Summer Savory Pie

Nothing speaks to a cook like a bounty from the garden, so suffice it to say that I was more than excited when my friend, Annette, asked if I’d like to “pick the garden” during a recent visit to her and her husband’s beautiful hill country home.  I came home with some of the prettiest tomatoes I’ve seen since visiting Italy.  Not only were they picture perfect, but the flavor was outstanding.  Nothing like the cardboard texture and flavor we tend to get with so many of the grocery store tomatoes these days!

We enjoyed some delicious meals all week long centered around our homegrown tomatoes, and as I got down to the last of the bounty, I decided to make this dish.  The recipe is from my friend, Kathy Wilson, and she calls it her Summer Savory Pie.  I remember her making it for a shower we did together years ago for our girls, and it was a hit!  You can eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner…or all three!

Summer Savory Pie

Summer Savory Pie

Summer Savory Pie

Courtesy of Kathy Wilson

Ingredients:

1/2 15 oz package of refrigerated pie crusts
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 purple onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
4 large eggs
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups (8 ounces ) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3 tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425°.

Fit piecrust into a 9 inch deep-dish pie pan pricking bottom and sides with a fork.  Bake 10 minutes, then remove from oven and set aside to cool.

In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté bell pepper, onion and garlic 5 minutes or until tender.  Stir in basil and set aside.

Whisk together eggs, half & half, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Stir in sautéed vegetables and cheese, then pour into cooled crust.  Top with thinly sliced tomato, and bake at 375° for 45 to 50 min or until set, shielding edges with strips of aluminum foil after 30 min to prevent excessive browning.

Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

Dutch Baby…The Perfect Valentines Day Breakfast

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue…I’m making this special breakfast JUST FOR YOU!

Valentines Day is right around the corner, and while there are many different ways to let your sweetheart know just how much you love them, this breakfast will knock their socks off!!  It’s beautiful, delicious and just has “special” written all over it!

It’s called a Dutch Baby, and it’s also known as a German pancake or a Dutch Puff.  It’s super easy to whip up, does it’s magic in the oven in just about 15 minutes and will make you look like a SUPERSTAR!  You can top it with any mixture of fresh berries, but I like to top mine with sliced strawberries that have been macerated (soaked) in Grand Marnier (orange flavored liqueur)!  What better way to start the “Day of Love” than by making this special breakfast for your sweetie?  Serve up a couple of Mimosas, and can we say OVER THE TOP??

Happy Valentines day, everyone!

Dutch Baby

Dutch Baby with Grand Marnier Strawberries

Dutch Baby with Grand Marnier Strawberries

Valentine Wreath

Dutch Baby with Grand Marnier Strawberries

Ingredients:

Dutch Baby

  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Strawberries:

  • 2 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ cup Grand Marnier
  • powdered sugar, (optional)
  • maple syrup (optional)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine strawberries, sugar and Grand Marnier in a small bowl and set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat eggs & milk until combined.  Slowly add flour, salt, vanilla and orange zest and mix until smooth.

Heat butter in a large skillet (I like to use my cast iron for this) over medium heat just until melted.  Pour in batter, place into hot oven and bake about 15 minutes until puffed and light brown.  Remove and top with berries.  You can serve it with maple syrup if you’d like, but I find the berries sweet enough without it.

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • Cointreau and Triple Sec are also orange flavored liqueurs, and can be substituted for the Grand Marnier.
  • The Dutch Baby will puff up while baking in the oven, but don’t be alarmed when the sides shrink down once you take it out.

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

Baked Eggs…a Healthier Breakfast!

While I do love to cook, I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of cooking breakfast.  I mean, really, how creative can you get with breakfast food?  Honestly, my idea of the perfect breakfast is a bowl of steel cut oatmeal with some cinnamon and a few walnuts…perfect..what more does one need?

But, every now and then, if I get really inspired, I’ll fix something different. Since we’re not big on “fried food”, I prefer to bake my eggs.  They’re much healthier for you, and they really do taste great!  I just crack a couple into individual “gratin” dishes, sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper and then top them with some kind of really good hot sauce.  Put them onto a sheet pan, pop them into a preheated 425° oven, and bake until they are just like you like them…On this particular morning, I served them with biscuits and honey-butter.  To make your own honey-butter, just take a stick of “room temperature” unsalted butter, whip it up with a mixer or in a blender until fluffy, then start adding honey a tablespoon at a time until it tastes good…it’s as easy as that and SOOOO good on hot biscuits.  🙂

Eggs in Gratin Dishes with Hot Sauce

Baked Eggs-A Healthier Alternative

Baked Eggs

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425°.  Spray gratin dishes with Pam, and crack eggs into dishes.  Add a bit of hot sauce if preferred, some salt & pepper and a few chopped chives.  Bake until almost set in the middle (about 5 minutes).  Then turn oven to “broil” and cook until just set (1-2 minutes more).

