Quiche Fromage

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Sunshine Eats: Quiche Fromage! If you’ve ever been to Paris, you can’t help but be charmed by the street vendors near Notre Dame along the Seine River. One in particular featured homemade quiche specialties for picnicking tourists. There’s nothing more charming than grabbing a spot on the nearest bench for a lunchtime picnic in the midst of people-watching, that’s for sure. You can relive the moment with today’s version of cheese quiche made with a puff pastry crust. Ooh là là!

QUICHE FROMAGE

Ingredients:

One puff pastry sheet

5 eggs

1/3 cup crème fraîche or Greek yogurt

1/2 cup light cream

1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence

1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

6-7 ounces Sartori Montamoré cheese, crumbled

Instructions:

Thaw the puff pastry for 40 minutes. Roll out to fit a 10 1/2″ pie plate. Crimp the edges and pierce the bottom with a fork. Place pie plate in the freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425°. Line the pastry with foil and place pastry weights in the bottom. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Remove the foil and pastry weights, pierce dough again if needed, and bake 5 minutes longer until bottom is golden. Set aside. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, crème fraîche, light cream, Herbes de Provence, seasoned salt, and black pepper. Fold in cheese crumbles. Spoon mixture into the pastry crust. Bake 30 minutes until the filling is golden and the crust is puffed. To test for doneness, insert cake tester. If pick comes out clean, the quiche is baked through. Serve immediately. Enjoy with a glass of Pinot Noir.

Nutella Fudge Brownies

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Sunshine Eats: Nutella Fudge Brownies! If you haven’t been introduced to Nutella lately, allow me to take a moment to introduce you. Nutella is a distant cousin to peanut butter, the difference being its two main ingredients of heart-healthy hazelnuts and nutritious cocoa chocolate. Like peanut butter, portion control is key. That being said, love it or leave it. A little Nutella goes a long way, in my opinion. I topped a batch of fudge brownies with Nutella frosting and crushed salted pretzels for a super-yummy dessert. I have grandkids, after all, and my job is to spoil them silly.

NUTELLA FUDGE BROWNIES

Ingredients for Pretzel Crust:

1 1/2 cup pretzels

1/3 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8″x8″ square pan with nonstick oil. Set aside. Using a food processor, pulse pretzels into small pieces. Add brown sugar and pulse until mixed. Pour in melted butter and continue until mixed. Press pretzel mixture into prepared pan. Bake 12-14 minutes until crust is firm. Remove and set aside.

Ingredients for Fudge Brownies:

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup Nutella Hazelnut Spread

Ingredients for Frosting:

1/3-1/2 cup Nutella Hazelnut Spread

Crushed pretzels for garnish

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Instructions:

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and sea salt. Set aside. In a larger mixing bowl, combine sugar and melted butter, stirring thoroughly. Add one egg. Mix well. Repeat with second egg. Add vanilla extract and 1/3 cup Nutella Hazelnut Spread. Stir until smooth. Slowly add dry ingredients, mixing well. Pour batter onto prepared crust. Spread evenly. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow fudge brownies to cool 30 minutes. Frost with Nutella Hazelnut Spread, according to taste. Garnish with crushed pretzel pieces and sea salt.

Quasi Cherry Almond Macaroon Slab Pie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? After the Holidays: Quasi Cherry Almond Macaroon Slab Pie! Now that’s a mouthful. But truth-be-told when you’re talking about a dessert with mounds of plump cherry clusters, flaked coconut, and sliced nuts…well, nothing else will do. By transforming it all into a slab pie, portions become more manageable over traditional sliced servings. The crust is still flaky, even if there is less of it. Focus instead on a sweet treat with a single shot of Italian espresso or scoop of ice cream. It’s a perfect balance for the taste buds.

QUASI CHERRY ALMOND MACAROON SLAB PIE

Ingredients:

1 prepared pie crust

Ingredients for filling:

21-ounce can cherry pie filling

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Ingredients for topping:

1 cup coconut, shredded

1/2 cup almonds, sliced

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 teaspoon coconut extract

1 egg, beaten

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil. Roll the prepared pie crust to fit the baking sheet. Trim the dough to only fit the bottom of the pan. If necessary, use the extra dough pieces to fill in the corners. Pinch to seal. In a large bowl, combine the cherry pie filling, cinnamon, sea salt, and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly. Spoon the filling onto the pie crust. Spread in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, for the topping, fill a mixing bowl with the shredded coconut, sliced almonds, sugar, sea salt, milk, melted butter, almond extract, coconut extract, and beaten egg. Remove the slab pie from the oven. Spread macaroon topping over all. Return slab pie to oven, bake 25 minutes longer, or until bubbly and golden brown. Cut into slices. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream.

