Tag Archives: broccoli

Pie … Sweet or Savoury

I haven’t made a pie in ages but the various flyer sales for stone fruits (nectarines, peaches and plums) tempted me and so I scoped out what was available. I ended up going to Food Basic and picking up a clamshell of nectarines cause I had a bad experience with last year’s basket of peaches. They were firm but not as sweet as I would have liked and I had to guess-timate how much sugar to add. I erred on the side of caution. With a scoop of ice cream the result was perfect but it was a bit tart on its own.

The next question was … which of several pie crust recipes should I use. I went with the one on the Crisco vegetable shortening package, though I replaced half the shortening with unsalted butter. The recipe makes enough pastry for a single double crust pie, but I made two minis in disposable aluminum pie tins instead.

Crisco Pie Crust Recipe – makes 1 double crust pastry, ~580 gm pastry, enough for 2 8″ bases, and 2 6 1/2″ tops, plus leftover pastry

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup vegetable shortening (or 1/2 cup unsalted butter, and 1/2 cup vegetable shortening)**
3/4 tsp salt
1 egg
2 tbsp ice cold water
1 tbsp vinegar

** What I used this time

 

Nectarine/Peach Mini Pie Filling Recipe – rough formula for filling

2 – 2 1/2 nectarines per mini pie shell
1 tbsp sugar per nectarine (if the fruit is fully sweet, reduce to 2 tbsp per each 3 nectarines)
1/2 tbsp cornstarch** per nectarine
pinch of salt

** If planning to freeze baked tart, use flour, otherwise, use cornstarch. For every 1 tbsp of cornstarch, you’ll need to use about 3 tbsp of flour. Also, cook whatever you’re thickening a few minutes longer to get rid of the raw flavor of the flour. Baking should take care of that issue. Plus, the filling will be more matte than glossy when using flour.

Preheat oven to 375 deg F.

Bake pies for 35-40 minutes on a baking sheet in case of overflow or melting of butter

The remaining pastry became a savoury tart with broccoli, Canadian (peameal) bacon and cheddar cheese. No waste at all. Though I still have five nectarines in the fridge to deal with.

NOTE: For a filling recipe, I used the same amounts and timing as in an earlier quiche recipe baked in the same ceramic pan. Pre-baking the crust is advised.

Broccoli and Danish Blue Cheese Souffle

I hate wasting food, but for some reason, I seem to be discarding broccoli stems. Just one stem and a few florettes and you have a delicious addition to a plain cheese souffle. This is a variation of my basic cheese souffle recipe for two. Over the years, I’ve made it with leftover shredded salmon, spinach, sauteed mushrooms and various cheeses.

Lovely moist interior

Unlike the usual souffle recipe, in which the eggs are separated and the eggs whites are beaten until stiff and then folded into the souffle mixture, whole, beaten eggs are added in this version. The souffle won’t rise as much as the regular method, and will fall quicker, but you can make the souffles, bake one and refrigerate the second one for the next day.

If you don’t like the strong taste of blue cheese, replace the 2 oz of blue cheese with 1 oz grated Parmesan and 1 oz crumbled blue cheese. I used a generous pinch of dried thyme instead of the chives.

Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry with Noodles

Broccoli is a great price these days, so I bought a bundle and paired it with chicken for a Chinese stir fry with noodles.

I winged this dish so writing up the recipe below was as accurate as I could make it, a few hours after the fact. If anything doesn’t make sense, please let me know.

Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry with Noodles – serves 2-3

200 gm dry spaghetti, cooked according to package directions

1 large chicken breast, skinless and boneless
3 tbsp soy sauce, divided
1 tbsp and 1 tsp cornstarch, divided
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced (may be replaced with 1/4 tsp dry garlic)
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1-2 stalks green onion, finely sliced
1 stalk broccoli, cut into 2-2 1/2 inch long florettes, peeled stalk cut into 1/4 inch thick planks about the same length
1/2 tsp salt
water as needed

Cut the chicken breast into 1/2 inch slices and dice into 1 inch cubes.

In a bowl, add diced chicken, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp cornstarch, hoisin, mirin, sugar, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, half the ginger and half the garlic, white pepper and the white part of the green onion. Mix together and refrigerate overnight or for about 15-20 minutes at room temperature.

