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Spanakopita.

Spinach Pie.

This has been my birthday dinner for as long as I can remember.

Growing up, birthday dinner meant my mama would make anything we wanted. I loved that day. I also loved my sister’s birthday dinners because they usually chose spinach pie too.

Except one year when Nurse Stephanie wanted bagels with cream cheese.

Nothing but the best for her.

Spinach Pie is still a major guilty pleasure for me.

For when I make a pan of spinach pie, I do not stop eating until it is gone.

I love this stuff.

I’m sure most of you are familiar with the classic phyllo (Filo) stuffed Greek classic that is Spanakopita.

I’m going to give you that recipe.

But I’m also going to give you the Americanized more kid-friendly recipe that I ate growing up, and that I crave still today.

I called my mama for this recipe, and for the origin of this recipe.

It turns out that this version of Spinach Pie comes from a Meatless Meals cookbook from MCMLXXIX.

That is how the year was printed in the cookbook.

We had to figure it out, and now you can too.

The amounts below will make one full 9×11 pan of spinach pie. I made a half recipe of each, so the pictures don’t accurately represent the measurements.

Preheat your oven to 375.

For the classic Greek Spanakopita, here is what you’ll need:

10 sheets of Phyllo dough (in the frozen desserts section of the grocery store near the puff pastry and pie shells)

1/2 stick melted butter

2 10 oz. boxes frozen chopped spinach (sometimes I up this to 3 boxes for more substance)

1 c. cottage cheese

3 eggs

2 c. feta cheese

1/2 onion finely chopped

black pepper

And for my Birthday Dinner Guilty Pleasure Americanized version, here is what you’ll need:

10 sheets of Phyllo dough

1/2 stick melted butter

2 10 oz. boxes frozen chopped spinach

1 c. cottage cheese

3 eggs

2 c. cheddar cheese

black pepper

We start off with melted butter. I do believe there is no better way to start a recipe.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Brush some melted butter on the bottom of your pan:

Carefully lay down one layer of phyllo dough.

This stuff is pretty delicate.

But don’t worry, if it is pieced together and imperfect looking- it will still taste delicious.

Add another layer of butter, then another layer of the phyllo. Keep going until you have five sheets of phyllo dough on the bottom.

Did I mention that this is an extremely healthy dish?

I didn’t?

Oh.

Well, it has spinach in it.

That’s healthy.

Now set that off to the side, and lets make our filling.

For both versions the filling starts the same way.

Defrost your spinach and give it a squeeze to drain the excess water.

You can use fresh spinach or swiss chard, but when my mom first started making this recipe the grocery store didn’t have those glorious pre-washed bags of spinach.

And to quote my mama, “I wasn’t going to hand wash all of that spinach.”

Therefore, there is only one way to properly make this dish in my humble opinion. And that is to use frozen spinach- preferably chopped.

Put that in a bowl.

Add in a cup of cottage cheese.

Now, beat three eggs.

You know, come to think of it, the squeezing of the spinach and the beating of the eggs are practically a workout.

So, feel free to have an extra piece of the spinach pie when it’s done.

Add the eggs to the mix.

Now add about 1/2 t. of freshly ground pepper.

Remember Adam Sandler on SNL?

With Dana Carvey?

“Wouldya like some fresh-a pepper?”

“She like-a da fresh-a pepper.”

I say that to myself as I put pepper in a dish.

Just thought you might like to know.

Now, for the Greek version, add in your 2 cups of feta and your chopped onion.

Mix that up, and you are good to go!

If you are making the Americanized version, do not add feta or onion. Rather, add in your 2 cups of shredded cheddar.

Mix it up, and you’re done!

Now spread your filling on the phyllo dough and butter bed that you have created.

Remember, I’m making a half-and-halfer so the left is my Greek version and the right is my American.

I guess I should pause for a moment and talk about nutmeg.

At this point, a sprinkle of nutmeg can be added across the entire pan.

I really, really, really don’t like nutmeg.

I have tried.

And tried.

But, to no avail.

I can stomach it in very small amounts in dessert dishes.

And I know that nutmeg enhances the flavor of dark greens.

But I just can’t get on board.

I have tried, and I cannot.

I hate being anything resembling a picky eater, so please if you love or even like nutmeg add it to the dish. I’m sure that if you like the stuff, it does indeed make the dish better.

