Savory Zucchini Quiche

Savory Zucchini Quiche

Savory Zucchini Quiche

Zucchini or courgette, it matters not. The important fact is the taste – and this quiche has it in abundance!

Derived from a recipe found on Facebook (See? Facebook is good for something besides photos of cats) here is a tasty rendition of a zucchini quiche everyone should enjoy.


9 inch pie crust shell (make your own crust if you want – I took the lazy way out and used store bought. But it worked and dinner was ready before the moon rose above the trees.)

4 cups thinly sliced zucchini. Our slices were about an eighth of an inch thick. Too thin and you end up with mush.

And no one likes mush.

1/2 cup of diced onion

2 cloves minced garlic

3 Tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

2 eggs

2 cups shredded Colby-jack cheese

1/4 cup shredded Bruschetta Jack

2 Tablespoons sharp and creamy mustard


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (gas mark 4)

Bake the pie crust for about 10 minutes or until slightly brown. Burning the crust is right out.

Once done, set on wire rack to cool.

In a large sauce pan, saute the zucchini slices in butter; season with the minced garlic. Once the zucchini starts to brown, remove from heat.

Using a large bowl, mix the spices.

Add the two eggs, whisking them into the spices.

Add the shredded cheeses. Mix well.

Add the zucchini and onions; gently fold into the egg-y cheese-y stuff. (You know, stuff. That may be a culinary term.)

Spread the sharp and creamy mustard inside the pie crust.

Fill the pie shell with the zucchini mixture. Level out somewhat so it is evenly distributed inside the shell.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then start checking the quiche every five minutes.

Once the cheese on top starts to brown, the quiche – she is done!

Take out and let rest for 10 minutes.

Ha! Who can wait that long? Pour yourself a glass of chilled white wine and slice that quiche up and dig in!

Happy eating!

Sinatra Lives Again at Table 13

Table 13 in Addison, Texas, is named after the original Rat Pack! Bogart would approve.

Table 13 in Addison, Texas, is named after the original Rat Pack! Bogart would approve.

I kept looking for Count Basie to show up with his band. Alas, it was not to be, however the ambiance at Table 13 in Addison, Texas would have made the legendary piano player feel right at home. This fine dining restaurant, located in a northern suburb of Dallas, did a fine job of keeping the bland, chain restaurant-filled strip mall atmosphere outside its doors. When we walked through the front portal, we were transported back a few decades to a time when service was great and the food even better.

Courtesy of a friend’s Facebook post, I had seen Executive Chef T. William Reemtsma, CEC, CCE on a YouTube video. A few weeks later I found myself in Dallas so it was only natural to try dinner on the chef’s home turf, Table 13. This decision did not disappoint. Chef Ted, as he is locally known, produced a fine meal; and his staff served with subtle panache. Let me show you:

The appetizer tells all. A good one creates anticipation of excellent cuisine to come; a bad one portends a trip to the pharmacy for something to smooth the stomach. Table 13’s seared scallops were perfectly cooked. Light in texture and delicate in flavor, I could have eaten four servings and called it a day. The garnish was a treat as well, with Texas red grapefruit slices adding a little sweet acidity and bits of red onion giving some bite. A few avocado slices cooled things off, presenting a nice creamy texture. The first course was delicious on all counts.

Seared Scallops at Table 13.

Seared Scallops at Table 13.

Table 13 offers many types of entrees, from seafood to steak (Chateaubriand for two, anyone?) My dining partner opted for the grilled salmon meuniere; I ordered the mushroom bucatini. For a side dish we chose the green bean amandine. For lagniappe (an unexpected extra) our server brought out fresh bread and a plate of pimiento cheese. Chef Ted later explained he actually makes the farmer’s cheese himself before concocting his luxurious pimiento spread. Yes, the meal was off to a great start!

A picture is worth a thousand words, so let me finish this review by tempting you with candid photos of our dining experience, taken using my iPhone. (Ansel Adams’ reputation has nothing to worry about with these shots, but you will get the idea. Enjoy!)

Pimiento Cheese, finely crafted by Chef Ted at Table 13.

