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Black Garlic Tomato Soup

Black Garlic Tomato Soup

I have a particularly hectic week going on this week with some sort of travel going on every day except for Friday.  I had unavoidable lunches out for two of those days (though in truth, today’s lunch of salad, crab cakes, and a trio of desserts was pretty awesome, especially since it was all made by culinary students in their first term of school).  In planning my week, I knew I’d need to prep things on Sunday that could frozen for lunch for later in the week.  At the same time, I’ve been really intrigued by black garlic, which has been showing up at various natural food stores around town, including Trader Joe’s.  Black garlic, which sounds scary, I know, is actually garlic that’s been fermented for weeks.  It’s possible to make your own, but since we are living in a rental right now, and black garlic is pretty pungent smelling, I’m going to have to rely on buying it for now.


Black garlic – still in the garlic pod on the left and a peeled clove on the right. 

Black garlic has a subtle flavor – somewhere between garlic and licorice.  I decided to experiment and try it out in a tomato soup, which ended up being the perfect use.  The soup is very easy to make – it takes just a few ingredients and about thirty minutes to cook.  The best part – it freezes easily, making it a perfect lunch meal!

I’ve linked this up to Kahakai Kitchen’s Souper Sunday.  If you are looking for other really great soup recipes, check out the link and you won’t be disappointed.


Black Garlic Tomato Soup

Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves black garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 16 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan.  Add the black garlic and onion and sauté until the onions are translucent.  Add the tomatoes and their juice, the paprika and the salt and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.  Puree in a blender or use an immersion blender to get the soup to your desired consistency.  Enjoy!





“Magic” Chicken Orzo Soup

“Magic” Chicken Orzo Soup

I was delighted to see that Simona Carini was hosting another Novel Food edition on her lovely blog briciole.  I have such fun thinking about the various books I read and what food gets cooked and consumed in those books, as well as how food can play an important role on a character’s development.

This year, I decided to make an attempt to read my way through Popsugar’s Reading Challenge, which is a list of 40 or so categories of books like satire, or a book that will be made into a movie this year.  I thought it might force me out of my book comfort zone, which tends heavily toward the mystery aisle in the bookstore.  One of the categories was a romance set in the future.  I did some searching and came up with…a mystery that’s set in the future and is also a love story.  Ok, so maybe this didn’t push me out of my reading comfort zone, but it did turn me onto a new mystery series: JD Robb’s series featuring Detective Eve Dallas and her handsome hubby, Roarke.  To say that I’m hooked would be something of an understatement – I’ve been going to our used bookstore every month to add to my stash (there are over 50 books in the series so far and I’ve read 14 of them).  I’ll read three or four of these at a time and then take a little break, read something else, and then start again.

One of the things that has struck me is how much food plays into each story.  Eve Dallas is a tough but lovable character and her criminal turned civilian consultant husband Roarke spends much of his time taking care of her, including making sure she eats well.  Dallas’s tastes lean toward red meat, pizza, and coffee, but Roarke often makes her eat her vegetables and tries to get her to appreciate the finer things in life in between her saving people and finding murderers.

There is also a wonderful surrounding cast of characters that includes Dallas’s partner, Detective Peabody.  Peabody also likes to make sure that Eve eats while she is on the go and tracking down the bad guys.  In one of my favorite parts of Calculated in Death (book 45 in the series), Peabody and Dallas stop for soup in between interviews of murder suspects and Dallas calls the soup “magic” – it’s just how good it is.  I don’t recall that she actually ever reveals what’s in the soup, but magic soup becomes a touchstone throughout the book – later on, when Dallas and Peabody are back at their headquarters, Dallas eats some minestrone soup and sniffs at it, saying that it isn’t bad, but it isn’t “magic”.


Since soup is one of my favorite foods, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what my “magic” soup is and decided it would be chicken noodle soup of some sort.  This weekend, we’ve been inundated by rain and wind here in the PNW, so I thought it was probably time to make chicken soup.  Sadly, we just don’t have enough storage space in our kitchen in our Vancouver rental, so I don’t have any chicken stock stored.  I decided I was going to poach some chicken breasts, with both skin and bone still on and in, and magic up some stock.  Combined with a lot of garlic, a little bit of green chili, and orzo, I think this soup could make even Eve Dallas come back for seconds.