I feel a weight lifted off of my shoulders with that public nutmeg confession.

To finish off our pie, we need more phyllo and butter.

Don’t you think?

Place one layer on top of the spinach mixture.

Then slather on the butter.

Then, add four more layers.

At the end, you should have five layers of the phyllo and five layers of butter.

Just remember, this is a healthy dish.

You know, because of the spinach.

Cover the pan tightly with foil, and pop it in the oven for 35 minutes.

After 35 minutes, it will look like this:

I think we can do better than that.

Put the pie back in the oven, uncovered, for 10-15.

The goal is to get the pie to a golden brown color.

This would not be a good time to leave the pie completely unattended.

I love when it is perfectly tan on top with some caramelized darker edges.

The corners are my favorite part.

PER-FECT-SHUN.

For a lunch or dinner, cut this in generous squares (using a pizza cutter works really well) when it is fresh out of the oven.

For a party, cut these into triangles and serve on a platter.

Truth be told, I had a cold piece that was a little soggy straight out of the fridge for breakfast over the weekend.

What is wrong with me?

Please do not follow my lead.

Eat this piping hot with the crunchy, crispy, golden, buttery crust.

Happy Birthday to me!

OK, it was three months ago.

But I’m still celebrating.

Lots o’ love,

Leah

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My sister, Nurse Stephanie, has piles and piles of hilarious stories based on her time with folks that are in and out of the hospital.

My favorite, FAVORITE is the one where an old lady called her Hoo-Ha a Pleasure Den.

Pleasure Den.

That is what I shall call it from now on.

And if you don’t know what a Hoo-Ha or a Pleasure Den is, don’t ask me.

‘Cause I’m not tellin’.

Thank you and goodnight,

Leah

I would like to go on record stating that the dog park is the greatest invention ever.

We have been making trips there several times a week to wear our ding dongs out.

Miss Jackson (the lab) and LolaBelle (the basset mutt) L-O-V-E love it there.

And all of the dogs provide much entertainment for their owners.

The instant we get through the gate, Lola is off. And she does not care where we are, what we are doing, or if she ever comes home with us again.

Because she has found a new friend, and in her mind they are exactly the same size and they will be best friends forever.

Until this guy comes along. He is her best friend forever and ever, amen.

Oh wait. What’s happening over here?… she better go check out over here.

This poor guy was quietly meditating in the glorious shade when all of a sudden he was bombarded.

Now, Lola is off hounding. She runs with her nose to the ground. She’s collecting clues.

To something.

I’m sure of it.

Please note that I have no close ups of Lola because, as I mentioned above, she has forgotten that we exist.

Completely.

She is too busy playing with these ding-a-lings.

Please also note that Lola only likes to play with big dogs.

She and this sweet-as-pie doberman wrestled (rather Lola kept getting body slammed) for a solid 30 minutes.

Are you wondering about Miss yet?

Want to see what she’s up to?

She’s with her best buddy.

With whom she stays the entire time.

No kidding.

She is always within a three foot radius.

Does she want to play?

Oh, yes.

… but only with Brad.

There is ONE thing in the dog park that can coax Miss from Brad’s side.

Because there are only two things that this dog loves: us and water.

And the dog park doesn’t disappoint.

Fortunately, it is really clean water.

Look at these yahoos.

There, that’s better.

While Miss is at the dog spa, Lola is still playing wrestlemania with Doberman.

Could she be any cuter? I think not.

Something draws Lola to the water eventually.

Us?

No.

Miss?

No.

Mama?

Mama?

Is that you, Mama?

No?

OK, see ya!

Dog ownership is not difficult when you have a dog park nearby.

On our way out, these big boys were coming in.

I honestly think you could put a saddle on one of these sweet babies.

Our ding-dongs played for about an hour.

Then, it was time to say goodbye.

These dogs are the worst at goodbye.

We headed home, and we gave thanks for the gift of the dog park for it gives many good things.

The best, best, best part of the dog park?

Lola and Miss pass out for the remainder of the day.

Glory be.

XO,

Leah

A History of Love
Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.

-Nicole Krauss

Happy Saturday,
LW

(Please read the title in the voice of the Soup Nazi– a la Seinfeld). Thank you.

As much as I dread cooler weather, it does have a benefit or two attached to it.

