Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Quiche Pots

There is something tradition yet refined about a quiche. I like to take a more rustic approach and not have it be so perfect. I find in its unperfect state it becomes more real and edible. I also like to make a quiche in individual portions. I use a muffin or cupcake pan to make individual quiches. I like to call them "Quiche Pots".

I make a traditional pie crust. After the crust is rolled out, I cut the crust into 5 inch sqaures and place them each into their own cup of the muffin tin. I allow the crust to settle and then use my fingers to mould it into the cup. I like to leave the crust jagged at the ends. The crust needs to be pre-baked with either foil or parchment and pie weights. When the crust is out of the oven I like to add the cheese and the bacon into each individual cup (or pot) and pour the custard over it allowing the custard to not reach the top. There should be some space between the top edge of the crust and the custard to allow the custard to expand after cooking. When you pour the custard into each pot, carefully stir the cheese and bacon around a bit to allow the custard to reach the bottom of the pot.

The custard is a very traditional version with bacon and Gruyere cheese. I like to experiment with different cheese mixes as I find the Gruyere alone is too salty mixed with the bacon. I have found if I mix a half of cup cheddar and a half a cup of the Gruyere the quiche is less salty.

Quiche Pots
12 Servings

Basic Pie crust dough-pre-heated crusts
5 ounces of bacon (about 5 slices) broken into pieces
2 Large Eggs, plus 2 Large Egg Yolks
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt(Caution as the bacon and cheese all ready make this dish salty)
1/2 Teaspoon white Pepper
A Pinch of Nutmeg
1/2 Cup Gruyere Cheese (Grated)
1/2 Cup Mild Cheddar

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Have your partially baked pie shell ready. As soon as the crusts are partially baked the custard should be inserted inside and ready to be fully baked.

Fry the bacon until crispy and brown. Tear to pieces. Place to the side. Whisk all ingrediients except the cheeses into a medium bowl. Mix the cheeses together in a separate bowl.

Place the pieces of bacon, divided into the minature shells and add the cheese on top of each one. The cheese will be about 1 Tablespoon-depending on the size of your muffin tin.

Bake until lightly brown about 30 minutes. Serve warm or room tempature.


Monday, January 29, 2007

A Cup of Tea

It rained this weekend. I love it when it rains. There is nothing like a spot of tea on a rainy day. I like carrying the cup in my hand as it warms me up just holding it.

My favorite teas are oolong and chamomile. I usually drink my tea plain but if I am in a mood for sweet I add a small amount if honey. I like a strong black tea with a dash of milk. However, recently there are findings that by adding milk to tea the beneficial effects are completely prevented. Here are some of the health benefits of tea:

Tea suppresses the appetite and inhibits excess body fat. Oolong and Green teas help speed calorie burning.

Green teas has a high content of vitamins and minerals.

Black and green teas are full of antioxidants.

Tea helps fight cancer, heart disease and regulate cholesterol.

Tea boosts the immune system. It can help fight off infections, harmful bacteria and viruses.

Long term consumption of tea may help strengthen bones.

I find that there isn't much left in life that has a slow process. Everything and everyone moves so quickly. If the process is slow we find ways to speed it up. Making a cup of tea slows us down. This is such a good thing!

Here are a few suggestions for brewing tea:

Use fresh or bottled water whenever possible. Water quality is as important to the flavor of the tea as the tea itself. Bad water will create bad tea no matter how good the tea.

For black teas, bring the water to a full rolling boil, but do not over-boil the water.

For green teas, bring the water just to the boiling point (steaming, no bubbles)

Pre-warm your teapot with a some hot water. Pour the warming water out of the pot before adding the tea leaves and hot water.

Add one level teaspoon of tea for every cup of water. Tea strainers and infusing baskets may be used or the leaves can be added directly to the pot. I like an infusion spoon for loose tea leaves.

