Roasted pepper cream cheese (Plus: August Kosher Connection linkup!)

By | August 18, 2014

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Psssst! Did you enter the giveaway for Dairy Made Easy? Contest closes at midnight EST on Wednesday, August 20, so get your entry in now!

September may be on its way, and it may be back-to-school month, but in my house, no one’s going to school this year. I haven’t been a student since I graduated from the University of Maryland in 2008, my husband is finishing his master’s program now, and both of our kids are at home. So school supplies and packed lunches aren’t at all on my radar.

But I suspect that isn’t the case for most of you. You’re probably gearing up to start packing lunches for your kids or your spouse or yourself, and wondering just how far PB&J can take you. If you’re ready to try something new — something really delicious but still easy to whip up — this roasted pepper cream cheese is perfect. It’s exactly what it sounds like: roasted peppers blended into cream cheese, and even for people who don’t especially love peppers (me), this stuff tastes wonderful. It sounds crazy, but the flavor isn’t overly pepper-ish. It’s just good.

Scroll all the way down to check out what the rest of the Kosher Connection made for lunch!

More lunchbox items:

And a quick trip down memory lane:

Cookbook Review (& giveaway!): Dairy Made Easy {CONTEST CLOSED}

By | August 14, 2014

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As a vegetarian, my use of any cookbook is usually limited. Not terribly limited (though it obviously depends on the book), but I clearly have to skip the chicken and meat chapters, as well as any meaty soups and salads and sides. That’s why a book like this one, where every single recipe is dairy, makes me especially excited. This is borderline weird, but I totally get a rush from the idea that I could make every last thing in a cookbook.

Scroll down to enter the giveaway for your chance to win a copy of Dairy Made Easy!

The basics

Dairy Made Easy came out in May, and it’s the fourth title in the Made Easy series (the others are Passover Made Easy, Starters & Sides Made Easy, and Kids Cooking Made Easy). The fun, spunky design is super inviting, and the 60+ recipes are presented in an appealing and doable way. This book includes a couple of extras, too: a cheese guide, “make it light” suggestions to reduce the calories in 19 of the recipes, and “make it pareve” ideas for 20 of the recipes.

Chapters include: breakfast; starters and sides; soups, salads, and sandwiches; pizza; pasta; and desserts.

Recipe writing

The writing is clear and to the point, no wordiness getting in the way. Although I tend to like lots of details in recipe directions, it’s important not to clutter them up, and Leah and Victoria do a good job of making their recipes readable and usable.

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Photography

The photography is excellent. Each dish is accompanied by an eye-catching photo; there are a variety of angles and the styling is beautiful. Plus, just like with the other books in this series, there are lots of behind-the-scenes tips to help the reader replicate the dish exactly as shown (toppers, garnishes, presentation, etc.).

One minor issue I had was that two of the cheeses included in the cheese guide are not pictured on those pages (surely they could have found them somewhere?). On a similar note, it struck me as strange that some of the cheeses in the guide are not included anywhere in the book’s recipes.

Recipes I’ve tried from this book:

Some recipes I can’t wait to try:

  • Grilled cheese toast salad
  • Eggplant parmesan wraps
  • Avocado and basil pasta salad
  • Tres leches cake

Who would enjoy this book?

A book like this is a real treat for vegetarians or anyone who just loves dairy cooking. Even if you only make milchigs occasionally, Dairy Made Easy will give you lots of great dishes to try whenever the dairy stars next align. The variety in the book will give you recipes for special occassions like Shavuos and dairy sheva brachot, as well as ordinary days when you just need a quick meal.

For those of you with dairy allergies, this isn’t really your giveaway, huh? But you can always enter and gift the prize to someone else…

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Speaking of which:

Who wants to win?

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on this post that answers this question: What dairy dish did you most recently cook? (Anything counts.) Limit one entry per person.

Bonus (optional) entry: Subscribe to More Quiche, Please and then leave a separate comment on this post telling me that you did. (If you leave a single comment answering the question above and saying that you subscribed, I will have to count it as one entry only.) Limit one bonus entry per person.

To subscribe, just click the link under the words “subscribe to More Quiche, Please” that can be found on the upper right side of any page on the blog (and then follow the directions that come up on the screen). If you already subscribe, just leave a separate comment to let me know.

The giveaway ends at midnight EST on Wednesday, August 20. One winner will be chosen via random.org and notified by email. If you’re related to me, I’m sorry, but you are not eligible for this contest. Come for dinner instead! The cookbook prize can be shipped anywhere in the United States.

If you just want to buy the book, you can do that right here on Amazon. If you buy it through that link or any of the other Amazon links in this post, a (very) small portion of your purchase supports More Quiche, Please. Thank you! 

Disclaimer: ArtScroll provided me with a copy of Dairy Made Easy and they are sponsoring this giveaway, but as always, my opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

French mushroom soup {recipe review}

By | August 12, 2014

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This is the second recipe I’m testing and reviewing from Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek’s cookbook, Dairy Made Easy. (If you missed it, check out my review of the homemade ricotta cheese, which by the way, has really grown on me since that post went up; I’ve added some comments there.) Come back soon for a book review and giveaway!

