Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July, Everyone!!

Note to self... next year, don't forget to put sunscreen on the feet. Remembered everywhere else, but not the tootsies.

We were up early this morning to head over to the brother in law's place to watch the parade. Their town does one of the best parades in the northwest 'burbs - Chicago cop bagpipers, tons of awesome cars, good local bands, etc. Usually, the Jessie White Tumblers are also a part, but apparently they must have gotten a late state and they joined the parade mid-route, so we missed them doing anything cool, since they joined the parade right in front of the brother in law's house.

And, any party at their house always means that they supply the good booze (for today, it was a couple of Bloody Marys for me) and I bring over food. I did some Easy Cheese Danish, and also used some apricot pie filling for some fruit ones. So good. I love that cookbook, and that is one of the first recipes I tried out of it. And they are easy. In the case of the experimental fruit danish, it was just plopping the fruit on the puff pastry and getting it in the oven. I did them as "mini" danishes, cutting each puff pastry sheet in to 9 sections (they fold them in thirds, so it's just easier to deal with numbers in 3's). Turned out very well. But I did figure out between the first batch and the second batch, the time in the fridge makes ALL the difference in getting the puff pastry to stay nice and folded-like after it goes in the oven. But they all tasted great.

I also decided to do some mini quiches. I planned to do some with a crust that were just egg and cheese, and some egg and cheese ones with a "ham" crust. The ham crust was basically just slices of ham, gently pushed in as a "crust" base in the mini muffin pan, then add your cheese and eggs. Those turned out pretty good. Not that pretty, but good.

I was originally eying an Everyday Food recipe for the crusted quiches that used sliced bread as the crust, but as I thought about it, it seemed like a lot of work to punch out 2 inch rounds of bread for each crust and then work hard to get that placed in there correctly blah blah blah.... I figured my usual basic tart crust would just be much easier in the long run...

Butter and flour in bowl, egg yolks mixed with some water waiting to be added, and a beer for the cook since this crust is almost impossible to mess up.

Made the dough, measured it out into what I figured was a good size, 3/4 ounces each, and stuck them in the fridge to make the quiches the next day.

Also, usually, I'd have checked the 'net to find out if there was a suggested amount of dough to use, but my laptop has been having major issues with the power supply (hoping to get that fixed this week) so I didn't bother. I should have.

This particular dough can be formed, ala Play-Doh, into your pan, but it makes it kinda hard to tell exactly how thick it is. For me, at least. I pre-baked the crusts, and when they came out they were thicker than I would have liked. And it bugged me.

It bugged me so much, that last night I stopped on the way home from work (from a workplace that doesn't believe in "just let everyone go at about 3pm before the holiday weekend - how come I never get to work for a place like that and the hubby ALWAYS does?) at the store to get some white bread to try the Everyday Food recipe. I shouldn't have bothered.

It was, indeed, a lot of hard and rather stupid work to get all those little bread rounds, especially with all the wasted bread that was a result. And then I put them in the oven to pre-bake, as the recipe said, and they cooked terribly fast - to the point a couple were almost burnt black. Then I tried to fill them and it just went downhill... they started leaking everywhere and it was just not good.

I ended up bringing the first ones I made and dumping effort number 2. They were awful.

In other news... garden is doing well. My tomato plants are trying to take over the neighborhood. Hopefully they'll continue doing well, we've had bad tomato growing years for the last couple years.

Other plants are all happy as well. Finally getting to the point I can use all the herbs I want without fear of killing any of my plants. Yay!!!

Hopefully, the rest of the weekend should be quiet. Need to run errands tomorrow, but on Sunday I have nothing to do, and I will have the house all to myself since the hubby is going to a Sox game with the rest of the males in his family. But, I may just have to leave the house anyway, and treat myself to a pedicure. As you can tell by the first pic in this post, I obviously need one....

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