Pimiento Cheese, finely crafted by Chef Ted at Table 13.


Green Bean Amandine, almost a meal unto itself!

Green Bean Amandine, almost a meal unto itself!

Grilled Salmon at Table 13 in Addison, Texas

Grilled Salmon at Table 13 in Addison, Texas


photo 2-1 (3)

Mushroom Bucatini, with soba-style noodles. Intense depth of flavours this one possesses.

And last but certainly not least, the best Bananas Foster I have ever had. The bananas were warmed thoroughly yet retained their firm texture. The rum sauce, flaming as it arrived of course, gave the dessert an elegance not often found in restaurants these days. And for you vegans, Chef Ted is working on an almond milk and/or rice milk version of the ice cream. Huzzah!

Bananas Foster! Of course, the flame went out just as the photo was being taken.

Bananas Foster! Of course, the flame went out just as the photo was being taken.

There are many restaurants to choose from in the Dallas area. Next time I visit? I am going right back to Table 13. Chef Ted’s cuisine, and his gregarious personality, will make for a truly fine dining experience to remember. And here’s a prediction: one day, we will see Chef Ted on either the Food Network or the Cooking Channel. With his own show.

I can’t wait!

Chef Ted and yours truly.

Chef Ted and yours truly.

Table 13 on Urbanspoon

Azar’s Market and Cafe

The Maza Appetizer from Azar's.

The Maza Appetizer from Azar’s.

As a line cook, I would often receive a request for a substitution, i.e. potato salad instead of fries. Not a big deal, really; happens all of the time in restaurants all around the world. Sometimes these requests were made for dietary reasons, other times to avoid allergy issues. It was all good, although one time I had to ask the server to double check the request when the ticket stated 1 quesadilla, 86 (remove) the cheese. Since the root of the word was queso, Spanish for cheese, I wanted to make sure the guest understood they would be receiving a grilled tortilla stuffed with a few sauteed vegetables. They did so that’s what they got.

In the food service business, it all about food and service. To survive, you have to serve great food and offer even better service. Makes me wonder why Burger King has just dropped it’s slogan Have It Your Way. I guess you can’t have it your way anymore?

Regardless of BK’s reasoning, the point is this: successful restaurants have to have a great concept, a menu to satisfy everyone from Atkins-style carnivores to vegan/gluten free Eat to Live folks, and  flawless execution in both the kitchen and the front house. No secret to many of you, but finding a place that hits the mark in all categories is becoming more difficult these days.

Azar’s Market & Cafe (subtitled Natural Foods and Mediterranean Specialties) is just such a place.  Recently, we had an awesome dinner at the Virginia Beach restaurant, located in the Hilltop area. I had always been a fan of the Norfolk cafe of the same name and found the sister restaurant to be equally as nice, with attentive service that was not over-intrusive and excellent food plated in a most appealing fashion. And for a Saturday early-evening, the place was not too crowded making the ambiance perfect for conversation.

While I usually order the can’t-miss felafel, this particular evening I decided to be adventurous and order something new (for me.) Taking advice from the server, I chose the Maza appetizer. The menu will tell you the Maza serves 2 – 4 people, but the dish is used as an entree quite often. I gave it a try. Here’s what was presented:

Hummus – made from chickpeas, of course, and seasoned with tahini, not too much lemon, and a bit of garlic. The best in the city, IMHO.

Baba Ghanouj (pronounced bah bah gah-noosh) – think hummus made from roasted eggplant instead of chickpeas.

4 Stuffed Grape Leaves – available either cold or warmed, these are stuffed with rice, vegetables and chickpeas.

Tabouli – a light salad of chopped parsley, mint, tomato, and onion, tossed with some Bulgar wheat, lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt.

Lebane Tzatziki – a dab of dip made from strained yogurt (Greek yogurt before it was cool to be Greek yogurt,) garlic, a touch of mint and olive oil.

The plate was garnished with olives (watch out for those pesky little pits) and bite-sized slices of pickle and tomato.

All this was served with a basket of light, soft but not too chewy grilled flatbread.

The verdict?

