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

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.


Sausage Breakfast Casserole


Sausage CasseroleSausage and cheese. Cayenne pepper and chili powder. Does it get any better? This morning’s contribution to the United Methodist Men’s breakfast was my now-famous sausage casserole. This version is based on someone else’s adaptation of Food Network’s version of Trisha Yearwood’s recipe. For all I know, it could be her grandmother’s. Beats me. All I know is that it was easy to make, tasted great, and didn’t last long this morning.

Perfect for an early morning breakfast when you need to feed a group of 12 adults (or 6 teenagers.) And you assemble it the day before, meaning all you need to do in the morning is put it in the oven and wait!

Prep time: about 30 minutes.    Baking time: 1 hour.  Serves 12; fewer if people are really hungry.


Bread – I used white wheat. How much do you need? If you stack the slices, you will need a tower about 6-8 inches tall. While you have it stacked up, Trim off the crust. This is optional, but I did it.

Bulk sausage – those big ol’ tubes that you cut the end off and squeeze to get the meat out. At least 1 pound. I used 1.5 pounds today. Spicy, mild, sage-flavored – your choice. I used sage.

Cayenne Pepper & Chili Powder – 1 Tablespoon each.

Cheddar cheese – 12 ounces, shredded. You will need to divide this up: one third /  two thirds. It doesn’t need to be exact. Big pile / small pile works, too.

Half & Half – or milk. 2 cups will be fine. If you use milk, try to use whole milk. What? You’re worried about the fat content of the milk? With the cheese and sausage in this recipe, I think we’ve moved past counting calories, people. Enjoy the flavor and start the diet tomorrow!

Eggs – 6 of them. See? How much more damage can using half and half or whole milk do? Go for it.


The night before…

Spray a 9×13 inch casserole pan with cooking spray, or grease it up with some butter.

Cut the bread into bite-sized cubes and evenly distribute them in the casserole pan.

While the bread is drying a bit in the pan, cook the sausage until fully done. Make sure you “crumble” the sausage while it is frying. You want to end up with a pan of sausage bits, not a giant hunk.

Sprinkle the cayenne pepper and chili powder evenly on the bread. Top with one third of your shredded cheddar cheese.

Using a slotted spoon put the cooked sausage on top of the seasoned bread cubes. Top with the remainder of the cheese.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and then whisk in the half and half. Pour this mixture over the entire pan of bread, meat and cheese.

Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. Go watch some television. Have a glass of wine, especially if you are hosting a group of teenagers.

The next morning

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Did you check the oven to see if anything was inside first? I won’t tell you that story, but I thought now would be good time to mention it.

Put the covered casserole pan in the oven and bake for 1 hour. When the cheese is melted and the edges of the pan look like they may be starting to brown, the casserole is done.

Take the casserole out of the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. It’s plenty hot and will still be in ten minutes. This will give everything inside a chance to reacquaint. More wine, perhaps? Maybe not. Coffee might be a better choice at this point.

Pairs well with fried bacon and scrapple.

As Chef Rudolf would say “Prost, my friend. Happy eating!”

Meatball Pie Saves Day


Meatball Pie

Have a herd of hungry hooligans to feed? How about a carload of college kids? Or maybe the World Cup is on the tele and the lads are in your flat, ready to mutiny if there isn’t some real food. Regardless, with a little advanced prep work, this easy recipe can solve all of the above problems. Or at least get you off to a good start.

What you need for the meatballs:

6 pieces of cooked bacon, chopped into bits

1 onion, diced and sauteed

2 pounds / 1 kilo of ground chuck

1 pound / .5 kilo  of ground pork

1 Tablespoon of garlic

1 Tablespoon of black pepper

Making the meatballs:

In a large bowl, mix all of the above ingredients.

Form the meatballs by hand, making each the size of a golf ball or slightly smaller. My batch made 30 meatballs.

Place meatballs on a broiler pan (this will help drain the rendered fat) and place in the center rack of your oven.

Bake at 350 degrees F. (gas mark 4, for those who need it) for approximately 25 minutes or until done. The meatballs will be slightly brown. Internal temperature should be in excess of 165 degrees.

When done, let cool. You can even store these in the refrigerator a few days until you need them.

What you need – Making ONE Meatball Pie

Pizza Dough – make your own or, as I did – buy the canned dough you can just roll out.

6 oz / 170 grams Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

6 oz / 170 grams  Longhorn Colby Cheese, shredded

1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce

15 of those meatballs you made earlier

Making the Meatball Pie

Using a 9 inch glass pie plate, spread the pizza dough evenly throughout, making sure the dough comes up to the top of the plate’s rim. This is just like making a pie, except you are using pizza dough.

Sprinkle about half the Mozzarella onto the dough, making a cheesy bed for the next ingredient.

On top of the cheese, place your 15 meatballs. It will be a tight fight but that’s okay. If you can only squeeze in a dozen, that works, too. As long as the pie is full of meatballs.

Now spoon a dollop of your marinara sauce on each meatball. You don’t want to “over sauce” this pie. That would overpower the flavor of the meatball, which, well, you just don’t want to do!