For one, the dogs can bear to be outside for more than 5 minutes. In fact, this ding dong kind of likes it:

Another benefit of the cooler weather is that soup once again enters my life.

I love soup.

Love. It.

And French Onion is one of my classic favorites.

Whenever I’m in a restaurant that offers the savory cheesy goodness that is Onion Soup, I tend to indulge.

But I like a homemade version better for a couple of reasons:

1. I can control the salt. For whatever reason, restaurants want to give their diners swollen ankles and restricted arteries through their version of French Onion Soup. It is always so stinking salty.

2. I can control the quality of the bread and cheese that is, in my humble opinion, the most important part of the soup.

Let me provide an example.

On vacation with my sisters, Nurse Stephanie ordered some French Onion Soup. I have no clue what kind of rock bread they used in their soup, but this is what Steph looked like trying to eat it:

Makes for a great picture and memory.

Doesn’t make for good soup.

For Leah’s French Onion Soup, here is what you’ll need for four servings.

Side Note: I almost always make at least four servings when cooking for two people. It gives the Main Man and I a lunch leftover for the busy work week.

3 T. Butter (mmmmmm!)

3 Large Yellow Onions, sliced

1 Clove of Garlic

1 Bay Leaf

1 t. Dried Thyme

2-3 Portobello Mushrooms, chopped (optional, but it makes the soup heartier and more delicious)

1/4 c. Sherry

1/2 c. Dry Red Wine (I used Chianti)- you could use white too if that is more your thing

3-4 c. Beef or Vegetable Stock

Some good white bread

Gruyere Cheese (please, please, please splurge on the Gruyere)

Let’s cook!

Get out a medium saucepan, and put your butter in there. Turn on your burner to medium heat:

Once that melts, throw in all of your sliced onions, your chopped clove of garlic, your bay leaf, and your thyme.

Your house will instantly smell UH.MAZE.ING.

I love the smell of onions and butter.

It lights my world on fire.

Stir that around effectively coating the onions with butter.

Have you seen the movie Julie & Julia?

I love the way that Meryl Streep playing Julia Child pronounces the word butter.

When I write the word butter in a recipe, I hear Meryl’s Julia voice in my head.

Let those onions cook for 3-4 minutes, and then add in your mushrooms if you so choose.

Mushrooms, onion, and thyme just make sense to me. I actually don’t understand why every French Onion Soup doesn’t include them. They add so much substance and depth of flavor.

I guess it may be because of people like my Dearly Beloved Friend Anne.

She has the most incredible gag reflex when it comes to mushrooms.

I have never seen my dad laugh as hard as he did when Anne and I were about 15 years old, and she came over for dinner. Something my mom served had mushrooms in it, and she encouraged Anne to “at least try it”.

Anne obliged.

She ended up with a red face.

Tears in her eyes.

A few dry heaves.

My dad was hysterical. I honestly don’t know how many times I have seen him laugh that hard. I guess he finds joy and hilarity in someone else’s dry heaves.

And that makes him and me not so dissimilar.

So Anne (or anyone in Anne’s camp), feel free to leave out the mushrooms.

The rest of you… throw ’em in the pot!

This is where the recipe becomes less than scientific.

You need to just let the onions and mushrooms spend some time together with the butter.

They need to get to know one another.

Cuddle up next to each other.

Love on each other.

Until the onions and mushrooms are buttery and delicious and softened.

Now it gets fun.

Throw in your sherry.

If you don’t have sherry, you can find it in your grocery store near the vinegars. It is relatively inexpensive, and a bottle of it lasts me a long time.

Now, open your red wine.

Pour yourself a glass.

You deserve it.

After all, you made it through the oppressive heat of summer.

And you made it through the day.

And you are cooking for yourself or your family or your friends.

So, yeah. You deserve it.

Add some of that wine to your soup pot.

Be careful if you are using a gas stove like me.

Alcohol plus live flame equals danger.

Let that simmer together over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.

You have no idea how delicious this smells.

But you will soon.

When ya make it.

Now add in 3-4 cups of stock. The amount of stock will be determined by how hearty or liquidy (yes, I’m aware liquidy isn’t really a word) you would like your soup.

To keep this a vegetarian dish, use vegetable stock.

If you want a little more depth of flavor, use some beef stock.

Or use a mixture of the two.

Let that come to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.

Oh hey, look who finally showed up to help me in the kitchen:

Slacker.

