Sunday, May 22, 2011

Artichoke Quiche

This weekend was celebratory! Brent graduated from Georgetown with his MBA, and we are so proud of him. Mama and Papa, Mama Lowry, the Backous' and Ross all spent the weekend together celebrating the occasion. Last night we went out to dinner at Posto in Logan Circle for pizza and pasta. Then, despite its pretentiousness, we braved the line at Georgetown Cupcake for dessert. (I recommend the Peanut Butter Fudge) This morning we kept the party going with a graduation brunch. I was inspired by Daniele (Queen of the Perfect Brunch) to make Artichoke Quiche. She raves about how easy it is to prepare, how it can be made ahead of time, and that it tastes great warm or cold. I risked a new recipe, and knew it was a success when Ross announced, "Usually quiche sucks, but this is really good!"

1 (14 ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, well drained
1 9 inch pie crust
2 garlic cloves
4 eggs
3 tablespoons grated pecorino romano cheese
6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1 -2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup light cream

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In pan over low-medium heat, add olive oil, saute whole garlic cloves for a minute.
3. Add artichoke hearts and saute them until they start to brown.
4. Remove garlic cloves, and let the artichokes cool completely.
5. In a bowl, beat the eggs, add the cream, cheeses and pepper, mixing well.
6. Add the artichokes and the oil from the pan to the egg mixture, mix well.
7. Carefully pour mixture into pie crust.
8. Bake for 35 minutes or until filling is set and just starts to brown.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dried Fig Jam

Brent was not impressed with my Dried Fig Jam. He is such a weirdo. Then again, he refuses to eat PB&J sandwiches unless they are smothered with grape jelly. Dried Fig Jam is unique, and tasty with toast, biscuits, and even swirled into oatmeal. My next experiment, however, is using this jam as a sauce base for Fig-Proscuitto Pizza. Assuming this turns out well, recipe will be coming soon!

1/2 pound dried figs stems removed and chopped
1/2 cup sugar
Juice of a lemon
2 cups of water

Add the chopped figs and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, simmer and let it cook covered for 25 minutes until the figs are soft. Remove from heat and cool.
In a blender container, pour the figs and water, then blend it till pureed.
Pour this back into the saucepan and add the sugar and lemon juice, then let it cook for about 15 more minutes on medium heat or until it reaches a jam consistency.
Pour this into a mason jar with a tight lid and let it cool completely. Refrigerate to store. Consume within 1 month.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pesto Meatballs

Back in January I posted the ultimate meatball recipe, Barefoot Contessa's Spicy Turkey Meatballs. Barefoot Contessa's recipe is extensive, making for a fun dish for two to prepare over the weekend. On the average weeknight, you're not going to have the time, patience, and budget for Spicy Turkey Meatballs. Also, recently I've gone a little overboard with the pesto recipes. I should have been more creative with my recipe choice for the week, but I had to give this combination a try. Pesto Meatballs are a nice variation on classic meatballs, and are a much faster alternative to Spicy Turkey Meatballs. These were prepared on a Tuesday evening after a long day of teaching and I enjoyed them without pasta. They were filling and satisfying on their own. Switch things up with Pesto Meatballs!

2 pounds ground turkey breast
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup pesto sauce
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs whites
2 onions diced
2 carrots chopped
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 garlic gloves minced
2 – 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Making the Meatballs:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, mix everything in a bowl and combine well. Roll mixtures into balls. I use an ice cream scoop to make them all the same size. Place them on a cooling rack on top of a foil lined cookie sheet sprayed with a little cooking spray. Cook for 20 minutes.

Preparing the Sauce:
While the meatballs are cooking in the oven, saute the onions and carrots until tender, about 10 minutes over medium heat. Add the tomato paste, bay leaves, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and let simmer over low heat for about an hour. The sauce should thicken a bit. Add the meatballs to the sauce, and serve with your favorite pasta, or even on their own.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Father's Office Burger

I love Los Angeles. I love the beach, I love the sun, I love mountains, I love the people, and I absolutely love the food. I spent a few days in Los Angeles this past April to see friends and former students, and arrived with an extensive food itinerary. Father's Office, a gastropub on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, was at the top of my list. Father's Office is known for their wide selection of beer and the famous Office Burger named by Esquire Magazine as one of the best burgers in the world. The Office Burger is not overrated. With no Father's Office in Washington DC, I attempted to satisfy my Office Burger craving by making my own version of the cheesy caramelized onion arugula burger. Although it will never compare to enjoying a micro-brew with the burger in beautiful California on a lazy Saturday afternoon, it tasted pretty darn good and brought back happy memories of my time in Los Angeles.

Original Father's Office Burger
Thirdculturefoodie's Office Burger
Ingredients for Caramelized Onions:
4 Slices applewood-smoked bacon
2 onions, sliced
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Teaspoon sugar
1 Teaspoon ketchup
2 Teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2-3 Drops liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon pepper
Ingredients for Burgers:
2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter
4 ounces Gruyere cheese
1 ounce blue cheese
4 sub rolls, halved and toasted
1 cup baby arugula

Directions for Caramelized Onions:
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the bacon until crisp, 5 to 6 minutes, then remove to paper towels to drain. Crumble 1 slice and set aside; reserve the rest of the bacon for another use. Measure 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat into a medium heavy skillet.
Add the onions to the skillet and sprinkle with the sugar. Cook until the onions are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Halfway through, stir in the crumbled bacon. At the end of the 20 minutes, stir in the balsamic vinegar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 more minutes. Set aside.

Directions for Burgers:
Mix in the salt to the ground beef. Shape the meat into 4 (7-inch) oval patties, about three-fourths-inch thick.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large cast-iron skillet, over medium-high heat. Fry the burgers, 2 at a time, for 3-4 minutes, then flip.
Top each burger with blue and Gruyere cheeses. Cook the burgers 3 more minutes for medium.
Remove and keep warm; melt the remaining butter in the skillet and repeat with the remaining 2 patties and cheeses.
To assemble, place the burgers on the rolls and top with the onions and arugula, dividing evenly.

Adapted from Burgerfiles.