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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Real Men DO Eat Quiche

I know this is not a new concept or new idea. I mentioned to a friend of mine, who is the General Manager of GMC/Value Mart in Rome, that we were using their store made sausage to make a really good crustless quiche. I think without even thinking about it, he quickly said, “I do not like quiche.”

Well. Of course I responded that he would like mine!  That’s an awfully insistent and self-centered point of view I know, but honestly I think he would. I know he is a fellow foodie like Rob and I. He has always been great about offering cooking tips and recipes, as is his brother Kirk who manages the meat counter. And this recipe features the sausage that they make there at the store and with their very own sausage being the star – how could he not like it?

This crustless quiche recipe is super easy, very creamy and reheats well.  Rob and the girls just pop their piece in the microwave on day 2 and it’s a no fuss breakfast. And of course I’m determined to take some over to Shane to get him to try… and like. Proving once again that I’m right.

Tracy’s Supereasy Crustless Sausage Quiche That Shane Will Love

5 eggs
1 ½ cup of half and half
1 pound GMC store made breakfast sausage
2 cups cheddar cheese mix
pinch of salt
pinch of nutmeg
Whip eggs and then add in half and half and whip a little more. Mix salt and nutmeg in with egg mixture. Be sure to go easy on salt, the sausage will add quite a bit.

Cook and drain sausage.

Use cooking spray to prepare pie plate and then sprinkle bottom of pie plate lightly with bread crumbs or corn meal – whichever is handy.

Spread sausage out in bottom of pie plate. Cover with cheese. Pour egg mixture in on top.

Bake for about 25 minutes on 350 in a pre-heated oven. Test to make sure it springs back slightly for doneness before removing. Occasionally this recipe will take longer; it really depends on the size of the eggs so test before removing. Should have a nice light golden tone to the top when removing.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Dad's Day Pudding

The Father’s Day Banana Pudding was a struggle. I (Tracy again) am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to preparing food. If you know me than you’ve probably already guessed that.  I was attempting to not only make an old family favorite, something I’ve been making for more than 20 years and can probably make blind folded, but to also sneak some protein into my ailing father’s diet. My goal here was to produce some wonderful pudding that is one of the hubbie’s favorites and get my dad to eat something of value – something he doesn’t do a lot of these days.
So I decided to sneak in some protein powder. I have some in the house from my previous diet but have never used it to cook with. I tasted it first on my finger to be sure that I remembered that it was tasteless, I didn’t want to add anything unpleasant to my famous banana pudding, but rather I wanted Dad to eat it with a reckless abandon that I have not seen in him lately.
So my pudding was cooking beautifully when I added in a quarter cup of soy protein powder and all hell broke loose. Not really, but the pudding  became very gritty as the stuff did not seem to want to dissolve.  After beating it fruitlessly with a whip, I added some more liquid and broke out the emulsion blender. That did the trick but now I had a thin, frothy mess, ala Marcel from Top Chef. No worries, it’s a pudding, it will thicken in the frig. Wrong.
At some point, peeking in on the pudding, Rob pointed out that it was not coming together as I’d hoped and suggested freezing it before delivering to Dad or sampling here at the house.  The perfectionist in me kicked into high gear. I drained all of the bananas and Nilla wafers, reserved, and then put the thin runny custard makings back into a pot, heated and started to stir. Still not coming together, I added an egg yolk and then a few moments later, VOILĂ€! I had pudding again! YEAH, I’d saved the day!!!
Now reassembled, it’s all ready to head over to Dad’s where I’m hoping he’ll never have a clue that I added in all that protein. Unless he actually reads our blog, and then it’s all over….

Page Family Banana Pudding 
(sans extra protein....)

About 3.5 tablespoons of flour
1 cup of sugar
Pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
3 cups of milk
1 tablespoon or vanilla
6 bananas
1 box of Nilla’s

In heavy bottom pot, use whisk to mix flour, sugar and salt. Beat egg yolks, add milk into egg yolks and then mix liquid into the dry ingredients in the pot. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. When reaches a nice thickened consistency, add vanilla and turn off heat.

Layer Nilla wafers, slice bananas and spoon pudding over, lasagna style. You should be able to get about three layers. Chill until you can’t stand waiting anymore and dig in!
The original recipe called for the whites to be turned into a meringue for the top. I prefer beating some heavy whipping cream and adding just a little bit of sugar or Spenda and then using this for the topping. It’s great with no topping as well.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

BBQ We Stayed Home For...

We'll make no bones about it, I am a BBQ snob (Tracy). All the way through and through. Rob and I have centered vacations around finding that really great, out of the way, talk about for years BBQ joint. We (meaning mostly Rob) watch Drive-In's, Diners and Dives religiously for ideas on haunts and hang outs.  And the one thing our town lacks is the really great, dine-in, write-home-about BBQ restaurant.  We have tried unsuccessfully to lure Uncle John's and Log Cabin closer into town, we've planted seeds with Summerville's Armstrongs and I begged Woodstock's Bub-ba-Q, all to no avail.

Thanks to Shane at GMC Value-Mart and Rob's persistence, our best BBQ may be at our home. Recently when I was photographing out at GMC for an article in Enjoy! Magazine -- I was introduced to the meat counter at this slightly out of the way grocery store. Rob was in tow within the week as we went back to explore and now we have a new weekly habit. The managers, Shane and Kirk, have been more than forthcoming with recipes and hints. We two already experienced cooks have really learned a lot. Our most recent venture -- BBQ Pulled Pork with a homemade potato salad. Following Shane's advice, Rob loaded up his smoker and smoked the butt for four hours last night and then wrapped it in foil and it hit the fridge overnight. While we were off gallivanting on the Silver Comet Trail today with the kids and the bicycles, the pork was back in the oven at 200 degrees. When we got home it was perfectly paired with homemade potato salad and the meal was incredible. We are still working our way through all of the different BBQ sauces that GMC carries, today we sampled Sweet Baby Ray's and Stubbs. Yummy. My tummy is very happy.

Tracy's Homemade Potato Salad: 

1 egg yolk
1.5 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Coleman's mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
3 gold potatoes
2 stalks chopped celery

Chop and boil the potato, skin on.
While the potato is cooking, whisk egg yolk, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and salt. Very slowly, almost drop by drop, add oil and keep whisking. It's important to whisk so that the oil doesn't separate out. Whisk until all oil is incorporated and until mayo is lighter in color.  Chill and reserve.
Drain potato, add rice vinegar, sugar, celery and enough of the mayo to coat nicely. Chill until serving time.