Warm, buttery, flaky croissants at home.

I am, no question, a complete sucker for laminated pastry. I love tearing a horn off a croissant and biting into  There is a small French bistro-type franchise in East Cobb called La Madeleine, that Mom and I must go to in order to have a proper visit over lattes and croissants, maybe a quiche. For a franchise, its pastries are delightful, thankfully fresh-baked every day. The Bunnery in St. Augustine, FL has every manner of pastry and baked sweet I could want; their croissants are as big as an appetizer plate, and you have to get there early to appreciate them fresh and warm from the oven. (Their coffees are equally huge-sized, and the specialty beverages artfully done.) I have yet to find a local (Athens-area) bakery that I can rave over for their pastries and atmosphere, but I haven’t been looking too hard, especially after recently I made up my mind to tackle croissants at home.

Continue reading

No Yeast Required Cinnamon Rolls

I’m not sure I fall under the category of “normal” pregnancy. Yes, I’m hungry often, but not for weird food combinations (any weirder than usual, anyway, if you ask my husband – who else eats ketchup on scrambled eggs?), or really for anything in particular. Except for sushi. I am all about some sushi. But anyway. I don’t really want chocolate, ice cream, or sweets in general; more likely, I’m in the market for some chips, super-buttery-salty popcorn, or something else savory/salty.

Continue reading

Lemon pound cake.

You may not know this, but a well-made pound cake is a beautiful, tasty, delightful thing. God bless whoever came up with the idea of putting a pound apiece of butter, sugar, flour and eggs (in that order, I understand) together and making a simple cake creation out of it.

Pound cake is nearly a religious symbol in the South. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has a different recipe. You’d think a pound cake recipe wouldn’t have nearly so many variations, but everybody’s grandmama or grandaddy or Aunt Bessie or Cousin Alma or Aunt Ellie who’s not really your aunt but she might as well be family… everybody’s got a recipe. Some call for shortening, some call for butter. Some call for vanilla, some for lemon. Some call for chocolate chips or blueberries or peaches. Some are reportedly best baked in loaf pans, while others are better in a tube pan, and still others only work in a 10-inch bundt. (There are folks who would faint if you baked their beloved family recipe in a bundt. I don’t really know why.) Some recipes turn out a fluffy, pale interior with a barely golden puckered crust, while other recipes produce a dense yellow beauty complete with a toothsome outer dark brown crumb. It all depends on your fat, and your means of mixing, and the time spent mixing wet vs. dry and dry into wet…

Such a simple recipe doesn’t seem so simple, does it? Continue reading

Asparagus and onion quiche.

Last night was a delightfully progressive evening – I went to karate and got a wholly cleansing ass-kicking workout (I was the only ‘low belt’ there, and the only one in a white gi), then came home still on my adrenaline high and went to cooking. I knew I had to do something with the asparagus, and I knew I wanted to make a quiche. (The granola actually went through the baking first, but that’s another post.) Quiches are cheap to make (eggs and whatever else you want? c’mon!), practically foolproof and they look ridiculously elegant. They don’t have to have a crust, and if they do, it’s basically cook’s preference as to what crust it is. They can be sweet or savory, large or tart-sized. They’re great and awesome little creations and if you don’t like them, you can suck my toe. (Or not, ’cause that would be weird.) And I’ve discovered a lot of people who say they don’t like quiches, but they’ll eat breakfast eggs with unpardoned abandon.

Off my soapbox. Onto the quiche.

This recipe was adapted from The Big Book of Easy Suppers: 270 Delicious Recipes for Casual Everyday Cooking by Maryana Vollstedt. I don’t use this cookbook as much (probably pureply for the fact that all my cooking lately has been either adapted from Better Homes and Gardens cookbook or from recipes I’ve printed), but whenever I do look up a recipe in it, I’ve never been disappointed. Vollstedt’s recipe was for a crustless spinach quiche, and while I am a fan of the classic spinach, I had asparagus. And I was damn well going to use it.

