Heirloom Tomato Quiche

If you’ve been to the farmer’s market lately, the tables are overflowing with all sizes and every color of heirloom tomatoes. It’s a beautiful thing to see! Malformed, purple, lopsided, variegated, golden, pink, really every shape and shade is delicious.

We are growing a handful of heirloom varieties this summer. The good-lookin’ ones go out to the farm stand, but a fair share come into the farmhouse kitchen. Too many too eat sliced up, matter fact! We make batches of fresh salsa using jalapenos from the garden, and we also crush the tomatoes and slow simmer with garlic and basil for a simple, traditional marinara sauce. Since the abundance was exceptionally high last week, I picked the most gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and decided to make a couple quiches.

Our family loves quiches! It’s really a real food, fast food : ) Lately, I’ve been keeping a pie crust or two in the fridge for a late afternoon summer galette that can be made at a moment’s notice. When I told Eva I was going to write this post, she was very excited saying that I had invented this recipe. The truth is there are many similar ways to a quiche, all tasty and rewarding. I have made quiches for so many years, so many ways, that I’ve found how to simplify it to be a quick and easy breakfast, lunch, or supper pleasure for our family.

We don’t have chickens yet, but we’ve had hens in the past, and if you can get your hands on a half-dozen real eggs, this quiche will be all the more satisfying and goldenly delightful.

Heirloom Tomato Quiche

  • 6 eggs

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 teaspoon herbed salt blend (delicious with herbs de Provence salts, or just seasoned salt)

  • 1 cup of bacon, cooked and cut up/chopped/thinly sliced

  • 1 cup of sharp shredded cheese

  • 1 or 2 heirloom tomatoes (depending on their size), cored and sliced

  • more herbed salt bled of your choice for sprinkling over tomatoes

  • CRUST: use your favorite pie crust recipe, I recommend this one. Have it premade in the fridge (or store bought) for a faster way to enjoy your quiche!

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Roll your pie crust onto your pie plate. Beat the eggs until fluffy, add milk and herbed salt blend. Add the bacon and the cheese and pour the mixture into the crust-lined plate. Lay the heirloom tomato slices over the egg mixture and sprinkle a little herbed salt blend to flavor the tomatoes. Bake in the middle rack for 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let it stand 5 minutes or more before cutting.

That’s it! Real food the fast way for any day of the week!

Let me know how you like it. I’m sure cooked sausage, ham, or meatless would be just as tasty. Can’t wait to hear how you enjoyed it!

with love. Damaris

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A Lovely Mother's Day Brunch: 5 quick and easy recipes

With Mother’s Day a couple Sundays away, I have been looking through recipes and making our menu. Since we head to church in the morning, breakfast will be baked oatmeal or maple muffins, but after church, we ‘ll slow down and gather. We’ll delight and give thanks for the joys of a full table, and then I’ll get to open several homemade, art-filled cards. Aren’t they the best?

Brunch is my all-time favorite meal, and surely there is no shortage of brunch menu options and incredible ideas. I compiled some of our cherished recipes which you’ll notice can all be made in advance. We have enjoyed making all of these recipes over the last few years, and they have become faithful appearances on the spring-summer menu.

I plan to prepare only the grapefruit when we come home from church. Meanwhile, the tart, quiche, and coffeecake go into the oven at a low temperature to warm up for 30 minutes or so. This will give the boys time to cut some flowers from the front yard or a branch of crab-apple (or dogwood- the prettiest) to make the best and happiest Mother’s Day table. The only thing that will make this brunch menu better is a fresh brewed coffee. With a little cream. And a little sugar.

All the quick and easy recipes are linked!

Broiled Grapefruit

A simple caramelized topping makes it a surprising favorite. This sweet and tangy pleasure can be served first or right along the rest of the brunch dishes. It is light and immensely refreshing.

Asparagus Tart

This tart makes the most elegant side dish. Roasted asparagus, creamy cheese, and a flaky crust come together so simply and so perfectly. What a beautiful way to showcase the springtime vegetable! Make it ahead and warm it in a low oven (although it is tasty at room temperature too). And when the recipe boasts only three ingredients, you’ve got to try it! Guaranteed to be a delicate delight at the table.