Cook pasta, drain and keep warm.

In a large saute pan, heat vegetable oil over medium high heat, add the remaining ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes, broccoli and salt and saute for a few minutes. Add 1/4 cup water, cover and steam for 2 minutes until broccoli is still green and slightly crunchy. Transfer the broccoli, ginger and garlic to a bowl and reserve.

Drain the marinaded chicken and reserve the liquid. Add the drained chicken to the hot saute pan and saute for a few minutes until it’s no longer pink. Stir often so the chicken doesn’t stick.

In a small bowl, mix the remaining tablespoon of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water and reserve.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the reserved marinade, the remaining tablespoon of soy sauce, the broccoli and the cornstarch mixture above. Stir through and cook until the sauce thickens and coats the meat and broccoli.

Add the hot, drained noodles and the green part of the onion and stir through to coat the noodles.

Taste for salt level. If needed, add some soy sauce and serve.

Basic Quiche: Ham, (Mushroom) and Broccoli

I’ve made quiches with at least three different pie crust bases (Zsuzsa’s pie crust, Allison’s Vinegar pie crust and Ann’s No-fail pie crust, which I used here and posted below). I’ve even made a crustless version. But whatever the base, and whatever the filling you are using, quiche is a tasty, relatively inexpensive dish to make ahead, freeze and serve at your convenience. Or, pre-bake a few pie shells and freeze them away for when inspiration strikes.

ETA: I was sure I had made a salmon quiche but I couldn’t find the post. Guess that’s something I should remedy soon.

The quiche below is a simple version with leftover ham (and crispy bacon) from yesterday’s ham and potato soup, broccoli florettes and Canadian Swiss cheese. At $12.99 a pound, it’s cheaper than its imported cousin, Gruyere ($21.99 per pound), but nowhere near the sale price of cheddar ($4.99 a pound). Use whatever you like or what your budget allows for. I didn’t have any mushrooms in the house so I just increased the amount of broccoli I used a bit.

Basic Ham, Mushroom and Broccoli Quiche – fills a 9 inch pre-baked pie shell

3 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup cheese, grated (cheddar & monterey jack mix; swiss cheese; gruyere)
1 cup broccoli (cut into florets and pre-cooked)
4 oz cubed ham (or 5-6 strips cooked diced bacon)
1/2 cup sliced white mushrooms
dash tabasco (optional)
salt (~ 1 tsp) and pepper (~ 1/2 tsp) to taste
1 9-inch Pre-baked pie shell

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the baking dish with the pre-baked shell on a baking sheet, in case of overflow.

Mise en place for quiche

In a large bowl, whisk (or beat with a fork) together the eggs. Stir in the flour, mixing well, and then add the milk and nutmeg. Add salt and pepper to taste remembering that the ham, bacon and cheese already have some salt in them. Add as much tabasco or hot sauce as desired.

Pre-baked quiche shell

Layer the cooked broccoli, mushrooms and ham into the pre-baked pie shell.

Sprinkle about 3/4 cup of the cheese over the vegetables and meat.

Pour the milk and egg mixture carefully over the ingredients. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

Bake at 350 deg F for 45-50 min.  Let stand another 10 min before cutting.

Ann’s No-fail Pie Crust – enough for a 8-9 inch top and bottom or 2 bottoms

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup shortening or unsalted butter (or half of each)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg
water as needed (~1/4 cup)

Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender.

In a 2 cup measuring cup beat together the egg and sour cream and add enough cold water to make a total of 3/4 cup liquid. Stir the liquid into the dough using a fork. If a hand full of dough holds together when squeezed, the dough is wet enough, otherwise, fork in an additional tablespoon of water and try again. Repeat.

Wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate until needed or roll to 1/4″ thickness.

I was a bit hasty in throwing together the dough for the pie plate … I should probably have re-rolled it. 🙂

For an empty shell, bake 12-15 min in a 400 deg F oven. For a filled shell, bake 15 min at 400 F, then reduce temperature to 350 deg F and bake an additional 25-30 min or until the contents are set.

If the edges get too brown, cover them with a strip of aluminum foil.

Remove the baked pie from the oven to a cooling rack and let cool for about 3 hrs before serving.