So, at this point, the base of your soup is complete.

Take a taste of it. With all of the stock in there, it is highly unlikely that you will need to add much salt, if any at all. But taste it to make sure. Add some pepper if you’d like.

If you are making this soup ahead of time for a party or guests or just dinner for another night, allow it to cool a bit and then transfer it to an airtight container and put it in the fridge.

To warm it up, just put it back in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat until it gets to temperature.

If you are eating it right away, here is how to finish it up.

We need some bread. Preferably white, crusty, and delicious:

Drizzle them with extra virgin olive oil:

Put them under the broiler (on high) in your oven for 1-3 minutes on each side. Keep an eye on them, because in my oven toasting bread goes from perfect to well-done very quickly.

When all toasty and delicious, pull the bread out of the oven and give it a gentle rub with a halved garlic clove.

Voila! Garlic bread.

Cut that into cubes, and lets grate our cheese.

Gruyere makes a world of difference in this soup. I have made this soup with pre-shredded mozzarella or shredded swiss, and it is OK.

With Gruyere it is perfect and amazing and life changing and life giving and magical.

I’m not even exaggerating.

Not even a tiny little bit.

I’m not.

Grate the gruyere.

Now, we will build our soup.

In an oven-safe bowl.

Oven safe bowls are very important for the French Onion Soup.

If you don’t have oven safe bowls or aren’t sure if you do, we’ll have to alter the final step of the recipe for you.

But never fear, you too can still enjoy the French Onion goodness.

Ladle a bunch of soup into your oven safe bowl or crock, and top that with your cubed garlic bread.

Then add a generous portion of the grated cheese:

Then pop that into the oven under the broiler for 3-5 minutes.

If you don’t have an oven safe bowl, pop it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until the cheese gets all melty.

Be careful removing it from the oven. The top of the bowl is extremely hot.

And if you accidentally pick it up with bare hands, you will get blisters.

I may or may not know that from personal experience.

Serve it up with a spinach salad topped with some strawberries and chopped smoked turkey.

Give thanks for the cooler weather.

For it has brought you renewed sanity because your dogs are back out in the yard.

And it has brought you soup once again.

And truth be told, soup- especially one with ooey gooey melty salty cheese on top- makes everything better.

Yours in white bread and cheesy goodness,
Leah

I hate to say it.

Summer seems to be winding down.

School started in most of the city this week.

And the days are getting shorter.

The temperatures are more bearable.

I even wore a long sleeve shirt the other morning when I first woke up.

Sigh.

There is a silver lining though.

This time of the year, to me, is optimal grilling season.

Cooler evenings make for more enjoyable nights on the patio. Standing outside cooking in front of a fire is not only bearable, it is delightful.

So, we grill.

And we grill a lot.

And this week, we grilled up some burgers. Turkey burgers, to be exact.

Without further ado, I give you the Turkey Brie Bacon Burger. Mmmm. Mmmm.

This burger is inspired by a Brie stuffed Turkey Burger that Bobby Flay makes.

I changed up a few things and didn’t stuff it, so here is my version.

What you’ll need:

Ground turkey breast, bacon, a green apple, brie, onion, sage, grill seasoning, and some buns or crusty bread.

Confession.

I long resisted the turkey burger.

Something about it seems unnatural.

And not as juicy as beef.

And not as beefy as beef.

Juicy and beefy. That’s how I like my burgers. And my men.

I couldn’t resist.

Sorry.

However, the turkey burger does allow for a burger dinner without the fat content that good old ground chuck provides.

So, I have tested and tried recipes to make the actual patty taste better.

And after much trial and error, I’m happy to report that we have a Winner, Winner, Turkey Dinner!

For the burgers, I use a little tip that my brother gave me for meatballs that seems to be the key in making delicious turkey burgers.

So, first put your turkey (1.3 lb here- for 5 patties) in a bowl, and add in 1 t. of sage and 1 T. of grill seasoning:

Then, do my brother’s magical trick.

Take a big ole white onion.

Or yellow onion.

Or red onion.

Or heck, a large shallot.

I don’t care.

Use a microplane or grater to grate the onion into the meat:

Keep going.

Work up a sweat.

Burn off some pre-burger calories.

Until you have 2-3 T. of grated onion.

Gently mix it all together.

Form your patties with love.

And throw them on the grill.

Now, I assume you know that turkey burgers have to be cooked all the way to well done.

If you didn’t know, now you do.

While you have your grill master (AKA the Main Man) handling the burgers, it is time to get working on the toppings.

I just had an inspired idea.

We should cook some bacon.

After all, this burger is made of turkey breast which is very lean.

And it will be topped with a fruit, for goodness sake!

We deserve some fat and bacon.

Agreed?

Agreed.

Oh Mama.

Me Likey.

While that is frying, let’s pull together our other toppings.

Thinly sliced green apple.

Crisp, tart, cold, delicious.

And a few slices of brie.

I got the double creme kind.

Wowza.

Now, we shall build a better turkey burger.

Take your crusty bread and slice off two pieces.

Put your freshly grilled burger on there.

Top with some brie, bacon, and your apple.

I added a little dijon mustard too.

Now that is a burger.

Dare I say, that is a turkey burger that could stand up and face off with any beef burger.

I guess I do dare say it.

Because I did.

Serve it up with some grilled zucchini and a simple salad of spinach and mango (or any other fruit).

This is juice-drippin-down-your-chin good.

Happy Cooler evenings and Optimal Grilling Season friends!

Faithfully yours in bacon and burgers,

Leah

Also known as Tomato Pie.

Guilty. Summer. Pleasure.

Brad’s aunt is one heck of a cook, and she introduced me to this delectable delight 11 years ago at the family lake house over the Fourth of July.

Aunt Chris has made the ter-mater pie every year since then, and I’m not gonna lie… it is one of my favorite parts of the holiday.

That, and seeing the family. I suppose.

I kid, I kid.

I love the family.

And I love swimming in the lake.

Oh wait, my irrational fear of lake fish prohibits a love of swimming in the lake.

I wish I were kidding on that one.

We all have our neuroses, don’t we?

Don’t we?

So, tomato pie.

It is savory, and is best made right about this time of year when tomatoes are juicy and delicious and bountiful, and when your herb plants are in full bloom with their bright goodness.

It kinda tastes like a picnic in the country.

I like tomato pie for lunch, dinner, or a snack. It is so summery good.

As a bonus, it is super duper easy to throw together.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and pull out these ingredients:

One frozen pie crust, 6 medium-large sized tomatoes, 4 green onions, a bunch of basil, whatever other herbs you have and want to include (I ended up having dill in the fridge, so I added that too), 1 1/2 c. cheddar cheese, 1/3 c. real mayo, 2 T. lemon juice

Let’s start by saying God Bless Marie:

For those of us that do not excel at baking, Marie makes life easier and decidedly more delicious.

Take one of those pie crusts prepared by Marie out of the package, and give the bottom of it a few good pokes with a fork.

This does something, I’m sure.

Now, toss that into the oven for 8-9 minutes.

Next, we need to peel the tomatoes, and there is an easy peasy way to do that.

Boil some water, and plop your tomatoes in.

Well, maybe just place your tomatoes in. We don’t want to scald our limbs with flying water.

Leave them be for about 45 seconds.

Once the skin splits, take out the tomatoes. This is what split tomato skin looks like.

Can you see the split?

Put the tomatoes into an ice bath.

The bath cools them down and stops them from cooking further:

After a minute or so of soaking in the ice, the tomato skin will come right off:

So, that the pie isn’t super soggy, I recommend de-seeding the tomatoes.

De-seeding.

Unseeding.

Seed Removaling.

You get the idea.

Slice off the end, hold the tomato over the sink, and squeeze out the seeds.

If you have some pent up aggression, this is a rather cathartic step in the cooking process.

It is practically therapy.

For free.

You are welcome.

Now, chop your tomatoes.

And then throw them in your pie crust.

Chop up your herbage.

I used basil, green onion, and dill.

But you are only limited by your imagination and/or garden here. Oregano, thyme, chives, or parsley would also be delicious.

Mint probably wouldn’t be. Or lavender. Or lemongrass.

But if one of those float your boat, I’m not gonna hold you back!

Sprinkle all of that on top of your tomatoes.

Add a little salt and pepper.

Cheese comes next.

One cup.

I recommend buying more cheese than you’ll need, because lets be honest…

It is impossible to shred cheese without eating some as you go.

I’ll give you a nickel if you can do it.

This next part may weird you out.

But, trust me.

It is a necessary step.

And it takes this pie over the top.

