COFFEE TALK

Hey there friend!  Do you have your iced coffee in hand?  Oh, you are already on your third cadbury egg of the day?  Well played, well played. 

{Pedantic Foodie}
These pretty little eggs were hand-painted by my cousin.  She's amazing.

Over the past eight days Norwyk Manor has gone through a rigorous process my mother used to call “spring cleaning.”  It feels like my little abode went on a juice cleanse. The sock drawer opens without coaxing and no longer makes me nauseous.  The sweaters have been packed away and the sundresses hung in deliberate rainbow order.  The floor of Mr. Pedantic’s vehicle is actually visible now that I finally bid those lifeless after-wedding balloons goodbye.  It has felt so good.  So much better than a juice cleanse actually feels and far less painful.  I am even getting better at purging.  I mean, I still cringed when I had to throw away the empty toiletries we had taken on our honeymoon, but I did it and that is what matters.  Sentiment versus minimalism - it’s my constant battle. 

So...Easter!  It's been the primary topic around here all week.  Are you hosting or attending this year? I heard tell that my aunt is making that retro strawberry jello/pretzel dessert and that is pretty much the most exciting news I have heard all month. 

I am not sure if I will actually get around to painting eggs this year.  I think I lost track of time with all of the cleaning and organizing and now I am wondering if it is too late.  Nonetheless, I was ogling ideas on Pinterest and these were my top favorites. (One, two & three.)

I am not generally one for gimmicky desserts, but even I must admit that these pavlovas are pretty adorable.

I felt affirmed in my affections when I read this.  That is, without a doubt, my favorite butter.  Also, why have I never done a butter tasting?  Bucket list. 

I told you the obsession was inevitable… I really want to try this Honeydew-Basil Agua Fresca.

Nothing excites me more than learning a new piece of culinary heritage.  This article was wonderfully written.  On a similar note, I think I may need to add this book to my library. 

These tiny Easter cakes have been calling my name all week.  Petit fours are one of my greatest weaknesses but I have never delved into making them myself.  Spring project?

Is your ham ready to bake?  Are you making this quiche for breakfast or this cake for dessert?  Whatever you are doing this weekend, I hope it involves much celebration, food and family.  Happy, happy Easter!

Sincerely, 

Pedantic Foodie

 

[ Easter Brunch pt. 2. ] Agua Fresca from Over Easy

At this point (many Easters ago) my siblings and I would have begged my mother to her breaking point and gone into full egg-stuffing mode.  

A simple agua fresca made with fresh pineapple, fragrant mint, sweet cucumbers, and brightened with lime.  The perfect springtime tonic!

We used to have quite the grandiose egg hunts on my family's humble two acres, and once the eggs were pulled out of the barn loft and the candy bought, we would not stop pestering my mother for the task of stuffing them.  We would take solemn vows against eating the candy while stuffing, but our thrill in the job was by no means dimmed.  My sister and I grabbed our favorite colors - hers purple and mine chartreuse - leaving the unwanted eggs for our compliant younger brother.  

A simple agua fresca made with fresh pineapple, fragrant mint, sweet cucumbers, and brightened with lime.  The perfect springtime tonic!

I took pride in matching the candy to the eggs and we would excitedly make "bonus eggs" that contained just shy of the number of jelly beans that would keep the egg from closing. 

A simple agua fresca made with fresh pineapple, fragrant mint, sweet cucumbers, and brightened with lime.  The perfect springtime tonic!

Easter was always joyous, but not because of the new dresses, or the thrilling hunts, or my grandmother's succulent, glazed hams, but because our parents never let us forget that those traditions were just that - traditions, and we were going to church that morning to celebrate something far greater. 

A simple agua fresca made with fresh pineapple, fragrant mint, sweet cucumbers, and brightened with lime.  The perfect springtime tonic!

Earlier this week, I shared the recipe for this quiche and suggested it as a possible Easter morning option.

A simple agua fresca made with fresh pineapple, fragrant mint, sweet cucumbers, and brightened with lime.  The perfect springtime tonic!

Today, on this very fine Wednesday, I am giving you the perfect spring drink to serve alongside it! 

A simple agua fresca made with fresh pineapple, fragrant mint, sweet cucumbers, and brightened with lime.  The perfect springtime tonic!

This recipe also comes from Over Easy.  One of my favorite parts of Joy's newest book is the beverage section.  I love all of the fun and inventive beverage options she gives, and I especially appreciate the pairing suggestions.  She does our thinking for us. 