Steep full black leaves four to five minutes but experiment to find your perfect "brew". Steep delicate green teas and smaller leaf teas for less time. These teas should steep for about three minutes. Some of the finer teas may be infused several times.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Food Photo Friday!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

To Complain, That is the Question

I went out to dinner tonight. It is neighborhood Italian place within walking distance and is a place I have gone for years. I order the most basic Italian meal you can choose. I order spaghetti and meatballs. I was excited at this basic selection and was so hungry I thought I was going to faint.

I took a sip of my water to find the rim was rough on my lip. It was broken. I didn't think twice and simply turned my glass to drink from the other side. It wasn't a crack. The edge was just rough like it was chipped in the dishwasher. The food came out quickly. I picked up my fork to take my first bite. The meatball was wrong. I couldn't place it at first but I realized it tasted burnt. I stayed with the pasta noodles and picked away at the meatball until I finally convinced myself that it was really horrible. There were no redeeming qualities about it. Do I complain? No....No? But-why? Why do I chose not to say anything?

I have eaten at this restaurant many times and have been happily satisfied. Tonight was just not one of those nights. Why is it that we don't want to make waves when our food is bad? Is it the confrontation aspect? Or is there is something so close to home about food being prepared for us it just seems wrong to say thanks but no thanks? I think for me it has to do with not wanting to be placed in the category of people who complain or risk someone perceiving my actions as that category.

I have complained before at other restaurants and been treated horribly by the staff. This makes the complaint even worse! That is just not something I want to face while I am out to dinner relaxing from a stressful day. I find that if it is a place I like, I have a history visiting, and the food is bad, it is a "bad dish". If it is a restaurant I have never been before, I have a hard time going back because that meal lives on with me as that "bad restaurant".

There is another side to the story. Maybe it would serve the restaurant if we do speak up? (Not to mention you might get a new meatball!) If the restaurant is of quality they want to hear from us and make changes that will make our dining experiences better. Instead of causing a scene in the middle of the dining room, we can take the manager aside and explain our complaints. If you aren't at all confrontational you can always write or email the restaurant.

What restaurant complaints have you made? Have you ever gone back to the restaurant where you have made a complaint to find there are improvements? Or is that restaurant ruined for you?


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Food By Chance

I hadn't shopped much, it was the end of the week and had only the basics in the pantry. So-I chopped up some scallions, some cherry tomatoes and a shallot. I had some dried tortellini in the pantry. I placed a pot of water on the stove to boil. I found a half loaf of French bread. I chopped up five cloves of garlic. I placed the chopped garlic into a bowl and added three large tablespoons of soft butter. I added salt, pepper and a small amount of Basil. I mixed the paste together and spread it thick on cut slices of bread. I baked the bread wrapped in aluminum foil at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. While it was baking I placed the pasta in boiling water and made up a salad.

The great thing about the meal was that it was a happy accident. I didn't plan the meal. I just cooked what I had available. I have found that I can really sharpen my cooking skills by cooking this way. There are not any pre-thought perimeters and all I have to do is cook!

I try to keep the pantry stocked with a variety of ingredients and goodies that I might one day like to use. This keeps my kitchen ready for action. The only downside is that this freestyle way of cooking makes it difficult to make the same meal twice. I have thought that I need to get better at writing the good "food by chance" meals down so I have a record. But-somehow that seems wrong. For me, the true joy comes from finding out what chance meal waits!


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Iron Chef Eats McDonalds!

The food news this week is about subliminal advertising. A viewer of Iron Chef on the Food Network was taping an episode when he found a McDonalds ad one frame long. It is shown so fast that unless you were taping it you probably wouldn't be aware of the image. This ad can be seen here.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Scratch n' Sniff

Do you remember scratch n'sniff stickers? I had them when I was a kid. I think my dentist use to give them to me.

China made a new postage stamp to honor the year of the pig. When you scratch the front of the stamp it smells like sweet and sour pork! Or when you lick the back it tastes like the dish.