Crustless Quiche Lorraine

Eggs and bacon – no two foods were ever more perfectly paired! The hint of smoky gruyere complements the salty bacon in this scrumptious, easy recipe. Quiche is a staple that pleases everyone at the gathering and is perfect for making ahead (freezes very well).

Lemon-Raspberry Coffeecake

This coffeecake has a creamy center that will be a delightful surprise when served. It can be prepared very quickly if the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature already, and it bakes up perfectly every time. This sweet treat is well suited for making in advance (and even freezing). The slight citrus flavor and the moist crumb, make this gorgeous coffeecake inviting. Enjoy it with a dusting of powdered sugar! It’s especially delicious warm.

Non Alcoholic Apple Cider Mimosa

It is so fun to enjoy a colorful drink! Equally special and healthy, these mimosas are perfect for Mother’s Day brunch! The children will not be able to hold their excitement at our table when they see this treat. The recipe is only two ingredients! Orange juice and sparking cider make it the simplest, quickest drink.

with love, Damaris


Easy Scones and Crème Fraiche

For years I only every made muffins for a quick snacking or breakfast food, but a friend (an amazing baker too) enlightened me to the wonders of scones. Same one-bowl idea, quick in the oven, and a crumb that delights all palates, scones are amazing. I have tried many recipes since then depending on what ingredients I had on-hand (buttermilk recipes, no egg recipes, you name it), but this one is by far the most dependable.

Scones have a subtle different texture than biscuits since they’re less creamy/buttery. This simple scone recipe will prove that they are a dense, crumbly deliciousness. Sometimes we sugar dust the scones before baking, but the traditional treat just takes a little spreading of jam for sweetening. Dried currants as an add-on is so authentic, but dried currants are not easy to come by. Some of our favorite combinations have been lemon extract and dried blueberries, orange extract and dried cranberries, and vanilla extract and diced dried apricots.

The perfect topping to this tasty treat is the delicate addition of the crème fraiche. It takes the place of British clotted cream with a silkier texture. Crème fraiche literally makes itself on your counter, and the results couldn’t be dreamier! Pretty soon, you’ll be using crème fraiche in all sorts of recipes! I promise you’ll feel very accomplished in the kitchen and be forever grateful that you learned to make it.

Easy Scones*

  • 2 1/2 cups flour

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 4 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/3 cup room temperature butter

  • 2 beaten eggs

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

  • 3/4 cup dried currants or raisins or any dried fruit (chocolate chips would be fun)

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or your favorite extract

Heat oven to 375° F. In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and use your hands (a fork, two butter knives, pastry blender) to break up the butter so that the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. We mostly use the food processor and pulse until crumbly. Add the eggs, heavy cream, extract, and dried fruit at once and stir until moistened. Turn your dough onto a lightly floured surface. Form it into a ball and with floured hands, gently press it into a round or square. You may need a rolling pin. For American sized scones, cut into 8 wedges or squares (cut outs are good too, but they bake faster). For traditional scones, cut into 16 wedges, round cut-outs, or squares. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Brush scones with milk or cream and dust with coarse sugar (optional). Bake at 375F for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with crème fraiche and strawberry jam (lemon curd is amazing too). They freeze well.

Crème Fraiche**

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk

Combine the cream and the buttermilk and warm in the microwave or stove until lukewarm (not to exceed 90F or 32C). Pour the mixture onto a glass jar and cover lightly (so steam can escape). Let it stand at room temperature overnight (warm place – 70F) or all day (up to 24 hours) until it is has thickened. Stir, cover, and refrigerate for the flavor to develop and the crème to thicken even more. Before refrigerating, try stirring in vanilla beans (just a 1/4 teaspoon will do) for an over-the-top treat! If you’d like to try the crème sweetened, stir in powdered sugar to taste. Crème Fraiche is delicious in savory dishes too (no vanilla).

*Adapted from Home and Gardens New Baking Book

**Adapted from Super Natural Every Day, Heidi Swanson

with love. Damaris


Pear Cake with Rosemary Infused Maple Syrup

Maple syrup isn’t just for pancakes.

This weekend we wrapped up boiling and bottling the last of this year’s syrup, and it’s making an appearance in many dishes. Traditionally we think of the maple flavor as a fall staple, but the syrup is freshest in the spring when it is harvested.

