Mini Quiche Callegari

Hey y’all! How are you all doing? It’s a gloriously sunny day here in New York City. It’s crisp but once I get movin’, the cold becomes a figment of my memory and I begin to sweat. And boy, do I move! And sweatūü§£. I think the coldest morning we’ve had this school year dipped as low as -2 (Celsius… I am Canadian after all); and despite this, by the time I got to my daughter’s school for drop-off (a brisk 15 minute walk), I had already worked up a sweat, and was extremely eager to rip my coat, hat, scarf (shirt, pants, socks) and mittens off upon arrival at the school. I’m motoring out there! Who needs a gym when you have kids?!
  1.  
Pre-K pep talk

Anyway, this morning I had the pleasure of attending a potluck breakfast at my daughter’s school. She’s in pre-kindergarten and theirs is the only class on the premises. They are beyond adorable. It is so amazing to see how all these children, all colorfully and wonderfully unique, have nothing but love for each other. They all greet each other with a hello and a hug, exchange smiles and giggles, and exude pure happiness. Is it too much to ask for this pure innocence to last forever?

We feel so blessed to have, what us parents all believe to be, the best teachers ever. They are always so sweet, positive, and most of all, patient (I mean, you reeeally have to be patient when you are dealing with nearly 20 four-year-olds all day). They, along with the support staff, put in a solid effort in making this morning’s potluck a super success, and a success it was! Parents willingly participated by bringing in a selection of breakfast eats, drinks and supplies; a group effort and success, and it was truly one of the best mornings we’ve had this school year thus far. 

Pre-K Potluck Breakfast

I decided to prepare some mini quiches! They were a hit! Yay! It was my first time preparing them but it’s not like it was real rocket science or anything. It was actually quite a breeze to prepare and I will definitely be making these more often. Today, they were made to share, and shared they were. No slicing or dividing necessary; these mini quiches are made and served in their own little paper wrapper and are a mess-free solution to eggs on-the-go.

However, these mini quiches are a great option for daily breakfast on the fly at home too. Give yourself 45 minutes on the weekend to prepare these and you will be set for a week! Keep them stored in the fridge and pop them in the microwave for a quick warm up in the morning. Easy peezy!

Buon appetito!

Mini Quiche Callegari

  • Prep Time 15 minutes 
  • Cook Time 20-25 minutes
  • Servings 12

Ingredients

7 eggs

3/4 cup mozzarella, grated

1/4 cup green bell pepper, finely diced

1/4 cup onion, finely diced1/4 cup ham, finely diced

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Line 12 muffin cups with paper muffin cups. Set aside.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Divide the mixture evenly between the muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until set and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Store refrigerated. Reheat in microwave when you’re ready to serve.

Click below for video instruction!

Follow Little Kitchen Project on YouTube!

Pancetta, Onion & Cheese Quiche

Happy Sunday everyone! It’s a crisp winter day here in New York City! Actually, I wouldn’t personally know that as I literally did not leave my building today. Between doing laundry, cooking, documenting this recipe and preparing for evening guests, little time was left for strolling about Battery Park and gazing at the shop windows decorated for the season, as we usually would do on a Sunday in December. However, my husband and children did indeed leave the apartment and can attest that it was a bright and chilly winters day.

Chloe with the finished product

Today I prepared an original recipe, Pancetta, Onion & Cheese Quiche. I frequently prepare quiche when I have to use up my eggs, but today, I was simply craving it. I took a gander in my refrigerator and gathered what I thought would be complimenting ingredients. Besides the eggs, I had an abundance of Parmesan cheese (thank you nonna for the Italian export!), grated Cheddar and a package of pancetta. I always have onions on hand; it seemed like a no-brainer adding those in too! I love me some onion!

James hijacking mama’s photo shoot

Making quiche is pretty easy. And to be completely honest, you really could put anything in it. It is such a great way to clean out the fridge! Simple, tasty and convenient! What more could a busy mama ask for.

Pancetta, Onion & Cheese Quiche

Prep Time     10 minutes  

Cook Time     50 minutes

Servings         4 – 6

Ingredients

1 (3 oz) package of pancetta

1/2 cup onion, chopped

100g Cheddar cheese, grated

85g Parmesan cheese, grated

1 (9″) deep dish frozen pie crust

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup half & half cream

Directions

Step One  

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Step Two

Saute pancetta until almost cooked, not crispy. Then remove from heat.

Step Three

In a medium bowl, mix the pancetta, onions and both cheeses.  Place this mixture in the unthawed pie crust. 