It made me wonder if I could choose a scratch n'sniff stamp what flavor would I make? The smell of chocolate chip cookies can not be topped but is it right for the face of a stamp? Cinnamon or some sort of a spice might be nice? A fruit like a strawberry or an apple would make a nice looking stamp. What stamp would you like to sniff and create?


Friday, January 19, 2007

Food Photo Friday!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

3 Square Cafe + Bakery has been a long wait! I have been driving by rubbernecking this joint for months! Only opening three days prior, the bakery seemed to be running smoothly. The Cafe is not opening for three more weeks. The cafe was supposed to open last May but had difficulty with the city.

The location is nice. Clean, simple and perfect in its Abbot Kinney neighborhood setting. The bakery is "next door" to the cafe. The bakery offers MANY pastries and sandwiches. The sandwiches are similar to or the same as what is offered at their Washington Boulevard location. Rockenwagner is known for his pastries, breads and pretzel variations. Once again they did not disappoint. I tried a new pastry I hadn't tried before, the "Nougat Ring". It was delicious. It was a sugar cookie ring with a hazelnut filling covered in chocolate. It was more like a candy bar than a pastry.

The Cafe, "3 Square" will be open for all three meals daily (hence the "3 square"). The cafe will offer Rockenwagner's salads, souffles and fillets. So-it seems to be an interesting mix for a menu. There is a nice exterior seating area that helps add additional seating for this small cafe.I will have to do a "part III" to my Rockenwagner postings when the cafe opens in a few weeks. Stay tuned!


3 Square Cafe + Bakery
1121 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Venice, CA 90291

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tupperware Police Don't Read This!!!

I don't like "Tupperware" containers to store food. I don't store that many leftovers so maybe that is why I have never gotten into the "Tupperware" thing. (We eat everything that is on our plates!) I have tried to use plastic storage containers. I just don't like how the food stains the plastic. The container always looks dirty even when it is brand new. I also struggle with finding storage for plastic storage containers. Have you ever noticed that plastic storage containers can never be stored organized? They can't be stacked properly or "stay put". I have a small kitchen so storage is a huge concern.

I do need to store food so I am always looking for solutions that work for me. I store my leftover food on a dinner plate or in a glass bowl with plastic wrap or wax paper over it. If the portion is a small enough, I place the food in a French jelly jar. I use these jelly jars for my beverage glasses so they don't require additional storage space. They are great to stack in the fridge and have red plastic lids that assist in storing the food airtight but also in keeping multiple jars stacked. I love the look of them and they are so practical. Glass is the way to go.

I recently found that the brand Ziploc makes reuseable plastic containers. They are called "Snap and Seal". These containers are great for sending food home with guests. I like the practical size of them. The plastic does not stain or hold odors. They are microwave safe. If you do find one needs replaced simply pop it into your recycling bin and start a fresh one. These containers come in a pack of five.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Spaghetti Squash

Also called: "Noodle Squash" is one of my favorite vegetables to prepare.I am always amazed how this squash makes its own form of pasta to eat. I like to use the squash like a spaghetti dish topped with a light marinara sauce or my favorite way is to use just olive oil, salt & pepper and parmesan cheese. I have often thought that this vegetable would be loved by children as they would see it as a plate of spaghetti and not the nutritious vegetable it is.

Before cooking, as the insides (seeds) are cleaned out, it reminds me of cleaning a pumpkin. When cooked, the squash falls away from the shell in ribbons or strands like spaghetti. I don't want to misrepresent this yellow squash. It does not taste much like spaghetti. It just looks alot like it. The taste has a slight sweetness and is crunchy and watery more like a cucumber. Spaghetti squash can be baked, boiled or steamed. It contains many nutrients including folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, and
beta carotene.

