We will begin today with the comment of a certain husband, who told his wife that her attendance at our Wednesday newspaper food discussions "benefits my dinner table." And so she passed on the compliment that is really for all of you: "Thanks for keeping us fed."
Josh Lake, in quarantine, is dreaming of the Bloomin' Onion popularized by Outback Steakhouse. He asked, "Is there a way to make an onion like that at home?" A lover of all things onion, he continued, "I am interested in any dishes that have onions as their main ingredient — not just a sautéed bit to begin a recipe."
Mr. Lake kept on thinking. "I have read that there are three parts to a knife: the blade, the sharpener and the cutting board. In that context, sets of knives typically come with a sharpening steel. Does the steel sharpen adequately or do you need carbide or ceramic?"
Rhonda McDaniel of Flintstone, Georgia, "wanted to share a versatile quiche recipe that tastes great and does not have a soggy crust. I use frozen store-bought pie crusts and frozen chopped broccoli. I have enjoyed this recipe as a breakfast or dinner-with-a-salad meal many times. It comes from a 1985 Campbell's soup recipe book. One thing I love about this recipe, and the others in this handy little book, is the mix-and-match chart that is included.
"Along with the ingredients listed I add salt, black pepper and a bit of cayenne pepper. I usually bake it the night before and heat the whole quiche in the oven the next day or individual slices in the microwave."
Souper Easy Quiche
This recipe will fill 2 regular pie crusts (one to keep and one to share) or one deep-dish pie crust. Four sets of ingredient options follow the recipe, along with a recipe for homemade pie crust if desired.
1 can (10 3/4 to 11 ounces) condensed soup
1/2 cup light cream
1 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup vegetable
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust of 2 smaller ones
In medium bowl, beat eggs until foamy. Gradually add soup and cream, mixing well.
(At this point Ms. McDaniel adds salt, black pepper and a bit of cayenne pepper.)
Sprinkle cheese, meat and vegetable evenly over pie crust. Pour soup mixture over all. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until center is set. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.
Ingredient Options for Souper Easy Quiche
* Soup: Cheddar cheese, cream of mushroom, cream of onion, cream of celery
* Cheese: sharp Cheddar, American, Monterey Jack, Swiss
* Meat: 1/2 cup diced cooked ham; 6 slices bacon cooked, drained and crumbled; 1/2 cup diced cooked chicken; 1/2 cup diced cooked turkey
* Vegetable: drained, cooked, chopped broccoli; drained, cooked cut asparagus; sliced mushrooms; drained, cooked chopped spinach
Homemade Pie Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
In medium bowl, stir together flour and salt. With pastry blender, cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add cold water, a tablespoon at a time, mixing lightly with a fork until pastry holds together. Form into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 13-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Trim edge, leaving 1/2 inch pastry beyond edge of pie plate. Fold overhang under pastry; pinch a high edge. Flute edge.
Diane Marrs, who carefully preserves her recipes online in Recipe Keeper, has a versatile treasure to share today. She began, "Your request for goat cheese recipes brought to mind these delicious quesadillas I served this past summer to my family." This should make 3 main course servings or 8 appetizer servings.
Black Bean and Goat Cheese Quesadillas With Guacamole
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 (15-1/2- ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large or 2 small ripe avocados, pitted and peeled
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice or more to taste
3 to 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
6 flour tortillas, 8 inches across
In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onion, and sauté, stirring, until it softens, about 5 minutes. Add the beans, cumin, chili powder and 1/2 cup water, and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all the water has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Take the pan off the heat. With the back of a fork, break up the beans to make a chunky mash. Stir in half of the cilantro, and season with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, combine the avocado, lime juice and remaining cilantro, and use a potato masher or the back of a fork to mash into a chunky paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper; add more lime juice if you like.
Spread the black bean mixture evenly over three of the tortillas. Scatter the goat cheese over the beans, and cover with the remaining tortillas. Lightly coat a large heavy skillet or griddle with oil (about 1 teaspoon), and heat over medium heat. Set one of the quesadillas in the skillet, and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Flip the quesadilla over, and brown on the other side for another 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from the pan, cook the remaining quesadillas (add more oil to the pan each time) and cut each into 8 wedges. Serve each wedge with a dollop of the guacamole.
This is a New Orleans-inspired appetizer shared by A.H.L.
Smoked Trout Dip
1 boneless smoked trout, (about 8 ounces)
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
1/2 lemon, juiced
4 ribs celery, cut into sticks
1 endive, separated into leaves
Discard the head, and skin and flake the trout fillets. Puree the cream cheese, sour cream and horseradish in a mini food processor. Add the fish, and pulse to a make a smooth dip. Transfer to a bowl, and stir in the onion and parsley, and the lemon juice, to taste. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Serve with celery or endive leaves or crackers or chips.
Valerie Bowers added to our conversation about Better than Bouillon.
"It's a staple in my kitchen as well. I wanted to make sure you're aware that there are organic, low-sodium versions of some of the flavors. Costco carries the beef and chicken in larger jars and a great price, and they keep so well in the fridge."
JUST A DASH
From Diane Marrs came a kitchen tip that I had occasion to use almost immediately in my own kitchen. "Wrestling with that stiff parchment paper when trying to line a cake pan, deep pan or a loaf pan with overhanging flaps? Simply take that sheet of parchment you plan on using, wad it up tightly in your fist, then smooth it back out on counter. You now have a compliant sheet of parchment paper to line your pan."
Dashes and bushels, from tiny to huge: You fill us up. Thank you, every one.
* Homemade Bloomin' Onion
* Onions as main dishes
* Advice on knife sharpening
TO REACH US
Fare Exchange is a longtime meeting place for people who love to cook and love to eat. We welcome both your recipes and your requests. Be sure to include precise instructions for every recipe you send.
Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750