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Posts Tagged ‘best egg recipes’

Photos by Susie Nelson

Photos by Susie Nelson

No matter your beliefs spring is of itself a time of rebirth. Shoots are pushing up through the soil with the encouragement of the recent rains, and pollen drifts down from the budding trees depositing a fine coat of yellow on everything below. This morning I took a walk in the woods following a trail behind the old mine outside of town. Such a beautiful morning, hardly another soul in the area save an occasional pet owner giving his best friend a walk before breakfast. We moved here for the beauty and peace of the area and I never tire of it. The city, for many comforting with its mass of humanity, easy access to shopping and public transportation, myriad of available restaurants and social activities, long ago lost its luster for me. Somewhere deep in my heart lives a country girl, preferring instead to watch the tall grass bend and sway in the delta breeze on a lazy summer afternoon, see the squirrels scurrying along the telephone lines, or lose myself in the introspection of a deserted beach on a foggy day.

This time of year our thoughts often turn to others and what we can do to benefit those around us rather than ourselves. Family is at the forefront as bowls of eggs are transformed into works of art by small hands and hot crossed buns and clove bedecked hams prepared for an Easter meal. In particular I miss my little ones on Easter, their delighted screams as they discover a brightly dyed egg under a bush or a chocolate bunny wrapped in decorated foil in their Easter basket.

Growing up it always meant shopping for a new dress, hat and shoes to be displayed at church on Sunday. Afterwards there was an egg hunt in the park and then home for one of my grandmother’s incredibly delicious meals served on the lovely bone china plates with the delicate pink roses circling the rim. Being of English heritage, on the center of the table one of the many tea pots in her china cabinet would be perched on a metal rack, kept warm by a colorful tea cozy. Light, flaky biscuits melting on your tongue were served with homemade marmalade and fresh creamy butter. In one of the two pantry’s a rich lineup of desserts were displayed. As a youngster having surveyed what was to come, it was difficult not to wolf down the main meal in order to get to the finale. On Easter each of us was asked to say something by way of thanks for the meal we were to eat. Mine was usually a short statement as being a chubby little girl my growling stomach encouraged brevity.

Closing my eyes I can picture the huge expanse of yard beyond the bank of windows in the formal dining room of the house I grew up on on Ogilvie Street. Beyond the copse of trees to the left the lush green banks swept downward stretching to the Atlantic lapping at the edges below. In the spring bright spots of color decorated the view everywhere you rested your eyes. Plump tulips, welcoming daffodils, purple irises and baby roses gave the yard the look of an English garden.

It was a time to be grateful for your blessings and to remember to give thanks for the faces surrounding the table and the food gracing it. A lot was taught to me as a child about appreciating a cup half full rather than lamenting on not having it filled to the brim. Life lately seems rife with conflict and between the weather and seemingly unrelenting news coverage skipping from one disaster to the next it is sometimes difficult to concentrate on the beauty in our world and still find way to be amazed by what lurks right outside our front door.

When I visit Nova Scotia in the springtime if I see a field of freshly tilled ground I pull over and taking a handful breathe in the familiar smell of rich chocolate earth.

I am missing my family this weekend, but glad I have Rick and Boo, the Queen of Cats, to share space with. My apron is lying over the back of the chair and I plan to put it to good use making a dinner worthy of celebration.

Have a safe and joyous holiday!

2Ham, Turkey and Cheese Brunch Torte

2 8 oz. tubes crescent rolls, divided
1 large red pepper, roasted and sliced into strips
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 small onion sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 6 oz. pkg. baby spinach
6 slices of bacon, crumbled
1/2 lb. deli ham, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. deli turkey, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
7 eggs, divided
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Seed red pepper and cut in half lengthwise. Cover cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Place pepper halves cut side down on prepared cookie sheet. Brush with 1 Tbsp. of olive oil. Bake for 35-40 minutes, turning once until skin is charred. Remove from oven and place immediately in resealable plastic bag for 15 mins. Remove skin and slice.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

In bottom of springform pan make a circle of 1 can of crescent triangles pressing seams together. Cover bottom and sides of pan tightly with two layers of tin foil.

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Bake crust 15 mins. Remove and allow to cool.

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In large skillet heat remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil over med. heat. Add onion and mushrooms to pan. Continue cooking for 6 mins. Add spinach. Stir and cook until mushrooms are tender. Drain on paper towels, patting to removed moisture.

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Whisk together 6 eggs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and pepper.

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Layer 1/2 of cheese, ham, turkey, bacon, spinach mixture, and red peppers.

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Pour 1/2 of egg mixture over top. Repeat layers ending with last half of egg mixture.

Place remaining can of crescent rolls on work surface to form a circle. Press seams together. Place on top of layers in pan. Whisk remaining egg and brush top.

Bake for 1 hr. and 15 mins. or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Cool for 15 mins. Slice and serve.

Serves 8.

 

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spinach quicheThe market was a total zoo this morning. Chips, salsa, huge packages of wings and liquor were flying off the shelves at a mind-boggling rate. Rick says soon the aisle the store is naming after me thanks to my continued patronage will be having a ribbon cutting. It is true. I spend a lot of time at the market. Not a high maintenance female in most areas, I have a meltdown if my staples in the pantry are looking poorly or I’m out of toilet paper. I will go to the store in a snow storm if I’m getting low on paper towels or there’s only one egg left in the carton, but wouldn’t bother warming up the car if there was a sale on pink diamonds at the local jeweler. It’s a matter of preferences and good eating is high on my list.

