Thursday, April 28, 2011

One Recipe, Three EASY Quiches

I'm not always the best Catholic.

I didn't give up anything for lent, haven't in years.
I ate meat on Fridays during lent without flinching.
And this year I didn't go to church on Easter Sunday.

I am, however, a pretty good hostess.

Because instead of going to church I prepared THREE different types of quiches for my friends. What a good Samaritan I am! We also hiked a mountain but thats a whole 'nother story!

For the quiches I started with a list of fav quiche ingredients and went about picking and choosing combos:

First was the obvious, Mini Ham and Cheddar.
 (They are there in the glass dish on the left. Seriously the only photo I took before they got gobble up!)

Next we had Bacon, Spinach, and Swiss.
and last but most definitely not least...

Caramelized Onion, Mushroom, and Gruyere.
MY FAV! OMG!

Please, please, hold your applause... 
Okay don't!

GO ME!
I felt so accomplished!
I made all three the night before because it's more important to me to stay home on a Saturday night baking then going out and being cool hehe.

 On top of these delish quiches which, as you can see, were attacked before I could get a decent shot, friend brought over some other super yummy treats.

We had fruit salad (yummy yummy), skillet potatoes, spicy pineapple, beer (apparently someone did) and not shown here, we had endless amounts of mimosas! I truly adore mimosas.
 
So now, enough with the chatter, let's talk recipes.
I used ONE basic recipe.
It's so simple it's sinful.

Warning: This is one of those recipes I don't give you real specific portions. It's adapted from the Joy of Cooking. If you can't handle this type of madness, I will link to recipes that break it done for you. Trust me, I understand. 

For each quiche you'll need:
- Frozen Pie Crust, thawed OR 1 Pie crust sheet OR homemade dough (show off)
- 3-4 eggs (I went with 4)
- 2 cups milk OR cream OR half and half (which I used)
- 1/2 cup of grated cheese (I usually do a bit more than 1/2 cup cause I love me some cheese!)
- a pinch of fresh nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- fixins (This could be anything you like really.)

The prep:
1. Preheat 375f. I made 3 quiches (I considered the minis "one") so I took 12 eggs, 6 cups of half & half, nutmeg, salt and pepper and combined them all in a pitcher. I whisked the mixture together and called it custard.

2. Next I prepared the shell. Now, I can't BEGIN to explain how many mixed messages I got about this. To blind bake or not to blind bake, that is the question. That, my friends, is for another show (I LOVE YOU ALTON BROWN!) I can tell you this, I tried it both ways, and both came out fine. Go with what feels right to you.

3. Cut out the circles for the mini quiche. I suggest a biscuit cutter about 1/2inch wider all around than the opening of the cup. Or you can cut squares. Again, up to you. Spray the cups of your muffin tin down with cooking spray and press in. The other larger crusts are all ready to go!

4. Add your fixins! I'd go with about 1/4- 1/3 of each type if you're doing 2, or a little more than 1/2 for one. All your fixins should be fully cooked to avoid any issues. With the minis add a pinch of the ingredients to each until you've run out.
*For the ham and cheddar quiches I choose to add a pinch of ground mustard to each. It made the flavor of the cheese and ham stand out.

5. SLOWLY pour the mixture in till it covers the fixins. Try and use about 1/3 of the mixture but don't over flow. The custard will rise a bit.

6. Bake @375 for 30-40 mins. Ovens vary so check them after 30. I learned that the best way is to touch it. If it's firm, you're in business. To make sure the inside are completly done, poke with a tooth pick and press again. If no juices come out, take that baby outta there!

7. Grab a slice of heaven! This is the perfect thing to make when you've got leftovers in the fridge and you don't know what to do with them. If it sounds good to you, throw it in. It's all delicious!

P.S. For all you folks who need structure and order here's a link I found to the Joy of Cooking Fennel, Asparagus, Leek Quiche directly from the cookbook. It's pretty close to what I did. Enjoy!