“Magic” Chicken Orzo Soup
Serves 4

For the poached chicken and stock
2 bone-in with skin chicken breasts
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 carrot
2 celery stalks
1/2  red onion
1/2 leek
2 teaspoons salt

Cut the carrot in half.  Do the same with the celery stalks. Cut the onion into four chunks.  Cut the leek in half and make sure it is thoroughly clean.  Toss the bay leaves, peppercorns, carrot, celery, onion, leek and salt in a large saucepan.  Lay the chicken on top and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and then turn to a low simmer.  Poach for 15 – 20 minutes or until the chicken reads 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.  Strain out the chicken and other soilds and reserve the poaching liquid.

For the soup
Poached chicken breasts
8 cups chicken stock from the poached chicken
1 carrot
2 celery stalks
1/2 red onion
1/2 leek
8 garlic cloves
1 roasted Anaheim chili (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup uncooked orzo
Salt to taste

Chop the vegetables into bite size pieces.  Shred the chicken.  Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.  Add the carrots, onions and celery and saute until the onions are translucent.  Add the garlic, leek and Anaheim chili.  Saute for another two minutes.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Add the orzo and cook for eight minutes.  Stir in the shredded chicken and cook for ten more minutes.  Season with salt to taste.  Enjoy!

This blog post is linked to two really awesome blog link parties, so please take a look at the other great recipes that are out there:


Kahakai Kitchen Souper Sundays

Novel Food #28 on briciole

Sausage and Spinach Mac and Cheese

Sausage and Spinach Mac and Cheese

The past weekend was the weekend for comfort food, including this sausage and spinach mac and cheese.  As the weather turns gloomy and we realize that the three hour move north really will make a difference in terms of the number of cloudy days and rain, I’m starting to dig around more in Pinterest and my own recipe archives to find foods that evoke warmth and coziness.  Mac and cheese is definitely one of these – it’s super indulgent and satisfying.

I much prefer making my own cheese sauce rather than eating mac and cheese made out of the contents of a box.  Making cheese sauce can be intimidating, as to get it to the proper thickness, you start with a roux.  A roux definitely borders the line between easy cooking into a more Martha Stewart or Nigella Lawson world, but I promise you, it’s not nearly as complicated as it might seem.  The key is low heat and paying attention to the butter and flour in the first stage and then keeping a close eye on the milk or cream in the second stage.  Keep it on low, use a whisk to keep stirring, and just keep stirring and it will turn out just fine.

I recommend some sort of chicken sausage for this recipe – I used an Olympia Provisions sausage (OP is quite popular in this part of the PNW).  Spinach is a good go-to green to include, though this would work well with chard or kale, as well.

baked-mac-cheese-sausage-and-spinach mac-cheese-sausage-spinach-comfort-food

Sausage and Spinach Mac and Cheese
Serves 4

Cheese Sauce
1 head roasted garlic (optional)
3 tablespoons butter
1 ½ tablespoons flour
1 cup half and half or milk
2 cups cheese (gruyere works well, as does cheddar)

4 precooked sausages, chopped into ½ inch pieces
1 bunch spinach
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ package rotini pasta or similar

Breadcrumb Topping
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil

Bring a pot of water to a boil and boil the pasta according to the directions on the package.

While the pasta is cooking, wash and chop the spinach.  Sauté the spinach on medium heat in 1 teaspoon olive oil until it is wilted.  Remove from the heat and drain in a colander to remove excess moisture.  Set aside.

Make the cheese sauce.  Add the butter and roasted garlic (if using) to a small sauce pan.  Melt the butter over low heat and mash the garlic as the butter melts.  Once the butter is melted, add the flour a little bit at a time and whisk it into the butter as you add.  When all the flour is incorporated, cook on low for a minute, continuously whisking.  Add the milk or half and half and continue to stir for about 5-7 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken.  Once thickened, remove from heat and add the cheese, stirring to incorporate.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Assemble the pasta, sausage, and spinach in an oven-proof pan.  An 11 x 13 Pyrex pan works well for this. Spoon the cheese sauce over the pasta mixture and gently fold in.  In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the breadcrumb topping and then spread the topping over the mac and cheese.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.  Enjoy!