Top with the Longhorn Colby cheese, and then sprinkle the last of your mozzarella on top as the final layer.

Bake in the oven, at 350 degrees F., for about 30 minutes or until the cheese on top has melted and has started to turn brown. I’d start checking the pie at about 20 minutes. No one likes burned cheese.

Once done, remove from oven at let stand for about 10 minutes. It will stay hot, trust me!

What to do with the other 15 meatballs?

Repeat the above recipe and make a second Meatball Pie, of course!

Each pie makes 8 good sized slices. I’m a big guy and I ate two. A third piece looked tempting but I just couldn’t do it. I was full. At least I  know what is for lunch tomorrow!

Meatball Pie – you will have no complaints on this one. Try it and see!

A Slice of Meatball Pie – Heaven on a Plate

Breakfast Frittata with Oven Roasted Potatoes


Tourist season is starting here on the Eastern Shore.  It’s not really beach weather yet, but I have noticed more and more fishing boats floating around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.  That means many of the vacation rental houses around town are inhabited by small groups of guys living on frozen pizza and trips to the only McDonald’s within 40 miles.

Guys – we can do better.

The mornings can be quite chilly here on The Shore. A hot breakfast frittata can do wonders for the soul. Shoving off before sunrise? That’s okay – make it the night before and warm it up before you leave the house. Beats the heck out of “value meal number two” or a convenience store coffee and Danish.

Put on your ball caps chef hats – here we go!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

This dish starts out as oven roasted potatoes. When completed, half of the potatoes are reserved as a side dish, the other half becomes the foundation of the breakfast frittata!

Oven Roasted Potatoes, serves 8 alone or 4 when made as a side for the frittata.

9 x 13 inch glass baking dish

3  Russet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 medium Vidalia onion, peeled and diced

2 Tablespoons smoked paprika

1 Tablespoon cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Breakfast Frittata, serves 4

1 oven-safe, glass pie plate, 9.5 inch diameter

12 oz. chicken sausage ( I use Johnsonville’s fully cooked, chipotle Monterrey Jack version) sliced into 1/4 inch coins. Bonus – no MSG, either!

4 eggs

1/8 cup milk

What you need to do:

For the oven roasted potatoes, place the diced potatoes and onions in the baking dish. Add the remaining ingredients, then gently mix until all of the potatoes are lightly coated with oil.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Stir, recover, then bake for another 30 minutes.

Take potatoes out of the oven, set aside for the moment. Do not turn off the oven yet.


For the breakfast frittata, place the sausage coins into the pie plate and cover with a paper towel. Heat in a microwave oven for 2 minutes or in the already preheated oven (without the paper towel,) for about 10 minutes.

Once the sausage has been warmed, add half of the oven roasted potatoes. Gently mix the two ingredients.

In a separate bowl, add the milk to the eggs and lightly whisk with a fork, as if you were going to make scrambled eggs. Pour the egg mixture on top of the potatoes and sausage, gently mixing until the egg has coated all of the potatoes and sausage.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Get the plates out – you are ready to eat a hearty breakfast!

Now, some of you may not want to have a potato-based frittata with a side of potatoes. Fair enough. There are options:

  1. Double the sausage and eggs and make one big batch. This is a good idea if you need more than 4 servings. Heck you could just use the 9 x 13 baking dish instead of a smaller pie plate.
  2. Make two frittatas – one of them with the sausage and another substituting 2 cups of chopped broccoli florets and 1 cup chopped red bell pepper. Great concept if you have vegetarians in the crowd.
  3. Make two frittatas – one of them with the sausage and another substituting 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. I mean, really – you can’t go wrong with cheese, can you?

Any way you make it – this frittata hits the spot on a cold or rainy day. And good luck with the fishing!

Mashed Potato Pizza


Mashed Potato Pizza

There are many recipes for mashed potato pizza, most of them involving spreading the mashed potatoes all over the crust, in place of the usual red sauce. To me, that is taking the carbs just a bit too far. As it is, my Adkins diet went sailing through the window with this one!

But this pizza has cheese AND bacon. Need I say more? (wink, wink, nudge, nudge!)

Give it a go and see what you think.


Pizza crust, thin – I used a pre-baked one. You can make your own if you wish. Just bake it first.

Cheddar cheese, shredded – 8 oz. or more. I always go for “more.”

Mozzarella cheese, shredded – 4 oz

Red onion, finely chopped – 1/4 cup

Cooked Bacon, rough chopped – 3 slices

Garlic, minced – a pinch, maybe two

Mashed Potatoes – enough for 8 – 10 melon ball sized globs (glob is a technical term, sorry)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place your pre-baked pizza crust on a pizza pan.

Sprinkle enough cheddar cheese on top of the crust, covering the entire surface. Try to save some cheese, you will need it later. If you use all of it – get more cheese!

Add the mozzarella cheese next, followed by the red onions, making sure everything is evenly distributed.

Carefully place the chopped bacon on top. You will be tempted to eat some. DON’T DO IT. Okay, maybe just one piece. But not two.

Okay, maybe two. But definitely not three.

Add a pinch of minced garlic, just for good measure.

