Thursday, October 26, 2017

quiche-o-rama

Have I mentioned that I love my family?  I do. I was born into a bevy of babes who are a)supportive b)fun c)fierce and d)great freaking writers.  The volume of daily emails is staggering and sometimes overwhelming.  Take yesterday, for example.  Ellie put out the innocent and altogether reasonable query, "Do you guys make quiche?  Do you have any tricks or tips?"  I just tallied the 30 responses to the chain, some of them classic Corey.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ellie Corey
Sent: Wed, Oct 25, 2017 11:21 am
Subject: Quiche


Do you guys make quiche? Do you have any tricks or tips?

Jacqueline Corey wrote:
I have a great tip: buy them at costco.

Janecoreyholt wrote:
I never make them.  But I should, because I like eating them.  

Ellen Corey wrote:
Ditto

MB Corey  wrote:
never. but yum!

Ellie Corey wrote:
You have all been very helpful. 😜

 On Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 11:36 AM, elllen corey wrote:
Happy to help you out xoxo 

 


this was all within about five minutes.
   
Jacquie jumped in with this:
Could someone please bring me some quiche? It really is so delicious. One of my teachers makes a mean quiche, we demand it at regular intervals. I think I've tried making it before but the recipe contained all sorts of automatic disqualifies and called for like 12 sticks of butter so I tried to make a healthy version and it tasted like shit. The broccoli quiche at costco is delish. 


to which I replied: 

It probably has 12 sticks of butter in it.

I am DEFINITELY making quiche tonight. I think I have frozen crusts in freezer. They might date back to  the bush administration but who cares right?
 
now do you understand how hard it is for me to get work done?

So guess what we had for dinner last night???  I am wondering what percentage of Corey women did the same.  It's so easy and delicious and you can basically clean out your fridge.  So here's how it went.

I extracted the ancient pie crusts from the freezer and let them sit for a bit.  I inventoried my fridge and found spinach, bacon, zucchini, fresh mozzarella, fresh parmesan and one lonely tomato.  And 8 eggs.   So I decided to make two quiches:  zucchini, bacon & parmesan, and tomato, mozzarella & spinach.
First I cooked up some bacon and chopped it. 
 Then I sliced thin and sauteed two zucchini in olive oil, salt & pepper about ten minutes, until tender.
 I chopped them up a little bit then dumped in pie crust with three pieces of chopped, crisp bacon.
I added about 1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
 
Meanwhile, let's go to pie #2
 I chopped up the mozzarella.
 added a chopped tomato
 Then I chopped and sauteed a big bunch of spinach.  I would have done more if I had it.
I dumped the wilted spinach on top of the cheese and tomato.
 I mixed 8 eggs with about 1-1/2 cups 2%milk and a good dose of half-and-half.  I would have used whole milk if I had planned ahead, but, um.... 
Mix well.
 Pour over each veggie situation.
 Cook at 350 for about an hour, until eggs in center are set.  
Check at 45 minutes - the zucchini quiche took about ten minutes less than the spinach one.

 And there you have it!  
YUMMMMM.  They were both delicious, although I'll give the nod to the zucchini numba.

When Dylan got home from football he asked, as he always does, What's for dinner?  I replied, excitedly, QUICHE!  Now,  Dylan loves my cooking (I was reading the food section while we were eating and saw all these great recipes and said, out loud, wouldn't it be great to  have a chef? and he said, "I kinda do.")  He responded to my enthusiasm with what I can only describe as skepticism.  I explained that my sisters and I had been emailing about quiche so, naturally, I had to make it that night.  He said, in his monotone way, "why were you and your sisters emailing about quiche?"  I explained. He replied, "I'm generally not a huge fan of quiche."  "Really? Why?"  "Whenever I go to a brunch I'm so excited about a big meal and they always serve quiche and I'm like, I don't want quiche, I want waffles."    
Love that kid.  And he loved the quiche.



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

boring and by the seat of my pants

Life is sort of unremarkable these days, which is remarkable.  After a busy summer, a big birthday, getting Corey home from Europe and back to school, getting Noah settled into a new school and Dylan back to the HS routine, and a huge work event I've been planning all summer behind me - life feels quite, well, boring.  I love it.