Step Four

Lightly beat the eggs.  Mix the eggs and half and half cream in a bowl.  Pour the egg mixture over the cheese mixture.

Step Five

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 35 minutes, until the top of the quiche begins to turn brown.

Buon appetito!

Click below for video instruction!

Follow Little Kitchen Project also on YouTube!!

Vin Brul√© (Mulled Wine)

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is soooooo delightful. Oh, how nice it would be to have a fireplace in my itty bitty New York City apartment. It will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine. One day. In the meantime, I’ll settle for my indoor-friendly Christmas illumination, my pencil Christmas tree and candles scented of pine and gingerbread.

My mom and Chloe, outside Radio City Music Hall, waiting to see the Rockettes, a holiday institution here in New York City

Last night, the Gateway Plaza, the complex where I live here in Battery Park, hosted their annual Christmas tree lighting event. Choo-Choo train rides, photos with Santa and complimentary baked goods were all on hand for all to enjoy. They also had mulled wine, a detail I was previously unaware of and therefore unknowingly prepared my own. Oh well, better too much than none at all. And there can never be too much mulled wine. In fact, our thermos full was easily polished off between Massimo & I, without effort.

Mulled wine, a holiday beverage I was first introduced to in Italy, swiftly made its way into my little Canadian heart. My Aussie friend Jenny, a lovely lady I met after having only lived in Italy for four days, hosted her annual Christmas soir√©e in her lakeside villa and as always, she offered mulled wine, vin brul√© as it is called in Italy, and France (vin br√Ľl√©) for that matter.

It is red wine infused with fruit and spices and served hot, exactly what one needs on a cold winters day, as I experienced last night at the tree lighting. It was so cold in fact that after just five minutes, my daughter had already begun to hound me to return to the warmth of our apartment, something I did little to argue, given that even my Canadian buns had already been freezing off.

Cinnamon sticks and star anise, two of the key ingredients in this mulled wine

After seven years in Italy, it quickly became tradition to have mulled wine at every Christmas event. And so it seems only right to continue the tradition here in New York City. It is actually one of the easiest things to make, requires very little time and very few ingredients. It is sure to be a hit at any holiday get-together, and not even; it would be a hit even in two, as Massimo and I demonstrated just yesterday evening. A tête-à-tête with some mulled wine is precisely what is needed, and desired, on a cold, hard-worked and lived December day.

Vin Brulé

Prep. Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4 – 5

Ingredients

    • bottle dry red wine (I used Merlot)
    • ¬Ĺ a lime‘s zest
    • ‚Öď cup sugar
    • cinnamon sticks
    • star anise
    • oranges, juiced
  • ¬Ĺ cup Cointreau (or another orange liqueur)

Directions

Add all ingredients to one pot and stir well.

Bring to a simmer on very low heat until the win begins to foam a little.

Put a lid on top and simmer the wine for another 10-15 minutes.

Add the Cointreau, put the lid back on and turn off the stove.  Let sit for another 3-5 minutes.

Pour the wine into another pot through a colander or sieve and serve in a heat resistant glass.

Enjoy!

Click below for video instruction!

The Classic Cosmopolitan

I don’t make a habit of writing about cocktails. Although I really should as I definitely make a habit of drinking them. But when the opportunity arises to go see a Sex in the City themed Broadway show with three of your gal pals in New York City, how could I NOT prepare the cocktail synonymous with every woman’s fave television show of the past!

Fiona, me, Erica and Kristine at the Sex in the City: A Parody show on Broadway

For one night, we were Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha. We dressed to the nines, painted the town red and yes, we drank Cosmopolitans!

I have to say, it was one of the best shows I had ever seen. ¬†The theatre was so tiny, maybe only 100 or so seats, but that’s what made it amazing! It felt like we were part of the show! img_9602The writer and star, Kerry Ipema, was spot on with her clever and comedic interpretations of Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha, and not only! She rocked Big and Aiden and everyone in between. ¬†If you loved the tv show, then you would love this performance. ¬†It had us rolling in our seats, and reminiscing about those memories of the ladies brunching, exchanging wild and hilarious anecdotes and telling their four very individual life stories.

While our evening started with cosmos at my place, it ended with Palomas at a quaint Mexican restaurant in midtown (a Paloma recipe is definitely in my future!) It was a perfect night, spent with three fabulous, strong and hilarious women.  Good times, good laughs and certainly good cocktails!