Now the fun part-

Take a melon baller (a very, very small ice cream scoop) and scoop out 8 – 10 little mashed potato “meatballs” and place them on the pizza. Spread them around so that every slice will get at least one.

Cover with the remaining cheddar cheese.

Bake in the oven for 10 – 12 minutes. This will heat everything up and make the crust extra crispy.

When done, take out of the oven and carefully (remember, it’s hot!) slice into 6 – 8 slices.

Pairs well with any good table wine, as well as Dr Pepper on ice.  A&W Root Beer is a good option, as well.

Mashed Potato Pizza





Baconfest 2010 – Bacon Cheese Waffles


Okay, so if you read the book, Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon, you would see that the next recipe up for testing would be “Grits and Bits Waffles.” Looked promising.

However, after the near mutiny in the household from the oysters last week, grits seemed just beyond comprehension. (And we are supposedly a southern family – it’s almost a law that we have to like grits.) So instead, I went with the intent of the recipe and used a regular waffle recipe from Betty Crocker’s cookbook.

With the whole herd to feed, I increased many of the ingredient quantities. The verdict follows the recipe. Here’s what I did:

For Waffle Batter:
4 eggs
4 cups flour
1 cup butter, melted
2 1/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons sugar
8 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

8 – 10 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Using a hand mixer, beat the eggs until frothy.
Mix in the rest of the waffle batter ingredients.
Continue mixing with hand mixer until batter is smooth.

Now carefully pour the batter onto your pre-heated waffle pan.
Top with cheese and bacon. Make sure you cover the entire waffle.
Close the waffle iron lid.
This is the hard part, in my opinion…

When the light goes out, comes on, the buzzer buzzes, the dinger dings, how ever your waffle iron signals that you waffle is done…wait.

Give the waffles an extra 30 seconds or so to finish cooking. Of course, different waffle irons have different cooking times, so you may have to adjust. You’ll know.

Serve to the hungry masses as the waffles come off the iron. Goes well with pure maple syrup from Vermont or Canada.

Our verdict? Good. More cheese and more bacon would have made it even better so next time we are goin’ whole hog! Sorry about that, couldn’t resist!

Happy eating!

Divine Turkey Fettuccine


A quick and easy dish - great during Winter!

So the snow started falling, the temperature was dropping, and the last thing we wanted to do was to leave the comfort of the warm parsonage. With leftover baked turkey in the fridge (seems like we always have leftover turkey this time of year…) I pre-heated the oven with the goal of making a decision on what to cook  by the time the oven signaled it was at temp.  Here’s what I did:

Divine Turkey Fettuccine

8 oz. Fettuccine noodles

dash of salt

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 can Campbell’s Cream of Chicken and Mushroom Soup *

8 oz. frozen broccoli florets, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

4 cups baked turkey, chopped or shredded

2 tablespoons poultry seasoning

8 oz. Colby Jack cheese, shredded

* I always use Campbell’s brand soup.  I am not compensated by them in any way; I just like their soup!


Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the noodles according to the directions on the box.  I add a dash of salt and a teaspoon of vegetable oil to the water before heating. The salt helps “tenderize” the noodles and the oil helps in keeping pasta “foam” from rising too much.

In a medium sauce pan, heat the cream of chicken soup. Don’t forget to add that can of water if the directions on the can call for it!

While the noodles and the soup are cooking, get a large bowl, cutting board and a sharp chef’s knife. If you don’t have a “chef’s knife,” any large knife capable of safely chopping vegetables will do.  Just make sure it is sharp. No need for an unexpected trip to the hospital…

Take the frozen broccoli florets out of the package and place them on the cutting board. Using your chef’s knife, carefully chop the florets into small bits.  You could thaw the broccoli first, but it’s easier to chop them up when they are still frozen. Put the chopped broccoli into the large bowl.

To the broccoli, add the minced garlic. Stir it in well – this way much of the garlic gets trapped in the little broccoli buds as the florets thaw.  Mmmm, tasty!

Now take your leftover turkey, placing it on the cutting board of coarse, and chop or shred it into small, tasty morsels.

Season the chopped turkey with the poultry seasoning. You can add salt and/or pepper if you like. Never hurts. Add the chopped and seasoned turkey to the broccoli. Mix with your wooden spoon! (Why “wooden” spoon? – because Chef Rudolf always insisted on using a wooden spoon – for everything!)

Now the good part…

Add the shredded Colby Jack cheese to the broccoli – turkey mixture. Like the old commercial says: “Behold,the power of cheese!”

By now, your noodles should be done cooking. If you haven’t already done so, drain the water.

Using your favorite cooking spray, grease up a large casserole dish or 11×13 glass baking dish.

– Put the noodles in the baking dish.

– Spoon the turkey/broccoli/cheese mixture evenly over the noodles. Mix it into the noodles a bit if you want. It’s up to you.

– Pour the hot soup on top. It will seep down into the nooks and crannies, making for a fabulous, creamy texture!

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Uncovered.

At that point, check the top. If it’s starting to look too brown from the cheese cooking, cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Continue baking for ten more minutes.

When the timer dings, you will have a great meal ready to warm you up on a cold evening!

Happy eating!