Crockpot Posole

Crockpot Posole

I recently ran across a great blog that combines the best of two worlds: food and books.  I’ve previously participated in the Novel Food challenge on Simona Carini’s beautiful blog, and was very excited to find Cook the Books Foodie Book Club.  The book chosen for August and September was F.G. Hachenbeck’s The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo.  This is a slightly odd book that fictionalizes Frida Kahlo’s life in context of a little recipe book that Kahlo might have kept.  Recipes are sprinkled throughout the book, and then there are a few of made-for-modern-taste versions of those recipes in the back.


I was especially excited to see a book about Frida Kahlo as the focus of this blog adventure.  I have been a Frida fan for a long time now – and funny enough, my first really significant encounter with her art is also tied to a food memory.  When I was in my late twenties, I took off for a road adventure by myself.  I was newly single and trying to find my way.  That way led to a road trip to Portland, OR and then all the way up Highway 101 to Tacoma and into Seattle.  I stayed at the Edgewater hotel in Seattle and walked everywhere, including the Seattle Art Museum, which was having a spectacular exhibit of both Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s work.  I was transported by Kahlo’s paintings – in life, they are even more stunning than in photos.  After spending hours wandering through the exhibit, I went across the street and stumbled into a Vietnamese restaurant and ate Pho for the first time.  Different cultures, different foods, different times, but for me, soup and Kahlo are inexorably linked in my memory because of that trip.

I’ve read other books about Kahlo, but I will say I enjoyed this venture into magical realism.  Like Kahlo’s paintings, the book merges the real with the surreal and takes us to the very personal relationship that Kahlo had with death.  And with food, of course.  This book is filled with rich description of food and the rich relationship that the characters have with food.  I doubt the truth of some of the book, but do like the thought that Frida Kahlo had such a rich life full of so many interesting people coming and going.

My book is now very sticky-noted with all the possible recipes I may yet try to adapt.  For this particular blog post though, I decided to go with Posole, largely because it hits that note of comfort food that rings for me when I think of my encounter with Kahlo’s paintings.

Not so long ago, I ran across directions for making hominy through nixtamalization – the process of turning maize into hominy.  I think it may be something I try someday (this is a farm fantasy moment – that day when I can grow my own maize, have chickens and goats, and so on).  For now, I’m sticking with buying hominy in the store.  I advise using dried white corn posole.

white-corn-posole-package white-corn-pre-soak

This adds a step (the white corn posole needs to be soaked overnight), but also gives the soup a better flavor than canned hominy.  I’ve added a few more ingredients than what is called for in the book and have also gone with a pork loin roast (rather than a pork head or other parts, as advised in the book).  This is a great Sunday Supper meal, as it can be tossed in the crockpot in the morning and can cook all day.  It also makes a good freezer meal.

Here’s a picture of the pork loin all rubbed in spices:


And then the end result, seven hours later.  This is definitely a soup that will be added into our winter crockpot meal rotation.


Crockpot Posole
Serves 6

White corn posole, soaked overnight
1 chopped onion
2 roasted Anaheim peppers, peeled and deseeded
1 can diced tomatoes (15 ounces)
4 cups chicken broth (or 2 cups chicken broth and 2 cups water)
Pork Loin roast – between 1 and 2 pounds
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon oregano or Italian seasonings
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ancho chili powder

Combine the seasonings and rub on the pork loin roast.  Add any remaining seasonings, the pork loin roast, and all other ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or until the pork can be easily shredded with a fork.

Serve with wedges of lime, chopped up cilantro, and sliced avocado.  Enjoy!


Chicken, Broccoli, Cheddar Calzones

Chicken, Broccoli, Cheddar Calzones

For this week’s Sunday Supper, I want to share one of my comfort foods: chicken, broccoli, cheddar calzones.  Calzones are such a perfect food – dough and filling.  Best yet, they are very, very freezer friendly, so, though they can take a bit of time to put together, they work well for super easy weekday meals: pull the calzone out of the freezer and toss it in the oven (still foil wrapped) for 45 minutes or so at 350 degrees.

