Spinach Artichoke Quiche

3 Mar

I love me a good quiche. Generally people give me a hard time about eating things at inappropriate times, like pasta for breakfast and whatnot. And while I generally feel like those people can build a bridge and get over it (what is this, Alyson, 1998?), it’s also nice sometimes to just not have my culinary choices questioned. (But I mean, really people, why are you limiting yourselves!?)

The thing about quiche is that it’s totally an anytime food. Breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner — no one cares. Eat it whenever! I guess most people would put it in a breakfast or brunch category by default, and I’m even okay with that, because quiche doesn’t taste like a breakfast food. It’s not too sweet like waffles and it’s not too heavy like eggs and sausage. It’s just perfect, breakfast or not.

Spinach Artichoke Quiche

And it’s customizable! You can put anything you want in a quiche! Everyone wins! And it’s really hard to mess up a quiche, y’all. Like, grab a recipe, dump a bunch of cheese in there, and you’re good. Take it to any sort of potluck and it’s great to share, no matter what time of day and no matter how fancy the event. People will be so impressed with a quiche.

Okay, I might have just convinced myself in the process of writing this that quiche is the best dish ever. This may not look like the best thing ever, but I assure you, this spinach artichoke quiche is amazing. Cheesy, spinachy, artichokey. Yum. And I used the same crust as the one for my super amazing to-die-for tomato pie. Next potluck, try this one. You won’t regret it.

IMG_3097

Spinach Artichoke Quiche

Crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/4″ cubes
3 tablespoons cold water

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well with your hands, kind of like kneading, until all ingredients are incorporated. Shape dough into a ball.

Flour your working surface and turn out dough with a floured rolling pin, making a large circle. Transfer crust to a pie pan and press evenly into the dish.

Bake the pie crust for about 8-10 minutes.

Quiche: 

1 tablespoon butter
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
6 ounces (1 bag) fresh spinach
7 ounces (a little more than 1/2 the can) canned artichoke hearts, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups half & half
3/4 cup cheese of your choice, grated (I used colby jack. Mozzarella, asiago, or white cheddar would be delicious!)
1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large pan. Add garlic and onion. Cook 1-2 minutes. Add the spinach and sauté until wilted.

Add chopped artichokes and seasonings. Stir well and remove from heat. Pour into a large bowl to cool.

In a large bowl, scramble the eggs. Add the half & half and cheese, and mix well. Once cooled, add the spinach and artichoke mixture, and mix well.

Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour or until set.

IMG_3092

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Hungry Happenings
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows Wild
Wonderfully Creative Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

17 Feb

Alright, y’all. I have totally hopped on the sweet & salty train. It actually worked out really well for me because the salted caramel trend hit right at a time when I discovered I actually like sweet/salty combos. See, as a kid, I hated that. I didn’t like desserts that had nuts or peanut butter in it, because those things are supposed to be salty, and desserts should not have salt in it. My older sister always got all the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups out of my Halloween haul.

But maybe my adult palate is becoming more adventurous. Whatever it is, I’ve been excited to experiment with salt on desserts. Last month I tried the salt-on-top method with my Salted Nutella & Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies. AMAZING. This time I tried the salt-baked-in method by adding pretzel pieces to chocolate chip cookies.

They were so tasty, and I really enjoyed them. My preference is for cookies to be slightly undercooked so that they’re super gooey and chewy. And with lots of extra chocolate. And straight out of the oven so it melts in your mouth.

These were really not that hard if I were making a normal batch. But I was making them for our local Meals on Wheels, and I needed SIX DOZEN, so it became a bit more of a project than I realized.

IMG_3080

A couple tips I learned while baking these:

  • The dough needs to be chilled when it goes in the oven. If it’s too warm, the cookies will spread a lot more while they bake, and you’ll end up with a thin cookie. So if you’re making a large amount of cookies and it’s taking a while to scoop them all out and rotate them in and out of the oven, periodically pop the dough back into the fridge to chill a bit.
  • Don’t drop an entire baking sheet of cookies on the floor because that is very frustrating when you need a certain amount of cookies and you’re almost out of flour.
  • Don’t turn off the oven when you meant to turn off the timer because then the cookies won’t bake enough and in your attempts to not waste that batch you might cook them a lot longer because you can’t tell when they’re done and then end up baking them to a crisp.

If you can find caramel chips in the store (I couldn’t, and I was in a hurry, so I didn’t look elsewhere) you should definitely consider adding them in, like the original recipe called for. I bet that’s tasty.

Cookies

These were really good, but I won’t lie, they would probably be better with even more mix-ins — more chocolate chips, more pretzels, and those caramel chips. Feel free to play around with the mix-ins with your batch. This recipe should yield about 2 dozen cookies.