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

Fresh Peach & Blackberry Cake

Peaches are one of my favorite summertime fruits, and with the fresh peach crop now gone until next summer, I’m really happy I took the time to freeze some just for making this wonderful dessert.

When I first made this cake, I followed the directions as written and used a 9 inch square baking pan.  It was delicious, but reminded me more of a cobbler than a cake. The next time I baked it, I used a springform pan to see if there would be a difference. To my surprise, the cake rose much higher and was more like a coffee cake.  Both were delicious, but I thought the springform pan made a prettier cake. I added some blackberries to the top and it was a huge hit.

It’s a delicious breakfast item with a cup of coffee, or equally as tasty as a dessert with either ice cream or my Kahlúa Whipped Cream:

Kahlúa Flavored Whipped Cream

1 cup chilled whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 T Kahlua
 Chill bowl and utensils. Whip cream and sugar until soft peaks form.  Add Kahlúa and combine.
IMG_1924

First layer of batter with half the peaches

Fresh Peach & Blackberry Cake

Fresh Peach & Blackberry Cake

Fresh Peach and Blackberry Cake

adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4-5 large, ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray springform pan with baking spray.

In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, add eggs, one at a time, then sour cream and vanilla, and mix until batter is smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon.

Spread half of batter evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches and berries (if using), and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and pecans.

Bake cake for 60 – 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Liz’s Tidbits:

Ina’s recipe called for peaches only, but I had some beautiful organic blackberries on hand and added them to the top.  Blueberries would be another great option!  I used pecans, but if you prefer walnuts or another nut, by all means, use them or none at all!

I’ve also used non-fat Greek Yogurt in place of the sour cream with great results!  Also, depending on the sweetness of your peaches, if desired, you could decrease the amount of sugar used.

Southwestern Frittata-Inn at Occidental

This summer while MM (Marlboro Man) and TBP (Teenage Bottomless Pit) took a photo safari to South Africa, DTM (Displaced Texan Mom) and I decided to meet in California for our first ever Mother/Daughter trip.  For the first 3 nights of our trip, we had the pleasure of visiting a lovely hidden gem in the redwoods of Occidental, California called the Inn at Occidental.  Our stay was perfect, and Tina and Jerry Wolsborn, the owners, were the most gracious of hosts!  They were always there to help plan our days, whether it was a day trip to Sonoma or Healdsburg, or booking a private tour of the Littorai Vineyard in Sebastopol.  Once they found out we loved good food and wine, they had wonderful suggestions for where to dine.

One of the best things we liked about staying at the Inn was enjoying breakfast each morning, and we truly felt as if we were in a 5-Star restaurant.  Every morning we looked forward to the homemade granola with yogurt and fruit, a variety of delicious baked items along with coffee and juice.  That’s only the beginning, though… Along with that bounty, Tina prepares a different hot entrée every morning.  The first morning after we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised by a beautifully presented Southwestern Frittata.  It was absolutely delicious with just the right amount of spice from the green chilies and pepperjack cheese. My mind immediately went to the Hatch chilies I had in my freezer back home, so I begged for the recipe.  I’m happy to say my persistance paid off!  This is a great dish for company, as it’s prepared the night before and baked off the next morning.  Tina served this with a tomato and avocado salad and a dollop of sour cream.

Thank you Tina & Jerry for your wonderful hospitality!  We can’t wait for the opportunity to visit again!

Southwestern Frittata

Southwestern Frittata-Inn at Occidental

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Southwestern Frittata

Inn at Occidental

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 12 corn tortillas, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 14 ounces diced green chilies, drained if using canned
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 medium tomatoes, peeled and seeded, 1/4 inch dice
  • 3 cups pepperjack cheese, divided
  • 10 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Preparation:

Oil (or spray with Pam) 9 x 13 inch baking dish or 10 inch pie pan.

Saute the onion and garlic in about a tablespoon of olive oil until translucent.  Add onion and garlic to large bowl containing tortillas, chiles, tomatoes, and 2 cups of the cheese.  Mix together and put in prepared pan.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.  Pour over tortilla mixture.  Smooth the top, then sprinkle with the reserved cheese.  Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. **

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove foil from baking dish, and bake frittata about 40-50 minutes (depending on your oven) until lightly browned and set.  Serve with salsa, sour cream and avocado slices.

