culinary review

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Rich and Creamy Quiche with Brie Cheese and Smoked Ham

Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:39 pm
Comments: 7 Views: 4813

We got inspired to make this quiche after watching the movie "The Waitress". Even though we had mixed feelings about the movie, the pies in it looked fabulous, and we particularly got interested in this one, which the lead character named "I Don't Want Earl's Baby Pie." She laid soft Brie cheese and smoked ham in a dough-covered dish and poured over the egg batter in a sunny kitchen and even though we didn't get to see the end-result, the idea of Brie and smoked ham quiche stuck, and here we are.

The result was very good. The cheese and the ham gave nice body and flavor, we made a flaky crust and a very rich batter (don't try to calculate the amount of calories, just enjoy it...) and it all came together wonderfully. Our pie dish was a little too small so we placed the rest of the batter in some individual ramekins and cooked with some Brie and ham as well. To go with this brunch-like dinner we drank mimosas and served fresh fruit on the side.


  • Nice chunk of Brie cut in about 10 slices
  • Smoked ham, about 1 cup diced
  • 1/4 onion, chopped

Egg batter:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 pint of heavy cream
  • Salt, pepper, and nutmeg
  • 1 batch of pie dough (listed below)


Roll the pie dough out and place in a pie dish. Blind bake the dough in a 425 degree oven for 1o min, preferably with some uncooked beans in it to push it down. Sautee the onion and the ham. Take the pie dough out of the oven, and place the Brie slices on top, add the ham and onions, pour the batter over. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 30 min. Let it cool down for about 20 min before cutting it open.


One batch of pie dough:

  • 6 tablespoons butter, chilled
  • 2 tablespoons Crisco, chilled
  • 6 ounces (approximately 1 cup) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling dough
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 cup ice water, or less


Cut butter and Crisco into small cubes and chill for 10 minutes or so. In the food processor, combine flour and salt by pulsing 3 to 4 times. Add butter and Crisco and pulse 10 times. Remove lid of food processor and add ice water. Replace lid and pulse a few times until it holds together. Place the dough in a zip-top bag, squeeze together until it forms a ball, and then press into a rounded disk and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer.

Simplified Bouillabaisse - Fish Soup

Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:25 pm
Comments: 0 Views: 5189

Bouillabaisse (or Fish soup) is wonderfully rich and filled with flavor. Traditionally, Bouillabaisse was the soup fishermensoup made in Marseilles, France. The catch of the day was put in a pot and let simmer along with vegetables. A true bouillabaisse contains no less then 5 different kinds of fish (sometimes even 7), along with shrimp and mussels. In this version, we cheat a little and simply add white fish, shrimp, mussels and clams. And even though this soup technically lacks a few different sorts of fish, it is simply delicious.

Saffron adds a beautiful color as well as an interesting undertone. If however, someone doesn't like saffron, you could omit it from the recipe and place a bowl of bloomed saffron in water on the table. Then, anyone who likes it can add a spoonful to their bowl of soup.

If you buy shrimp with the peel on, you can make a wonderful stock by boiling the peel in water (or you can ask your fish monger for scrap pieces which you can utilize when making stock). If you make your own fish stock, it will do much for the soup by adding depth and flavor. In a pinch though, you could use vegetable broth. Serve this soup along with some nice aioli and some crusty bread, and to drink, a nice glass of chilled white wine.


6 - 8 servings


  • 1 gram saffron (or about 10 strands)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced (fennel leaves included)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • ½ lemon
  • ¾ cup white wine (or dry Vermouth)
  • 4 cups of fish stock (or vegetable stock in a pinch)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound white fish (such as tilapia or cod)
  • 1/2 pound crab meat
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound mussels (or clams), cleaned and debearded (or cooked, frozen mussels if no fresh are to be found)
  • 2 cans of chopped clams
  • Salt and pepper to taste


First of all, pour some hot water over the saffron so it can bloom.

