I have a confession to make. All summer long, as plans of adventurous backpacking trips and epic camping weekends circulated amongst my friends, all I could think of was how I excited I was to bring my cast iron skillet with me. You see, these sturdy, heat-retaining vessels were actually designed to be used in hearths and fireplaces, making them the ideal campfire companion. Also, I would rather jump into a bottomless ravine than eat limp, rubbery hotdogs or *gasp* dehydrated trail food. And so, here are 12 gourmet skillet recipes for anyone who, like myself, prefers to camp in style:
When I was a little girl, I didn’t know that abuela meant grandmother. It was very confusing actually, because we called my grandmother, “Nana,” and my great-grandmother, “Walita.” Imagine my surprise years later to learn that nana is just an informal way of saying abuela and that Walita was not my great-grandmother’s name, just a mispronunciation of the word, abuelita (little grandmother). Her real name was Catalina but Walita suited her; she was small, frail and spoke only in soft, gentle murmurs.
I guess this is the part where I am supposed to recall cherished moments of sipping Abuelita’s Hot Chocolate® with Walita in her Pasadena cottage but that was never part of our story. She fleeted in and out of my life before I had the opportunity to experience those kinds of intergenerational moments, but I feel happy that at least I had the chance to know her. Still, I think of her and of the funny way my sisters and I pronounced her name whenever I drive through the old streets of Pasadena or drink that distinctly spiced Mexican hot chocolate.
So, how did I come to put Mexican hot chocolate into a pie?
I fell in love with chocolate cream pie when I first saw it in the 2009 movie, Julie & Julia. Julie Powell (Amy Adams) is in the kitchen whipping up a massive bowl of chocolate when she says to her husband (Chris Messina):
Julie: You know what I love about cooking?
Eric: What’s that?
Julie: I love that after a day when nothing is sure, and when I say “nothing” I mean nothing, you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. It’s such a comfort.
I meannnn… Since then, this pie has become a staple in my baking repertoire and a welcomed sight at all dinner parties I attend. I modified this recipe to include the Abuelita’s Hot Chocolate tablets, something I’ve been dreaming of doing for quite some time. It turned out WAY better than I expected. I knew I wanted a spiced crust to complement the warm flavors in the hot chocolate mix, so I decided on gingersnap and made modifications to this crust recipe. Insider tip: use kosher salt instead of regular table salt. The large grains don’t completely dissolve into the crust, adding a much-needed savory component that balances out all of the sweet. If you’d rather use a pre-made crust, I think this pie would work wonders in a traditional flaky pie crust, graham cracker crust or even an Oreo® cookie crust. Hell, you might want to try it in a Hot Cheeto® crust. Yep, it’s THAT good.
Saturday. A video posted by Cella (@cocinadecella) on
Somewhere between the time I purchased my first lip gloss and a string of wild, blurry summers in the mystical town of Isla Vista, my breakfast preferences switched from sweet to savory. I mean, you can’t cure a hangover with pancakes, french toast or your dad’s famous Belgian waffles… You need omelettes, hearty breakfast scrambles and breakfast burritos. It is known. Once I had this culinary awakening, quiche quickly became a staple in my semi grown-up kitchen. It was an easy and satisfying free-for-all, a “what’s in my fridge” kind of meal… The best part? It’s classy AF! The perfect accoutrement to mimosas at brunch. I decided to put together this simple guide to making a perfect crustless quiche because I wanted to share with you the unparalleled bliss of a satisfying and elegant hangover meal.
Fillings: To avoid a bland quiche, cook and season your fillings before assembling. Cook meats until JUST cooked. Sauté veggies with oil and something fragrant like onions, shallots or garlic. Don’t forget to season lightly with salt and pepper.
Cheese: This is where the magic happens. My go-tos are sharp cheddar, swiss and parmesan; use goat cheese or gruyere for an indulgence. I haven’t tried it but I bet Daiya or other vegan cheeses would work beautifully in this dish.
Liquid: Keep it simple with just 5 whisked eggs or, for a creamier quiche try whisking 3 eggs with 1.5 cups milk. If you are dairy-free but want the creamy texture, try a nut milk.
Spices: Salt and pepper are a must. Use one teaspoon of each, as well as one teaspoon of any other spices you like. Some great options include garlic power, cayenne, nutmeg, cumin and cajun seasoning.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9-inch pan with butter or cooking spray
Cook the fillings and layer them flat in the pan
Sprinkle cheese evenly over the fillings
Mix liquid with spices and pour in pan. Shake pan and tap it on counter to ensure the liquid gets dispersed throughout the ingredients
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center slightly jiggles
My favorite quiche combinations are:
ham, green chile and cheddar
spinach, mushroom and goat cheese
butternut squash, kale and gruyere
bacon, greens and swiss cheese
chorizo, potato and and cojita
caramelized onion, squash and goat cheese
roasted root vegetables with gruyere
What’s your favorite quiche? Which one would you like to try?
P.S. Are we Instagram friends? Follow me at @cocinadecella :)