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies adapted from By Stephanie Lynn

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup crushed pretzel pieces

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well.

Slowly add the flour mixture and beat just until there are no streaks of flour showing. Stir in the chocolate chips, caramel chips and pretzel pieces.

Cover and chill the batter in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Using a cookie scoop drop rounded tablespoon portions of the dough, about 2 inches apart, onto an un-greased baking sheet.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute prior to moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Wonderfully Creative Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove

Easy Shrimp & Green Bean Stir Fry

3 Feb

I rarely eat seafood, and I even more rarely cook it myself. But I was inspired the other night to try something new, so I stopped by Whole Foods and picked up some shrimp. And after reading the grossly-named but helpful book Gutbliss, I have been making efforts toward “clean eating.” According to the book, this means no dairy, gluten, sugar, artificial sweetener, soy, or alcohol. I did a 10-day cleanse and since then have been at least trying to consider clean food for a good portion of my meals. (It’s really hard for me to keep away from cheese and chocolate though!)

All this to say that in searching for a recipe for dinner, I wanted something that fit the bill for both clean eating and a quick weeknight meal. I’ve found that Asian-inspired stir fries are the best bet here.

stir fry 1

The BF and I both enjoyed this stir fry and agreed we should add it to our weeknight repertoire. It was not extremely flavorful, though I’m sure if you wanted it to be more so, you could easily add more garlic, ginger, and/or oyster/fish sauce. But I personally liked that there was enough of those flavors to be noticeable but not so much that you couldn’t still taste the natural flavor of the shrimp and vegetables.

Stir fries are the best because they’re so easily customizable, so if you’d rather have all broccoli and no green beans, or if you want to leave out the ginger, then just do your thing, you know?

FYI, this recipe made about 3 large portions for us — one dinner for the two of us and one leftover lunch portion for me.

IMG_3070

Easy Shrimp & Green Bean Stir Fry adapted from Food & Wine

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1″ piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 green onion, chopped small
1/2 pound shrimp
1/2 pound green beans
1/2 head of broccoli, chopped
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

Chop vegetables and prepare all ingredients before you begin cooking.

Heat a saute pan until very hot. Add the vegetable oil, and heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 10 seconds.

Add the shrimp and a pinch of salt. Stir-fry until the shrimp are just beginning to turn pink, about 30 seconds. Add the green beans and 2 tablespoons of the stock and stir-fry until the beans soften slightly, about 3 minutes.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of stock along with the oyster sauce and a generous pinch of pepper. Stir-fry until the shrimp are cooked through and the beans are crisp-tender, about 3 more minutes. Serve immediately.

IMG_3073

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows Wild
Wonderfully Creative Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove

Silky Ginger PB Soup

6 Jan

A friend of mine made this tasty soup for an appetizer when we went to her house for dinner a couple months ago. I’ve been meaning to try it myself since then, and I finally got around to it. I’ll definitely be adding this to my regular recipe file.

If you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, this soup is totally vegan. It’s amazing how creamy and silky it is without any dairy. It makes for a smooth, rich, and filling lunch or dinner. The original called for just zucchini, but I decided to toss some carrots in there too. It came out a beautiful yellow color.

Silky Ginger Peanut Butter Soup

Overall, the flavors are strongly ginger-y and peanut butter-y, which is why I decided to go with that in the name. The original recipe didn’t use peanut butter at all, so I imagine the flavor profile changed quite dramatically. But the peanut butter is really tasty and adds more protein, which is especially helpful if you go with the veggie broth. The PB-ginger combo reminds me of Malay or Thai food. Delicious!

Try this out, and serve a big bowl as a main meal or a small cup as an appetizer for an Asian main course.

Silky Ginger Peanut Butter Soup

Silky Ginger PB Soup adapted from The Clothes Make the Girl

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 ounce fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 medium zucchini, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup peanut butter

Heat oil in a large soup pot on medium heat, 2 minutes. Add onions and garlic. Stir often and cook until the onions and garlic are soft and golden, but not browned, about 7 minutes. Add ginger, salt, and black pepper; stir to combine.

Add the zucchini and carrots into the pot. Stir well, then cook ’til beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 45 -60 minutes until all the veggies are very soft.

Stir in the peanut butter. Puree with an immersion blender or by blending in batches in a blender or food processor. Serve hot.

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows Wild
Wonderfully Creative Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove

2013: A Look Back

31 Dec

Another year has flown by! The older I get, the faster time flies, it seems. Every year seems a little shorter and a little shorter.

