My bookclub was having a potluck brunch, and usually what that means is carbscarbscarbs! Typically what happens at these gatherings is someone brings croissants, someone else makes muffins, someone might bring scones, and (of course) there will be mimosas. I really wanted to bake something, but knowing that there would likely be a bevy of carb options, I thought it would be a good idea to bring in something with vegetables. Hence: Vegetable Quiche.
I briefly considered going entirely low-carb and making this quiche crustless or with a sweet potato crust, but in the end, I took the easy way out and used a store-bought pie crust. I’ve never made a quiche before but it turned out pretty well!
1 store bought pie crust
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
Generous handful of spinach
A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
Feta cheese, crumbled
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup of half and half or milk
Salt, pepper, nutmeg (to taste)
Blind bake the pie crust according to directions. Set aside to cool.
Sautee the onions on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add peppers and cook until done. Set aside.
Sautee the spinach on medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
Beat the eggs and half and half. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.
Add spinach, onions, and pepper to the baked pie crust. Pour in egg mixture. Top with tomato halves (cut-side down) and crumbled feta.
What’s a girl to do with one old, sad, over-ripe banana? One banana is not enough to make a loaf of banana bread, but it is just the right amount for some small batch banana cupcakes! Topped with a whipped cream cheese frosting and a handful of chopped walnuts, and these make the perfect banana-y treat!
Small Batch Banana Cupcakes
3 Tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 small (overripe) banana, mashed
1 whole egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup flour
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a cupcake tin with four liners.
Cream together butter and sugar.
Add banana, egg, and vanilla and mix well.
Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine.
Spoon into cupcake tin and bake 15-20 minutes.
Let cool completely before topping with cream cheese frosting.
It doesn’t happen often folks. I enjoy cooking but I rarely photograph my cooking for my blog because 1) I don’t find savoury recipes to be particularly beautiful, and, 2) I want to eat my food when it’s hot, not fuss around with setting up a shot. I (obviously) photographed these little tomato tarts though, because they’re kind of like baking, and they were cute. I made them for a potluck, so I couldn’t eat them right away anyways.
These were very easy to make. A bit of puff pastry topped with some fresh tomatoes, caramelized onions, fresh thyme, and parmesan. Simple and satisfying! And (importantly) easy to transit with. What is your favourite thing to bring to a potluck?
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp sugar
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
Puff pastry, thawed
1 egg + 1 Tbsp water, beaten
Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook onions for 3 minutes, then add sugar and water and turn to low heat. Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring every so often, until onions are caramelized.
Preheat oven to 300F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut out rounds from puff pastry (I ended up with 20 rounds). Place rounds on parchment-lined baking sheet.
Brush puff pastry rounds with egg wash. Top with a slice of tomato, some caramelized onions, and some fresh thyme. Top with grated parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
Bake 15-20 minutes, until pastry is golden brown. Serve warm.
Summertime calls for BBQs and outdoor picnics! To me, this means fresh watermelon, potato salad, chips and dip, and (of course) anything you can put on the grill.
Here is my favourite salsa-like outdoor patio snack – Texas Caviar – from my cousin Deb. It is very quick and easy to pull together, and is refreshing and tasty and healthy to boot. Make it a bit ahead of time so all those delicious flavours can meld.
1 14 oz can six bean blend (drained and rinsed)
1 19 oz can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
2 medium tomatoes (seeded and chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
4 green onions (chopped)
1 green pepper (chopped)
1/2 cup onion (chopped)
1/2 cup parsley (chopped)
~1 cup Herb or Italian Vinaigrette
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Marinate 2 hours or over night.
Serve with tortilla chips (how I like it!) or as a bean salad.
It’s still far too hot to turn on the oven, and I am missing my baking therapy. Here is another no-bake dessert that satisfies the sweet tooth, if not my need to bake.
What’s great about this kind of dessert is the different combinations you could create. Use whatever you like (or whatever is in season) for the top layer: fresh berries, some crushed cookies, prepared pie filling, fresh lemon curd…. The possibilities are endless! I chose apple cinnamon because I had apples on hand, and I wanted to try to recreate the phenomenal Apple Crumb Cheese Pie from Rockaberry. I’m happy to report that these are a decent imitation!
In true baking fashion, I didn’t really follow a recipe and didn’t really measure anything, but I have left (approximate) steps below.
Apple Cheesecake Parfaits for Two
Graham cracker layer
Crush a handful of graham crackers (I used six).
Melt a tablespoon of butter.
Add melted butter and a teaspoon of sugar to the graham cracker crumbs. Set aside.
Beat 4oz of cream cheese with electric beaters until fluffy, approximately 30 seconds.
In a separate bowl, whip 1/2 cup of heavy cream with a splash of vanilla and a couple tablespoons of icing sugar (if you want it sweeter, add more sugar). Beat until soft peaks form.
Gently add half the whipped mixture to the cream cheese mixture. Stir until combined, and then add the second half of the mixture. Stir until combined.
Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Apple cinnamon layer
Peel and chop 1/2 a medium apple.
In a bowl, mix apples with a generous amount of cinnamon and a tablespoon of brown sugar.
Melt a tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add apples and a tablespoon of water. Stir gently for about 5 minutes, until apples are softened but not mushy.
Transfer to refrigerator.
Gather two parfait cups.
Begin by scooping half of the graham cracker layer into the bottom of each cup. Press down so the mixture is relatively packed.
Scoop half of the cream cheese mixture into each cup, being careful of the sides of the cup. Gently smooth.
Add chopped cinnamon apples and drizzle with caramel.
What do you do when you want something sweet but you’re in a pinch for time? I’m the type of person who always has baking supplies on hand, but sometimes I just don’t want to put in the effort to making something that requires more than one bowl. Thankfully, my sister just sent me this couldn’t-be-easier recipe for brown sugar oat thins – they are perfectly simple and satisfy the sweet tooth.
Watch out though; these crumble all over the place. It makes it difficult to capture a clean photograph… Eventually I surrendered to the crumbs (I’m telling myself it adds texture and liveliness…). Enjoy this simple recipe!
Brown Sugar Oat Thins
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl (oats, sugar, baking powder, salt) and mix.
Add melted butter and vanilla. Stir until combined.
Spread evenly in an 8×8 pan and bake for 20 minutes.
What is that?? Is that … a savory dish!? On MY blog???
Indeed, fair readers. For once, I am writing a post about a savory item…I was invited to a bookclub brunch. It’s my first time going to this group and I was told to bring a brunch item. I loathe potlucks that end up with everyone bringing the same thing (six kinds of chips and salsa for dinner – great….). So my priorities were: something easily portable (no assembly or refrigeration required), something easily shareable (pre-portioned), and something that no one else was likely to bring.
After a quick pinterest search I came across the idea of using puff pastry with cheese and asparagus. I had some feta and mozzarella in the fridge, and went with frozen spinach to keep it simple. These were easy to make and taste really good.
Spinach & Feta Pinwheels
1 package frozen spinach (thawed, and squeezed dry)
1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry
Crumbled feta cheese
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Green onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Nutmeg, salt, pepper
Egg wash (1 egg, whisked with a bit of water)
Combine cheeses, onion, garlic, and spices together.
Unroll thawed puff pastry. Brush with egg wash.
Top puff pastry with cheese mixture. Add spinach on top.
Roll pastry (like a jelly roll). Add a bit of egg wash to the border to seal the roll.
Refrigerate 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F.
Cut pastry rolls into 1″ sections and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Bake for approx 20 minutes, until golden brown on top.