Take 1/3 c. mayo (the real stuff) and add 2 T. of lemon juice to thin it out.

Mix it up:

Then spread it on top.

Just do it.

You won’t regret it.

Oh, hey… I have a good idea.

Let’s put another 1/2 cup of cheese on top.

What do you think?

You agree?

Perfect!

Into the oven for 25 minutes.

It makes your house smell so good.

And it comes out looking like this:

This finished baking at 10:30 pm.

I pulled it out of the oven, and cut myself a huge piece.

Turns out tomato pie also makes a great dessert and late night snack.

As a final note, Lola Belle rested her head ever so patiently on my foot while I was cooking.

I like to think that she just loves me so.

But I know the truth.

She just wants the goods.

But thats ok, because she is so darn cute.

Yours in ‘Maters,

Leah

I love food.

I really do.

Food is delicious and fun and adventurous. It provides nutrition and sustenance.

But that is not why I truly love it.

I love food because it brings people together.

Since I was a tiny tot, I have been around good food because I have grown up around good cooks.

These cooks are some of my favorite people on the planet.

And, they make some of my favorite foods on the planet.

I’m working on gathering the recipes so that I can share them with you. I may have to perform some choke holds to draw the recipes out of these women. But I will do it.

For you.

You have to make me a promise though. If you make these recipes, you have to make them with love for someone that you love.

It is the only way they will turn out right.

I’m sure of it.

So, let me introduce you to the cast of cooks that I’ll be berating for recipes.

Before you meet them, I must warn you… I do, in fact, suspect that they are all lying liars.

Because I have some of the recipes from these gals that I will eventually share with you, and I cannot for the life of me recreate them. At least, not perfectly.

They never taste exactly the same.

So, I think all of my relatives are sneaky, withholding liar-pants.

I’m sure it isn’t my error.

It couldn’t be.

Right?

—————————————————————————————————————-

My mom can cook. My grandma can cook. My aunts can cook. My cousins, sister, and brother can cook.

My dad cannot cook.

Well, he can make a perfect bowl of cream of wheat. And popcorn.

But I digress.

My mom makes a mean spinach pie, knock-you-over lasagna, melt in your mouth angel food cake with chocolate frosting, and the list goes on and on.

I seriously took for granted the homemade meals that came out of my mama’s kitchen every night when we were growing up.

Now that I’m cooking, I more fully understand the planning, time, and effort that went in to making something that fed seven people, kept the majority of them happy, and was nutritional and delicious.

That is an amazing feat.

My Aunt Patti makes Italian Wedding Soup that will make you weak in the knees. It is easily the number one food that I look forward to at Christmas. You have not had Italian Wedding soup, until you have had her version.

You. Have. Not.

Then, my Aunt Stephanie… her ribs are famously delicious. And so are her cookies. And everything else she has ever made.

I mean it. Everything.

And my Grandma. You can feel her love in her pasta sauce. It is the essence of her… where she came from, what she loves, what she is proud of. Food is how she serves her family.

I have tears in my eyes right now thinking about the love that is poured into the food made by these women. And more importantly, the love that was shared around the table as we devoured it.

And reflecting back I know that my mom, grandma, aunts, sisters, brother, and cousins have all fed (both literally and figuratively) this passion for food that I have.

—————————————————————————————————————-

If you think it couldn’t get better than that, it does.

Because not only did I come from a family of culinary masters, I married into a family them as well.

Brad grew up very similarly to me, and his mama knows how to make a meal.

She’s famous for her coleslaw, cheesy zucchini, taco dip, and her love of all things chocolate.

Aunt Kim can take a breast of chicken and some salt and somehow create a five star gourmet meal.

Aunt Chris has introduced me to more delectable delights than I can count, but topping the list is her tomato pie. Oy vey.

I’m not sure what deep thought I’m trying to conjure up here.

Or if I have a point to make.

I was just thinking about why food makes me happy. Why do I like to stand over a hot stove with tired feet? Why do I enjoy the failures of a recipe gone bad as much as the triumph of creating a delicious masterpiece?

I think it is because in my life, where there has been food, there has been connection.

There has been conversation, confession, understanding, and love.

And so that is why I cook.

To feed my face and my soul.

I’m so eloquent.

This is my public thank you to the women in my life that have shaped who I am today- in and out of the kitchen.

That’s all.

