If you are a mom, I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day and if you have a mom – I hope you thoroughly enjoyed celebrating that special woman! We had a really nice weekend. It was full of Mother’s Day related activities. Saturday morning we went to a Mother’s Day Tea at my mom’s church and my pretty-much-sister Lili, lovely mother-in-law Lois, and super Aunt Hope joined us. It was fun! Next year we’re wearing hats. 🙂 Saturday night – the whole Spencer gang went to Dad and Mom Spencer’s house for an evening of celebrating her, eating pizza, lots of boys playing in the grass, and celebrating my brother-in-law’s birthday too. Whew!
Sunday morning I did worship team at church so my mom and dad came with us! That was fun. Then we headed back to our house for lunch on the patio. Yes – I did get a little stressed pulling it together at the last minute….which I told myself I wouldn’t do! Grrrr….I do seem to make strides in this area and I think it’s important because no one feels very blessed or touched if the hostess is stressed out. So thankfully – the stress was brief.
Having said that – I think I pulled off one of my favorite meals ever! I tried a few new recipes so that is always a gamble…but when Emeril and Ina are your sources – it’s hard to go too far wrong. You know – as I was cooking – the thought occurred to me that I should take pictures of my ‘recipes-in-progress’ experience since I wanted to blog about the recipes. However – my cooking pictures would look faaaar different than Pioneer Woman’s!!! You know – the glossy, no-mess, perfectly measured into little bowls – look? It just doesn’t look like that when I cook! LOL. It’s more like an Oklahoma tornado has torn through the kitchen. And I have plenty of counter space is the thing…this just must be my style. I do try to clean up as I go but still – it’s not a picture-appropriate set of circumstances. So just use your imagination! 🙂
I made Emeril’s Quiche Lorraine (and yes the homemade pastry crust IS worth it!) and also made his simple salad viniagrette that he included with the quiche recipe. Both were hits. Hey – a little extra bacon and swiss cheese never hurt anyone! 🙂 We added a fruit salad and french bread and had the perfect Mother’s Day lunch on the patio. AND THEN – came Ina’s lemon bars. Oh. My. Gosh. I have been loving lemon anything recently and these reminded me of one of my favorites in Paris last year – tarte citron. If you like lemon bars – these are for you!
Here are the recipes:
Quiche Lorraine – Emeril Lagasse
•Flaky Butter Crust, recipe follows
•6 ounces thick cut bacon, cut into narrow strips (or “lardons”)
•2 large eggs
•2 large egg yolks
•1 1/4 cups half-and-half
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
•Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
•1 cup grated Gruyere or Swiss
•Simple Salad, recipe follows
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to an 11-inch circle. Fit into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and trim the edges. (Alternatively, a 9-inch pie pan can be used.) Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Line the pastry with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the crust is set, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until crisp and the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Discard the fat or reserve for another use.
Arrange the bacon evenly over the bottom of the baked crust.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, yolks, and half and half. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour into the prepared crust and bake until the custard is golden, puffed, and set yet still slightly wiggly in the center, 30 to 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with Simple Salad.
Flaky Butter Crust:
•1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
•1 to 2 tablespoons ice water, or more as needed
To make the dough in a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and butter in the processor and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube and pulse quickly 5or 6 times, or until the dough comes together and starts to pull away from the sides of the container. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To make the dough by hand, combine the flour, salt, and butter in a medium bowl, and mix with a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix until the dough comes together and is no longer dry, being careful not to overmix. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface according to the recipe, fit it into the pan, and allow to rest again in the refrigerator before baking.
Yield: one 9-inch tart or pie crust
•1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
•2 teaspoons dark brown sugar, optional
•1 tablespoon chopped garlic
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
•3/4 cup olive oil
•Mesclun salad mix or favorite greens, for accompaniment
Beat the vinegar in a bowl with the sugar, garlic, salt and pepper until sugar and salt dissolves. Then beat in the oil by droplets, whisking constantly. (Or place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine.) Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Toss a few tablespoons of the dressing with the salad mix and serve immediately.
If not using dressing right away, cover and refrigerate, whisking or shaking again before use.
MY NOTES: In an effort to conserve energy – I had to spread my cooking process out. I made the crust on Friday night and refrigerated it until Saturday afternoon. I just let it sit out for 30 minutes before rolling it out and it worked like a charm. I also made the quiche on Saturday afternoon and then warmed it up Sunday for lunch. Used a pinch of ground nutmeg instead of fresh. Used extra bacon and swiss cheese. YUM! This is a keeper!
Ina Garten’s Lemon Bars:
For the crust:
•1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
•1/2 cup granulated sugar
•2 cups flour
•1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For the filling:
•6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
•3 cups granulated sugar
•2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
•1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
•1 cup flour
•Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.
Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
MY NOTES: I used extra lemon zest because if you like lemon – how could 2 TBLS ever be enough??? Made these on Friday night and Sunday they were still perfect. In fact, they are still perfect today (unfortunately!). They are best if they are served cold. Will make these many times over for the rest of my life!
So here’s to a happy week ahead! I hope you had a great weekend!