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Posts Tagged ‘Appetizers’

The word quiche derives from the german word “kuchen” which means cake.  The french of the Lorraine region adapted the original german version “Lothringer Speckkuchen” of a bread pie with eggs, cream and bacon by later adding gruyere cheese and a pastry crust to make the modern Quiche Lorraine.

I was given an onion and cheese quiche recipe at a cheese tasting course Emilio and I attended las December and have been experimenting with it ever since.  It was much easier than I expected and my friends and family love it.  Actually, this version is really called Quiche Alsacienne from the Alsace region in France.  The main difference from the Quiche Lorraine is the addition of onions to the filling. This dish is mainly served for breakfast or brunch. Here is my version of Quiche Alsacienne.

Bon Appetit!

Quiche Alsacienne

Dough

1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1/2 cup butter (cold)

3 tbsp water

Filling

2 tbsp butter

1 large thinly sliced onion

5 bacon strips (chopped)

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp kosher salt

pepper to taste

approximately 3 ounces of grated hard cheese (Comte, Gruyere, Cheddar or Manchego) note: depending on the grater (mine grates very thin) it is a little over 1 cup of grated cheese.

Procedure

1.  Sift flour and salt into a bowl.  Add cold butter cut into cubes and mix with the paddle attachment of an electric mixer ( you can also do it with your fingers or with a food processor) until the mixture resembles crumbs.  Add the water to make a firm dough. Knead the dough until smooth (add more water if you need to).  Wrap in clear film and chill in fridge for about 20 minutes.

2.  Roll out the dough (about 1/4 inch thick or less) on a lightly floured surface, big enough to line a 10 inch flan tin with a removable base .

fold pastry like this to safely place in middle of flan tin, then spread out to the sides


3.  Fold outer edges of dough in to be able to place the pastry in the middle of the flan tin without breaking or falling apart.  Press the pastry to the sides and let rise above the rim by about 1/2  an inch to allow for shrinkage.  Prick the pastry base with a fork a few times.

4.  Line pastry with foil paper and pie crust beads (or dried beans) and chill again for about 15 minutes.

5.  Preheat oven at 400º f.

6.  Place the flan tin on a baking sheet and bake “blind” or covered with the foil paper and beads for 15 minutes.  Remove the beads and foil and bake uncovered for 5 more minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350ºf.

7.  Meanwhile, make filling by melting butter in a large saute pan (medium heat).  Saute bacon for about 7-8 minutes until cooked  but not brown and crispy.  Add onion and  saute for about 8-10 minutes until cooked and caramelized.

8.  In a bowl, beat the egg with a whisk.  Add heavy cream and seasonings and continue to whisk until some bubbles form at the top.

9.  While still on the baking sheet, spoon onion mixture into cooked pastry and scatter.  Add grated cheese and pour egg-cream mixture slowly over the filling, making sure none spills over the edge of the pastry case.

10.  Cook for 35 minutes or until filling has just set.

11.  Remove from oven, let cool down and remove from flan tin.  Place on serving plate. Serve warm for breakfast or brunch.

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This week I am making an early posting because on wednesday we are going away on vacation to Colorado for New Year’s Celebration.  The kids are very excited and looking forward to making snow angels and of course skiing.  It’s a good change for us form the constant heat in Puerto Rico (although I am sure by the end of our vacation we will be more than happy to return to the warm sun in the island).

Last week I got together with some of my dear lifelong girlfriends. We try to see each other as often as possible but family life, work, school and different zip codes don’t always allow us that pleasure.  At the request of two of the “girls” that were simultaneously visiting the island for the holidays, we had a “mother and daughter happy hour” in which our moms and us sipped champagne and snacked on my famous fried gouda cheese balls (bolitas de queso fritas).  We had a wonderful time sharing stories, remembering the “good old days”  and catching up on life.

This appetizer is always a hit! What more can I tell you… I love fritters! But not only is this appetizer tasty, but you can make it ahead of time, freeze it, and fry it whenever you have unexpected guests or for an impromptu gathering.  It is a simple and easy recipe and doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare. My sister-in-law is a big fan of this recipe and it is now one of her specialties!  Can be eaten alone or with guava dipping sauce.

Gouda cheese balls

makes about 60 spheres

Ingredients

1 pound of gouda cheese (shredded)

1 egg white (lightly beaten)

2 tbsp all purpose flour

about 1/2 cup of cracker meal

Procedure:


1.  Shred 1 pound of Gouda cheese ( in food processor with shredder attachment or with a grater).

2.  Add  egg white and all purpose flour in a bowl and mix well with your hands.

3.  Shape into spheres with the palm of your hands, about the size of a quarter coin in diameter.

4.  Roll each ball into the cracker meal to seal.

5.  Refrigerate at least half an hour before frying. It is important that they are cold (not frozen) when you fry them to lower the chances of sticking and breaking apart. If frozen, let thaw for about an hour before frying.

6.  Deep-fry in a heavy bottom pot or in a deep-fryer for about 2-3 minutes in very hot vegetable or canola oil (about 350º f) until golden brown. Use a spoon to remove from the oil preferably one with holes so that the oil drips. Do not use a fork.

7.   Fry in small batches so that they don’t stick together and break apart.    Let stand in a plate lined with paper towel to drain.

Enjoy!

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