Tomorrow, I’m meeting up with some of my book club friends to discuss hopes, dream, and goals for 2014, so after Wednesday, it’s all about looking forward. So before we dive into 2014, I thought I’d do a little round-up of highlights and tops from the past year.

Top Blog Posts of 2013

Y’all have a wide variety of tastes here — I’m impressed with your (relatively) balanced diet! One breakfast, one entree, one side, and two desserts. Delicious. Here are the most-viewed posts of 2013.

Wine & Plum's Top Posts of 2013

1. Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes  2. Apple Cheddar Squash Soup  3. Coconut Macaroon Cookies  4. Mini Cheesecake Bites  5. Summer Pasta Salad

Top Posts on Instagram

Wine & Plum joined Instagram in 2013! Here are a few of my top pics:

Top IG

1. Salted Caramel & Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies  2. Honey souvenirs from my trip to Savannah in October  3. Stacks of books in my apartment, part of #FMSphotoaday  4. Fall leaves on the bridge in my neighborhood

Favorite Books of 2013

I joined a book club in late 2012, and it’s now been more than a whole year of reading with these lovely ladies. Here’s a few of my favorite books I read this year, some with the best book club ever, and some on my own. Check out my personal book reviews here.

Top Books 2013

1. The True History of Paradise by Margaret Cezair-Thompson  2. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo  3. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett  4. Lost by Gregory Maguire 

Etsy Favorites

I opened a Wine & Plum Etsy shop a couple months ago! I’m excited to feature stylish, affordable items handcrafted by yours truly. Right now I have hand-knit infinity scarves, earrings, and creaseless hair ties listed. Who knows what 2014 will bring! Here are a few of my favorite items.

Etsy Faves of 2013

1. Charcoal Chunky Knit Infinity Scarf  2. Blue Crystal Drop Earrings  3. Multi-color Creaseless Hair Ties  4. Navy & Ivory Knit Infinity Scarf

My Favorite Recipes of 2013

Here are my personal favorites from the past year. I highly recommend giving these recipes a try!

Favorite Recipes of 2013

1. Biscoff Blondies  2. Milky Way Pecan Pie  3. ABC (Apple-Bacon-Cheddar) Sandwiches  4. Kale & White Bean Soup   5. Cheesy Spinach & Tomato Pie

Personal Highlights of 2013

Let’s see, where to start…

  • My brother got married! I had a blast planning their wedding and preparing a lot of DIY decorations. And my new sister-in-law is so amazing and sweet!
  • The BF and I took a summer vacation to Austin, Texas, which was awesome. Oh, the tacos! We’d love to go back!
  • We celebrated our first married anniversary and sixth together anniversary with a trip to Asheville, NC, this fall. Always one of our favorite places to visit.
  • My baby sister went off to college! Exciting and heartbreaking and scary and wonderful.
  • My big annual work event broke new fundraising records, which I’m super excited, pleased, and grateful for.

And that’s it! Thanks for taking the time to look back on 2013 with me!

Happy New Year!

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows Wild
Wonderfully Creative Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove
Foodie Friday from Simple Living & Eating

Brown Sugar Sweet Potato Pie

23 Dec

Two days till Christmas! Are you ready? I’m not. Working on it though. I am so excited to have the next two weeks off work. After last-minute Christmas prep and then holiday celebrations with family, I’m going to enjoy a nice staycation through the new year. I don’t usually get this much time off, so my holiday spirits are pretty high right now.

I finished my Christmas shopping pretty early this year — that was the one thing I was on top of. (We don’t even have a tree!) This last minute, I think I’m just going to skip the decorating this year. So all that’s left is baking, which is happening all day today, so look forward to some post-Christmas blog posts with delicious treats! Oh, and I’m going to put on my favorite Christmas music and wrap presents today — I’ve been putting it off only because wrapping presents is my favorite, and I wanted to keep looking forward to it!

IMG_2984

Need some last-minute inspiration for holiday baking? Try a sweet potato pie! I’m not sure I had ever eaten sweet potato pie before, much less made one. But one of the BF’s friends gave him a whole bag of sweet potatoes from her family’s farm, so we added sweet potato pie to our traditional apple pie for Thanksgiving. This pie, topped with a little whipped cream, would make a great dessert any night or would be delicious enough for a classic Thanksgiving or Christmas spread.

IMG_2989

Classic and tasty, give this a try! Making the sweet potatoes from scratch really wasn’t so hard. I made my pie in a tart pan, which I thought was super cute. I had some extra filling, so I whipped up a little bit of graham cracker crust, pressed it into the bottoms of a mini muffin pan with my dough tamper (the small end fits perfectly in a mini muffin cup), and used the extra filling to make mini pie bites.

