Leek and Sweet Pepper Mini Quiches

September 15th, 2014

Leek and Pepper mini quiches 1


We recently spent a wonderful afternoon and evening with one of my favorite bloggers.  Sam of My Carolina Kitchen, her husband Meakin, and his brother Stuart and his wife Sandy journeyed from Murphy, NC to Asheville for an evening of dining at one of their favorite restaurants, Rezaz.  They asked us to join them at The Chef’s Table for a 5 course Provencal dinner.  There will be more about our evening in my next post.  Since they had not been to Lake Lure before, David and I invited them over for hors d’oeuvres and an afternoon on the lake.

Leek and Pepper Mini Quiches 3V


I attempted to keep the appetizers light in anticipation of our full dinner.  We served a French Rose wine to keep the French theme going.  I served a simple platter of peppered dry-aged salami with hot house cucumbers, this red pepper cheesecake with crackers and grapes, and these mini quiches.  I had been wanting to make these mini-quiches for a long time.  They proved to be very easy to assemble.  Many of the steps can be done ahead of time.  Both the crust and filling have aged white cheddar cheese.  The leek and sweet pepper filling was a perfect choice.

Leek and Pepper Mini quiches 2


The recipe was adapted from Williams-Sonoma’s Hors D’Oeuvre Cookbook.  I think my mini-muffin pan had larger circumference holes than what the recipe called for.  Mine measured 2-inches and I used a 2 1/2-inch biscuits cutter to cut out the pastry rounds.  Just measure what you have and cut the rounds 1/2-inch larger.  Also I had leftover pastry and filling because I made only 24 quiches.  I plan to make these again and plan to get creative with the filling.

We enjoyed spending time with the Hoffers and I can hardly wait to tell you about our dinner.  I know Sam will be posting about it also.

Here is a preview of the ambiance for the 5 course French dinner at the Chef’s Table at Rezaz.

Rezaz dinner 1


Cheddar Pastry:
1/4 pound white Cheddar cheese, cut into small chunks
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg
2 tablespoons cold water

In a food processor, pulse the cheddar cheese chunks until crumbly.  Add the flour and salt.  Pulse until cheese is finely crumbled.  Add the cold butter pieces and pulse until it resembles fluffy bread crumbs.  Drizzle 1 lightly beaten egg over mixture and pulse twice.  Scrape down bowl sides.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cold water over the mixture and pulse until a rough mass forms.  If the mixture doesn’t come together, add another tablespoon of water.

For the Filling:
1 1/2 tablespoon butter
1 leek, white part only, or 2 large shallots, finely chopped
1/2 small red or green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 pound dry-aged white cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place the Cheddar pastry on a lightly floured work surface and shape into a smooth ball.  Divide in half.  Roll out half into a large round 1/8-inch thick, pushing the dough outward from the center and rotating it about a quarter turn each time you roll, sprinkling more flour underneath as needed.  Using a 2 to 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut out as many pastry rounds as possible and ease them very gently into the cups of a mini-muffin pan.  Gather up the scraps, reroll, cut out additional rounds, and line additional cups.  Repeat with the remaining dough half, working in batches if necessary.  You should have 48 lined cups in all.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  In a small saute pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter.  Add the leek and saute gently, stirring occasionally, until it is tender but not browned, about 5 minutes.  In a bowl, combine the leek, bell pepper and cheese.  In another bowl or large measuring cup, whisk the eggs until they are blended, then whisk in the cream, mustard, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and cayenne.  Add the egg mixture to the cheese mixture and whisk to combine.  Pour 1 tablespoon of the filling into each of the pastry shells, evenly distributing the solids and liquid.

Bake the quiches until they are puffy and golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool for 5-10 minutes (they will sink a little as they cool).  To loosen them from the muffin cups, run a then-bladed knife around the sides, then carefully lift out of the cups.  (At this point, you can allow them to cool for an hour o two, and then reheat them in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  They will not be as as crisp, however.)  Arrange on a platter and serve.

Printable Recipe 


Dinner with Old Friends

April 29th, 2012

I am always on the lookout for unusual appetizers when we have company.  I like the idea of a savory cheesecake.  I also like the idea of an appetizer-size cheesecake.  Giada De Laurentiis provided just the thing.  My blogging friend “the other” Penny of The Comforts of Home and her husband came for dinner last night.  I wanted to try something a little more complicated than cheese and crackers.

The hardest part of this cheesecake was finding a 4 1/2-inch spring form pan.  I did find one at a kitchen store for $3.99 but did not measure it until I got home.  It turned out to be 4 inches and did not hold all of the ingredients in the recipe.  The cheesecake can also be made in a ramekin if you don’t want to bother with finding a small spring form pan.  I put the overflow in a small ramekin.  It is a mixture of ricotta cheese, cream cheese, and goat cheese to which roasted red peppers are added.  The cheese cake is then baked.  The recommended topping is apricot jam, but I used a pepper and onion relish.

The weather was beautiful on Saturday so we were able to eat dinner on the porch.  There is something so special about dining al fresco with friends.