I wasn’t a fan of the baba ghanouj. I am sure it was made correctly, and Azar’s version is probably among the best around. I’m just not a baba ghanouj kind of guy.

Everything else was a hit to my taste buds. When the server came to remove our dinner plates, she saw I had only tried the B.G. and commented that next time I could always ask for a substitute. More hummus, more grape leaves, whatever I wanted. This substitution policy was not a one-off deal made in an attempt to garner a higher propina (tip, sorry – thinking in Spanish for a moment) but the normal restaurant policy.

Great food and even better service, remember? This is what it looks like.

And for you vegans out there? This means you can order the Maza and sub more hummus for the Lebane Tzatziki dip.

For carnivores, split the Maza since it’s really a large appetizer plate, and order one of the grilled kebab plates.

Azar’s has great food and even better service – for everyone.

And no matter what you order for lunch or dinner – you have to get the pistachio baklava for dessert. I think it’s a law. If it’s not, it should be.

Happy eating!




Corkscrew Mac & Cheese

Corkscrew Mac & Cheese

Corkscrew Mac & Cheese

A twist (pun intended) on a classic recipe, this version of Mac & Cheese uses corkscrew macaroni instead of the regular elbow variety.  The ridges and extra tubing of the macaroni are just perfect for catching all the gooey cheese, making each spoonful warm, creamy and full of savory flavor. It doesn’t take long to prep, and using the quantities below, will make almost three quarts.

This recipe also has a vegan counterpart, which in our family is a consideration. And it can be made while this version is in the oven!

And while we’re talking about corkscrews, don’t forget the wine. A nice table red would pair nicely with either and/or both of the dishes!


16 oz corkscrew macaroni

8 oz cheddar cheese

8 oz colbyjack cheese

2 tablespoons oregano

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

10 oz (1 small can) evaporated milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees (gas mark 4 for those across the pond.)

Cook the corkscrew macaroni according to the directions on the box. A few helpful hints: add a few dashes of salt to the water, and drip a few drops of olive oil into the water. The salt will add a bit of flavor and help soften the noodles; the olive oil will break the surface tension of the water which in turn will help keep the foaming down.

As the macaroni is cooking, shred the cheddar and colbyjack cheese. Spread the cheese out on a paper towel or cutting board and then season with the oregano, black pepper, and garlic powder.

Once the macaroni is fully cooked, drain using a colander.

Using a 3 quart casserole dish, layer the ingredients thusly: noodles, cheese, noodles, cheese, noodles, and lastly – cheese. Now pour the evaporated milk over the top of the mac n cheese. No need to mix it in, the liquid will seep into the nooks and crannies all on its own.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

While you wait, stir-fry some broccoli, steam some collards, or send out for pizza.

Just kidding on that last one.

Happy eating!


Zucchini Planks

Zucchini Planks any Pirate would Love!

Zucchini Planks any Pirate would Love!

A quick and easy lunch, or even a light dinner, zucchini planks taste great – and they probably aren’t half bad for you, either!

Here’s what you need:

(creates four planks with toppings)

2 medium zucchini

1 shallot, finely chopped (green onion will work, as well)

1 clove of garlic, minced

black pepper, freshly ground, to taste

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1 cup of fresh mozzarella, cubed to the size of dice

1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in halves

Here’s what you do:

Slice the zucchini lengthwise, creating two planks per zucchini, each about a half inch thick. Take the remaining zucchini and spoon out the pulp. Using a chef’s knife, finely chop the pulp, then place in a bowl.  Set the planks aside for the moment.

Add to the finely chopped zucchini: the chopped shallot, minced garlic, black pepper, and olive oil. Mix well and let sit while you cube up the mozzarella cheese.

After preparing the cheese and the grape tomatoes, add both to the bowl of marinating zucchini. Turn a few times with a wooden spoon. No need to bruise the tomato. Just kidding. But you don’t need to be mean about it. Just  gently mix. There you go!

Now, place the zucchini planks on a microwave safe plate and micro-bake them for 30 seconds to a minute. The exact time will depend on the power of your microwave. If they are steaming, they are done. Smoke?  Start over. With new zucchini.