IMG_2995

Oh, and a little update:

1) All the recipes for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap are live! There were 555 submissions of delicious holiday cookies. Check out the Recipe Roundup, part 1 and part 2.

2) Congrats to Elly on winning the Clinique giveaway!

Happy Christmas!

Sweet Potato Pie adapted from Joy the Baker

Crust:

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temp
2 tablespoons cold milk
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Filling:

2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes, from 2 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup + 4 teaspoons packed brown sugar, divided
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs

For the crust: Mix together crust ingredients: flour, melted butter, milk, teaspoons sugar, and salt. Blend evenly. Spread mixture into a 9″ pie pan, pushing dough evenly across the bottom and up the sides.

For the filling:

Peel the sweet potatoes and dice into small 1/2″ chunks. Place potato pieces in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until potatoes are tender throughout, about 20 minutes. Test the doneness of the potatoes using a knife. If the knife meets any resistance, simmer the potatoes a bit longer. Once finished, drain into a colander.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In the same large pot place cooked  potato pieces, half the packed brown sugar, all of the spices, salt, butter, and heavy cream. Cook on low, using a potato masher to mash the potatoes as they cook. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Make sure that the mixture is as smooth as possible. Once mixture is smooth and fragrant, remove from fire and let cool in pot.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, the rest of the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk well. Pour the egg mixture into the warm sweet potato mixture.

Pour the prepared filling into the pie crust. Place on a baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 45 to 50 minutes.

To test the pie for doneness, lightly shake the baking sheet. If the center of the pie has a wavy jiggle, it needs more time in the oven. If the center of the pie has a lighter, more structured jiggle, it’s done!

IMG_2987

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight

Salted Nutella- & Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

11 Dec

Whoa! That title is a mouthful. And so are these cookies.

IMG_2963

In case you couldn’t tell from the name, these cookies are delightfully (and maybe a little sinfully) decadent. But when I was considering options for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap of 2013, I knew I needed something big. And since I went with something a little more mature and restrained last year — Chinese Chai Cookies — I decided to go all out. 2013 seemed to call for it.

Oh hai there little choco chip

As you can imagine, Salted Nutella- & Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies were a bit of a project, but they were worth it. And after I called in reinforcements — my BFF Lauren, aka Betsy Bundt — it really wasn’t too difficult with two people.

As an expert caramel-maker, Lauren took on that project while I whipped up the cookie dough. Once they were both ready, I rolled out balls of dough and pressed them out, Lauren filled them with a bit of caramel and a dab of Nutella, and I rolled out a second cookie disc to press on top and sandwich it all together. The cookie assembling took quite a while, so I finished up that while Lauren managed the multiple batches of cookies going in and out of the oven. See? Teamwork!

IMG_2968

I highly recommend eating these right out of the oven. They’re even gooier and richer and decadent-er. Plus, once they cool, the caramel is a little too tough. In the unlikely scenario that you can’t manage to enjoy the entire batch fresh from the oven and you have a few cookies leftover, just heat them in the microwave for 15-20 seconds before eating so the caramel gets all gooey again.

After I let all the cookies cool down, I packaged them up in adorable little gift boxes and sent them off to my 3 matches from the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

photo 1\photo 3

Before I launch into the recipe for these delectable treats, a couple updates…

1) Today’s the last day to enter my first-ever giveaway! Check it out in last week’s post.

photo (9)

2) Wine & Plum now has an Etsy shop! Right now there’s hand-knit scarves, like the eco-friendly wine and plum scarf pictured here, and creaseless hair elastics. In the next few days I’ll add new jewelry items as well. Order soon and receive your items just in time for Christmas gifts!

scarf

And now the recipe!

Salted Nutella- & Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies from Top With Cinnamon

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used half regular and half extra dark cocoa powder)
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
fleur de sel, for sprinkling
approx. 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) nutella
1 recipe for Salted caramel OR 15-16 caramel-filled chocolates
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Take off the heat and stir in the brown sugar and eggs. Then add the cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Stir until well combined. Add the flour and stir until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Make the caramel, if using (follow link for recipe).

Take 1 heaped tbsp of dough and roll into a fat disc shape. Use your finger make a large indentation the centre of the dough; fill the indentation with a small blob of nutella (like 1/4 tsp ish), and top it up with the still-warm salted caramel (or a caramel-filled chocolate). Top with a flattened tablespoon of dough, and seal the edges. (You may need to dab on a little extra dough to seal the edges.)

Sprinkle with fleur de sel, and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Yield: 15-18 cookies.

IMG_2956

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows Wild
Wonderful Food Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove