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Upcoming cooking classes:  see above, top right corner-CURRENT CLASSES. Come cook and eat.  No shopping and no cleanup.  I promise.

NOTE:  After this post, More Time will be on vacation for a wee while. I’ll see you when I get back!  

About once a year I invite folks for a slow-down-your-life, stay and chat Sunday brunch for which the menu is short and sweet: a few quiches–each different, all made ahead and warming as folks have a first drink, a big bowl of fresh fruit cut up and maybe mixed with some fresh mint, a basket of muffins and/or rolls or a skillet of crispy potatoes (recipes below), and a choice of “osas” (OH-sahs)—MIMosas, POMosas, Bellinis, CRANmosas, and so on (choose your own juice or fruit and top with sparkling wine.) A big pot of coffee is turned on just before guests’ arrival, brunch music is tuned in, and everything is laid out on the table or counter all happily self-serve. Plates are at the start, food in the middle, and flatware is wrapped and tied in napkins, placed in a basket at the end of the buffet so no one must juggle plate, flatware, and dishing up food all at the same time. Drinks are set-up in their own stations and guests sit wherever they like, moving around at will, as conversations wax and wane, or when they’re hunting seconds.

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Recipe for Whole Wheat Cranberry Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins (above)

Recipe for Blueberry Muffins from my book  (below)                IMG_5693

This class, taught at Mountain High Appliance (formerly Shouse) in the Jenn-Air Kitchen (or at home if I have just four students!) focuses on the main portion of a basic make-ahead brunch that you can embellish (i.e.muffins, coffee cake, green salad, bloody marys), but also gives you the happy opportunity to create your very own breakfast sausage and a warm, boozy bread pudding for dessert–which, according to Ina Garten, is what people will remember anyway.  (I think people will remember the comfort of being together.) The Menu, then, which can be divided between guests for potluck, looks like this:

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MENU for spring brunch class

  • COFFEE, “OSAS” (choice of juice with sparkling wine or champagne), SPARKLING WATER  … For 8 servings of osas (OH-sahs), you’ll need 16 ounces or 2 cups total juice and 48 ounces sparkling wine. The proportion is 2 ounces juice to 6 ounces sparkler or to taste. Adding a little fresh fruit (a couple cranberries in fall, raspberries in summer), jazzes up the flute.  There are 25 ounces in a regular-sized 750ml bottle of wine. Buy cheap flutes at the dollar or discount store or borrow them.  Otherwise any glasses will work.
  • BIG BOWL OF STRAWBERRIES AND BLUEBERRIES with Fresh Mint -You’ll need at least 1/2 cup or 2.5 ounces for 8 servings PLUS extra for seconds. (There are 8 ounces in each half-pint of berries.)
  • QUICHES: You’ll learn to make nearly any quiche you want with my Master Quiche recipe. Use my homemade crust or a store-bought one. Maybe you’ll choose a green chili-cheddar or a bacon-swiss?  Each quiche provides 6 regular or 8 small servings. (Leftovers are perfect for breakfast, lunch or a cold supper.)
  • HOMEMADE SAUSAGE PATTIES with your personal choice of seasonings. At 2 ounces for each patty and 1 patty per serving, you’ll need a pound of pork plus seasonings/ground bacon.  More would probably be eaten, so go for doubling this and keeping any leftovers for breakfast sandwiches.
  • SAM SIFTON’S GLORIOUS (SINFUL) BANANAS FOSTER BREAD PUDDING  which has a boozy Rum Caramel Sauce and ultimately channels Meg Ryan in the Katz Deli scene of “When Harry Met Sally.” (This from a chocolate-chocolate girl.) Why reinvent the bread pudding wheel? Each 2-quart pan with the caramel sauce serves 8–can add ice cream for gilding the proverbial lily. (See cooking notes below photo.)

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Cook’s Notes for Bread Pudding: 1. No brioche within 500 miles and don’t bake? Buy Challah. No Challah?  Try a good baguette with 1 tablespoon extra white sugar after baking. 2. I liked the egg mixture for the bread with about half of the amount of salt called-for, so that’s 1/2 teaspoon for the four eggs and 2 cups milk, etc. 3. At altitude, the caramel sauce may take 20 minutes, fyi. If you like salty caramels, you can add a bit of extra salt to the cooking caramel. LAZY COOK OPTION:  BUY A JAR OF CARAMEL SAUCE AND HEAT.)

I’m totally addicted to NPR Tiny Desk concerts and also to Lyle Lovett as it were.  Listen while you work because just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. True.

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Student:  SHOULD MY QUICHE LOOK PERFECT?

Alyce:  I can’t imagine why it should, but it will taste beautifully and it will look better each time you make one.

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Hey, I made that! ( above and below: Mom and Kids’ class, 2010)
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We did it! Let’s eat!
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 No more fear of pies for Missy!

MASTER 9-inch QUICHE RECIPE       Serves 6

What’s a quiche (keesh)?  A quiche is a savory (not sweet) custard (eggs and milk/cream mixed together), one-crust, open-faced pie or tart that can be made with a variety of fillings such as ham, bacon, asparagus, leeks, broccoli, fennel, onions, chiles, sweet peppers, and all kinds of cheeses. It’s good for any meal at all or for leftover snacks/meals,  Quiche travels/keeps well and is filling and real men (or women) do like it. (Click here for the “Man Quiche” song cartoon on youtube.) Quiche can also be made without a crust and/or in individual portions:

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My recipe for crustless, individual quiches HERE. Use cupcake liners or not in regular-sized muffin tins.