I prepare my squash in a water bath (or steamer basket). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut your squash into two pieces. Cut the squash in its long direction. Place the two halves side-by-side face down into a baking pan. Pour water into the pan so the squash is sitting in two inches of water. Cook until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes depending on the size of the squash. Let the halves cool until you can touch them. Take each half and with a large fork pull the squash into a large bowl. You will see how the squash pulls away from the shell in "ribbons" or "strands" or noodles! Toss with olive oil, parmesan cheese and salt & pepper to taste. -Fer

Monday, January 15, 2007


I went to go see a movie over the weekend. I wasn't that hungry. I had just eaten prior to the show. It was amazing to just sit and take in all the noise from everyone eating their treats around me. Snack bags are opening...cellophane is being pulled off boxes of candy, popcorn is being inhaled and drinks are being slurped to the very last drop from a straw. At first, it was annoying to hear all of this "sound" around me but then it became funny. It was like a song called, "Ode to My Chosen Snack" or "Eat Them All Before The Movie Even Starts!"

Have you taken notice to the popcorn "butter" or "popcorn topping" at the movie theater? The concession doesn't place it on the popcorn for you anymore. It is now a "self-serve" item (see picture above). It looks like a drink dispenser yet it is a "butter" dispenser to place all the "butter" you could possibly want on your bagged up snack. I wondered what was in this "butter"?

Ingredients of movie "butter topping": soybean oil, artificial butter flavoring, TBHQ and citric acid added to retard oxidation, colored with beta carotene

Intrigued to know more about movie popcorn, I researched and found that popcorn originally was not sold inside the theater but by a vendor outside on the street. Most movie theaters did not like the street food vendors and tried to discourage their patronage. But-movie goers loved this snack and would go outside to buy the popcorn and bring it back inside to watch the movie. That is what started it all. Theaters then decided they could make money in buying their own popper and selling it to customers.

Next time you are at the movies-see what "food" song everyone is playing around you!


Friday, January 12, 2007

Freaky Food Photo Friday!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Eat and See

I read a LA Times article recently identifying how people see (or want to see) religious figures in the foods we eat.

I lived in the South for a while and during that time I was lucky enough to see the famous "Mother Theresa Sticky Bun" or "Nun Bun". The coffee shop where it resided was not too far from my house. We all had to see it. Millions were intrigued by it. Nashville was making national headlines for a bun that looked like Theresa (and it did)! Read the coffee shop's story and see the "Nun Bun" here.

I really like that we live in a world that still has the imagination to see "food sightings". I even like it more that we term it a "sighting" like it is some sort of alien creature. When in actuality, it is the same pancake you just ate last week but it looks like.....


1/16/07 Update: Virgin Mary sighting

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

For Christmas I was given a Kitchen-Aid mixer. With this wonder gift, I received an ice cream maker attachment!

I wasn't sure how this attachment would work. What I found out was it is so easy to use and makes good ice cream. The attachment container needs to be frozen for at least 15 hours before use. After use and cleaning, it is a good idea to just place the container back into the freezer and it will be ready for your next batch.

It was a difficult choice....which flavor do I make....

Mint Chocolate-Chip? (my favorite)

Butter Pecan?



This is my very first time making ice cream so....I chose vanilla.

Vanilla is such a great base to perfect as you can add fruits, candies or nuts to make any flavor you can dream of inventing. My first batch was good. It had a great consistency; however, slightly too eggy for my taste. I plan on eliminating one of the yolks for my next batch. What a wonderful reward, for after the layers of preparation, you get to eat your very own ice cream. When I perfect the vanilla recipe I will post it.

The next batch will be chocolate chip!


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

White Pizzas Can't Jump

For white pizza, I use two types of cheese, fresh garlic paste, olive oil and crimini mushrooms. I start with a basic wheat crust recipe, shaped into a square and then added the ingredients one-by-one.

After the crust is rolled into the shape desired, spread garlic paste over the unbaked crust. Then, add mushrooms as a single layer spread over the crust and drizzle olive oil over the mushrooms, adding salt and pepper to taste. It is time to start the cheese layers. Add fresh grated mozzarella cheese over the top and spoon dollops of ricotta symmetrically spaced over the top of the pizza. For my small square pizza (12" x 12"), I added the ricotta dollops spaced out in nine places.

