Simple Chai Spice Blend

I may be a bit late to the Chai Spice party, but I have finally arrived.  For the most part, I prefer my tea unadulterated, other than the addition of a splash of milk, and I wasn't a fan of the prepared chai  concoctions with their many ingredients I prefer not to ingest on a regular basis. However, I do like hot chocolate and as the summer transitions into fall, I thought the addition of a little spice would be a welcome change. 

I started experimenting with creating a blend of my own emphasizing spices that I particularly like or would like to use more of. The blend I came up with is quite simple and though I make no claims to authenticity, I like it fairly well as it is, though I will likely tweak it further whenever I feel the need for a change. I usually use about an eighth teaspoon per cup of liquid. 

2 teaspoons each ground cinnamon, ginger and cardamon
1 teaspoon each coriander and turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
dash each of white pepper and cayenne

Asparagus and Prosciutto Quiche

It's finally starting to feel like spring so I've been feeling like doing more spring-like cooking. One of my favorite foods locally available this time of year is asparagus. We have it quite often, but usually, steamed or grilled, as a side dish. After my frittata experiment a few weeks ago turned out so well, I decided to expand a bit and try asparagus in a quiche. As usual, I googled around the a bit and discovered 'the internet' considers prosciutto  a nice compliment to asparagus. Who was I to argue?

I bought some of both (it may or may not have been the same day) and simply substituted them into my usual quiche Lorraine recipe, with a few minor alterations. The result? I now have a new ' usual'.

Asparagus and Prosciutto Quiche

Pastry for 9 inch pie crust
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 minced onion
1/2 -3/4 pound (ish) asparagus, cut on a diagonal into 1 inch pieces
4 oz shredded Swiss Cheese
4 eggs
1 cup cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 or 5 slices prosciutto

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Melt butter in pan. Add onion and cook a few minutes over low heat until it becomes translucent. Add the asparagus and cook a few minutes more, until asparagus is softened, but not cooked through.
Sprinkle the asparagus, onion and cheese in pastry lined pan. Beat eggs until uniform yellow, then add cream and salt.

Pour into pie pan. Arrange the slices of prosciutto on the top. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees and continue baking 30-40 minutes, or until knife inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean. Allow to stand 10 minutes before cutting. 

Hot Fudge Cake

Long ago and far away, I used to make this recipe fairly often. And then I just sortof forgot about it. It seems the world forgot about it, too. I mentioned it at work the day after I made it, and no one else had even heard about it. What else could I do but change my February blog post plan and share this recipe instead?

The ingredients are simple, the recipe is quick and easy, and the result: a chocolate cake with its own warm, fudge sauce. The ingredients separate into two layers, with a cake layer on top and a thick, chocolate sauce underneath. As it comes out of the oven, the sauce bubbles up through the cake here and there a bit like lava bubbling up through the ground.

It's best served the day it's made, so I usually make a half recipe for my family of three. We like it warm from the oven with a scoop of ice cream.

Hot Fudge Cake
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
11/4 cup very hot water

Heat oven to 350. Mix all the ingredients above the asterisks. Pour into ungreased 9 inch square pan.

Mix together the brown sugar and cocoa. Sprinkle it on top  of the batter. Pour the hot water over the top.

Bake 45 minutes.  Spoon it into a dessert dish as is, with the sauce spooned over the top, or add a scoop of ice cream.


Like most families I know, weekday mornings in our house are rushed and breakfast is often a haphazard affair - if it happens at all. Often it's eaten at work, or for the passengers in the family, on the go. I'm not crazy about the lack of 'family time' in the morning and maybe we'll figure out how to get it back someday, but for now I'm just trying to figure out how to get better food in my family to start their day.

One idea I've been kicking around for a while was an egg-based option other than the usual hard boiled eggs. This week I happened to have time on my hands, a spare chorizo and a bit of Monterey cheese, so I decided to give it a go. Just to mix things up, while I was at it I made a smaller batch with swiss cheese and asparagus.

I baked them two different ways to see which I preferred: in large silicon muffin cups and in small mason jars. Mason jars will likely win when it comes to ease of transport, but they were a bit small for the men in my family. On the other hand, the silicon muffin cups could be filled with different amounts of mixture to suit larger or smaller appetites. I also liked the way they popped cleanly out of the silicon muffin cups, and being glass-free they will be better suited for packing in The Kid's lunchbox.

Obviously, these will be a great way to use up leftover bits of meat, vegetables and cheese. The recipe can be changed to suit any ingredients you have on hand and should be enough to fill six large muffin cups.


6 eggs
1 potato, shredded, rinsed and well drained
1 cup grated cheese - cheddar, swiss, jack, pepper jack - whatever you have on hand
1 cup chopped meat or vegetables - or a mixture of both
1/4 cup water or cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
18 teaspoon pepper
optional: herbs, spices or other additions that work well with your chosen ingredients

Beat the eggs with the cream, salt, pepper and herbs. Divide the meat and vegetables between the muffin cups. Pour on the egg mixture, filling no more than 3/4 full.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until slightly browned on top. Allow to cool slightly. As they cool, they will shrink and pop out easily.