12 January 2012


16 oz mozzarella,  shredded
2 pkg frozen chopped spinach, 9 oz each, thawed and squeezed dry
1 can evaporated milk
1 bunch scallions
8 oz mushrooms (probably should be 16 ozs.), sliced
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 piecrusts, blind baked for 8 minutes 

I keep finding pieces of exploded chestnut.... ah Christmas

Heat oven to 450 degrees. 
Saute scallions (or any onion you like) in a little olive oil. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Saute until the mushrooms release their water and start to dry. Add the spinach and turn off burner. Use burner heat to further dry spinach. Place all in a large bowl to cool for a few minutes.
In a small bowl, slightly beat two eggs. Add the eggs, the evaporated milk and mozzarella to the large bowl.
For the pie crust, blind bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes and reduce the heat to 425 degrees. Fill pie shells with quiche mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, turn pies and bake 20 to 25 minutes more. Let cool before slicing.

Bench Notes: Any green is a likely substitute. Kale would probably be good and frozen broccoli is good also. I use the frozen spinach because it's easy and available - I almost always have the ingredients or some variation of them on hand. Swiss can substitute for mozzarella or add some cheddar or parmesan to either of the good melters.  

One day, I'm going to be ambitious and make this for the crust...

I saw a crust that Cook's Country used for their Onion and Bacon tart and thought it will work for my quiche too. 

Crust (based on Cook's Country "No Fuss Crust")
makes 1 crust, so make 2 for amount of filling above 
1 c all purpose flour
1/2 c Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/4 t salt
6 T unsalted butter, softened
2 oz cream cheese, softened

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk flour, Parmesan, and salt in bowl. Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer until smooth, Set speed to low, add flour mixture to cream cheese mixture, and mix until dough forms large clumps. Flatten dough into 6-inch disk and transfer to center of 9-inch pie pan. Press crust from center out and up the edges of the pie pan and crimp edges. Refrigerate dough for 20 minutes, then freeze until firm, 10 minutes or so.

Awaken the Highland Warrior - Anita Clenney

Summary: Mis-adventurous historian Bree Kirkland discovers a one hundred fifty year-old warrior buried in a crypt behind her house. But Faelan, the warrior, isn't dead. When this chauvinistic Scottish Warrior awakes, he has no choice but accept the help of this modern-day woman who's rescued him, but she's more fearsome than the demon trying to kill him. If he's not careful, she'll uncover every secret his clan has bled and died to protect. (Source: Anita Clenney website)

Comments: Warriors have a secret - they hunt and destroy demons, keeping humans safe. Having been locked away for one hundred and fifty years does not change that, but the world around Faelan has changed quite a bit and he must learn to adjust to a modern world with airplanes, automobiles, and computers, as well as modern women who have a mind of their own.
What do I like about this story? I like the premiss, the idea of time travel, of course making Faelan s hot property is required, just as making Bree beautiful and intelligent - I especially like the fact that she's an historian. I liked quite a few of the minor characters, Ronan and Orla in particular - for very different reasons - Ronan because he was the most three dimensional of the minor characters and Orla because she was prim and prissy and very annoying - and nothing like her daughter.
What didn't I like? I dislike the conventional heroine who is beautiful and intelligent, but a clutz. It's used too often and does not ring true to me. I also have issues with things that didn't seem to be explained in the text in a couple of late scenes things happpened that were odd enough that I took notice, but were never explained in the end. I also got tired of two things Faelan apologizing all the time and the repeated list of everything that Bree did for Faelan that his should be grateful for... she woke him, feed him, helped him find his family ... etc. You do not have to beat your reader over the head. 

I will certainly read Ms. Clenney's future books, but hope she fixes a few things. 

09 January 2012

If He's Dangerous - Hannah Howell

Summary: When Lorelei Sundun first finds Sir Argus Wherlocke in her garden, she's never heard of the mysterious Wherlocke clan-or their otherworldly abilities. That changes the moment she watches Argus - the most tantalizing man she's ever seen - disappear before her very eyes. What she's witnessed should be impossible. But so should falling in love with a man she's only just met . . .
Pursued by a madman intent on harnessing the Wherlockes' talents as weapons, Argus meant to seek help from his family, not to involve a duke's lovely daughter in the struggle. But now, the enchanting Lorelei is his only hope for salvation-and the greatest temptation he's ever faced . . . (Source: Hannah Howell website)

Comments: Well, the tables turn. Instead of a Wherlocke/Vaughn heroine, we get a Wherlocke hero in Sir Argus Wherlocke. He's brooding, handsome, and mischievous. Lady Lorelei is the member of a large family 13 brothers and 3 sisters. Several of Argus' family are in the story as well, including, Lady Olympia Werlocke, Baroness of Stryke Hall, Lord Iago Vaughn, Baron of Uppington, Lord Sir Leopold Wherlocke, Baron of Starkly, and Sir Bened Vaughn. Several of the children from Peneople's story and the Werlocke warren also are in this story, including Argus' two sons, Darius and Olwen.
There is on aspect of the story, beyond Argus' ability to make people say things just by looking at them, that goes against the time it's set - Lorelei's father Roland, Duke of Sundunmoor, is very permissive. It's couched in intelligence and good humor, but he allows for things that I think most men of his time would not allow. Although, he is very involved in his own little world, and doesn't realize that he has a guest on his estate for a week. His long time friendship with his butler Max is delightful, as is his relationship to his other children and other friends and family.

Overall, I enjoyed these books because of the large family dynamic. The variety of the Werlocke and Vaughn gifts is interesting. The gifts have limitations, but prove to be more than a curiosity. I don't know if there are more plans for future books, but I'd be interested in one that include Leo or Bened as the hero.