I have an old friend whose husband does all the cooking. Fran’s idea of bringing dinner to the table is actually transporting the dish from the kitchen to the dining room. In her eyes I’m a curiosity, something she studies from afar but has no understanding of how it works. When we met she was a young widow like myself. Alone with three small children on a limited income she was forced to face her fear of the stove. I was invited over often. Looking back I would like to think it was for my charm and sparkling wit, but deep down I know it was in the hopes I’d put on an apron and produce a meal. This I deduced from being handed an apron before setting down my purse, and pointed in the direction of the cooking utensils. I did this without prejudice lest I look forward to something inedible paired with something unrecognizable on the plate. Once she made a chicken dish At least claimed it was chicken…I’m still not convinced. The law suit pressed by the chicken industry for abuse of their product is still pending in civil court. The glutenous sauce was so thick it actually married with the non-stick pan and refused to be removed even with coaxing from an S.O.S. pad. Awful. In the end the pan had to be sacrificed. I’m not lyin here.

Beyond having no talent in this area, Frannie had no interest. If you aren’t humming in the kitchen most likely no one else is going to be, but her children survived with a little help from Kraft and Ronald McDonald.

As good friends do, we grabbed each others collars and took turns keeping each other afloat over those first few years. Learning to be happy again after losing a loved one is an individual quest. The amount of grieving time needed as varied as a fingerprint from one human to another. To my mind, you never really get over losing someone you love, you simply move on as the world is designed for the person left behind to do. After a while we tentatively began to dip our toes back into dating pool, discussing our exploits as we went. Being the first time for both us dating with children in the picture, it was an interesting time indeed.

Dating is an entirely different program when you have children. To begin with, not all men or women are equipped to or have a desire to raise children from a love interest’s prior relationship. It is a subject I did not wait until the third date to discuss trying to pass them off as short housekeepers or my sister’s kids. No point in baking a cake if you’re on a diet. To add to the mix the children aren’t always receptive to mom having a new man in her life. Introductions, in my case, were only initiated after a long period of dating. Perhaps beginning by catching a movie or enjoying an afternoon at the zoo to see how things ran up the flagpole. If fur didn’t fly, and I’m not speaking of the monkey cage, then things progressed slowly from there.

Sometimes there are children on both sides, as was the case in my second marriage. This really muddies the waters. At this point you pour a tall glass of chardonnay (don’t skimp, open the good stuff) and batten down the hatches. Not only does your man need to mesh with your children, and them with him, you have to adapt to a new child in your life and he or she to you. Once you have somehow accomplished this miraculous feat then the children from both sides need to be introduced, smell one another, and decide whether or not they’re going to make your life miserable or take at easy on the old people. To add to this murky bowl the stepchild child has a natural mother or your children a natural father who somehow has to be handed a puzzle piece and fit in somewhere on the board. It can, if you don’t have a natural bent for children and a good sense of humor, quickly become a nightmare.

My stepdaughter, Sara, was not yet four when she came into my life. Her father, a USC graduate and faithful fan, decided a day in the bleachers watching his favorite team was the perfect way to get our little band acquainted. Uh-huh. A glorious Southern California fall day, we loaded up the VW van with my children and headed south to pick up Sara at her mother’s house. I was nervous. This was my first encounter with the opposite team, and I’d heard through the grapevine the players weren’t all that enthusiastic about the upcoming match. Oh-oh.

Although shirt sleeve weather outside, once in the opposition’s house I found myself wishing I’d checked my anti-freeze before arriving. Sara, hiding behind her mother’s legs was not nearly as excited about the game or me as I’d hoped she might be.

Sitting in the red and gold dominated bleachers Sara’s crying for Mom commenced about half way through the first quarter. One fan actually threw a bag popcorn at us when it continued. There is nothing worse than having a screaming child who will not be quieted when you’re in a public arena, or in this case an actual arena. Not only did Sara cry for one full hour while we walked and cajoled before pulling up stakes, she cried the hour and half drive home. Her mother wasn’t happy, my children had taken a thumbs down vote in the back seat on the drive home, and I had decided total celibacy was the only answer by the time we reached our doorstep.

Somehow we stuck it out, ironing out the wrinkles as we went. Slowly, with lots of love, Sara became a part of our family and we hers blurring the dividing lines. Was it ever perfect? Never, would be the honest answer, but it was filled with lots of happy shared times mixed with some elbow grease. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Nothing worth having ever comes without some work. Blended families are rarely a piece of cake, but with the right mix of ingredients can bring you so much joy.

This quiche was delicious, a little work, but also worth the effort.

Three Cheese Spinach Mushroom Quiche

1 9″ deep dish pie shell
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups half and half
1 Tbsp. cooking sherry
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
3/4 cups Swiss or Gruyere cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake pie shell for 12 mins. until lightly browned. Cool.

Lower oven to 375 degrees.

In large skillet heat oil over med. heat. Saute mushrooms and onions for 5-7 mins. until soft. Add garlic. Cook 1 min. longer.

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Add spinach to pan and mix well. Remove from heat. Cool.

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Crumble bacon in bottom of pie shell.

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In large mixing bowl beat eggs. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour over bacon in pie shell.

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Bake for 50-60 mins. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool 10 mins. before serving.

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