This recipe was one of the first in Dairy Made Easy to catch my attention. I’ve always been a huge fan of french onion soup, and the idea to add mushrooms sounded so spot-on.

Usually, when I do a recipe review post, I stick to the original almost entirely. Here, though, I have to tell you that I changed a whole bunch of things. Just couldn’t help myself!

* I doubled the vegetable amounts. I felt like I shouldn’t change the basic makeup of the soup, but 1 onion and 1 (8-ounce) carton of mushrooms just did not sound like enough for 6 cups of liquid.

* I used water + wine instead of stock. I still haven’t tried making my own stock, and I’ve given up consomme powder for good, so I used wine to add depth and flavor to the soup. (It was a good call.)

* I didn’t add croutons to the pot; instead I added them to our bowls when we were ready to eat. This recipe was intended to be an easy version of the classic french onion soup; it tells you to put all the croutons and cheese in the pot, simmer for 10 minutes to melt the cheese, and then serve. That does sound easier than topping individual crocks of soup with bread and cheese, then broiling them in the oven before serving, but I know that after 10 minutes in a pot of soup, the croutons would be way too soggy for me to enjoy.

* I used shredded, not sliced, cheese. The recipe calls for sliced cheese and says that some drops into the soup and some stays at the top, which all sounded great. Buuuuuuuuuut I used shredded instead because it’s what I always have around, and since I only added the croutons at the last minute, there was nothing to hold the cheese up. The sad result was that it basically disintegrated. Next time, I would add both the cheese and croutons at the table.

While I wasn’t into the time-saving part of this recipe, I really liked the addition of mushrooms in this soup, and I can see using that idea in the future. If you’re a fan of the classic french onion flavor, definitely try this updated version.

Recipe at a glance:

Accessible ingredients? Yep. Nothing hard to find here.
Multiple steps required? If you start with caramelized onion cubes, this goes really quickly. But even if you don’t, it isn’t hard.
Left with lots of dirty dishes? Nope, totally reasonable.
Taste worth the effort? Yes, because it tasted great and didn’t require much effort.
Make again? I’d put mushrooms in my french onion soup again, but it wouldn’t necessarily be this recipe.

This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something on Amazon through these links — anything, not just what I link to in this post — a (very) small portion of your purchase helps support More Quiche, Please. Thank you!

Easy homemade cheese crackers + 3rd blogiversary!

By | August 8, 2014

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If More Quiche, Please was a boy, I’d be making an upsherin today. Yep, my baby blog is three!

Three years, 491 posts, endless hours of cooking and baking and testing and re-testing and photographing and editing and finally clicking “publish.” I’ve loved each of these three years and I’m still blown away by the fact that people other than my husband and my mother read my stuff. A lot of people, apparently — and I really do appreciate each of you. Your comments have encouraged me and your questions have pushed me to learn more and to keep tweaking recipes even when I thought they were complete. Thank you so much to all of you for making this blogging thing so much fun to do.

Since I’m a big believer in transparency, here’s how year three looked in numbers:

Looking back through my posts during this third year, I can’t help but remember what was going on in my life as I was working on the recipes:

* I was sure that this post followed by this post would give away the fact that I was in my first trimester and could barely step in the kitchen.

* But time passed, I got an energy boost, and I came up with things like this and this and this, which I told myself were each a stroke of genius.

* I tested this recipe and then this one so many times that it seemed we ate nothing else for weeks … but oh wait, I did that with this one, too. My toddler was such a good sport about those matzah balls.

* On the other hand, there are also the dishes that come out perfectly the first time, like this and this. Also these guys — I made them on a whim one afternoon and put them on the blog just a few hours later.

* The photos tell their own stories. I hated the original photos of this recipe so much that I went back outside and did a completely new photo shoot. I allowed myself to move on with the day afterward.

* Sometimes I can’t devote that kind of time to a photo, though. I think I spent a total of three minutes on this one, and that was at 7 p.m. when the house was a wreck and both kids were around.

But guys, I have to tell you about these cheese crackers!

If I hadn’t recently made a quadruple batch of wheat thins for our daughter’s kiddush, I don’t think I would have attempted these. Homemade crackers? Who has time for these things, right? But (1) I love cheese crackers and (2) my son apparently has a deep, deep love for homemade crackers which means I can use them as bribes to get him to eat the rest of a meal.

Still, though, loving cheese crackers and having bribes around is not enough of a reason for me to make a fussy recipe. So I easy-ified it. I made sure you could make this dough by hand, since I know most people’s food processors aren’t dairy. I tested them with regular ol’ pizza cheese, so you don’t have to go running out to the store for a special variety. I tried rolling the dough on parchment paper — so easy! — and I slid the paper straight onto a baking sheet so that you, I, and good people everywhere could avoid transferring a million crackers from table to tray.

cheese cracker collage

And the results, I’m thrilled to say, are genuinely easy, genuinely yummy, and genuinely cool homemade cheese crackers. If I can do it, so can you.

What are some of your favorite recipes on More Quiche, Please? I’d love to hear what you’ve enjoyed in these three years — leave a comment below!

This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something — anything — on Amazon through these links, a (very) small portion of your purchase helps support More Quiche, Please. Thank you!