Friday, October 28, 2005
Bread Baking, Pasta Salad Making and Impossible Spinach Quiche Pie
I grew up in the food business, when I was a child and young teen my parents had a catering company. Weekends were spent with my brothers (Einstein and Charles Manson) peeling 100 lbs. of potatoes and serving coffee to blue haired ladies at wedding showers. When I was a teenager my parents actually bought a turn of the century hotel and restored it into its original elegance and had a very nice family style restaurant and old fashioned hotel. I was mad though, because we had to move from Detroit to rural Grand Rapids, Michigan, away from the crime and smog and congestion. What I was really mad about was I had to move away from this boy...
Oldest daughter remembers grandma's Olde Kent Inn located in Kent City, Michigan - a business that they worked with my mother's parents. Grandpa was a Mr. Fixit and grandma made the peach and apple pies. Oldest daughter was about 7 when my parents sold the place in 1986, ready to "retire". My Dad went back to work in automotive and my Mom came to work for me in publishing - as my bookkeeper - which was no retirement at all. When I left home I swore I would never be in the food business, but here I am. Everything comes full circle. My mom is one of those recipe encyclopedias. She's the person I email when something's not turning out right or we can't get the ingredients here. When I lamented that Brodies in Belize City wasn't carrying the Java Ice syrup anymore for our cafe mocha drinks she said to me "Well, just make it... here's how: equal parts of espresso and sugar, for every ounce of syrup add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder" Easy. Well, easy for her because she's one of those food geniouses. I got the "Art" gene. Bigness got the "Boss" gene.
I have a lawyer friend who says "Smart people don't make the same mistake 3 times" She also says "Libel is written, slander is spoken, but its only libel or slander - if its NOT true" So those of you waiting for stories about Dreadlock Pizza, keep the faith, they are coming. But back to the bread. First try: Bigness thought the bread was finished but it was in the final rise when he poked it (not so gently) with his (very clean) finger, and plop. The second try was better, but still I had 2 kilo brick, although it was a very tasty brick, bread shouldn't make you lose a capped tooth. So, I added more yeast and cut the whole wheat flour with some of our very dense white flour and... perfection. Wow, I really feel like supergirl now because I also fixed the espresso machine - sort of. Let's say, it functions. Back to the sandwich. One giant thick slice of whole wheat honey bread, smear it with cream cheese, layer sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumber, onion, green pepper, grated carrotts and topped with white cheddar. Broil and serve open face.
Recipe for Impossible Quiche Pie
1 onion, chopped
1 sweet green pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb of fresh spinach
2 tbl. real butter
1/2 cup of media crema or half and half
1 cup grated white cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
1 cup baking mix - like Bisquick or Jiffy
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese - or Dutch cheese like Gouda or Edam
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
dash of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 12 baking pan.
Wash, chop and drain spinach, sautee it in real butter for about 2 minutes with the onion, garlic and sweet pepper, add a dash of salt. Sautee it just long enough to take the crunch out of the veggies. Do not use the liquid from the pan, just the sauateed veggies. Put spinach mixture in the bottom of the baking pan, top with cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese. In a blender mix the eggs, media crema or half and half, milk, salt pepper nutmeg and baking mix. Pour on top. Bake uncovered in the oven for about 30-35 minutes. You'll know its done when a knife inserted in comes out clean.
I added 1/2 tsp more of baking powder, since we are at sea level and the air is so thick, we need extra levening to avoid brick-like food, but for anywhere else in the world you probably wouldn't have to do that.