Leah

This weekend I found some very special things.

They are pretty fantastic, but they need some TLC.

Want a sneak peak?

Ok, but just this once.

Real quick:

Isn’t she a beauty?

I mean, if you get past the orange and the strange beige plastic.

Oooh boy, I have plans for this gal.

And I’m excited.

Loving the Asian inspired base to this.

I found her at a yard sale down the street.

She was calling me as I walked the pups past.

I could tell that she wanted a life beyond being a 1970’s credenza.

And I shall breathe that life into her.

Stay tuned for the after. I plan to get to serious work this weekend.

Here is the second find.

These guys came from the local antique store.

I loved them at first sight.

These old shutters will serve a new purpose in our home.

The plan is (if all goes well) for these to hold some of our most valuable possessions.

I love the colors on these.

Can’t wait to get to work.

I just love a good find.

It gives me energy and it gets my creative juices flowing.

I hope I can live up to my vision!

Anyone have some good furniture before and afters?

I’d love to see ’em!

XO,

Leah

Ever.

I have one more chicken recipe.

Then, I’m done.

Forever.

Because I’m sick of chicken.

OK, I’m done with chicken for this week.

Today I give you my Famous Quiche of the Week.

And by Famous I mean it is famous in our household of two.

This is a heartier little quiche, and it is yummy.

Here’s what you’ll need:

A chicken sausage or a chicken breast chopped up prior to cooking.

Side note: how sick does that raw sausage look?

Some kale- or you can do spinach

Mushrooms- I’m using criminis, but you can use whatever or leave them out- I’ll never know!

Tomato

Green Onions

Shallot

Eggs

Cream

OH, and some vegetable or chicken stock. It isn’t pictured, but it does help the cooking process along.

Let’s get a pan going over medium heat. Add a little extra virgin olive oil:

Pull your sausage out of the casing. Put it in the pan, and cook it all the way through. If you are using a chopped up chicken breast, I’d add a little salt and pepper to give it some flava.

Once that is done cooking, remove it from the pan.

Now, lets get our kale ready. Kale is one of those super foods you read about. I happen to love it. It is super hearty, and it is delicious. If you like spinach, I think you’ll like kale.

Google tells me that kale is high in fiber, antioxidants, Vitamin A, and calcium.

So basically, if you make this quiche you’ll probably live forever.

To prepare the kale for cooking, you need to take the yummy leaves off of the woody kale stalk.

Hold the stalk, and pull off the leafy dark green goodness toward you:

Once all stalks are removed, give it a rough chop.

Also, chop your shallot and your mushrooms.

Throw your shallot into your pan to soften it up.

Then add in your mushrooms.

Mmmm. The kitchen should be smelling good about now.

Now, toss in your chopped kale.

Push it around a bit so that all of the leaves get wilted.

Here is where that stock comes in handy. I think it adds a nice savory flavor, and it helps cook the kale.

I used about 1/4 c.

While that continues to wilt, turn down the heat to med-low, and lets get the rest of our ingredients together.

In a bowl, combine 6 eggs:

and 1/4 cup of cream:

I always use very precise measurements as you can see.

Now throw in your chopped tomato and green onions:

Stir it up, little darling.

Now, to finish our kale. Sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper. If you use the stock, there will be some salt already in the dish. So, give it a taste and see if it needs a little more salt.

Ok, get out your quiche pan/pie pan/cake pan… whatever you are using. I do recommend a little non-stick spray.

Put your chicken on the bottom. You know, if you are a vegetarian feel free to leave the chicken out.

Or if you aren’t in the mood for chicken, you can substitute the chicken sausage with regular sausage.

Basically, do whatever you want!

Next, our kale mixture goes down.

Bonus: this gave me a spinach facial. It is the latest rage, you know.

Top it off with your egg/tomato/green onion mixture:

Truth be told, I am incapable of making a quiche without cheese. At this point in making the quiche, I had a moment of terror. To my shock and horror, I had forgotten the cheese.

So, I scrounged through the fridge and found a nice block of sharp cheddar.

I shredded it on top.

CLOSE CALL.

And I gave thanks for the ooey gooey goodness of cheese.

In to the oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes… until the middle is set.

Pull it out of the oven, and you get this:

Breakfast for another work week!

I have some fun late summer recipes planned for this week, so come on back and see me!

Happy, Happy Monday!

Leah

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