Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chef Debbie is Nominated for a "Best of Cincinnati" Award!


Yummy~issimo! is nominated for a prestigious "Best of Cincinnati" Award in the Catering Category!

So, I'm going to grovel and ask that you all vote for me!

So here's what you do:

Click here

Scroll down in the EATS Section to CATERER (New) and there's a drop down menu of names.

Click on Chef Debbie Spangler which is the next to the last name in the column.

That's all there is to it!

You can only vote once for each email address so if you'd be so kind as to forward this to anyone and everyone you think would fill it out, I'd greatly appreciate it!

Thanks so much! You, my darling friends, are AWESOME!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chef Debbie Gets Her Buttons Pushed

I try to be a nice person. Really, I do.

I put $5 in every Salvation Army Red Kettle I pass; I buy something from every neighborhood kid who comes to the door; I always let people with just a few items get in front of me in the grocery store checkout line.

But. When I have to travel into the abyss that is Costco, all bets are off.

So today I get to Costco around 12:30 ~ late enough that the young mothers with toddlers who meet and let the kids have play dates in the middle of the aisles are all home drinking lunch. And after the 11:00 a.m. rush of the food moochers ~ the people who have no intention of buying anything, but stroll 3 or 4 abreast sampling every food item at the end of every aisle.

You know who I'm talking about. You've seen them. And had to push your full cart around them while they have a coffee klatch in the middle of everything.

So today I'd gotten through all the freeloaders with just a minimal amount of pushing and shoving and the self~checkout lines are in sight.

And then she happens.

The old lady had just one item in her shopping cart. She was dressed in her finest fur coat, talking on a cell phone, hair and makeup done just so. She pushes her cart right in front of me and makes a dead stop. I try to go around her and she backs up.

I'm thinking this could get ugly...

Juggling her cell phone and grocery bag~sized purse, she pulls the one item out of her cart ~ a bottle of two zillion multi~vitamins and is trying to hand it to me.

"I need you to purchase this for me. They want me to spend $50 on a card just so I can purchase this giggasize bottle of vitamins." She's flabbergasted that Costco would actually expect her to purchase a membership in order to buy something!

And you know me... I said the first thing that popped into my head. "If you don't have a membership card, how did you get in here?"

"They have to let anyone in who says they're going to the pharmacy. Then I just wander around until I find someone to pay for what I want." She's very, very proud of herself!

Once again, mouth is much faster than the brain... "Absolutely not! If you're too cheap to buy a membership, then..."

She walked away from me. She freaking walked away from me! And approached another person.

So I shake my head, make a detour to the fresh flowers and spend a few minutes picking over the gorgeous bouquets.

I get to the self~checkout and a woman with only a few items is in line behind me. Of course, I let her go in front of me.

As I head toward the exit and line to show the checker my receipt, the woman I let in front of me is there.

With the vitamin lady ~ who turns to me, smirks and sticks her tongue out at me.

Is it wrong to want to run her over with my cart?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chef Debbie Asks "Is It a Quiche? Is It a Tart?

No! It's a Quiart...

So last night I actually had to make dinner for sweet husband since I didn't make any extra portions from my client cook day.

What in the world was I thinking? This cooking thing at night takes me away from wine o'clock...

So it was clean out the refrigerator for dinner and The Quiart was born.

Flaky puff pastry was stuffed with caramelized onions, bacon crumbles, a mixture of ricotta, eggs, garlic, spices and sun~dried tomatoes and then baked hot and golden brown.

Only limited by what's in your refrigerator, here's the basic recipe:

4~6 bacon slices
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1/8t dried thyme
1 puff pastry sheet
15oz ricotta cheese
1/2c Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2c Mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 sun~dried tomatoes, in oil, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2t dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
dried parsley, for garnish
your favorite Cajun spice, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400. Thaw puff pastry at room temperature, approximately 45 minutes, until soft and easy to work with.

While puff pastry is thawing, fry bacon in large skillet until it has rendered all of its fat. Remove bacon from skillet and drain well on paper towels. Reserve 2T of bacon grease in the skillet.

Over medium heat, in the same skillet the bacon was cooked in, sauté the onions until they are golden brown and caramelized ~ about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with dried thyme and a little salt.

In medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan, Mozzarella, eggs, sun~dried tomatoes, garlic, cayenne, thyme and salt and pepper. Mix well.

Place puff pastry in pie pan, stretching sides to cover all around the pie pan. Don't worry if it's not perfectly positioned ~ once this is folded over and is baked, it looks fabulous.

Place caramelized onions in bottom of puff pastry and top with crumbled crispy bacon.

Pour cheese mixture over bacon and pull edges of puff pastry up over the cheese mixture.

Brush exposed puff pastry with a touch of water and sprinkle the dried parsley and Cajun spice all over the top.

Place pie pan on baking sheet and bake 40~45 minutes until puff pastry is puffed and golden brown and filling is hot and bubbly. Remove from oven, let sit 10 minutes, slice and serve with tossed green salad and a chilled glass of your favorite Chardonnay.

Some variations:
To lower calorie and fat content, use low~fat or fat~free ricotta cheese and part skim Mozzarella cheese
Substitute pancetta or diced ham for the bacon
Add 1/2c chopped fresh broccoli or chopped fresh spinach
Substitute Asiago, Gruyere or Jarlsburg cheese
Add 2T toasted pine nuts or chopped black walnuts
Change out the spices to your favorite flavors