Peasant Gourmet: Joy of Cooking Quiche
(photo from Peasant Gourmet)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Strawberry Daiquiri Cupcakes and Wine

I'm gonna open my own shop. It's gonna be a wine and cupcakes shop.

We'll have wine pairings with cupcakes.

It'll make millions.

COPYRIGHT!

AHA! Now you can't steal my idea!

Haha My friend Michael and I used to do that if either one of us came up with a really funny joke. This way anyone who wanted to repeat it would have to say "Michael said the funniest thing!" or "Amy came up with the best joke." We're both pretty funny people. Not to brag or anything. :0)

Anyways, back to the present. I came up with this wine/cupcake pairing last weekend when we were celebrating my dear friend Betty's birthday. 

For her birthday extravaganza we went on a wine tour (just 7 of us) through Temecula Wine Country.

We went to three different wineries, Stuart Cellars, Leonesse Winery, and Danza del Sol Winery.

 She was one happy birthday girl!

It was a fun but long day. After starting the wine tour at 11 and ending around 4 we headed back to her house to start to prepare the food for the birthday after party!

I was in charge of the cupcakes, of course. Poor Betty, on Tuesday, her actual birthday, made her own birthday cupcakes! That's just not right. So I put myself in charge of her birthday dessert. When I asked her what kind of cupcakes she wanted she said "One's with booze in them!"

So we looked around, looking at White Russian cupcakes, and Mudslide cupcakes, and even Mimosa cupcakes. All of these sounded delicious but when Betty described the dinner she was planning, carne asada with the fixins, I knew I had to do my margarita cupcakes. But since I'd already done regular margarita cupcakes, I went for strawberry this time.

So I bought the ingredients, minus the tequila because Betty said she had it at the house, and set forth to make Strawberry Margarita cupcakes. Well, turns out, there was no tequila. Opps. But there was rum! So I switched out the tequila for rum and called them Strawberry Daiquiri cupcakes. The rest is history.

Strawberry Daiquiri Cupcakes
Recipe by me... with a little help from me!

Ingredients:
Cake
9 ounces liquid Strawberry Margarita mix (a little over a cup)
3 ounces rum (a little less than 1/3 cup)
¾ ounce triple sec
1 box white cake mix
3 large egg whites
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 Tbs lime zest
1/2 cup finely chopped strawberries

Frosting
2 (8oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
 1 Tbs lime zest
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two dozen cupcake tins with paper liners.

2. Prepare cupcakes: Whisk together strawberry margarita mix, rum and triple sec in a small bowl. Measure out 1¼ cups for the recipe; pour the rest on some ice and drink it while making the cupcakes!

3. In a large bowl, blend cake mix, egg whites, vegetable oil, lime zest and 1¼ cups of the margarita mix from step 1. Blend on low for about 30 seconds and then increase speed to medium and blend for two additional minutes. Batter will be slightly lumpy.

4. Spoon the batter into cupcake liners (about ¾ full). Bake for 20-25 min, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool for about 10 minutes in the pans, then remove them to a rack to cool completely.

5. To make the icing: Mix all the ingredients, cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, lime juice, and lime zest, in a bowl til completely combined and smooth.

6. Top with a slice of strawberry and serve at your next party!
Enjoy! 
Hope you had a wonderful birthday, Betty!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

100th Post : 100 Followers

This is my 100th post!

And as of last Monday, I have 100 followers!

Check me out!

100! 100! And 100% Awesome!

I started this blog because I wanted to keep busying while I was unemployed. Now I'm employed, more or less, and I often fall behind. But most of you haven't strayed. You have stuck by me faithfully.


And for that, I LOVE YA!

So I feel it is only appropriate that I share with you a lesson I taught on the wonders of blogging because not only do I feel like a super cool blogger, a group of people took a class taught by me and thought I was a super cool blogger too!

Last Monday I taught a class on  blogging. It was a blast.