It’s started to rain again in my part of the PNW, so I have little desire to do much beyond sit around, read, and cook comfort food.  With this weather, I’m also much more likely to want to cook something “fancy” on the weekend, so you’ll likely see a few posts like this one this fall and winter.  I also can’t resist roasted garlic – so if you aren’t a fan, feel free to leave it out.  Calzones are so very versatile – I highly encourage you to think of other great combinations for the filling and use the dough as a base for your own creations.

baked-calzones cheesy-broccoli-and-chicken-calzones-both-sides


Chicken, Broccoli, Cheddar Calzones
Serves 6

Calzone Dough
2 cups warm water
2 packets active dry yeast (or 4 ½ teaspoons yeast)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
6 cups flour

Cheese Sauce
Roasted garlic from one head roasted garlic
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flour
¾ cup half and half
¾ cup shredded cheddar or gruyere cheese

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 head broccoli
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place chicken thighs into an oven proof dish and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with one teaspoon salt.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees.  Once thighs are cooked, set aside.

While the chicken is cooking, make the dough.  Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let sit for a few minutes until the yeast becomes foamy.  Add the olive oil to the yeast, and then one cup flour and the salt.  Mix.  Continue to add flour until the dough comes together in a shaggy ball.  Turn out on a well-surface and knead for 6 to 8 minutes.  The dough should be a bit sticky still but not so much so that it sticks to your hands or to the surface.  Let the dough rise for an hour in a bowl covered with oiled plastic wrap or a few clean tea towels.  Punch the dough down and let it rise for another hour.

Reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees.

In the last half hour that the dough is rising, prepare the cheese sauce. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat and add the roast garlic.  Stir a few times and then whisk the flour in a little bit at a time.  Once the flour is fully incorporated, let cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for a minute.  Add the half and half slowly, continuing to stir until it is fully incorporated. Continue to stir until the sauce starts to thicken.  Take the sauce off the burner and stir in the cheese. Set aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Chop the broccoli into small pieces. Sauté in a non-stick pan for five to seven minutes to slightly soften. Chop the chicken into small pieces.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, broccoli, sauce, and remaining shredded cheese. Stir well.

Punch down the calzone dough and split into six pieces. On a well-floured surface, roll out the first piece into a circle. Place 1/6th of the chicken and sauce mixture in the middle of the circle and fold half over the filling. Crimp down around the edges and place the calzone on the parchment lined baking sheet. Do the same with the remaining dough and filling.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the calzones are golden brown on top and bottom. Enjoy!

I’m pleased to have this recipe on the Saucy Saturdays Blog Hop.  Please take a minute and check out the links to the hosts’ websites – these are some of my favorite blogs and Instagram feeds!

La Petit Chef
Mid-life Croissant
Take Two Tapas
The Flavor Blender


Squash Blossom Quiche

Squash Blossom Quiche

I planted one summer squash plant this year for one purpose alone: to have access to squash blossoms for this squash blossom quiche.  Squash blossoms seem like they have become a thing, like kale and bacon.  I suspect I was first introduced to the fact you could eat squash blossoms through reading Martha Stewart’s magazine, but I think the first time I actually tried one was at a coastal restaurant that served them stuffed with shrimp and cheese and deep fried them.  At the same time, we had a farmer at our local market that would come to market each weekend with trays and trays of both baby zucchini and squash blossoms, so I decided to experiment and see what I could make of them. 

The simplest preparation for these that I cook is to throw several into a quesadilla.  The blossoms add a mildly peppery taste.  The most complex preparation that I cook with these is this quiche.  I really like the combination of egg and blossom, and this is a recipe that freezes up nicely, so is great for lunch with a simple salad to accompany it.  It also makes a great weekend brunch recipe.

squash blossoms 2

quiche pre-bake

squash blossom quiche baked

plated squash blossom quiche

Squash Blossom Quiche
Serves 4

4 small potatoes (or 1 large)
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup Swiss cheese (or other mild cheese)
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
4 or 5 squash blossoms, stamens removed

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Slice the potatoes to ¼ inch thickness.  Layer them on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and drizzle with the olive oil.  Bake for 25 minutes or until both sides are slightly crispy.

Drop the temperature on the oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium sized bowl, combine the eggs and milk and beat until combined.  Add the Swiss cheese, salt and black pepper and stir until combined. 