This delightful and fragrant cake will be just the sweet addition to your Easter brunch. The textures in this light cake will surprise you. The buttery creamy pears and the coarse crumb of the cornmeal will please every bite. Frosting is just too much for brunch, so this pear cake is glazed with rosemary infused maple syrup. If you don’t have time for the infusing step or you don’t like the flavor of rosemary, brushing the maple syrup over the cake is still so special. The beautiful sheen will moisten the cake even more than the ripe pears alone, and you’ll enjoy a perfectly-sweet morning treat.

I hope that maple syrup occasionally finds its way into other things in your recipes!

Pear Cake with Rosemary Infused Maple Syrup*

  • 1/2 cup oil

  • 1 1/4 cups flour

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk with a little vinegar)

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 ripe pears, cored and sliced

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1 or 2 sprigs rosemary

  • freshly whipped cream or yogurt for serving (optional)

Heat oven to 350° F. Heat the rosemary and ¼ cup maple syrup in a small pot over very low heat (or in the microwave). We’re not really trying to evaporate any liquid, so look closely that it doesn’t come to a boil. Remove from heat after it becomes fragrant and cover. Let it sit for 30 minutes or overnight.

Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk, eggs, and oil and whisk to combine. Fold in the pears. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Discard the rosemary sprigs. While the cake is still warm, brush the top and side with the rosemary maple syrup. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or yogurt if desired.

*Inspired by this recipe in a magazine issue years ago. It soon became a family favorite!

with love. Damaris


Honey-Apple Dutch Baby Pancake

We have a healthy relationship with honey in our household. It seems each time Nathan is working in the hives, the kids love to eat the raw honeycomb right off his tools. While this is their favorite way to indulge in our honey, perhaps a close second is this Honey-Apple Dutch Baby Pancake.

The cast-iron skillet heating in the kitchen, butter sizzling as it melts, and an eggy batter being whisked can only mean a sweet homemade Dutch Baby Pancake is about to please. Its flavors are pure and simple. This recipe is made with a very simple batter poured over honeyed apples. Baked in a very hot oven until puffed up and golden, it serves up like a giant popover with a honey-butter glaze. A light sprinkling of cardamom adds warmth and an undeniable woody aroma. Since this Dutch Baby Pancake can be made in just a matter of minutes and bakes up quickly, you’ll enjoy more time to savor the silky bites and take your time at the table.

We have used seasonal fruits like peaches or pears with delightful renditions of this delicate Dutch Baby Pancake. When it’s done baking, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the honey-glazed apple slices arranged like an upside-down cake. A sifting of powdered sugar adds just the touch of sophistication.

Honey-Apple Dutch Baby Pancake*

  • 4 tablespoons of butter

  • 1 or 2 apples, cored and sliced into thin wedges

  • 1/3 cup honey

  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 cup milk (any kind will do)

  • 1 cup flour (used whole wheat with delicious results)

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • powdered sugar for dusting over the top

Heat the oven to 400F. Melt the butter in a 10 or 12 inch oven-safe skillet. When melted, add the apple slices and cook until soft and golden. Turn off the heat and stir in the cardamom and the honey. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, flour and salt. Pour over the hot cooked apples. Bake until puffed up and deep golden about 20 minutes. Slide the pancake onto a large plate or serve it up rustic -we do :). Dusting it with powdered sugar makes it extra special.

*This recipe was inspired by an old Martha Stewart cookbook I found 10 years ago at a garage sale : )

with love. Damaris


Maple-Pecan Granola

We’ve experimented with and enjoyed at least ummm….1,058 recipes of homemade granola! THIS one may be the best! It is the simplest granola to put together and absolutely scrumptious. It’s unpretentious, perfect balance of textures and crunch make it a winner in my book. It is just sweet enough to enjoy any time of the day.

We most often eat it like cereal – in a bowl with milk, but yogurt parfaits are delish too! Homemade granola is a staple when we go on vacation or camping because it is a no-prep, wholesome and gratifying breakfast. I love it when my friends inspire me! One friend of mine prefers her granola with milk and warmed in the microwave for a comforting breakfast with her morning coffee.