 

The Classic Cosmopolitan

Ingredients

2 oz vodka

1/2 oz Cointreau

3/4 oz cranberry juice

1/4 to 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

One 2-inch orange peel/twist

Ice

 

Directions

  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice then add vodka, cointreau, cranberry juice and lime juice.
  • Shake the cocktail shaker for about 30 seconds until well chilled. Then, strain into a chilled martini glass.
  • Garnish with orange peel/twist (For an extra burst of flavor, peel the orange twist over the filled cocktail glass. This way, the orange oils spray into the glass).

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Click below for video instruction!

 

Spicy Clubhouse Sandwich: An American Classic with a Twist

So I’m sure you all are just about through with turkey for a while; perhaps even until next Thanksgiving. But is it really fair to put the classic clubhouse sandwich in the same category as a festive favorite? I mean, the clubhouse is always in season! You can’t go to any family restaurant, roadhouse grill or greasy spoon diner without finding this American legend on its menu, at any given time of year.

Tried very hard to find a photo of my brother Chris, eating a sandwich. Mission incomplete. However, I am sure he will be happier with this one.

When I think clubhouse sandwich, I think of my brother Chris. He’s a creature of habit, especially when it comes to what he eats. And what would his fave menu item be,
you ask? You bet ‘ya… the clubhouse sandwich, no tomato, extra mayonnaise. That’s my brother. And like him, there are others who prefer their club with some minor variations.

I used to work at a local roadhouse restaurant back in my university days. Kelsey’s, it was called. Traveling through Canada, you can count on finding a Kelsey’s in nearly all major cities (and by major, I mean any town with over 50 000 people. This is Canada we’re talking about). Kelsey’s has a clubhouse on the menu. But instead of roasted turkey, they used a grilled chicken breast. And it is very delicious! Different, but nonetheless yummy.

You could make a BBQ chicken club, using chicken and your fave BBQ sauce. You could also try a clubhouse with a Japanese flair, using wasabi mayo instead of the original and instead of turkey, you could use some salmon. Oh my gosh, just writing that makes my mouth water. I have GOT to try that sometime. I do suppose that making these slight alterations could possibly mean that it is no longer the American classic. So what… I’m going to do it anywayūü§£.

Sriracha Mayonnaise

My clubhouse sandwich needs a little kick to it. Keeping all the original ingredients, the only think I alter is the mayo! Combining the mayo with some Sriracha hot sauce, I prepare a spicy version of the classic clubhouse sandwich. It may not be the original clubhouse, but I can guarantee it IS indeed original, and yummyūüėč .

Buon appetito!

Spicy Clubhouse Sandwich

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

16 slices of bacon

12 slices of bread (of your choice)

1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used a light mayo)

1 tbsp Sriracha sauce

8 lettuce leaves (it should be Romaine, but it’s been recalled throughout the US; so I used leaf lettuce)

16 slices of tomato

16oz of sliced roast turkey

Salt & Pepper

A dill pickle to garnish

Directions

Step One
Fry bacon in a pan over medium heat (once crisp, remove and rest on paper towel to soak the grease).

 

Step Two
While the bacon is cooking, begin to toast all the slices of bread.

 

Step Three
While bread is roasting, prepare lettuce and tomato.

Step Four
In a small bowl, stir Sriracha into the mayonnaise until completely blended.

 

Step Five
Line up 3 slices of toast next to each other.

  • Spread mayo on slice 1 and 2.
  • Add lettuce and 2 slices of tomato on slice 1 and 2.
  • Add salt & pepper to taste.
  • Add some bacon.
  • Add some turkey, seasoned with a bit of salt & pepper.

Step Six
Place slice 3 on top of slice 2 and then add all that to slice 1, making a double decker sandwich.

 

Step Seven

Using 4 toothpicks, place each one in 4 points of the sandwich, in a diamond shape, making sure the toothpicks go through to the bottom of the sandwich.

Step Eight

Repeat Step Five and Six for the other 3 sandwiches.

Step Nine
Using a serrated knife, cut the sandwiches in 4 triangular shaped little sandwiches, each held together with the toothpicks. Serve with a dill pickle as a garnish.

Click below for video instruction!

Stuffing R√∂sti with Fried Egg: The Ultimate Leftover Stuffing Solution

Yep, it’s now Thanksgiving + 4 days and I’ve reached the critical point of eat or delete the last remnants of our Thanksgiving feast. The turkey is gone, as are the potatoes and the assortment of vegetable sides. What is left? The stuffing, and a few dollops of cranberry sauce.

I want to say that I sat there and racked my brain in attempts at finding a super creative, √ľber impressive solution for these last two elements, but in reality, I really didn’t have to think long at all. All I had to do is enter my memory bank and make a quick withdrawal of mountain recipes I picked up during those cold winter days in the Swiss Alps.