In a non-stick cake pan or pie pan, layer the potato rounds so that they overlap a bit and cover the bottom of the pan.  Gently pour the egg, milk, and cheese mixture over the potatoes.  The potatoes may float – they’ll settle into the bottom as the quiche cooks.  Lay the squash blossoms on top.  Bake for 40 – 50 minutes or until the egg is fully set (check for doneness by inserting a knife or toothpick into the middle of the quiche – if it comes out clean, the quiche is done). 

Baked Samosas

Baked Samosas

This week is another week of travel.  I’m realizing how challenging it is to travel frequently for work and still be able to carve out time both to cook and eat a good lunch.  I have a very late night drive back from my destination on Wednesday night, so decided I needed to have something on hand in the freezer for lunch at work on Thursday.  I also had a half bag of baby potatoes that needed to be used, so between the two, opted to make baked samosas.

I spent about an hour on these on Sunday.  I realized when I was half way into the process that it was going to take a bit more time that I had originally anticipated, so I queued up some music on Pandora, poured a glass of white wine (it was late afternoon), and rolled and stretched my dough, filling each one with this heavenly spiced potato, onion, and pea mixture.  I had a bit more potato and pea mixture, so we used it in simple tortilla wraps for a snack.  I think I may experiment at some later date with this mixture on a pizza – if I do, I’ll be sure to put it on the blog.

unbaked samosas

baked samosas

samosas and chutney

Baked Samosas
Makes 15

3 cups flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup cold water

Combine all ingredients and gently mix.  If you need to add more water, do so a tablespoon at a time.  The dough should be tacky, but you should be able to handle it with just a dusting of flour on your hands.  Knead gently in the bowl until the dough is soft and sticks together.  Refrigerate while you make the filling.

8 – 10 small potatoes
1 onion, diced
1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon grated or finely diced ginger
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place the potatoes in a saucepan and fill with water just so the potatoes are covered.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cooking until the potatoes are fork tender (about 45 minutes).  Drain the potatoes, return to the saucepan and gently mash.  Meanwhile, in a small frying pan, heat the olive oil and add the diced onions and the ginger.  Cook until the onions are lightly browned.  Add the onions, ginger, peas, and spices to the potatoes and mix thoroughly.

Assembling the Samosas
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and split into thirds.  Take the first third and roll it out on a floured working surface.  The dough will be stretchy, so you may need to let it rest between rolling.  Roll to about 1/4 inch thickness.  Using a glass or round cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles.  (I used an English Muffin ring that was 3 3/4 inches in diameter).  Place a small scoop (about a tablespoon) of filling in the middle of the circle and fold over.  Use your fingers or a fork to crimp the edges.  Place each samosa on the baking sheet.  You can snug them in together as they will not stick together while baking.  Repeat until all the dough is used.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the samosas are lightly browned.  Serve with chutney or on their own.

Spring Saag Paneer

Spring Saag Paneer


saag paneer in bowls

One of my favorite freezer lunch meals is saag paneer.  Saag is typically made with some kind of green – in most Indian restaurants, you’ll find it with spinach.  However, a few years ago, I came across a recipe for saag paneer that was made out of chard, and since then, I’ve been experimenting with various kinds of greens, particularly this time of year when spinach, chard, and other greens are in abundance at the farmer’s market.

As I mentioned in a previous post, there is another vegetable that is abundant this time of year – the hakurei turnip.  I first encountered these in a CSA basket and fell in love with their radish size white globes and sharp turnip taste.  My favorite preparation of these is a refrigerator pickle, but then I’m always left with the dilemma of what to do with the greens.  Most root vegetable greens are edible, and I’ve experimented widely with radish greens, carrot greens, and beet greens.  I have one go-to recipe for the hakureis that uses the entire vegetable, but didn’t want to go to that effort this week.  Instead, I decided to use the hakurei greens, in combination with some chard, to make saag paneer.  Given that I was missing some of the spices I might usually use making saag paneer, I was pleasantly surprised by how spicy the turnip greens make this dish.  This is a lunch that freezes exceptionally well.

paneerpaneer and greens in pansaag paneer and rice

Spring Saag Paneer
Serves 3 or 4

1 package paneer
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch Hakurei turnip greens or other similar greens (radish greens would also work well)
½ bunch chard or kale
1 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup heavy cream
3 or 4 cups cooked rice

Cube the paneer.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a cast iron or non-stick skillet.  When the oil is hot, put in the paneer and brown on both sides (about five minutes per side on medium heat).  Meanwhile, chop the garlic finely and sauté in a medium saucepan in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Chop the chard/kale and turnip greens coarsely.

When paneer is browned, turn off the skillet and set aside.   Add the greens to the garlic in the saucepan and cook until they are wilted.  Add the spices and salt and combine.  Add the paneer and cook for a few minutes to combine flavors.  Add the heavy cream and cook for another minute over low heat.

Serve over cooked rice.

This post is linked to the No Waste Food Challenge at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.

Morel and Asparagus Quiche

Morel and Asparagus Quiche

Morels are one of those ingredients that are a harbinger of spring for me.  I first found morels at the farmer’s market three years ago.  I’d heard about them, certainly, prior to that – morel recipes would often pop up in my Pinterest feed.  But morels are not something the grocery stores in the areas I’ve lived carry and the first several years I went to the farmer’s market and encountered morels, I wasn’t quite brave enough to figure out what to do with them. 


My first morel experience was daunting.  There’s much conflicting information regarding how, exactly, to treat morels – to soak or not to soak, to wash or not to wash, and so on.  What’s consistent is that morels need to be well cooked, otherwise they can be toxic.  What’s also consistent is that morels are products of the wild – and such, they often come with bits of forest still attached to them: a pine needle here and there, an itty bitty white worm or two.  What I’ve landed on is this: a few hours in salty water doesn’t seem to hurt them and seems to reduce the number of itty bitty white worms that wriggle their way out in the frying pan.  Also, white worms are just protein – and morels are tasty enough not to worry about it too much.  My favorite preparation of morels is sautéed in a lot of butter and served on a burger with bacon.  Since I didn’t have time for burger or bacon this weekend, I think that a quiche with morels and asparagus will do.


Morel and Asparagus Quiche
Serves 4-6

¼ pound morel mushrooms, soaked for 2 – 3 hours in salt water, then chopped
2 cups chopped (2 inch or so pieces) asparagus
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
5 eggs
½ cup shredded cheese (I used a combination of parmesan and mozzarella)
1 teaspoon salt
A few grinds of fresh pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Melt the butter in a non-stick pan.  Add morels and sauté until they are soft.  Add water as needed if they start to stick.  When morels are soft, add the asparagus and sauté for another five minutes or until the asparagus has softened.

morelandbutter asparagusand morel

While the morels and asparagus cook, measure out the milk in a bowl or large measuring cup.  Add the eggs and beat until smooth.  Add the cheese, salt, and pepper and combine.

Put the morels and asparagus in a well-oiled baking pan (a glass 8×8 dish works well).  Pour the egg, milk and cheese over the vegetables. 

quiche pre bake

Bake the quiche for 35-40 minutes or until set.  A knife inserted in the middle will come out clean when it is set.


This freezes well, so makes a good lunch meal.

Freezer Meatballs

Freezer Meatballs

This is one of my favorite freezer meals. These meatballs are incredibly versatile – in addition to the expected spaghetti and meatballs, we’ve also used these to make meatball sandwiches (recipe coming up tomorrow), meatball calzones, and meatball pizza. I particularly like to combine these with my homemade and home canned marinara.

The ingredients are mixed together in two stages.  You can certainly chop up the onion and parsley in a food processor to create a finer dice.  The final mixed product will look something like this:


Once everything is combined, create the meatballs.  I tend to make large meatballs, generally using two to a serving for spaghetti and meatballs.  You can certainly make them smaller and spread them out on two baking sheets instead of one.


We tend to taste test at least one or two once they meatballs are cooked and frozen.

cooked meatballs

Freezer Meatballs
Makes 36 large meatballs

2 onions, finely chopped
2 bunches parsley, finely chopped
2 pounds ground beef
1 ½ pounds ground pork or Italian sausage
4 cups Panko breadcrumbs
½ cup Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 eggs
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Siracha hot sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the onions, parsley, beef, pork, Panko, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Make several indentations in this mixture and add the eggs, Worcestershire, and Siracha. Mix thoroughly.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make meatballs by pinching out a bit of the mixture and rolling into a ball. The meatballs can go on the baking sheet with very little space in between.

Bake for about an hour or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Cool the meatballs and freeze on the baking sheet. Once the meatballs are frozen, they can be stored in freezer bags until you are ready to use them.