So you know that thing that happens when you have a ton of time to get ready and you find yourself late?  Like, you weren't hurrying and then suddenly you are totally behind? Happens to me all the time - I do much better with small windows.  Same thing with food lately. I have a small family to cook for and things are much calmer, and I've completely dropped the ball on planning.  So I've been cooking again but the meals have mostly been seat-of-my-pants variety.   Here's the evidence:

Dinner with no plan

Kitchen sink frittata
Heat up a skillet with olive oil.  Slice up some sausages (I had pre-cooked turkey sausage links on hand, for some reason) and cook them for ten minutes on med-high heat with some large-dice  potatoes and a chopped onion.  After ten minutes add some chopped red peppers.  After ten minutes add some spinach.   
 Add about 8 eggs, beaten with a little milk (1/8 cup?)
 
 Simmer on low-med heat, scraping up from bottom with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula every so often. 
 Serve with heated tortillas and tons of salsa.  Delicious, filling and ready to go in a half hour.


dinner with minimal plan 
I had a pork tenderloin defrosted but not marinated, and no plan when I got home at 5.  In my pantry I had some red potatoes and onions and in my fridge some baby carrots.  Here's how it went:

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with vegetables and potatoes.
 Wash and quarter about 2 lbs of red potatoes
Peel and quarter 2 -3 medium onions
Arrange them in a pan with a 1-1/4 lb pork tenderloin (rinsed and dried, fat trimmed)
Sprinkle the whole situation w a generous tsp kosher salt, tons of fresh ground pepper and  rosemary. 
I had some fresh rosemary in a pot on the patio.  If you don't have fresh, dried will do. I used about 2 tsp minced fresh, if it were dried I'd use 1tsp.  
Fresh garlic or garlic powder would be good to add, too.
Cook in a pre-heated 400 degree oven about 35 minutes, until meat registers 160.  Remove from oven and tent with foil (temp will continue to rise) - let rest about ten minutes.  Slice and serve.  YUM.


Dinner with a plan, vegetarian

Lastly, my sweet girl is home for fall break.  And she's a vegetarian, so last night I decided to tackle a veggie meal.  Man, was it good!   I didn't photograph all the steps, but here's the recipe (from CookieandKate) and the result. Note:  I substituted chopped kale for snow peas and it was awesome.



Salad
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa 
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup thinly sliced snow peas or sugar snap peas (Jane's Note:  I couldn't find snow peas so substituted chopped kale and it was awesome.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted and salted peanuts, for garnish
Peanut sauce
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa: First, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander under running water. In a medium-sized pot, combine the rinsed quinoa and 1 ½ cups water. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer the quinoa until it has absorbed all of the water. Remove the quinoa from heat, cover the pot and let it rest for 5 minutes. Uncover the pot and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set it aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, make the peanut sauce: Whisk together the peanut butter and tamari until smooth (if this is difficult, microwave the mixture for up to 30 seconds to loosen it up). Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. If the mixture seems too thick to toss into the salad, whisk in a bit of water to loosen it up (I didn’t need to do this).
  3. In a large serving bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, shredded cabbage, carrot, snow peas, cilantro and green onion. Toss to combine, then pour in the peanut sauce. Toss again until everything it lightly coated in sauce. Taste, and if it doesn’t taste quite amazing yet, add a pinch of salt and toss again. Divide into individual bowls and garnish with peanuts.
  4. This salad keeps well, covered and refrigerated, for about 4 days. If you don’t want your chopped peanuts to get soggy, store them separately from the rest and garnish just before serving.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Recipe Box

Do you have a recipe box?

I do.  It's 25 years old, and it's fantastic. 
 
This was given to me as a bridal shower gift by Doug's Aunt Diane Dalberg.  Diane is an artist and a calligrapher and she hand-wrote dozens and dozens of family recipes and presented me with this box all those years ago.  Isn't that such a sweet gift?

To be honest, I reach for my phone or iPad more than I do the box, or physical cook books these days, and many of these recipes call for ingredients that have fallen out of favor (shortening, margarine, cream of anything soup..,)  but there are some treasures in there. I reached for it the other night looking for a grilled salmon recipe I knew was in there, and got lost looking at some of these recipes.  It's a lovely gift and a  food history, of sorts, of the Holts' extended family.