On the way home from karate, I stopped off and got some extra groceries: your average-joe pie shells, gouda, shredded Parmesan and a ball of fresh mozzarella. I had some sweet Vidalias pouting at me at home already, eggs in the fridge and the poor pitiful asparagus. I’m not a big fan of crustless quiche – in my experience they can be messy and kind of unwieldy, especially as leftovers, so I stuck with frozen pie shells. Besides, one less dish to wash, right?

The whole dish was kind of a fly-by-your-seat deal, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. I grilled the asparagus and sautéed the onions before I ever whisked anything up, which was a little hasty of me, but the asparagus was a tasty snack while I was mixing and making. And onions sautéed in butter with a little salt – is there a better smell in the kitchen? I tell you what, it’s one of my favorite kitchen smells, as listed:

  1. Olive oil heating up slowly.
  2. Garlic browning in olive oil and a little butter.
  3. Sweet onions sweating and browning in a touch of butter.

I’ll add more to that list later. Anyway, I grated half the moz and the Gouda, so I ended up with about 1½ cups of cheese all told. I thought about whisking the onions and asparagus in with the rest of it, but ended up just topping the egg mixture because I was afraid of the veggies sinking too far. Maybe next time I’ll fold half of it all in and see what happens. As it is, I thought using it for topping made it quite attractive.

Grilled Asparagus and Onion Quiche

adapted from The Big Book of Easy Suppers by Maryana Vollstedt

cooking time: about an hour


small bunch of asparagus (10-13 stalks)

1 small or ½ a large sweet onion

2 large eggs

1 c cottage cheese

½ c (ea) shredded Gouda, mozzarella and Parmesan (or cheeses of choice)

¼ c (½ stick) butter, melted + 1-2 tbsp (for sauté)

¼ c all-purpose flour

¼ c milk

1-2 tbsp olive oil (for grilling)

¼-½ tsp kosher salt


Preheat oven to 350F. Slice onion into desired thickness and brown/sweat with 1-2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Trim and wash asparagus, dry with towel, coat with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Grill on all sides until vibrant green and tender, then remove from grill and salt again if desired; let cool. Chop asparagus into 1″ pieces and set aside. Whisk eggs, then add milk, flour, cottage cheese, shredded cheese and butter (note: temper with the butter if neccessary). Fold onions and asparagus into whisked mixture and pour into a 9″ pie shell (frozen or fresh OR pour egg mixture into 9″ pie shell and top with asparagus and onion, pressing lightly down into mixture.

Bake at 350F for 50-55 minutes or until completely set and top is golden-brown. Let cool on wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

So, I had this for lunch today (I couldn’t sample last night, because it was midnight before I got the thing out of the oven), and even reheated it was delightful. The asparagus was crunchy but tender, the onions flavorful, the cheeses had melted to perfection and the egg was fluffy. The crust itself was flaky and soft, which is how I prefer it anyway. I would not make this as a crustless quiche, by the way; I don’t think it would hold up quite as well as (I) would want it to. With a crust, you could hold it by hand and eat it if you felt like it, but I ate it with a fork and it was still good. :) Also, I think these would make adorable little tarts; a faux ‘birthday cupcake’ idea popped into my head a moment ago, where you stick a grilled asparagus tip in the middle of the tart like a candle and ‘decorate’ the tops with onion slices… anyway. Maybe another time. When I’m ambitious enough to cut out little tiny tart crusts. Or shortcrust. It’d still be good.

p.s. Before karate, I was still on an asparagus kick but I didn’t have time to make anything too involved, so I grilled up some asparagus, shaved off some Parm and got out the rosemary-olive oil Triscuits. Put ’em together and voila!

Very simple and very little cooking involved. But they sure were tasty! Look at this little asparagus tip, isn’t it pretty?

Hiding behind a stalk like that… like it was gonna hide from me. Ha! :D