did have to supplement with extra beets, so I added some gold beets. I tried to use some of my favorite Mediterranean ingredients – including those in my beloved Greek salad. I was a little worried about how the salad would be received, not everyone is a fan of beets, but  it was an instant hit.


  • 2 Cups Israeli Couscous (regular or tri-colored)
  • 4 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 1 1/4 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 1/4 Cups Water
  • 4-6 Medium Beets (Golden or Red)
  • 4-6 Green Onions (or 1/2 medium sweet onion)
  • 6 Oz. Feta Cheese (more or less to your liking)
  • 3/4 Cup Kalmata Olives
  • 2 TBS. Fresh Mint – finely chopped
  • 1 TBS. Fresh Oregano – finely chopped
  • 1 TBS. Fresh Basil – finely chopped

For the Vinagrette (makes extra – save and use for other salads)

  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 4-5 TBS. Red Wine Vinegar (adjust to taste)
  • 1.5 tsp. Honey
  • 1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 2-3 TBS. Olive Brine (from Kalmata Olives)
  • 1/4 tsp. Pepper
  • Salt to taste (will depend on your olive brine)


Preheat oven to 300 Degrees. Remove stems and any roots from beets – rub with olive oil and add salt and pepper. Place on a foil covered baking sheet and roast for 35-45 minutes. In the meantime, remove the green parts and roots from green onions (or, if using sweet onions, slice into 1/4 inch rounds) and rub with olive oil – set aside. After beets have roasted for 35-45 minutes, add onions to baking sheet and return to the oven. Roast for an additional 10-15 minutes until beets are tender when a fork is inserted. Remove beets and onions from oven and set aside. Prepare the vinagrette by combining all ingredients in a jar or tupperware container with a tight fitting lid; set aside. Heat 1 TBS. olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add couscous and toast, stirring frequently,  for 5-7 minutes until fragrant and slightly browned. Through June 25 2013 078Add chicken broth, water, and salt. Cover and reduce heat to low – simmer for 15-20 minutes until all water is absorbed. In the meantime, when beets are cool enough to handle, remove the skins and cut into 1/4 inch pieces. Cut onions into small dice. Slice kalmata olives in half. When couscous is fully cooked, fluff with a fork and allow to cool slightly. Add 1/2 to 3/4 of the vinagrette (to taste) to the couscous. Add beets and onions. Add feta cheese and fresh herbs once couscous is completely cooled. Through June 25 2013 085Mix well, add more vinagrette if desired and season with salt and pepper. Serve chilled or at room temperature.