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Quiche Lorraine

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I’ve got a fridge full of leftover cheese that I don’t want to waste, including a large tub of shredded gruyere.  One of my favorite ways to use gruyere is in Quiche Lorraine. Doesn’t get much better than gruyere and bacon in a pie crust! I like to add sauteed onions, but if you’re not an onion fan, leave them out. Quiche makes a delicious breakfast, lunch, or dinner meal! It reheats nicely in the oven, making it a convenient dish to prepare ahead of time.

Today’s schedule does not include time for making a pie crust, so I’ll be using a frozen pastry shell. But, if you’re feeling sassy, go ahead and whip up your own buttery pie crust for this recipe!

Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine

Ingredients

  • 1 pie crust, homemade or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 oz. bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. If using a frozen pie crust, allow it to thaw in the fridge for 20-30 minutes before using. Line pie crust with a piece of foil.  Fill with dry beans.  Bake in oven for 15 minutes.  Remove foil and beans.  Return to oven for another 5 minutes. (You can save the dried beans to reuse as pie weights.)

In a saute pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter.  Saute the chopped bacon over medium heat until it is cooked, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from the pan and place it over a double layer of paper towels to remove the excess grease. Sprinkle the bacon into the pie shell. Add onions to the bacon grease remaining in the pan.  Cook onions for about 5 minutes until they are soft and slightly caramelized. Drain over a paper towel. Sprinkle the onions over the bacon.  Distribute the gruyere evenly over the bacon and onions.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, and seasonings.  Pour over the bacon, onions, and cheese, being careful not to overfill.

Place the pie shell on a baking sheet. Bake on the bottom rack for 35-45 minutes, until the filling has set in the middle. (You’ll know because it won’t wiggle anymore.)

Allow it to cool slightly before serving.  Serve with a side of spring greens and balsamic vinaigrette.

Quiche will keep well in the fridge for a couple days.  You can reheat it in a 200 degree oven until warm.

Cooking with Kids: Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

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First and foremost, this is a blog about food. But, being a mom is inseparable from the rest of me. It’s at the core of my being. It’s part of almost everything I do, including cooking. And it just so happens that I believe that cooking with kids is one of the most fantastic ways to develop early-learning skills. Prior to my life as a stay-at-home mom, I was a teacher. Though I am no longer a teacher by trade, I will always be an educator. As an educator, a mom, and a culinary fanatic, I feel passionately about the many ways that cooking with kids can be learning-rich experiences.

Just a few of the many skills that are developed through cooking:

  • Vocabulary Development – names of foods, cooking terms, procedural language
  • Following Directions – single and multi-step directions
  • Sequencing Skills – following the steps in the directions, retelling the sequence of steps
  • Fine Motor Skill Development – stirring, pouring, mashing, cutting soft objects
  • Hand-Eye Coordination
  • Social Emotional Development – feeling pride and sense of accomplishment, following directions, turn-taking, participation
  • Science Knowledge – change of state from liquid to solid, heating and cooling, dissolving
  • Math Knowledge – measuring, counting
  • Willingness to experiment with new foods – kids may be more open to trying something they had a hand in making

A few tips to help make your cooking experience enjoyable for everyone:

  • Give yourself extra time.
  • Be prepared for a little extra mess.
  • Select tasks which are age-appropriate for your child.  (Kids are expert mixers, pourers, and banana-mashers!) Give them tasks to keep them occupied between steps.
  • Prepare, prepare, prepare! In the culinary field, one often hears the French phrase, “mise en place”. Essentially, this translates to “everything in its place”. It simply involves the practice of gathering, measuring, and preparing all ingredients prior to beginning the cooking process.  This practice is useful for all cooking, but is especially helpful when you’re working with young kids, with short attention spans.
  • Don’t forget to model good sanitary practices, such washing hands and using clean utensils.  (Keep a few extra spoons nearby so you can quickly replace spoons used for tasting!)

Children learn best when they are engaged in meaningful, hands-on activities. So, next time you’re in the kitchen, grab your kid (or borrow someone else’s) and get cooking!

A few pictures of today’s banana chocolate chip muffin-making event…

Adding the salt

Pouring the oil

Expert banana mashers

Using a fork to loosen the banana

Feeling proud of his work

Taste test

Anxiously waiting and watching

And now the recipe.  Children welcome, but not required to make!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins


Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. To prepare your muffin pan, use muffin liners, grease and flour, or spray with Baker’s Joy (or a similar product). Pour the batter into prepared muffins tins. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Makes about 12-15 muffins.

**This recipe was adapted from a recipe for Banana Bread, found here.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

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