Monday, April 16, 2012
Secret Recipe Club - 3 Recipes for April Reveal Day
It's time for the Secret Recipe Club again. This month, I was assigned the blog Good Thymes & Good Food. I found a lot of great recipes that fit into my plans, so that I ended up making three dishes instead of just one. I chose Spinach Blue Cheese Bacon Mini Quiches to take to a reception buffet, Rigatoni alla Carbonara with Pancetta, Peas, and Parmesan for a week night family dinner, and Buttermilk Sandwich Bread because I had some buttermilk in my fridge that needed to be used up. I enjoyed all of my choices, with my favorite being the mini quiches.
Buttermilk Sandwich Bread
I doubled the original recipe to make two loafs. Also, I didn't have enough white flour, so I substituted the remainder with whole wheat flour.
480 ml buttermilk, lukewarm
160 ml water, lukewarm
20 g salt
1 tsp sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and divided
815 g all purpose flour
185 g whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
Place both flours in a large bowl. Make a ditch in the middle and add buttermilk, water, salt, sugar, 4 tbsp butter, and yeast. Stir to dissolve yeast. Keep stirring, incorporating the flour while you do so. Once most of the flour is incorporated, knead with your hand to obtain a smooth dough. The dough should detach itself from the bowl easily. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. Shape the dough into a ball, remove from bowl, and spray bowl with oil. Place dough back in bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for about 3 hours. Divide the dough, form two loafs, and place them in loaf pans. Cover and let rise for 1 hour. Brush with remaining 2 tbsp melted butter, let rest 15-20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F. Place the loaf pans in the oven, along with a tray or bowl filled with 2 cups boiling water. Bake loafs for 40-50 minutes until lightly golden. Remove bread from oven, let cool a few minutes, then remove from loaf pans, and let cool completely on a rack.
Spinach, Bacon & Blue Cheese Mini Quiches
I love mini quiches. So naturally, when I read the title of this recipe, I knew I just had to try them. I have prepared countless different kinds in the past and this recipe set me of to do it again. I usually prepare 6-8 different kinds and freeze them. On busy days, you can just take out a variety of quiches, heat them in the oven and you have a great quick dinner. There are two ways of preserving the quiches: you can either freeze the unbaked quiches in the muffin tray, and once they are frozen you remove them from the tray and store them in containers or bags. When ready to cook them, preheat the oven to 400F, place your chosen quiches in the wells of a muffin form, and bake for 20-25 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Or you fully bake them and then freeze them. In that case, I preheat the oven to 350F, place the quiches on a parchment paper lined tray, and bake them for 12-15 minutes until heated through.
Ingredients (makes 24):
1 pack refrigerated pie crust (2 crusts)
6 slices bacon
4-5 oz fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
about 12 tbsp crumbled blue cheese
125 ml milk
In a skillet over medium heat (or on a rack in the oven), cook the bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Place the spinach in a microwave save bowl and heat for about 2 minutes until wilted and softened. Let cool and squeeze out liquid. Preheat oven to 400F. Unroll the pie crusts on wax or parchment paper and roll over them a few times with a rolling pin to smoothem them out. Using a 2 3/4 inch diameter circular cookie cutter, cut out 24 circles. Line 24 mini muffin wells with the crust. Place about 1 - 1 1/2 tsp cheese in each quiche, sprinkle with a little pepper, and crumble 1/4 slice bacon over. Divide spinach among quiches. Whisk together eggs and milk. Season lightly with salt. Divide among quiches. (If you need more egg-milk, simply whisk together another egg and 4 tbsp milk.) Bake for 18-20 minutes until quiches are lightly golden and crisp. Serve warm or at room temperature. The quiches are great appetizers, snacks, buffet items, or - with a side salad - a nice dinner.
Carbonara-Style Spaghetti with Peas, Bacon, and Parmesan
This recipe sounded too good to be overlooked. Don't we all love simple pasta dishes at the end of a busy day? The only thing I changed was the amount of cheese. I must confess that I was never a fan of intensely flavored cheeses, so I am always on the more conservative side when using them.
200 g frozen peas
7 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup parmesan
2 tbsp fresh minced parsley
3 garlic cloves, minced
450 g spaghetti
Cook the peas in lightly salted water for 5-6 minutes, drain. Cook the bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Reserve about 1 tbsp bacon fat and discard the rest. Cook the onion in the bacon fat until translucent. Remove from heat and stir in peas an bacon. Whisk together eggs, parmesan, 1/2 tsp salt, pepper, parsley, and garlic. Cook the pasta as per instructions. Drain pasta, place back in pot. Add pea mix and cook for 1 minute. Pour egg mixture over and toss well until egg is set a little. Serve with more parmesan if desired.