Thursday, January 26, 2012

Breakfast, Brunch and Dinner

Every once in a while, I email Chris a note about what I'm planning on making for dinner. Usually I get an "Ok." If it's taco night, I might get a "Yay!" But last night, this is what he emailed back:

"That's ambitious."


I made a crustless quiche with cheese and herbs and baked apples stuffed with sweet potatoes, sausage, candied pecans, apples and cranberries. It might sound like a lot of work to my dear husband, but for the Gourmess, it was a breeze. (It was ready and waiting in about 45 minutes.) And, it was tasty.

For the Crustless "Quiche," I whisked together 6 eggs, some sour cream (about 1/4 cup), a 1/4 of milk, about 2 TBS of ricotta cheese I wanted to use up, and 1 TBS of herbes de Provence. Then, I poured it all into a greased pie pan. It baked at 375 degrees (on my convection oven's fan bake setting) for about 30 minutes, until the top was lightly browned.

While that was baking, I browned some crumbled pork sausage in a large skillet along with cinnamon, garlic powder, herbes de Provence and 1 TBS of pure maple syrup.  I washed two large Granny Smith apples, cored them and cut a thin slice off the bottom to make them stable.  I cut about 1/2 inch off of the top and peeled a strip from the top as well, to help with even baking.  (Put a bit of lemon juice on the unpeeled part so they don't turn brown while they're waiting.) Then, I carved out a larger hole in the middle and diced those extra pieces of apple and tossed in with the sausage.  I also added in about 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of chopped "Pecan Pie" glazed pecans to the sausage pan.

I love using the Ziploc Zip 'n Steam Microwave Bags -- and a few weeks ago, when prepping for vacation, I steamed some halved and peeled sweet potatoes and threw them in the freezer for future use.  Jump to last night and I heated the thawed potatoes in a small pan and roughly mashed them.  I stirred in a bit of butter, maple syrup, garlic powder and cinnamon and then mixed the potatoes in with the sausage mixture, adding salt to taste.  A few spoonfuls went into each apple.

Now, here's the secret to getting this all done in less than an hour:  I added about 2 TBS of water to microwave-safe dish, then gently placed the stuffed apples in the dish. I covered the dish and microwaved the apples for 5 minutes.  When 5 minutes were up, the apples were tender but not mushy. It usually takes about 40-60 minutes to bake apples in the oven--but, I think the microwave method does just fine in the absence of time.

When the eggs were ready, I took the pan out to cool a bit and placed the apples in the oven for another minute or so, then placed an apple and a serving of quiche on each plate.  To finish, I stirred a bit of butter and about a splash of maple syrup into the juices that were left in the dish, then spooned that over each apple. A sprinkle of cinnamon, ground pepper and more pecans, and they were done.

I felt like we were having a lovely brunch somewhere. All that was missing were some mimosas.  The tart apples and the sweet stuffing went nicely together, and the cheesy, eggy "quiche" helped balance all the flavors on the plate.


I know "brunch" is breakfast for lunch, but Chris and I were trying to come up with a new word for having brunch for dinner.  Any suggestions?

I was thinking: "Yum."

xoxoxo

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