If you’re on the lookout for one of those recipes that can easily be made ahead and expanded for guests, this is perfect. I always make a double-batch of this granola when we have company overnight and serve a sweet bread loaf with butter on the side. When we go to a friend’s house for a playdate, or a neighbor is feeling under the weather, Eva and I jar up some, as well. It’s such an easy way to show gratefulness or extend practical hospitality. This crispy, golden granola looks beautifully delicious in a pint or quart mason jar with turns of red and white butcher twine and a hand-written tag! Enjoy and bless others!

Maple-Pecan Granola

  • 3 1/2 cups oats

  • 1/2 cup shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut (can be omitted)

  • 1 cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts (can be omitted or substitute for sunflower seeds)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional- I can’t decide which is my favorite way -with or without)

  • grated zest of 1 orange or 1 tablespoon of orange peel

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • 1/2 cup melted butter/coconut oil/ any other oil

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins (substitute with dried cherries or dried blueberries)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line with parchment a large rimmed cookie sheet (10×15). In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except the raisins. Stir until everything is well coated. Spread the mixture into a thin, even layer. Bake for 10 minutes and check to ensure even baking. May need to stir and add 5-10 more minutes. It burns quickly! Remove from the oven let cool completely. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

with love. Damaris


Fresh Mozzarella Orzo Salad

I came in this morning from the garden with handfuls of grape tomatoes that were hanging heavy from tender branches. If you come to our house, you’ll see green tomatoes lining the kitchen window sills. Every summer around this time, the tomatoes get heavy and drop without ripening, so we put them on the window sills until they turn red. Sometimes we’ve breaded and fried green tomatoes for a delicious dinner side. Have you heard of fried green tomatoes? Great with homemade ranch!I

On to this new recipe that I’m so excited to share! I’ve already told a couple people about it, because it’s just that good! The orzo is light and the grape tomatoes are the sweetest they’ll be all year. The cucumbers are fresh and crunchy, and if you have a garden, they may be abundant these days. Of course, the star of the show is the fresh mozzarella. I opened the tub and, let’s be honest, I could eat all the creamy, bite-sized balls! Any grocery store should carry them. Mine were from Trader Joe’s. I picked parsley to add to the salad, too because it has a mellow flavor, and our herb patch always has a robust amount of it.

Wouldn’t you agree that most pasta salads taste better when made ahead? I made this Fresh Mozzarella Orzo Salad this morning, and that kept my kitchen cool. Tonight, Nathan grilled some chili-lime chicken for a satiating supper. It was so light and tasted so good! He even asked to take the salad to the office for his lunch! I can’t wait for you to try it and tell me how you liked it!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/3 extra virgin olive oil

  • 4 or 5 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 pound orzo

  • 1/4 red onion, diced

  • 1 cucumber, diced (peeled, if has a tough skin)

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella balls, drained and halved

  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped without the stems

Cook the orzo according to package directions (about 7-9 minutes in boiling salted water). Drain and rinse immediately. Chill the orzo in the fridge or on the counter until cool. Add all the ingredients to the orzo in a large serving dish. Mix the dressing and pour over the salad. Serve immediately, or later, or tomorrow! I added a little olive oil before serving because the orzo absorbs some of the dressing.

with love. Damaris


Oatmeal Cookies For Breakfast, You Say?

Sunday mornings are pretty harried at our house. The whole family has to be out the door, fed, washed, brushed, and look’n good – no exceptions! Although I don’t want Sunday mornings to be rushed, there is no avoiding it. Even if church clothes have been picked out and ironed, unavoidably, four girls need braids, baby needs nursed, and somehow we can never remember which pair of shoes we wear on Sundays – ugh! Needless to say, this baked oatmeal recipe has saved my Sunday morning sanity!

I enjoy serving a substantial breakfast – something that is filling and also feels special. We prepare it as early as Thursday, keep it covered in the fridge, and bake it while we get ready Sunday morning. I had never heard of baked oatmeal before, but I stumbled upon it while searching for gluten-free breakfast options a few years ago. The recipe description read, “It tastes like an oatmeal cookie,” and I knew we had to try it! After making it a couple of times, I realized that it could easily be assembled a few days before hand – anything that can be assembled in advance has my name written all over it! It’s been eight years since my gluten-free recipe search, and we still absolutely love it! We like to eat it piping hot out of the oven with a little milk poured over it in our bowls. There was never a breakfast so nurturing and wholesome that tasted so good!

