Cooking

Food is Love Part II

I’m back. Today I made a huge salad, a mushroom and onion quiche and homemade macaroni & cheese with tomato and basil. I got to the grocery store at 10:45 this morning, spent about half an hour shopping and started prepping and cooking at around 11:30 after studying some cookbooks and having a cup of coffee.

I decided to make the quiche first because it could be cooking in the oven while I was making the mac & cheese. The quiche has a lot less prep time and a lot more time in the oven. I snapped a few shots of the chopping and prepping for the quiche:

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The onions sautéing in butter with a small pinch of salt and a good amount of ground pepper. Chopping the onion made me cry, as always. TIP: if you ever think of it – pop your onion in the freezer for 5 – 10 minutes before you start chopping – and you will not be in tears. It freezes the juices just enough while you are cutting the onion up!

Mushrooms – cleaned and in the middle of chopping (Bittman’s cookbook is off to the side, of course):

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Once the mushrooms were all chopped up, I took the onions out of the pan and sautéed the mushrooms. I had a small pie crust disaster. But with the help of my trusty rolling pin and some ice cold water, I’m pretty sure I mended everything. 🙂

I put the onions in first. Then I put some of the 1 1/2 cups of shredded Swiss cheese on top, then the mushrooms and more cheese:

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Then I added the cream, milk and eggs. I used 3 eggs, and a combination of light cream and 1% milk. Seasoned with garlic, pepper and paprika. TIP: before you put a quiche in the oven, line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place the pie dish on top. That way, in case your quiche overflows, it wont get all over your oven… just your lined cookie sheet. Always keep an eye on your quiche while it is baking 🙂

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Here is the quiche after about 35 minutes in the 375 degree oven:

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OK, so the mac and cheese is an entirely different story. I find it extremely hard to photograph the process for this one ‘dish’. It is sort of intense. At one point I had four pots on the stove, and one I was stirring continuously.

So I am sorry to say, that I have two pictures of the mac and cheese. I am sure it feels photographically neglected. Sigh. I used just over a pound of macaroni elbows. I warmed up 2 1/8 cups of 1% milk, plus 1/8 cup of light cream with a couple of bay leaves. In another sauce pan I melted 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, once that was bubbling I added 3 1/2 tablespoons of unbleached all purpose flour. I started stirring continuously, and slowly added the milk and cream combo. Eventually the rue + milk / cream was smooth and then I started adding the two cups of shredded cheddar cheese. Once this was done, and the pasta was drained, I added the cheese mixture into the pot that I cooked the pasta in. I stirred everything together and eventually added fresh basil from my garden, a pint of grape tomatoes (cut four times into small pieces). I then put most of the mixture into this aluminum pan. I topped the dish with panko bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese. (yeah, I saved a little bit for myself!)

Before going into the oven:

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For the salad I used a bed of mixed greens and spinach. For vegetables I chopped up carrots, orange pepper, snow peas, mushrooms, scallions and tomatoes. I forgot to pick up cucumbers and whatever else one might put in a salad.

Here are the final products:

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I brought them over to two of my best friends, and enjoyed an hour or so with their brand new (six day old!!) baby. What a super fun day!

I am thoroughly enjoying my vacation week, in case you are wondering. I wish I had another week or two off!

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