Up until last week, I had never made any form of agua fresca before, but when I saw the ridiculously simple ingredient list, I decided I had no excuse. 

A simple agua fresca made with fresh pineapple, fragrant mint, sweet cucumbers, and brightened with lime.  The perfect springtime tonic!

So, what is agua fresca?  Well it is a little more than its translation would suggest.  I mean, that would be a little boring. 

A simple agua fresca made with fresh pineapple, fragrant mint, sweet cucumbers, and brightened with lime.  The perfect springtime tonic!

Agua frescas are water-based, non-alcoholic drinks that have been flavored with fruits and/or herbs and sweetened lightly. 

A simple agua fresca made with fresh pineapple, fragrant mint, sweet cucumbers, and brightened with lime.  The perfect springtime tonic!

I have a very strong sense that you will be seeing quite a few of them this year so you may want to find your blender.  Now that I know the simplicity there is nothing stopping me from spiking every glass of water with some herbaceous fusion. 

A simple agua fresca made with fresh pineapple, fragrant mint, sweet cucumbers, and brightened with lime.  The perfect springtime tonic!

This particular recipe called for cucumbers, pineapple, and mint.  I added a dose of fresh lime for a bit more acidity. 

A simple agua fresca made with fresh pineapple, fragrant mint, sweet cucumbers, and brightened with lime.  The perfect springtime tonic!

I have recently realized that I prefer drinking cucumbers over eating them.  Their flavor is so refreshing. 

A simple agua fresca made with fresh pineapple, fragrant mint, sweet cucumbers, and brightened with lime.  The perfect springtime tonic!

Let's pause to acknowledge the world's most adorable paper straws.  The pom-pom tails make my heart skip a beat.  I'm squealing as I type this. 

A simple agua fresca made with fresh pineapple, fragrant mint, sweet cucumbers, and brightened with lime.  The perfect springtime tonic!

This lovely spring tonic can be made the night before you plan to serve it and refrigerated.  The flavors will actually improve and meld as it sits. 

A simple agua fresca made with fresh pineapple, fragrant mint, sweet cucumbers, and brightened with lime.  The perfect springtime tonic!

Simple, fruity, and perfectly refreshing.  This is the ideal pairing for your hearty breakfast quiche, and a great way to pave the way for all those cadbury eggs.  

Sincerely, 

Pedantic Foodie


Cucumber Pineapple Agua Fresca

serves 8 / recipe from Over Easy (slightly adapted)

3 cups fresh pineapple cubes

- 1/2 english cucumber, sliced

- 10 fresh mint leaves 

- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

- 1/2 cup granulated sugar

- 5 cups filtered water 

In the base of your blender combine pineapple, cucumber, mint, lime, sugar, and 2 cups of the water.  Blend on high until very smooth.  The mixture will be quite thick.  

Transfer to a large pitcher and stir in the remaining water.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  This will give the flavors a chance to bloom and meld. 

Give the agua fresca a good stir before dispensing.  Serve over ice with cute straws and maybe a sprig of mint if you're feeling it.  Enjoy!

[ Easter Brunch pt. 1] Broccoli & White Cheddar Quiche from Over Easy

Oh I have been waiting for this day. 

A simple and hearty quiche perfect for Easter Brunch!

I have anticipated this book for well over a year and have been eagerly waiting for my pre-ordered copy since mid-January.  

Joy the Baker is the lady who inspired me to create this space and her work continues to motivate my efforts and spark my creativity.  

A simple and hearty quiche perfect for Easter Brunch!

This brunch book is beautifully put together.  It is intuitive, instructional, and just really fun.  I love it and I know you will love it, and nobody is paying me to say that.  

Many of its golden recipes strike the comfy weekend balance between ease and effort.  When brunching, or breakfasting, on the weekends we have a bit more time for frills, but do not wish to feel like we are working.  This recipe is a perfect example of the book's approachable balance.  While we have to do some chopping and sautéing, we are going to let the supermarket handle the pastry side of things for us. 

A simple and hearty quiche perfect for Easter Brunch!

It took me several trips of reading and skimming through this book to decide which of the many eye-catching and hunger-igniting recipes I would tackle first.  For whatever reason, my eye kept returning to this Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche.  

It's odd that I would turn down donuts for eggs, and even more peculiar that I would choose quiche when truly, up until now, I had only liked two of the quiches I had had in my life. 

