Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"What's Next?"

It's been almost a year since I graduated college. I remember handing in my history tutorial, getting in my car, and almost making it off campus before I started crying. I didn't understand what I was feeling, but throughout the weeks that followed those same tears kept surfacing. It finally clicked one day that I was trying to come to terms with uncertainty.

Family and friends gathered for the holidays and asked me a dozen times (plus a dozen times more) what my plans were now. I had no idea how to answer. Obviously I wanted to find a job. Obviously I wanted to be successful, but our job market favors experience over ambition and I found myself fighting a losing, uphill battle.

Failure is inevitable every now and then, but so too is success. We set goals for ourselves and measure our success in life on whether or not we achieve them. What if my life goal wasn't a person, place or thing? What if it was a state of being? It was a few months later when I was asked again where I was going and what was next. I didn't cry. I didn't shrug my shoulders and jokingly reply "gainful employment?". I answered with one word and left it at that.

"Happiness."


Truth be told, I've never been sure where I would end up. I'm still not. When people ask me where I see myself in one/five/ten years I still can't even fathom the specifics of the answer they're looking for. All I know is that I want to be happy.


Then again....

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Quiche

My dear friend Katie opened my eyes this weekend to the wonderful world of quiche. Of all the adventurous foods I've tried in my life, I have never once noshed on a quiche. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I actively avoided quiche before this week. I had in my mind the belief that quiche would be some oddly textured, bland, eggy pie. Oh lordy was I wrong.


Look at that beautiful, golden brown goodness! Katie was kind enough to share her base recipe with me and teach me the fundamentals of quiche:

1. Blind bake your crust beforehand- soggy crust is no good for quiche!
2. Measurement are for the weak of heart. Toss everything in until it feels right.
3. Salt and Pepper. Always. 
4. Quiche is delicious hot, cold, and everywhere in between. 

There ya have it! Now let your quiche ambitions run wild! Spinach, peppers, onions, bacon, sausage, chicken, cheddar, Gruyere, bleu.....any combo your little heart desires can meet with success in a quiche. Below is the recipe that Katie made for me- I'd highly suggest this as a great dish for quiche-virgins. 

Katie's Sausage and White Cheddar Quiche
1 pie crust (homemade or store bought)
6 eggs
3/4 C cream
1 pound pork sausage (uncooked)
1 C fresh shredded white cheddar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.

Blind bake* your pie crust for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs and cream. Beat until incorporated, then add cheese, pork sausage, salt and pepper. Pour into pie crust and return to oven. Bake at 375 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown and set in the center. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes to allow the custard to firm up for serving. 

As I mentioned, I also loved this quiche straight out of the fridge. Make one, slice into serving sizes, then store for a quick breakfast!  



*To blind bake, press your pie crust into a pie plate. Cover the dough with a sheet of parchment paper, then add 2 cups of uncooked rice or beans to the center of the parchment. Bake, then remove parchment/rice from crust. Viola! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Last Bright Spots of the Year

I took these photos a few weeks ago at the family farm and was beginning to feel badly for not sharing them while the sun was still shining and warm. As fall has decided to set in for real this time, I think today is as good a day as any to post them. It was a bit dreary out, and I was still feeling a smidgen cruddy from my weekend-ruining cold all day. It's also a Tuesday and, as I've come to determine, Tuesday's are the worst days of the week (scientific evidence to follow shortly).

Anyway, I figure we could all use a bit of a bright spot every now and then.



Saturday, October 6, 2012

Shrimp and Pork Wonton Soup

I'm feeling a bit under the weather this weekend. Fall is settling in nicely, bringing along with it a scratchy throat and foggy head. Boo. I decided yesterday that my Saturday would be dedicated to soup. Chicken Noodle? Too 'blah' for my craving. Slow Cooker Beef Stew? Too 'heavy' for my delicate tummy. Veggie? Lentil? Tomato? All no's.

Today was a day for Wonton Soup.

I'm about to share with you something magical. My cousin's husband first made this soup for me. He's an amazing cook, so I was certain there was no way I would be able to replicate this recipe. However, I was amazed at how simple the ingredients and assembly were and, with the exception of one overly-salty broth snafu (sorry, boyfriend...), this soup has never failed me.

Shrimp and Pork Wonton Soup

6 oz pork, roughly chopped

8 medium shrimp, shelled and ground

1 tsp light brown sugar


1 tbs rice wine or dry sherry


2 tbs soy sauce


1 tsp finely chopped scallion


1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger


24 wonton wrappers


3 cups chicken stock


finely chopped scallions to garnish


In a large bowl, mix together the pork, ground shrimp, sugar, sherry, 1 TB of the soy sauce, scallions, and 

ginger.  






mmmm, nothing says 'party' like raw pork

Let the mix rest for about half an hour. Take 1 wonton skin, wet down all four sides with water, then place 

1 tsp of the meat mix in the center of the wrapper. Fold along the diagonal and pinch the top point. Press 

each of the outside points into the middle, pinching the seams closed: 



At this point, you could freeze the wontons on the tray until solid and then transfer to a bag for later use. 

Or you could make tasty, tasty soup. Bring 3 cups of chicken stock to a boil in a wok or other large pot. 

Add the wontons and boil for 4-5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 TB of soy sauce and extra chopped 

scallions for garnish. If cooking frozen wontons, allow to boil for 10-15 minutes. 



Slurp happy, my friends.