Search This Blog


Sunday, June 2, 2024


 This year's Mother/Daughter vacation was a trip to the land of my Dad's ancestors.  Depending on the documentation I've collected during my ancestry searches, his family was from: Czechoslovakia, Moravia, Austria, Russia, get the picture.  So I decided I would explore parts of what would have been the "Austro-Hungarian" empire in those days and landed on Prague and Vienna. 

I put together a twelve day trip; 2 days traveling, 10 days on the ground exploring.  We started in Prague.  We had 6 nights/5 days in Prague and the same in Vienna.  As always, I had several hours of activity for our first night...we like to push through to do our best to get adjusted to our new time zone. 

We stayed on the east side of the Vlatava river in the "castle district", which as you'd imagine is near the Prague Castle.  I prefer to stay in areas that aren't as popular with the tourists.  It did mean a lot of extra walking for us each day, but to me it was worth it.   We found a cute little cafe' near our hotel and had breakfast there three of the mornings we were there.  

We took two "day trips" out of Prague.  One was to the town of Kutna Hora to see the Sedlec ossuary (bone church) and St. Barbara's cathedral.  The other outing was a guided tour to the Terezin concentration camp.   The concentration camp was very educational and sobering and the weather was dismal which seemed fitting for the setting. We saw all the usual sites in old Town, including the famous Charles Bridge on our way there.  As usual, we packed a lot into a short amount of time, and before you know it we were on our way to the train station for our trip to Vienna. 
I had done some pre-planning for our first night in Vienna.  We started by seeing the Imperial Treasury and Crypt (from the Hapsburg dynasty), followed by Weiner Schnitzel dinner and then a classical concert at St. Anne's church.  What an introduction to Vienna!  The concert in the church was a "pinch me" moment, the quartet of three violins and one cello played Mozart, Haydn and Strauss on instruments from the 1700's.                                  

I had two "day trips" planned for Vienna, one to the Schonbrunn Palace and the other was to the Wachau valley to see the Melk abbey which overlooks the Danube.  That left us two full days to take in Vienna.  That was quite a challenge since Vienna is so much bigger than the very quaint Prague that we'd just left.     

We took a good four hours at the Schonnbrunn Palace, including seeing the strudel show.  We could have actually spent even more time.  We also took in a stage performance of the Sound of Music (with English subtitles)....that was a totally unique experience!  Nobody holds a candle to Julie Andrews though.

I have hundreds of pictures, but this gives you a sense of what this year's trip was all about.  I can't say there was anything I had researched and planned that I wouldn't/shouldn't have done.  There were some amazing gardens in Prague that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Libraries, monasteries, cemeteries,  the Lipizzaner training tour was fun (would love to have seen a performance, no tickets available)  I'd say each city was worth a couple more days each.    

I guess that's what travel is all about right?  End the trip wanting more.....keep that wanderlust alive!

Saturday, May 18, 2024


 I recently got inspired to "step up" my quiche game after breakfast at a cafe' while I was on vacation.  They offered two types of deep dish quiches which were super tasty.  So tasty in fact, that my daughter and I had breakfast there 3 of the 5 mornings we were there.   We each ordered one of the flavors, then split it in half so each of us could enjoy both flavors.   The quiche had great eye appeal because they were so tall and their custard was super creamy.   

I love the flavor combinations of mine, but I wanted to improve the interior consistency, and I definitely wanted to try my hand at a deep dish crust, versus the store bought pie crusts I had been using all these years.  

Since I've been baking with sourdough recently, I tend to have a fair amount of "discard".  With that in mind, I looked for a sourdough pie crust recipe.  The one I chose was wonderful!  Very flaky and it held up really well.  I used my springform pan.

This recipe makes 1 pie crust.   I doubled it since I wasn't sure with the springform pan if I needed additional.  As it turned out, I did end up with quite a bit leftover, plus my shell was thick in a couple spots, and I probably didn't need to go quite as high on the sides.   I froze what I didn't use and plan to see if I have enough to make another. 


1 cup + 1 tsp flour
8 Tbsp. butter COLD
½ tsp. fine sea salt
½ tsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. white vinegar
½ cup sourdough discard starter


Use a cheese grater to grate the cold butter into a large mixing bowl.  Add the flour, salt and sugar and use a fork to toss the ingredients together, making sure the butter is coated and separated.  Use a bench scraper or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mixture, until it forms large crumbles.

Add the discard and vinegar to the bowl and then use a fork to incorporate them into the mixture.  Switch to your hands and press the dough together until there are no dry bits left in the bowl.  ( if the dough is too dry, add a tsp of water)

Form the dough into a disk shape and wrap in plastic wrap.  Use a rolling pin to flatten the disk.  Chill for at least 2 hours or up to 4 days.  