A simple and hearty quiche perfect for Easter Brunch!

Nonetheless, I bought and trimmed the broccoli, grated the cheese, and cracked the eggs. 

Side note: Trimming the broccoli is fun because you get to make teeny tiny florets and they are adorable.  I started giggling thinking about them being tiny trees and then my mind went to Bob Ross (who I have only recently discovered) and "happy little trees," and I giggled more.  No one else was home, just me giggling at my broccoli.  Simple pleasures, folks. 

A simple and hearty quiche perfect for Easter Brunch!

The liquid side of this quiche is super simple, consisting of eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and of course, half and half.  With all that broccoli we can justify some extra cream.  

A simple and hearty quiche perfect for Easter Brunch!

Pepper polka-dots. 

A simple and hearty quiche perfect for Easter Brunch!

While Joy called for good old regula' cheddar, I went with a sharp white cheddar because I will always pick white cheddar over the orange stuff, and because I cannot seem to completely follow a recipe these days. 

A simple and hearty quiche perfect for Easter Brunch!

Now for the vegetables!  

We have to talk about the crust for a moment.  You know I am a homemade puff pastry girl all the way, but I bought the frozen stuff for this quiche and I'll tell you why. 

First, this is an endeavor in balance.  We are taking time to chop and sauté and whisk, but very few of us wish to make puff pastry on a weekend morning.  Secondly, homemade puff pastry would almost be wasted here, because while those lovely, buttery layers are going to give us perfectly crisp edges, the greater part of the pastry will form the bottom crust and will have no chance to puff at all.  So, that is why I will heartily agree to pre-made puff for this recipe. 

A simple and hearty quiche perfect for Easter Brunch!

Did I mention how delicious those puffy, crispy, buttery edges are?  I'm never making quiche with pie crust again. 

A simple and hearty quiche perfect for Easter Brunch!

Now Monday may not be the best day to whip out this savory bake, but there does happen to be a lovely holiday just around the corner and this quiche would love to be invited to your pre-church breakfast or served alongside your spring greens salad for lunch.

A simple and hearty quiche perfect for Easter Brunch!

I made this quiche several hours ahead of time and reheated it just slightly before serving and it was perfection.  Feel free to bake it up the night before for a quick breakfast or brunch the next morning. 

I have enjoyed it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at this point, and it was delicious every time.  It is likely my favorite quiche because it is hearty without being too rich, and the puff pastry crust gives it that extra something that has kept me coming back for more.  I really cannot wait for you to try it. 

A simple and hearty quiche perfect for Easter Brunch!

Oh, you are wondering about that drink?  Coming soon...*wink wink.*

Sincerely,

Pedantic Foodie


Broccoli & White Cheddar Quiche

recipe from Over Easy (slightly adapted) / yields 6-8 servings

- 1 sheet frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed*

- all-purpose flour, for rolling 

- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 

- 1 medium sweet onion, finely diced

- 3 heaping cups bite-sized broccoli florets 

- 6 large eggs 

- 1/2 cup whole milk

- 1/2 cup half and half

- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

- freshly ground black pepper

- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

- 1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

*While thawing the pastry is necessary for shaping it, you do not want it to be warm enough to melt the layers of butter.  It should be just barely pliable, but still very cold when you roll it out. 

Lightly dust a clean surface with flour and gently unfold the puff pastry.  Carefully roll out the pastry, increasing the length and width by roughly an inch on each side.  Transfer the pastry to a 9-inch pie plate and gently press the pastry into the pan, rolling over the edges as necessary.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare the filling. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 

In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook until they become translucent and have just started to brown on the edges.  Add the broccoli to the pan and toss gently.  Cook for about three minutes.  The broccoli should still be bright green in color but slightly softened.  Add 1/4 cup water to the pan and cover with a tight-fitting lid.  Steam the vegetables for about 2 minutes, until tender, but crisp.  Uncover and remove from heat.  Allow the vegetables to cool to room temperature; about 20 minutes. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, half and half, salt, pepper, and nutmeg; whisk until smooth.  Gently stir in the grated cheddar and then add the cooled vegetables.  Pour into the prepared pastry crust and smooth the top of the mixture with a spatula. 

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the quiche is puffy and firm and the crust is golden brown.  Allow the quiche to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.  

Personally, I enjoyed this quiche most when it was warm, but it may be served at room temperature or cold.  If you are not going to consume all of this quiche at once, just cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Enjoy!!