Saute the onion, carrots, celery and fennel in the olive oil for a about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, the diced tomatoes, the bay leaf, the thyme, the dill, half a lemon and the wine. Let simmer for a few minutes. Then add the fish stock, bring to a simmer, add the cream. Taste, and possibly add some spices if it is too bland.

Make sure all the fish is cut in pieces. Add the fish, the raw shrimp (if cooked, ad one minute before serving), the mussles (or clams) and the cans of chopped clams. Let the soup simmer for about 3-5 minutes, or until the fish has turned white and the mussels have opened. Add the saffron and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a nice aioli and some crusty bread.

French Creamy Lentil Soup

Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:09 am
Comments: 5 Views: 13006
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General Info
Servings: 4
Total Cost: $7.35
Cost Per Serving: $1.84
Total Calories: 1,566
Calories/Serving: 392
Bacon, Uncooked (3 strips) * 6.00 Ounces $2.06 545
Onion, Yellow Diced 1 Cup 160.00 Grams $0.35 67
Carrots (2 carrots) 1 Cup 128.00 Grams $0.14 52
Garlic (3 cloves) 3 Teaspoons 8.50 Grams $0.04 13
Thyme, Dried 2 Teaspoons 2.80 Grams $0.74 8
Tomatoes, Diced, Generic Can (1 can) * 14.00 Ounces $0.73 79
Bay Leaf (1 leaf) * 5.00 Grams $0.04 17
Salt, Table 1 Teaspoon 6.00 Grams $0.01 0
Black Pepper, Ground 1/2 Teaspoon 1.07 Grams $0.01 3
Lentils, Brown 1 Cup 200.00 Grams $0.22 604
Chicken Broth, Canned 4 1/2 Cups 1,102.50 Grams $2.25 135
Water 1 1/2 Cup 340.50 Grams $0.00 0
Wine, White Table (or Dry Vermouth) 1/4 Cup 59.00 Grams $0.62 40
Vinegar, Balsamic 1 1/2 Teaspoon 7.50 Grams $0.13 5
This lentil soup comes out so wonderfully - the flavors are nicely balanced and perfectly put together. We always try to follow this recipe exactly to the point - do not deviate from the proportions or you wont get as nice a result.

Servings: 4


  • 3 strips of bacon sliced into small pieces
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp thyme chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes 14 oz
  • bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper
  • 1 cup lentils washed (preferably lentils de puy)
  • 4 1/2 cups broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup white wine

Fry bacon pieces until crispy. Put in diced onion and carrot into the pot and cook with the bacon, press garlic and let it cook for a few minutes. Add tomatoes and lentils, cook 8-10 min on medium low heat. Add wine, bring to a simmer, add broth and water.

Cook for 30 min on low heat, partially covered. When soup is cooked nicely, puree 3 cups of soup in a blender and add 1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper if needed, add fresh parsley and serve with a dollop of sour cream.

How Much Salt To Put in Pasta Water

Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:28 pm
Comments: 1 Views: 2131
That you need to salt the water you cook pasta in is widely agreed upon. In fact, if you don't add salt to the saltwater, the pasta will taste much flatter, without character. Since you cook pasta in quite a lot of water, you actually need a substantial amount of salt, to make a difference at all. Remember, the pasta won't actually taste salty, it will instead be more nuanced and flavorful.

When we cook pasta, we usually add a substantial amount of salt, somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 tablespoons for 8 quarts of water. One good tip is to add the salt to the water, let it dissolve and then taste the water. It's supposed to taste slightly salty, a bit like seawater.

To add salt to pasta water is important. Not only will it make for a more flavorful pasta, the salt also minimize stickiness by hindering the separation of starch molecules. And if there is one thing that is really frustrating, it's sticky pasta. That's also a reason why you want to use an adequate amount of water for your pasta; if there isn't enough water, the water will become very starchy.

Another good tip, is to save a cup of the pasta water as you drain the pasta. This water will be slightly starchy, and a touch salty and is perfect to extend the sauce with. This is especially true if you're serving a 'dryer sauce' like browned butter and nuts, or pesto.

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