Blind bake the crust.  Roll out the dough to approximately 1/8" thick.  For a 9½ springform the dough should be 16" in diameter.  Carefully lift into the pan and press up the sides and into the bottom.  Line the pie with parchment or aluminum foil and add pie weights or at least 3" of  dry beans.   Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.  The crust will be slightly golden around the edges.   Remove the foil and beans.  The bottom will look uncooked and slightly wet at this point.   Return to the oven for and additional 5-8 minutes.   The bottom will puff slightly, but will deflate when removed from the oven.  Allow the crust to cool.  

NOTE:  It's really important to work quickly to ensure a flaky crust.  You don't want the butter to warm.  You will be able to see bits of butter in the dough, which is exactly what you want.    If it starts to warm while you're working with it, put it in the fridge for 15 minutes and then finish up. 

This dough can be chilled (well wrapped in plastic wrap) in the fridge for up to 4 days, and frozen for up to 3 months. 

Recipe c/o:  Amy Duska

As for the quiche itself.  I modified my "tried and true" sausage and cheese quiche recipe to the following:


6 eggs
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups spinach, wilted
1 lb. breakfast sausage links cut into small pieces
1 ½ cups shredded medium cheddar cheese
½ cup onion chopped
salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp. powdered garlic
fresh or dry parsley


Brown sausage links, allow to cool on a paper towel lined plate.  Once cool cut into small pieces.  I toss my cooled links lightly with flour before assembling to keep them from laying on the bottom of the quiche. 

Cook the onions until tender in the remaining sausage fat (if it's not too much, otherwise remove some before adding them to the frying pan).  Add in the spinach to quickly wilt. 

In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, milk and cream.  Stir in the spinach, onion, salt, pepper and garlic.   

In the baked shell, add a handful of shredded cheese and sausage.  Slowly pour in some of the egg mixture.  Add more sausage and cheese and continue.  Save some of the cheese to sprinkle over the top.  Just before placing in the oven, sprinkle parsley over the top.  I place my pan on a foil lined baking sheet just in case.  

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes.  I went with 1 hour and 25 minutes and it needed another 5 for sure.  

Cool for about 5 minutes in the pan.  Release the sides and let sit another 30-40 minutes before slicing. 

NOTE:  The whole milk and heavy cream was exactly what it needed!  The interior was so reminded me of the cafe' in Prague.  (if you're curious, my original recipe called for eggs and evaporated milk).  

Also just to clarify, the picture above was taken the following morning... cold from the fridge, so it doesn't have that gooey look to it....and I'll be honest, the one I took the evening I ate the quiche was too gooey, because I didn't let it cool long enough.  I was too excited to try it.

There are so many possibilities with ingredients, feel free to mix it up.   My other "go to" is ham and swiss.  Just keep the egg, milk and cream so you have that lovely consistency.


Thursday, April 11, 2024


 I am so late to the party on this one....but, here I am trying my hand at the art of sourdough.  I was gifted a dehydrated starter and some tools for a Christmas present and started my journey shortly after that.  I named my starter "Gertie" which reminded me of a strong woman from another generation and that's what sourdough is all about right?  An ancestral form of baking passed on through the generations.  

My first bake after I got my sourdough rehydrated was this artisan loaf.  It turned out pretty good for a first try.  I've made two more since then and I'm still working on it.  Between the high altitude and lack of humidity, I feel like I need to make a couple more tweaks to get it just right.  One is to the ratio of flour and water, the second is the bake time.   This bread also has several "stretch and fold" steps which is an art unto itself.  So, in short.....I'm still learning.

The next recipe I tried was a "fluffy sandwich bread".  I love this bread.  It truly is super fluffy and delicious.  Every single bake has been a gem!
I've also tried a few recipes that allows me to use my "discard".    First up was some crackers; similar to wheat thins....then, a cinnamon raisin bread, next a batch of granola (which I like to put on my yogurt), and finally cheddar bay biscuits.   I've truly enjoyed them all.                                                                       
I didn't include any recipes in this post since there are so many to choose from.  Let your fingers do the searching to find some.  I did use the King Arthur website.  But there are so many sourdough bloggers out there, the recipes are all over the internet as well as on social media sites.  

My sourdough starter was purchased from Sourdough Sparrow.   There's a touching story that goes along with their starter that will touch your heart like it did mine.

If you're heading down the sourdough path, or continuing your ongoing journey.  Enjoy the process and the goodness!