Bake on a lightly oiled pan (or use a pizza stone)in a 450 degree (preheated) oven for 15 minutes. Cheese should be melted and crust brown at edges. This is a simple recipe and a great twist on the traditional Italian pizza pie!


p.s. The plural for the word pizza looks funny!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Southern Fried Turkey

Over the New Year's holiday, my husband's family has the tradition of frying a turkey. The preparation itself is better than eating the actual turkey (not really!).

Shooting up the turkey, (a combination of melted butter and tabasco sauce) the finished turkey has a golden brown, crispy outer coating with the moist meat having a nice kick. Not too hot as one would think as they watch all of those many tabasco bottles injected into their soon-to-be dinner! I always attribute the experience of watching the turkey fry like standing around a campfire. Once the turkey is dunked into the oil (it cooks 3 minutes per each pound) we stand around the pot and watch it bubble and sizzle. There is conversation, laughter and a nice warmth from the heat of that large turkey pot.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

DMBLGIT November 2006 Winners!

Today, Abstract Gourmet announced the winners for the November 2006 “Does My Blog Look Good In This”, a monthly food photography contest for food bloggers.

Fer Food is the "Winner of Originality" for our November Bacon Flowers entry! Thank you to Matt at Abstract Gourmet for hosting this event and all of the judges that participated. Hurray for us!


Friday, January 05, 2007

Food Photo Friday!

It is going to be a great year!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Everybody's Nuts!!!

I am nuts about these pistachios, "Everybody's Nuts". They are so good. I picked up a box in the produce section of my local grocery store. The nuts are so fresh. They promise you won't find a closed nut in the package. If you do, you can mail it back to them and they will send to you a brand new box. Their pistachios come in four flavors: Roasted & Salted; European Roast; Roasted No Salt and Salt & Pepper. Their website is hilarious!You should join in the fun and start eating their nuts! The humor and their great product makes the world a greater place. After-all, we are all nuts!!!


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Unusual Restaurants

Forbes recently published a top 10 list of the "World's Most Unusual Restaurants". There were some interesting places listed: the Ninja in NYC where the waiters dress as Ninjas and preform magic alongside the tables; Dans Le Noir (In the Dark) where you dine in the dark; and my favorite, Dinner in the sky. This restaurant has your table suspended in mid-air by a crane. That experience would surely give guests some dinner exciting conversation!

After I read the above article, I found another unusual restaurant located 300 miles southwest of the southern tip of India. It is a restaurant where you dine underwater and watch the fish swim over your head.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

For Better Consistency Don't Mix

I read an article in the NY Times recently regarding the FDA approving food from cloned animals is safe to eat.

What?? Think about that. The FDA approves our food to be made from cloned animals and (this is a big AND) it is safe to eat. It makes me think we are living one of those Sc-Fi movies I watched as a kid. I thought we were all so happy looking to eat local and eating more healthy? How can eating cloned meat be natural or healthy?

I stay tuned into what food is taboo-what to buy and what not to buy. For example: being told not to eat food from Chille as they have less restrictions on pestisides than the US. Now-let's just add to my reading agenda, reading labels to find if the meat is cloned or not. Or maybe not-"F.D.A. officials said that it was unlikely that labeling would be required because food from cloned animals is indistinguishable from other food, although a final decision about labeling has not been made." The article concludes that the meat and milk are safe from SOME farm animals. Lamb and poultry have not been thoroughly tested.

Just remember-you are what you eat.


Monday, January 01, 2007

New Food For 2007...

Food & Wine magazine put together "100 tastes to try in '07". I look forward to trying: langoustines, anything greek, japanese sweets, maple flakes, bacon baklava(I guess the '06 obsession of bacon is moving into the new year), Icelandic ingredients, fire-pit foods, reading new cookbooks from bloggers (hurray!), attending a few clandestine dinners (they sound too cool) and trying African honey. If these don't sound interesting to you, there are plenty of more options to choose from off their list. Check out the article.