Half-Baked Skillet Pizza Dip

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? After the Holidays: Half-Baked Skillet Pizza Dip! Who likes bread dough? I do, I do. Who keeps a bag of frozen bread dough rolls in their freezer? Me, too. Whether you’re making this amazing pizza dip as an afternoon snack, midday appetizer, or late-night dinner, you will impress yourself with the chewy bread dough base. That is, until the mouthwatering moment you feast your eyes on the gooey strands of pizza cheese. Melted mozzarella cheese pulls can stretch from the iron skillet to your mouth like a tightrope stretched across Niagara Falls. Either snap it off in one bite or twirl it around your index finger for satisfying nibbling. Did I fail to mention the layers of deliciousness? Read on to see what I mean.

HALF-BAKED SKILLET PIZZA DIP

Ingredients for Crust:

12 frozen dinner roll dough balls

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

Ingredients for Dip:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon zesty Italian salad dressing mix

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup provolone cheese, shredded

2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 cup prepared pizza sauce

5 slices deli-style hard salami, cut into triangles (or mini pepperoni slices)

Fresh Parsley, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray an iron skillet with nonstick oil. Remove frozen bread dough rolls from the freezer. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, garlic powder, black pepper, sea salt, red pepper flakes, and parsley flakes. Mix well. Coat each frozen bread dough roll with butter mixture and arrange around the outside edge of the iron skillet. Cover pan with a tea towel, place in a warm area, and allow the dough to rise for 20 minutes for a half-baked doughy crust. Meanwhile, to prepare dip filling, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, Italian seasoning, and grated parmesan cheese. Mix well. Fold in shredded provolone cheese and 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese. Spoon half the filling into the center of the iron skillet. Add a layer of pizza sauce. Spoon the remaining cheese filling on top. Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella cheese over all. Arrange with salami or pepperoni slices. Place the iron skillet in the preheated oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and pizza dip is bubbly. Remove from oven. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve warm.

Neapolitan Tomato Cheese Pizza

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Neapolitan Tomato Cheese Pizza! Before you roll your eyes, let me explain about Neapolitan pizza. The dough itself is made of four basic ingredients. I like that. The Italian flour makes the dough stretchy and easy to work into shape with your fingers. If you cannot find Italian flour, bread flour is an acceptable substitute. I went on a quest to find it, though. A Neapolitan pizza is made to be eaten with a knife and fork as a personal pan pizza. And it is not precut, simply because the center of the bottom crust is soft and chewy. Trust me, it’s worth every bite. This dough recipe will make six individual servings of thin crust pizza. Bellissimo!

NEAPOLITAN TOMATO CHEESE PIZZA

Ingredients:

4 cups Italian “00” flour plus extra flour for dusting

2 teaspoons sea salt

1/2 teaspoon yeast

1 1/3 cups water

1/2 cup tomato sauce

4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced rounds

6 basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions:

Combine flour, sea salt, yeast, and water into a Bread Machine. Set to “Dough”. When finished, divide dough into 6 portions, cover each in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 72 hours. Remove 45 minutes prior to preparation for dough to come to room temperature. Transfer one ball of dough to a medium bowl that has a handful of flour in it. Flip to coat. Pat off excess flour and transfer it to a floured surface. Gently stretch dough, with fingertips, into a circle. Pick it up and place it on a sheet of parchment paper. With one hand in the center of the dough round, use the other hand to stretch the edge outward without tearing, rotating as needed. Place the oven rack on its highest setting. You should still be able to place an iron skillet on it. If not, lower the rack. Preheat the Broiler on High. Dust the iron skillet with flour; tap out excess. Heat the empty skillet until it is smoking lightly, approximately 3 minutes. Transfer dough to the skillet. Moving quickly, top the dough with tomato sauce, mozzarella slices, and fresh basil leaves. Sprinkle with kosher salt and drizzle with olive oil. Transfer skillet back to the broiler and cook until pizza is puffed and charred in spots, up to 4 minutes. Watch carefully. Remove from oven. Serve immediately. For more than one pizza, repeat process.