The class was setup through an organization called Community Living Campaign. Hehe I say that so casually like I am not related to the woman who runs. Haha It's my mom's organization. So no, some big wigs didn't read my blog and think it's the bees knees and asked me to teach. (Although my mom is pretty important!) My mom asked me to teach and I was thrilled to help.

Everyone was engaged.

 They asked TONS of really great questions.


And best of all, they "liked" the blog!
We learned a bit about how Facebook works with blogs and that seem to impress them the most!

And of course, it wouldn't be a true DYKTMP? event if it didn't come with muffinized food!

I made the muffin pan raviolis...

Some yummy rosemary pull-apart bread (cut up biscuits, olive oil, rosemary)...

And some yummy, sticky mini monkey bread!

Everyone, including me of course, dug right in!

I was so grateful for their nice comments, like I am always grateful for yours (hint hint!)

So thanks, mom, my first blog "students", and you, the readers.
I really REALLY do appreciate you stopping by!

To (atleast) 100 more posts!
Cheers!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Earth Hour: A Poem

Man, am I on a roll today or what! This is post #2 today and I have a third one in the works! Although, so far the recipes have been scarce... I am working on that as well!
I just have so much to say and I want to get it all out there.
This post, however, should have been done like 2 weeks ago so I'm not really on a roll here...more like a slow glide. 

A couple weeks ago I taught a lesson on Earth Hour. 
It went so well. The students got really into it. 
The lesson started out with the question "What is Earth Hour?" "What does that mean to you?" "Have you ever even heard of it?" The students gave guesses and ideas but none had actually heard of it. Awesome! Blank slate. Next we watched an official video from World Wildlife Federation, the organizers of Earth Hour. I narrated most of the video for them, explaining the images that came without narrative. 

After the video I asked them to tell me what they learned. I'm such a teacher. Can you say "KWL!" Anyways, the students talked about what they heard in the video and what they picked up. Most were able to gather that Earth Hour was on March 26th and that it had to do with shutting off your lights. They also picked up on the number of countries that participated. Not exactly how many, just that there were "a ton."

After this brief discussion I read them I poem I found online about Earth Hour. This is the poem.

The poem was very inspiring. They sat for a second and reflected again on what they had heard and learned. The poem really got creative juices flowing.

I, of course, challenged them to do one better! They were to split into 2 groups and each group was to write a poem representing Earth Hour. One group jumped right in, while the other created a word bank. Both were fantastic.

 I am SO proud to share those poems with you now.


Poem One: Acrostic Earth Hour

E - Everyone participates
A - All the lights are off
R - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
T - Time for Change
H - Help the Earth conserve energy

H - Have respect for the earth
O - One hour a year from 8:30 - 9:30 March on 26th
U - Unplug and save energy
R - Raise awareness for conservation of the earth


Poem Two: Be a Recruiter

Saturday, 26th of March
8:30 - 9:30
From the St. Louis Arch
To the island of Cape Verde

Everyone should turn of the power
For this one night
And slow for an hour
Without any light

Unplug the computer
Take a shorter shower
Be a recruiter
For Earth Hour

Aren't these kids fantastic!? 
I only gave them one requirement, include the time and the date of Earth Hour. The rest they did on their own. One of the students, who is a self proclaimed poet, worked on the second poem, and suggested we try to make in an A,B,A,B rhyme scheme. I love it! Both groups did such a fantastic job, I am so proud of them. 

WE'RE SO PROUD OF YOU!

St. Stupid's Day: A Foolish Lesson

(*Disclaimer: I'm Catholic and I can laugh at this. If you find this topic offensive, please don't read further. I'd rather not have any mean comments. Also, I show some naked old man butts. Be advised.)

Every April Fools Day for the past 33 years, hundreds of San Franciscans have participated in an event that is truly... STUPID!

The St. Stupid's Day Parade!

For those of you, aka most of you all, who have never heard of this, don't worry. Judging by their faces most people in San Francisco have never heard of it either hehe.

But I'm going to let you in on the secret of St. Stupid.