It’s hands down THE MOST flexible recipe. One less egg or one more, buttermilk, almond milk or coconut milk, or any kind of sweetener, this baked oatmeal is always beautiful out of the oven! Our all-time family favorite is baked oatmeal with frozen cherries. It’s close runner-up is frozen blueberries (fresh ones don’t last long enough around here, but would work well). We’ve enjoyed it with frozen strawberries or peaches too! Raisins, dried cranberries, shredded coconut, sliced almonds, chopped walnuts or pecans are some add-ons we’ve used again and again.

It’s fabulously gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free (great with maple syrup instead of brown sugar)!! Please tell us how you like it!

photo credit: Alexander

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 eggs

  • 1/2 cup oil or melted butter

  • 2 cups milk (any kind)

  • 1 cup brown sugar or maple syrup

  • 6 cups rolled oats

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 to 2 cups of add-ons (frozen fruit, raisins, dried cranberries, shredded coconut, chopped nuts)

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl just until incorporated. Grease a 9×13 pan and spread the mixture. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until set in the middle.

with love. Damaris


…And Bowl Full Of Mush

It is a busy place – this kitchen of ours! Recipes are always doubled or tripled, and leftovers find a new thoroughfare to our table.

With the temperatures rising, our love affair with steaming bowls of oatmeal porridge begins to fade. Now, I find we have more oatmeal leftovers than ever, and that means more need to be creative! I usually just store any leftover oatmeal in a covered glass bowl, which typically isn’t enough for serving to everyone warmed up again. It’s difficult to find a good use for this stuff – even if I resort to guerilla tactics (i.e. hiding and camouflaging)!

This recipe below came to my rescue!

First, when we make our oatmeal “bowl full of mush”, we use two parts water and one part rolled oats. It’s everyone’s favorite when we add maple syrup or brown sugar to the pot as it finishes thickening. If your normal oatmeal recipe is not sweetened, then perhaps the recipe below may need a little more sugar.

photo credit: Alexander

Oatmeal Muffins

These oatmeal muffins are wholesome and satisfying! The crumb is light and smooth, and the oat’s texture is unidentifiable. These golden muffins will be fluffy in less than 15 minutes! I like to make them in the afternoon so we snack on them while they’re warm. If I can successfully fend of the insatiable boys, I save some to pair with dinner. Any extra ones freeze well too!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 cup milk (any kind)

  • 1/8 cup oil or melted butter

  • 1 cup leftover oatmeal

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup raisins (or dried cranberries, chopped nuts, chocolate chips, etc)

Preheat the oven at 375 degrees or 350 on convection setting. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl just until incorporated. Line or grease a muffin pan and spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until toothpick in the center comes out clean. Makes 18 muffins.

We can’t wait until they cool to eat them, and I’m sure you and your family won’t either! If you enjoy oatmeal porridge like we do, I would love to hear your oatmeal leftover creations!

with love. Damaris


Mother's Day Maple Muffins

photo credit: Alexander

These blonde beauties are pure maple goodness! Gena, a sweet friend, brought Nathan and me a dozen of these muffins the night when I first became a mom. I was overwhelmed, in love, and ravenous, and these maple muffins were manna to me.

Since this Sunday is Mother’s Day, I made four dozen blonde beauties today. One dozen was for Nathan to take to his office. They rave about them. I was delivering another dozen to a friend, so two dozen would stay on the cooling rack to be enjoyed with our dinner…and hopefully breakfast too. Of course, we had to “try” them before we left for the delivery, then we came back and had to have just a little-snack-muffin…or two… or three. The warm maple scent filled the house (and our tummies).

When Daddy came home, the littles were still holding on to the last of the tender crumbs.

photo credit: Alexander

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar (optional)

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cups any milk

  • 1/2 cup oil or melted butter

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup sour cream

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees or 350 degrees for convection setting. Line or grease your muffin pan. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients until well incorporated (no need to over mix). Spoon the batter into the muffin pan. Bake @ 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

If you’re looking for a Mother’s Day brunch treat or yummy breakfast for the kids (& Mom in bed!), these will satisfy everyone. Do you enjoy delivering little baked blessings to friends, too? Tell me how they turn out for you.

with love. Damaris