Living in north Italy for a substantial amount of time awarded me with many opportunities to trek across the northern border into Switzerland. There I found the tastiest, most quintessential mountain dishes created to warm your heart and fill your belly during the winter months. Fondues and raclette certainly top my list, but not far off lies r√∂sti! I loooooooooove¬†r√∂sti!!!!!! Think a pancake made of potato, but oh so much more than that! It’s cooked in butter or fat; not exactly the healthiest of dishes but it certainly serves its purpose when you’ve spent a whole day burning calories out on the slopes.

When in the Italian mountains of the northeast, you can find a similar recipe. Building on the Swiss rösti, Italians are known to top it with speck (a bacon-like meat) and fried egg. Yes, it is as drool-worthy as it sounds.

Taking a little bit of the Swiss and a little bit of the Italian, I’ve created for you the ultimate leftover stuffing solution (sans potato). A leftover stuffing r√∂sti topped with fried egg and cranberry sauce. Does it sound weird? It might. But one thing is certain, it’ll treat your tastebuds, fill your belly, warm your soul and finally, yes FINALLY, rid you of those last Thanksgiving leftovers!!!

Buon appetito!

Stuffing Rösti with Fried Egg

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 2-3

Ingredients

2 cups leftover stuffing

2 eggs

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1-2 tbsp cranberry sauce to garnish

Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Pour stuffing onto pan and pat down to form a tight, circular shape. Leave there for about 8-10 minutes then slide off pan onto a plate.
  3. Heat a small pan over medium heat and add some vegetable oil. Add eggs.
  4. Cook eggs until the white has completely cooked. Slide eggs onto the rösti (stuffing).
  5. Garnish with a cranberry sauce. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Click below for video instruction!

Hearty Turkey Soup

A chill has fallen upon New York City. My 4-year-old daughter is quick to point out the “deciduous trees” we pass along the way to school, marked by their autumnal-colored leaves, holding on with all their might, and those which have already fallen below and now mark our path.

Chloe playing in the leaves in Central Park

It’s autumn in New York. And there is simply nothing like it. Now that Thanksgiving has just passed, shop windows morph from colors of fall foliage to hues of red and green, wreaths and bells, elves and jolly old St. Nick. Christmas Eve is one month from this very day. And while my Christmas-lovin’ self has already put up and adorned her Christmas tree and strewn lights about the apartment, I’m not actually ready to move on past those wholesome, autumn flavors we are blessed with this time of year.

A visit in Union Square

It’s now Thanksgiving + 2 days and I am still knee-deep in turkey. Well I was, that is until today when I cooked up the most delicious turkey leftover soup ever! I hadn’t cooked a whole turkey as I usually do every Thanksgiving; instead I took a page out of mom’s book and cooked the turkey in pieces: two huge breasts and three drumsticks, and I was still left with loads of leftovers!
While there is a plethora of turkey recipes I could have chosen to prepare with all the leftovers I had, from turkey casserole to turkey pot pie, turkey sandwiches or turkey tetrazzini, I opted for a healthy and hearty turkey soup; perfect for a chilly day in New York and exactly what the body is calling for after days of feasting and filling (and refilling) of glasses full of good cheer ūüć∑.
So enjoy! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, enjoyed a good meal, sipped some good wine, counted your blessings, were thankful and shared some time with the people who matter most. Cheersūü•ā

Hearty Turkey Soup

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2¬†tbsp¬†butter¬†
  • 2¬†ribs¬†celery, sliced
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4¬†cup¬†carrot, diced
  • 1/2¬†teaspoon¬†dried thyme
  • 1/4¬†teaspoon¬†freshly ground black pepper
  • 1¬†tsp onion flakes
  • 4¬†cups¬†(32 oz) chicken stock
  • 1¬†lb cooked turkey meat (about 2 cups) cut or torn into bite sized chunks
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1¬†tbsp¬†fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add butter. When butter has melted, add the celery and onion.
  2. Stir celery, onion, and carrots until they are just beginning to soften. Add the thyme and black pepper. Continue to cook vegetables until they are crisp-tender.
  3. Stir in the onion flakes. Stream in the broth, while stirring. Stir in turkey meat.
  4. Bring soup to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender.
  5. Taste and add salt if necessary. If you used regular broth, you may not need to add any. If you used stock or low-sodium broth, you may need to add 1/2-1 tsp, depending on your taste. 
  6. Stir in parsley just before serving.

Click below for recipe preparation video!