Come along with me as I journal about my latest cooking and gardening adventures. Discover what grows in my zone five garden, and see what new recipes I try from my cookbook collection each week.

As I share recipes and information from my kitchen, I invite readers to comment and share ideas along with me in this blog. I am looking to increase followers to my blog, so that I may learn more about cooking and gardening.

Since moving to Midland, Michigan, I have been reading and researching many cooking journals, cookbooks and collected recipes from the past thirty years. Organizing pictures of gardens I enjoy has also been a joy for me, as I continue to learn about garden design and horticulture.

angel food cakes

angel food cakes
this kitchen is seasoned with love

Sunday, October 31, 2010

tomato and swiss quiche

this recipe is an old standby that i have used for years and can be adapted to any vegetables that you have on hand.  today's quiche was made with tomato slices, swiss and monterey jack cheese, but cheddar could be substituted with another combination of vegetables.

either prepare your favorite pie crust or used an unbaked pie shell from the dairy section at the market.  place the shell in a ceramic pie dish and use a fork to perforate the shell.  form the crimped edges.  add shredded cheese, about 2 cups to the bottom of the shell.  then add your choice of vegetables, broccoli heads, any color of peppers, red, white or green onions, tomatoes, asparagus tips, or even bacon pieces. then add more cheese on top, about 1 more cup. 

prepare the quiche mixture.  mix 4 eggs, 1 tablespoon of flour, 1 cup of milk and seasonings as desired.  i usually add black pepper and a touch of salt. for this quiche, i sprinkled parsley on top after placing the tomato slices.  pour the liquid mixture on top of the cheese and make certain that it is evenly distributed throughout the pie dish.  i use a fork to move the cheese around to complete this step.

bake the quiche in a 400 degree pre-heated oven for at least 45 minutes.  this is not a quick recipe, but can be served with a fruit or green side salad, popovers or any type of breakfast breads. 

maple cupcake icing

my favorite homemade icing recipe is so simple and can be flavored many different ways.  for fall cupcakes last week, i chose maple flavoring and received compliments on the unique taste.

the icing recipe is:
2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter at ROOM temperature
5 cups of confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon extract (any flavor)
1 to 2 tablespoons of milk

beat butter first until creamy.  then add the sugar one cup at at time, and the rest of the ingredients.  the icing is fluffy and creamy. i only made half of this recipe to use for piping the cupcakes. however, i still used almost the full amount of extract for a great taste.

this icing flows from the icing bag very easily and pipes well into any design.  after decorating twelve cupcakes, i still had enough icing for another couple of cupcakes left in the bowl.  this quick recipe is so much more flavorful than store bought icing and takes only a few minutes to make.  it is very important to have the butter at room temperature before whipping.

halloween sugar cookies

my favorite sugar cookie recipe was written by susan branch.  is is easy and always produces a great tasting sugar cookie. after mixing the ingredients, it is important to chill the dough at least an hour before rolling out to cut the cookies.

for these pumpkin cookies, i used orange sanding sugar and white luster pearls from williams-sonoma. also important is to rotate the cookie sheets from top to bottom of the oven racks for even browning of the cookies.

fall baked apples

every fall i like to bake apples that can be served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. first, i core the apples and take a small amount of the top from the apple.  the apples are placed in a baking dish with a small amount of water in the dish. 

for the mixture, i use brown sugar, cinnamon, chopped nuts, and a bit of maple syrup.  after placing the mixture into the apples, i place a small slice of margarine on top of each apple.  the apples are baked at 350 degrees for at least 40 minutes.  it is important to check the apples during the cooking time, depending on the size of each apple.  some apples may take 60 minutes to bake, others may only take 40 minutes. 

these apples are wonderful served warm for a great fall dessert.

herbal feta appetizer

football appetizers need to be quick and tasty.  here is a great way to prepare a different type of cheese appetizer for college game day saturdays.  after cubing a block of feta cheese, add a mixtures of herbs with about 1/4 cup of olive oil to marinate the feta.

today, i used a donna frawley mixture of herbs prepared for appetizers.  the herbed feta can be served with crackers or toasted mini baguette slices.

served alongside sliced vegetables or with a fruit dip, the herbal feta appetizer is one recipe to have on hand to please football crowds.

easy herbal dip

not only do game day appetizers need to be tasty, they need to have a great presentation.  here is an easy way to present an herbal dip for those favorite football game day spreads.

served with sliced pepper strips, celery sticks, tomatoes, black olives, sliced spinach, and small baguette sliced bread, this herbal dip is a real tasty offering.  mixed with dill weed, parsley, sliced green onions, and fat free sour cream, this dip is both easy and basic. other additions include a small amount of fat free mayo, cream cheese, kosher salt and black pepper if desired.

ghost and cat pancakes

for breakfast this morning i made halloween shaped pancakes.  with forms purchased at williams-sonoma, i made three different types of pancakes.  i used toasted coconut pancake mix from stonewall kitchen and allowed the batter to rest prior to cooking on a 350 degree griddle.

served with powdered sugar and a bit of maple syrup, these pancakes were very tasty and fluffy.  with shapes of pumpkins, black cats and ghosts, these pancakes were a festive start to a halloween weekend celebration.

creole green beans

for a choice of side dish that goes well with many main courses, try these creole green beans.  fresh or canned green beans can be used and will be added last to the ingredient list.

to start the recipe, mix chopped celery, onion and green pepper into a skillet with a small amount of olive oil.  after translucent, add in one medium can of chopped tomatoes.  any brand will do, but one that has a nice herbal flavoring adds to the great taste of this recipe.

after the tomatoes are added, the last ingredient is the chopped green beans.  season to taste with salt and pepper and cook through until warm. if using fresh green beans, pre-cook the beans in water prior to adding last to the dish. 

this side dish is great with baked fish or chicken.  it is not too zesty but much tastier then plain green beans.