 

 Here's what I was looking for:
My recipes  don't look as pretty as Aunt Diane's.  
Illegible, as usual, but this is a delicious and easy way to prepare grilled salmon.  I remember this recipe was given to me in a mom's group I joined in the city when Corey was a year old and I had just found out I was pregnant with Noah!    It holds up.

 Salmon Steaks with Lemon Mustard Sauce
Whisk together in a small bowl:
1 ttsp paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp mayo
2 Tbsp dry white wine
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper.



 Grill four, six-ounce salmon steaks.  Or one large fillet.  1 1-inch thick individual portion takes about 8 minutes to cook, grilled over medium heat, flipping once.  
Let them rest about five minutes loosely covered with foil.  Then serve with generous dose of sauce.  
It's really good.

Friday, August 18, 2017

26 Bettswood Rd

This is the house I grew up in.  That all six of us grew up in.  Aside from a short stint up the street and the two years we spent in Korea, this was it from when my parents bought it in 1966 until they downsized and sold it in 2001.  
 It is a wonderful house.   Big yard, huge basement, fantastic screened in porch.  The upstairs that was strictly the girls' zone - where my parents rarely appeared, thank God.  

The house is a part of nearly every memory from my childhood and so many of our family pictures.

 It boasted fabulous 70's decor for the bulk of my childhood.
I mean, can you even stand it?  Dad!  All those girls!  That couch!  The orange shag rug!  
I guess my childhood really was a long time ago...
I win the prize for the most bizarre and unflattering outfit in this one. I mean.....
 in the epic yard with our epic dog, Yobo.
 This photo, in addition to showcasing Dad's impressive 1970's sideburns, illustrates why our childhoods are so well documented. 
 The Littles in the den
  the littles in the living room, rockin the outfits.
the gang in the living room

I went to Connecticut a couple weeks ago  to visit my mom and spend time with a few of my sisters and took a deep dive down memory lane.  Living far from home, I don't get to do that much and, with three sisters in the house, we dove into old photo albums. I even got the old reel-to-reel projector up and running and we watched home movies from the 70's.  Classic and wonderful.  

We also had the unbelievable opportunity to walk through the doors of 26 Bettswood Rd again, as the current owners are moving and the house is for sale.  What a trip.  
It was sometimes very disorienting - I'd turn a corner and the living room felt so familiar yet unfamiliar at the same time. 
 
But it looked great. 
The current owners have made some wonderful improvements and the house is beautiful.   
The laundry room is now an eat-in sunroom and the kitchen, even sans the yellow mushroom wallpaper, looks fantastic. 

The den still has the liquor closet dad made. 
   The porch is still epic.
 My room!

When we peeked into the storage area upstairs, we hit the jackpot.  Finally,  evidence we actually had lived there!

that, and the boot bin dad made in the basement, which was otherwise stripped back to its original, unfinished state. 

Nostalgia and joy permeated the trip.  That, and the incredible, delicious, foundational experience of a Lebanese feast.  Mom had lobbied, initially, for a simpler meal, it being summer, etc.  But the Corey sisters prevailed and it was a group effort and we killed it.  

Julie was in charge of the kousa.
 She used the squash scraper tool that, I learned, my dad had specially made for the job.
 Mom made her usual, amazing, killer kibbee.  No-one makes kibbee like my mom. 
 Julie and I chopped and cleaned and stuffed and seasoned for hours, in our pj's.
 MaryBeth made the filling for the wadda - (stuffed grape leaves to those not in the know.)
 
 And Ellie brought the grape leaves, picked from her yard in New London, and stuffed them. 
 We missed Jacquie and Ann terribly. 
But we had ourselves a feast, yes we did. 
                              Billy H took the money picture of the night, as per. 


 I'm feeling the nostalgia, friends.   
Perhaps it's this big birthday that looms on Monday.  
Or perhaps it's just gratitude that I got to slip through the portal that leads to my childhood for a weekend.  The shag rugs are gone, but the great vibe of laughter and love and opera and dodge ball and Ravioli-Simmons and Halloween and family reunions and the Cronins and ping pong and dad's workshop and dinners around the oval and all-those-girls will greet the next lucky buyers.  I wish them the happiest of memories there- I know I have mine.