Use your favorite filling to make exactly the quiche you’d like for brunch or throw in the ham and mushrooms from the leftover take-out pizza.  If you’re short on time, you can skip baking the crust ahead (blind baking). Just bake at 400 F (205 C) for 10 minutes, lower temperature to 350 F (177 C) and bake until done—30 -40 minutes more. 

  • 1 9-inch pie crust (homemade–scroll down for recipe or store bought)
  • 1 ½ cups half and half
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • ½ cup filling (chopped cooked asparagus, chopped green chiles mushrooms, cooked sausage, cooked bacon, or ham, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese ( Choose from Gruyere, Swiss, Cheddar)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 C). Place dough for pie crust in pie plate or buttered tart pan.  Crimp edges if using a pie pan (pinch between thumb and index finger or press into pan using table fork.) or press into fluted edges of tart pan, then trimming excess dough by running a rolling pin over the top of the pan.  Press a doubled piece of aluminum foil into the dough on the pie plate/tart pan to keep crust in place and bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack while you prepare filling ingredients. Lower oven temperature to 350 F (177 C). 

2. Whisk together half and half, eggs, salt, and pepper and set aside. Place filling topped with cheese in crust and carefully pour the egg mixture on top of the filling.

3. Bake for approximately 30 minutes on a rimmed baking sheet or until filling is just barely set; a knife inserted at center should come out nearly clean. Do not over bake.  Cool at least 10 minutes on rack before cutting and serving warm. Or cool, wrap loosely, and store for up to 3 days, cut and serve cold.

Cook’s Notes:

Can freeze: wrap totally cooled quiche tightly in doubled foil and freeze at 0 degrees F for up to 3 months. Defrost totally while wrapped, unwrap, and reheat quiche at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until hot through. Will take longer if reheating more than one quiche.

Can turn this up a notch by using heavy or whipping cream instead of half and half.  If instead you want to SAVE calories or fat, you can also use no-fat or other canned evaporated milk (don’t use condensed milk.)

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Here are a few different quiches to think about. Here is Rachael Ray’s version of a basic quiche.WP_20150429_017

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 HOT HONEY-SAGE or THYME FOR ROSEMARY HOMEMADE BREAKFAST SAUSAGE

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HOMEMADE BREAKFAST SAUSAGES 

Making your own sausage is entertaining and allows you to season your sausage exactly as you like it. Don’t like the heat? Tone it down. Want sweet? Add a little maple syrup. Here are two examples from which to choose. Pick one (or do half of each), mix it up, cook a little patty, and try it to see if you think it needs more salt or pepper or a different spice. They’re good immediately, but profit from being mixed and stored overnight in the fridge before cooking. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Google breakfast sausage recipes and see what you find. 8-10 patties per pound, depending on size of patties.

Hot Honey-Sage Sausage:

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • ¼ pound ground or minced bacon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (use ¼ t for milder sausage)
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper (leave out for milder sausage)
  • 1/8 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 tablespoon honey or real maple syrup

Thyme for Rosemary Sausage:

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • ¼ pound ground or minced bacon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme

Directions for either sausage: 

Using your hands, mix all of the ingredients together very well. Store overnight in the fridge if possible. Roll sausage into about 1½ inch balls and pat evenly into patties in your hands. Cook in a heavy skillet with a little oil over medium heat until well-browned on one side; flip and cook until browned on the other side and cooked through or to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Store leftovers wrapped tightly in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Want to grind your own pork and make the sausage even more from scratch? Click here.

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QUICHE CRUST RECIPE: Pâte Brisée (paht BREE-zay)  Made in a Cuisinart or in bowl with pastry cutter/two knives—

This is the dough I use most often. For each 10″ pie shell 

1 1/3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup or 1/4#  unsalted butter, very cold, cut into 8 pieces (1 stick)  
1/4 cup ice water (measure 1/4 cup water into a 1 cup measuring cup half full of ice)

Place flour and salt in the work bowl of the food processor fitted with steel blade.  Pulse a couple of times to distribute salt.  Add cold butter and pulse briefly several times until butter is worked into flour in several different sizes (1/4″ – 1/2″).  With machine running, slowly pour water through feed tube until dough begins to come together.  Stop machine and carefully remove dough from work bowl.  Working quickly to avoid melting the butter within the dough, form into a ball and then flatten into a disc.  Roll out and fill immediately (see above) or chill, well-wrapped,  1 hour or up to two days ahead. 

You can also make this dough up to two months ahead and store it in the freezer.  If you store it rolled out in the pie plate (Pyrex or metal pans are freezer safe.), you can just make your pie and bake it with a frozen crust. 

If you do not have a Cuisinart, make this pie with a pastry cutter (here’s another video) or two knives.   Recipe courtesy CUISINART.

If you’d like to add potatoes, try this:  My Parmesan-Garlic Crispy Potato recipe

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Cook along at home with this class or watch the top corner at right:  CURRENT CLASSES and come cook with me in person! I’d love to cook with you.

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Sing a new song; bake a new quiche,

Alyce