Using a fork (because steaming zucchini planks are hot) place two planks on each plate. Then, spoon the mozzarella/tomato mixture over the planks.

Try them! You get the warm, soft and delicate taste of fresh zucchini – and the robust flavor and creamy texture of the mozzarella cheese accompanied by all of its friends.

Pairs well with a light red table wine. And cookies.


Black Bean Corn Salsa-nated Lentils and Peppers

Black Bean Corn Salsa-nated Lentils and Viggies

Black Bean Corn Salsa-nated Lentils and Peppers (with stir fried vegetables)

After you cook several “big” dishes, such as Mango Lentil Dal, or Artichoke Lentil Loaf, you may come to realize you still have uncooked lentils left over. Looking in the soak pot, I found we had “a lot” of lentils left. If the zombie apocalypse started today, and all access to the grocery store had been cut off by the horde of brain-eating walking dead, we would be fine with the one bag of dried lentils. It never seems to run out. But since the Eastern Shore, for the moment at least, is devoid of zombies, it would be poor form to leave said lentils to slowly die a horrible death inside the refrigerator.

What to do. Hmmm.

Why not take those lentils and add some left over bell peppers and a snit or two from the jar of Amy’s Black Bean & Corn Salsa? You know, the jar that always seems to be in the door of the refrigerator? Could end up with a tasty meal, me thinks.

Turned out to be a great idea! I also stir fried some fresh cut vegetables to give the meal a little more bulk and color. Here’s the easy lentil recipe:


1 cup uncooked lentils (uncooked but soaked overnight, then drained)

Water – enough to cover the lentils once they are in a sauce pan

1 each – red, green and yellow bell pepper. cored and seeded, then rough chopped

1 snit of Amy’s black bean corn salsa (no ‘snit’ mark on your measuring cup? 6 Tablespoons is about the same amount)

1 Tablespoon cumin


Put the uncooked lentils in a medium sauce pan.

Add water, enough to cover the lentils by a half inch or so.

Add the chopped bell peppers, salsa, and cumin.

Stir gently, then cover.

Heat over medium high until the liquid starts to boil.

Once boiling, reduce heat to medium. You want a simmer only.

Uncover and stir occasionally.

The goal is to allow the liquid to soak into the lentils and to create a “salsa reduction.” In other words, as the liquid cooks down, the salsa and cumin flavor will be brought out for the better. Once you stir the lentils and don’t see any more liquid at the bottom of the sauce pan, you are done!

Remove from heat and cover until the rest of your dinner is done cooking.

(I stir fried veggies while the lentils were cooking. There are a plethora of options for you. Go with your favorite!)

This lentil recipe makes 3 good sized main servings or 4 side servings.



Mango Lentil Dal

Mango Lentil Dal

Mango Lentil Dal

Tried a new recipe tonight for Mango Lentil Dal. This turned out very well. The only change I might consider for the next time is to sub curry for the turmeric. But that’s only because I love curry. And I might add a little coconut milk. And some slice pineapple chunks. But other than that – this recipe is great!

No, really. It is very good. I was just thinking out loud.

Giving credit where credit is due, this recipe comes from the tome Eat to Live Cookbook, by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. It’s on page 172. Naturally, due to copyright issues I cannot legally (or ethically should I) post the actual recipe. It’s a great book. You should buy a copy. You don’t have to go on his diet / health plan, just try the recipes. We have yet to find one that wasn’t great tasting.

What I can do is give you a list of ingredients:


Water (to cook the cup of lentils in, of course)


Chopped onion

Minced garlic

Fresh grated ginger

Ground coriander

Ground cumin

Cracked black pepper

A couple of ripe mangoes (learn how to peel and cut a mango here)

Chopped fresh spinach

and last but not least:

Chopped fresh cilantro.

I suppose you could try to cook this yourself, without the book, and just using quantities “to taste.” However, I highly recommend buying the book.

And no, I receive no remuneration (of any kind) from Dr. Fuhrman or anyone else for that matter. I could only hope…

Live the exotic life for a day – try Mango Lentil Dal!





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