Don Chipotle

It’s picnic season here in Londontown. The many parks are fragrant and colorful, and even overcast days still feel green and healthy. But this glorious explosion of nature, paired with a good book, the right company, some fresh strawberries and a bottle of chilled champagne could be dangerous. Like the title character in Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote, too much exposure to romance could go to the head and cause one to go a bit crazy. That’s why it is of the utmost importance to pack some hearty snacks for a London picnic – so that the amorous surroundings (and a bit too much champagne) don’t get the best of you.

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A dozen eggs

1/2 cup light mayonnaise

1 tbsp mustard

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp chipotle powder (or more, to taste)

1 celery stalk

Salt and pepper to taste

Instruction:

1. Boil eggs for 8 minutes (from the time they come up to the boil). Remove and submerge directly in ice water (this stops the cooking immediately).

2. Carefully peel shell from eggs. Rinse eggs to remove any lingering bits. Slice eggs in half long-ways (for two symmetrical halves).

3. Separate the yolk from the whites. This is usually easy to do by gently squeezing the whites, but you can use a teaspoon as well.

4. Set whites aside to use as base for the deviled eggs. In food processor, combine egg yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, chipotle powder, salt and pepper. Fold in finely chopped celery; transfer to piping bag. Pipe yolk mixture into the egg white base.

Enjoy devilish deviled eggs with Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote, and check in at http://warandpeach.com for future recipes and book reviews!

Quiche-22

Eggs are difficult to master, in terms of texture, timing, and accompanying flavors. The art of the omelet is no easy undertaking, and when you’ve finally achieved it, your first instinct is probably to spread the word.

“I’ll host a brunch!” you exclaim confidently. Impulsively you begin to invite family, friends, old elementary school crushes, and four thousand Facebook acquaintances. You even promise your dog a few bites.

But keeping track of one omelet is much easier than, say, ten. Quickly your brunch plans spiral into chaos. Like the structure of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, the cooking process becomes a bit hard to follow. The eggs are rubbery before the cheese melts, and the bacon dries out before the spinach has cooked through. The sequence of events abandons chronology, and it’s up to you, the chef, to keep everything straight.

An easy solution is to take care of the egg component in a fool proof, synchronized way, and let your guests worry about their own toppings. These mini filo quiche cups break the omelet-making process down into simple bite-sized pieces. Like the individual storylines in Catch-22, each quiche cup carries its own personality and customization. They are easier to manage if treated as individuals, yet the end result makes clear how they all serve the greater purpose (which, in this case, is a fantastic, low-stress brunch).

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Filo quiche cups:

6 sheets filo dough

1/2 stick melted butter

8 eggs

1/2 cup whole milk

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Suggested toppings: crispy pancetta, goat cheese, caramelized onions

Instruction:

 1. Brush one filo sheet with melted butter, then place second sheet on top. Brush the second sheet with melted butter and place third sheet on top. Repeat this for the next three, so that you have two separate three-layer filo doughs.

2. Cut filo dough into nine squares per sheet (18 squares total). Fit squares into mini muffin tins that have been grease-proofed with cooking spray.

3. Whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper, cheese, and parsley. Pour into filo cups.

4. Bake filo quiche cups at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool just until the quiche filling as deflated. Add desired toppings and serve.

Enjoy filo quiche cups with Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, and check in at http://warandpeach.com for future recipes and book reviews!