St. Stupid is the patron saint of The First Church of the Last Laugh. 

Bishop Joey, the churches founder, started the St. Stupid's Day Parade tradition in the '70s in San Francisco. 

Bishop Joey teamed up with thee Wavy Gravy to create an event that allows you to let your freak flag fly!

So every year, San Franciscans gather...

...dressed in their most foolish outfits...

...or slightly inappropriate outfits...

...or no outfit at all...

courtesy of Michael Bolger
to make all the working people downtown turn to each other and say...

"WHAT THE HECK IS THIS THAT GUY WEARING?!"

My mom and I have done this the last two years, with other folks joining in and we absolutely love it! As I've mentioned before, we are HUGE Halloween people so we always love the excuse to dress up crazy and scare people!
This year was my mom, her friend, my boyfriend, and I.
If you couldn't tell, I'm dressed as the Dutchess of Dork.


Here we are in front of the famous Doggie Diner Dogs, official First Church of the Last Laugh icons.


You can't get me around a kilt... I have no control over my actions. 


And this is in front of the stock exchange building swinging my sock around for the "sock exchange." It really is a fantastic time. I can't wait until next year to do it again!

If you live in San Francisco, stop by next year! And if you wanna look for me just tell people...

I'm with stupid!

THE END.

P.S. WE WE WE SO EXCITED!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

San Francisco & Muffin Pan Ice Cream

Is it hot in here, or is it just me?

Sorry, what a silly question... obviously it's me!

Haha I arrived Thursday morning to a very unusually SUNNY San Francisco. Warmer, in fact, then it had been when I left San Diego. Every so often San Francisco has these strange bouts of warm weather and boy do people notice! 

San Franciscans come out from behind their desks and computers and from inside their wine and cheese shops (South Park reference hehe) to enjoy the sun!

I live near a park that has become the "it" place to spend a nice warm San Francisco day (Dolores Park for those in the know). Hundreds of people come out and sun themselves along the the grass ridges known to some as "The Fruit Shelf." I won't explain but you probably can figure it out. This grass area is perfect for picnics, sun bathing, and people watching. 

I do my best to avoid Dolores park on these very sunny days because the crowds are just too overwhelming. So you wanna know what I do instead? 

I dress up like a FOOL and parade around town with other FOOLS and celebrate the very special St. Stupid's Day! I won't launch into what that is at the moment, but there will be pictures to come!

Once back from a long and hot march around the city the most delicious thing I can think of to eat is ice cream. Right? Ice cream is made for days like this... and made ON days like this.

Now I will admit I didn't make the ice cream recipe below myself. We have the world's best ice cream shop down the street (Mitchell's Ice Cream) and I couldn't resist just picking some up. Instant gratification! Also the recipe I'm about to show you has watermelon. I don't like watermelon. 

Hate. Hate is a better word.

So I'm gonna play around with this recipe until I find a flavor combo I like. But I thought I should share the knowledge with you all just incase, unlike me, you like watermelon and have the patience to make this ice cream on your own.

Frozen Watermelon Raspberry Greek Yogurt
 Recipe and Photos from Never Home Maker

Ingredients: 
1 cup watermelon (preferably drained a bit using a paper towel -- no need to de-seed necessarily)
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
Handful or two of frozen raspberries
1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
Muffin pan (mini works best)
Food processor

Directions:
  1. Use a food processor to blend together the yogurt, watermelon, and coconut flakes.
  2. Plop in the frozen raspberries and stir.
  3. Then put the mixture in your ice cream maker and follow the directions. Then enjoy right away!
  4. OR if you don't have a machine (like us) -- simply pour the mixture into a muffin tin (mini works best) and let freeze overnight.
  5. When you're ready to eat the frozen yogurt, cup the muffin tin bottom (the metal part) with a warm cloth. Use a knife to get the frozen mixture out.
  6. Then throw some chunks into your food processor and blend until smooth. 
  7. Enjoy immediately!
See all you hot people soon!
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