The menu was Zinfandel Beef Ribs, Rice Pilaf with roasted almonds and orange soaked dried cranberries, Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan, and homemade yeast rolls.

Dessert was Apple Crostata  with ice cream and coffee.  But the best part of the meal was the company,   the conversation, and the laughter.  A beautiful Spring evening on the porch was the icing on the cake.  Thanks Penny and K for traveling over the mountain to spend time with us.  Good friends just make the food taste better.



1/2 cup ricotta cheese (4 ounces)
1/2 cup cream cheese (4 ounces)
1/4 cup goat cheese (2 ounces)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup thin strips or roasted red bell peppers (blotted dry)
1/4 cup apricot jam (Can substitute hot pepper jelly, other jams or onion, pepper relish)
1 to 2 teaspoons hot water

Special equipment:  1 (4 1/2-inch diameter spring form (cheesecake) pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Wrap the outside of the cheesecake pan with 2 layers of heavy-duty foil.  Place the ricotta, cream cheese, and goat cheese in a food processor.  Pulse to mix.  Add the sugar, egg, and salt and pulse a few times until well mixed.  Stir in the red pepper strips.

Pour the cheese mixture into the cheesecake pan.  Place the cheesecake pan in a small roasting pan.  Pour enough hot water in the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.  Bake until the cheesecake is golden at the edges and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken. about 45 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold).

Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool for 1 hour.  Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold.

Combine the jam and the water in a small bowl and stir until the jam is liquefied.  Remove the cheesecake from the spring form pan.  Place on a serving plate.  Drizzle the jam mixture over the top of the cheesecake.  Serve with pita chips or crackers.

Printable recipe  

New Year’s Day Dinner

January 3rd, 2010

Happy New Year everyone. We started New Year’s Day in the traditional way that we have followed for the last ten years. We have a group of friends who spend New Year’s Eve and Day together. We are a motorcycle gang. Don’t laugh. We are tougher than we look. We’ve ridden the Canadian Rockies and the Beartooth Pass, the Million Dollar Highway and the Grand Tetons. The guys have been to Sturgis. What more credentials would you need? We are also good cooks and our gatherings always include fabulous food.

The New Year’s Day menu has always been a traditional Southern spread and each of us has a specialty. Pork has to be on the menu. Pigs forage forward with their noses so eating pork represents moving forward in the new year. For years I have been making my Fall-Apart Tender Slow Roast Pork. The recipe came from Shirley Corriher. We also have collard greens and blackeyed peas which represent wealth and good luck. Barbara is the collard greens queen, but she couldn’t be with us this year so, shhh, don’t tell anyone but we fixed Glory brand canned seasoned collard greens. Jackie makes the black eyed peas and Rosa’s cornbread which is rich with butter and absolutely decadent. Rosa was David’s secretary for many years and a talented Southern cook. We always have a potato casserole and Cynthia made a rich and luscious Gouda and Asiago scalloped potato with a panko crumb crust. Karen makes wonderful coleslaw and a refreshing Pea salad. Our dessert this year was compliments of the Cheesecake Factory.

Since I am always taking pictures of food, everyone got into the act this year. This obsession is catching.

Here are few of our favorite recipes.
FALL-APART TENDER SLOW ROAST PORK (adapted from Shirley Corriher)
4 to 5 lb Pork Butt
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pork in pot with lid. Sprinkle pork heavily with Worcestershire sauce; turn it over and sprinkle other side heavily as well. Take handful of brown sugar and smush brown sugar crust all over meat. Turn meat over and smush brown sugar all over other side. Pour apple juice in bottom of pan, not over meat. Cover and place pot in oven. Turn oven down to 275 degrees and cook 4 hours until meat literally falls apart when you try to lift it with a fork. Break meat apart a little and push it down into drippings. Sprinkle with salt. This salt cannot be omitted; it is vital to bring out meat flavors.
3 lbs potatoes peeled and sliced
2 cups shredded Gouda cheese
1 cup shredded Asiago cheese
1 tsp garlic juice, from minced garlic jar
1/4 to 1/2 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavey cream
Panko crumbs to cover top.
Layer potatoes in casserole and sprinkle each layer with salt and pepper and cheeses. Add nutmeg and garlic juice to milk and heavy cream. Pour over casserole. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Cover with panko crumbs and continue cooking until potatoes are tender and panko crumbs are browned and the cheese is bubbly.
2 cups Joy Brand self-rising cornmeal
4 eggs
1 stick of butter, melted
1/2 cup oil
3 Tbls sugar
1 cup buttermilk
In a large bowl mix corn meal, eggs, buttermilk, oil, sugar, and melted butter. Pour into a large cast iron skillet and place inside a 350 degree oven and bake for 25 minutes.
1 can French style green beans, drained
1 can shoepeg corn, drained
1 can tiny English peas, drained
1 small jar chopped pimentoes, drained
1 medium yellow bell pepper chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup oil
Mix vegetables in bowl. In another bowl stir together dressing until sugar is dissolved. Pour dressing over vegetables and refrigerate until ready to serve.
It is wonderful to bring in the New Year with good friends and I consider all of you good friends also. I look forward to our sharing good food and good times in 2010.

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.