a simple easter menu

DSC_0529.jpgIn the past we’ve had more elaborate meals for Easter Sunday. Today, we had a simple Easter meal consisting of a quiche, simple salad, corned egg, and a Jamaican spice cake with malted buttercream frosting.

Bacon and Cheddar Crustless Quiche

1 1/2 cups whole milk
White pepper
1/2 cup prepared biscuit mix (recipe to follow)
1/4 cup melted butter
4 eggs
8 pieces of bacon, crisped and crumbled
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven 325˚F/175˚C. Grease a 9″ pie dish and set aside.

In a blender, combine the milk, white pepper, biscuit mix, melted butter, and eggs. Pour the milk mixture into the prepared pie dish.

Sprinkle on top the crumbled bacon, red pepper, and cheddar cheese. Use a fork to press down into the milk mixture.

Bake 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Biscuit Mix
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon all vegetable shortening

Put flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Stir to combine. Add the shortening and cut into the flour mixture until the mixture is the texture of sand. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Jamaican Spice Cake (adapted from The Cake Bible)

All ingredients at room temperature:
1/4 cup milk
120g or 4 large egg whites
2 teaspoons Jamaican rum
250g or 2 cups sifted cake flour, plus 1 tablespoon
225g or 1 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
227+14g (241g) unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 tablespoon

Preheat oven 350˚F. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and mix in 1 tablespoon flour. Brush butter-flour mixture on the insides and bottom of one 8.5 inch loaf pan. Line bottom of loaf pan with waxed paper or parchment. Grease and flour parchment.

In a medium bowl, lightly combine milk, egg whites, and rum.

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and cocoa powder. Whisk 30 seconds. Set aside.

In another large bowl, add 16 tablespoons (8 oz) butter and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes. Add one-third flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until just moistened. Scrape down the sides. Add half the milk mixture and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides. Add half the remaining flour mixture, beating until just combined. Scrape down the sides. Add the remaining milk mixture and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides. Add the rest of the flour mixture, beating until just combined. Scrape down the sides.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Tap pan lightly on the countertop to dislodge any air bubbles. Bake 45-55 minutes for loaf pan.

Let cake cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a paring knife around the edges. Unmold and invert onto a greased wire rack. Turn right-side up so the bottom won’t split. Cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired. I frosted it with Malted Buttercream. Then I served the cake with strawberries I had frozen in simple syrup.

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spaghettini with garlic, shrimp, and bacon


Spaghettini with Garlic, Shrimp, and Bacon (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen recipe for Garlicky Shrimp Pasta)

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 24 minutes

1/2 pound spaghettini
1/4 cup cooking water from the pasta
5 large garlic cloves, minced
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 pound large shrimp (21-25) peeled, deveined, tails on if desired
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup broth
1 teaspoon lemon juice (I used lime juice)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro and scallion
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup bacon, chopped and fried until crispy

In a large bowl, mix shrimp with 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let shrimp marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Over medium-low heat, heat smashed garlic in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large 12 inch skillet or wok. Stir occasionally until garlic is light golden brown in about 4-7 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and use a slotted spoon to remove the garlic cloves from the oil. Discard the cloves. Set skillet aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add a tablespoon salt to the water with the spaghettini. Cook until al dente, about 7-10 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water and drain the spaghettini. Return drained pasta to the large pot and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, return skillet with oil to medium heat. Add the shrimp with marinade to the skillet in a single layer. Cook the shrimp 1-2 minutes on one side until it turns opaque. Stir shrimp and continue to cook about 1 minute until they are almost cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a large bowl.

Add the remaining garlic and pepper flakes to the skillet and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add flour and stir constantly until flour is incorporated and the roux thickens. Stir in the wine and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the broth. Cook until mixture thickens in about 1-2 minutes.

Turn off the heat. Add the shrimp and sauce to the pasta in the pot. Add the reserved cooking water if the sauce is too thick. Add the lemon juice and the cilantro-scallion mix. Toss. Season with black pepper and top with bacon bits.