Giordano’s in Las Vegas, Nevada

Dining Outside the Home: Giordano’s in Las Vegas, Nevada! Some things you just can’t rush, like world famous deep dish pizza. Made from a family recipe that originated in Torino, Italy, the “stuffed” version of Giordano’s pizza pie begins with a light and buttery focaccia-type crust. Next comes a layer of fresh veggies and savory meats. A thick layer of cheese is essential for gooey chewy goodness. Finally, an herbed tomato sauce is spread completely over the top before it is baked in a hot oven for almost an hour. Can’t wait that long? Order some cheesy garlic bread to nibble on in the meantime. Giordano’s pizza is definitely worth the wait.

Hamburger Strudel

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: Hamburger Strudel! Dress up a classic meatloaf recipe with this super simple crust to create an elegant wrap for a main course. No, it’s not Beef Wellington, but it’s a tasty alternative at a fraction of the cost. I highly recommend an all-natural organic lean beef for fabulous results. It’s dinner-party worthy!

HAMBURGER STRUDEL

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 onion, chopped

1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced

2 pounds ground beef

1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

3 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 cup parsley

1 tube 8-count crescent rolls

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

Pinch of parsley

1 cup sour cream

2 green onions, snipped

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a baking pan with nonstick oil. In a large skillet, sauté onions and mushrooms in butter. Add ground beef. Cook until crumbly and brown. Drain excess liquid. In a large bowl, combine meat mixture, sea salt, black pepper, oregano, and garlic powder. Let cool slightly before folding in beaten eggs. Add cheddar cheese and parsley. Form into a loaf pan and freeze for one hour. Carefully remove chilled loaf from pan. Unroll tube of crescent rolls. Pinch seams to seal. Wrap dough around meatloaf; seal. Transfer to the prepared baking pan. Brush with butter; sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and pinch of parsley. Bake 30-35 minutes. Cut into 1″ slices. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and green onion snips.

Vidalia Onion Tart

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Vidalia Onion Tart! For those of you who adore caramelized onions, but need the confidence to make them at home, read on for some helpful hints that bring astounding results. Begin with yellow sweet onions. I choose Vidalias right now because they are in season. Slice them thicker than you would for a sandwich. If the onions are too thin, they burn and stick to the bottom of the pan. This is not the time to be using olive oil. Butter is your friend. The flavor is what makes the difference, so do not scorch the butter. Make sure the onions are coated, top and bottom, with melted butter. It helps them to turn soft and caramelized. Also, make sure the pan is large enough to prevent overcrowding. The last thing you want is steam, which turns the onions mushy. Maintain a constant heat for the onions’ sugars to caramelize. If they char a little, don’t sweat it. Believe me, the results are worth the wait. Besides, the aromas will drive everyone else crazy, too.

VIDALIA ONION TART

Ingredients for Tart:

1 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into chunks

4-5 tablespoons iced water

Instructions:

Using a food processor, mix together flour and sea salt. Add the chilled butter and pulse until mixture resembles small peas. With the machine running, gradually add iced water until dough forms a ball. Remove dough, flatten into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for one hour.

Remaining Ingredients:

5 tablespoons butter, unsalted

2 large Vidalia sweet onions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence

Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon corn meal, coarsely ground

2 slices baby Swiss cheese

1 egg yolk, beaten

Fresh tarragon for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°. In a medium skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter. Do not scorch. Add the Vidalia onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add Worcestershire sauce, Herbs de Provence, sea salt, and black pepper. Cook until onions are golden, about 35-45 minutes longer. Remove from heat and let cool. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle cornmeal evenly. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough in half. Roll out each portion into an 8″ round. Transfer to the baking sheet. Place one slice of Swiss cheese in the center of each round. Spread the onions over the cheese, leaving a 1 1/2″ border. Fold the edge of the dough up and over the filling. Brush the edges with the egg yolk wash. Bake for 40 minutes, until the bottom crust is brown. Transfer the baking sheet to the top shelf and continue baking 5 minutes longer. Top crust will be golden brown. Cool tarts on a wire rack to prevent them from getting soggy. Garnish with fresh tarragon. Cut into wedges and serve warm. Makes two tarts.

Duetto Pizza and Gelato in Key West, Florida

Dining Outside the Home: Duetto Pizza and Gelato in Key West, Florida! Just a stone’s throw off Duval Street is a cozy Italian eatery that serves New York-style thin crust pizza by the slice. Because a single slice can be bigger than your hand, you may see people folding it in half, especially if they’re peddling toward the beach or heading over to the waterfront pier. No judgement. If it keeps one from burning the roof of their mouth on the gooey cheese, I’m all for it. Whatever you choose, save a little room for fresh gelato. It’s made daily with milk, real fruit, and natural ingredients. No wonder it tastes so good.