**This dish is best if prepared at least 8 hours before baking.

Orange Cream Filled French Toast

I’m sure I’m not the only one who CAN’T WAIT FOR WEEKENDS!  Weekdays are so hectic with getting up early, rushing to get TBP (Teenage Bottomless Pit) out the door with some kind of nourishment in his hands, then fighting the traffic madness on the way to school and back.  By the time the weekend gets here, I don’t know who’s more excited…TBP or ME!!!   Saturdays are usually full with running around, but I love a Sunday morning where we have nothing on our schedule and can sleep in, watch CBS Sunday Morning, and then enjoy a late breakfast.  It’s the one morning where I don’t mind indulging in something extra special, and this dish definitely fits that bill!  My friend, Tanji, posted this dish on her sight, http://goodtaste.tv, after returning from a trip to Sonoma, CA and enjoying some time at a delightful B&B called the Inn at Occidental. This dish was over the top delicious, and she was lucky enough to get the recipe from the owners.  The orange sauce was so good, I could have used a straw…It was, without a doubt, the BEST french toast I’ve ever had!

Orange Cream Filled French Toast

Orange Cream Filled French Toast

Orange Cream Filled French Toast

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 large loaf day-old French bread, unsliced
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp sugar, divided
  • 2 Tbsp orange marmalade
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp butter

Orange Sauce:

  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 oz. orange zest
  • 2 cups orange juice

French Toast Preparation:

In a small mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, orange juice, 1 tablespoon sugar, zest and marmalade.

Slice the end off the bread. Cut next slice ½” thick, but not all the way through, to form a pocket. Cut the next slice ½” thick and all the way through, repeating for rest of loaf, about 8 – 10 portions. Spread about a tablespoon of filling in each pocket, then press together.

In large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, remaining tablespoon of sugar, and vanilla. Dip each slice of stuffed bread in batter, turning to coat. Continue to dip all slices. (Note: Bread can be soaked overnight in liquid; turn over once.)

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp of butter and swirl to coat pan. When butter foams, add as many slices as will fit and cook until lightly browned. Turn and cook other side. Remove and keep warm.

Cook until all slices are done. Serve with Orange Sauce.

Orange Sauce Preparation:

Melt butter with cornstarch for 1 minute. Heat juice and add.  Stir until thickened, then add sugar. Bring to boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.

Add about ¼ c maple syrup, or to taste. Garnish with orange zest.

Need a Grab & Go Breakfast? Egg Muffins to the Rescue!

Weekday mornings always seem to be hectic at our house.  No matter how early I get TBP (Teenage Bottomless Pit) up, he always seems to be running behind, and we end up rushing out the door to join the IH-10 traffic madness. Since he’d sleep all day if I let him he’s not really a morning person, his choice would be to go without breakfast and have that extra 10 minutes to sleep. I’ve given up trying to reason with a teenager get him downstairs in time for a decent breakfast, so now my goal is to find breakfast meals “to go” that he can just grab and take in the car. These egg muffins are great, because I can make them ahead of time, and they keep in the fridge for about a week. Pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds, and they are ready to go!  Variations are limitless. Fill them with whatever you want…kind of like little mini frittatas!

Scrambled Egg Muffins

Scrambled Egg Muffins

For these pictured here, I diced up some Kielbasa sausage (that’s what I happened to have in the fridge) with some red bell peppers and sautéed them both in a little oil for just a few minutes.  I put a spoonful in the bottom of each cup, added some fresh chopped green onions, poured in the eggs and topped each one with a little shredded cheese.   You could also use chopped mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, or anything else you like.  Just remember to either blanch or sauté them beforehand.  For the meat, make sure you cook it first…sausage, bacon, diced ham, canadian bacon, or whatever else you happen to have in the fridge.  Smoked salmon would be great, too.  I’d probably top that with a bit of brie before popping it into the oven!  YUM!

Grab-n-Go Egg Muffin

“Grab-n-Go” Scrambled Egg Muffin

Scrambled Egg Muffins

Makes 12

Ingredients:

  • 12 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning of your choice (I used Rick’s Treaux Texas Style Pure Blend Season All)
  • 1 cup grated low fat cheese
  • fresh green onions, chopped
  • chopped vegetables, either sauteéd or steamed (peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus)
  • meat, precooked and diced small (ham, canadian bacon, sausage, bacon)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375°.
Spray muffin cups with nonstick spray (I used a silicone muffin pan). Fill each cup about half full with diced meat & vegetables. Break eggs into large measuring bowl with pour spout, add seasoning and beat well. Pour the eggs into each muffin cup until it’s almost full, and top with cheese.  Bake 25-30 minutes until muffins puff up and are just turning brown. Remove from oven, and let cool.

Liz’s Tidbits:

1. Use regular or silicone muffin pan, 12 muffin size. If using silicone pan, spray with nonstick spray. If using regular muffin pan, put two paper liners into each slot, then spray liners with nonstick spray.

2. I buy Rick’s Treaux Gourmet Spices at my favorite seafood shop, Groomer Seafood.  There are many different delicious blends of spices to choose from, and I love the fact that they are made with substantially less salt than most and no MSG!

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