Celebrating The Cozy Apron’s fifth birthday, my husband and I realize how fortunate we feel for the experience of our blog; it’s taught us much about ourselves, about others, and about what it means to have a “passion”. It has also provided the opportunity to continue to cook and develop recipes, ones that, hopefully, not only comfort, but also nourish one’s soul, like a savory quiche filled with all sorts of little goodies.
When my hubby and I reminisce over a juicy and luscious glass of our favorite red wine, “Apothic Inferno”, or a tasty little home-made craft cocktail, we often marvel just how much the two of us have always had in common.
Though we grew up in very different family situations, and in different parts of the country, our longings were quite the same.
Both of us were dreamers, both of us desired to some day have a partner who would love us and who we could share every aspect of life with, be best friends with, grow with; both of us loved and relished the cozier aspects of life, both of us longed to share with others, and both of us wanted nothing more than to give of ourselves in ways that would ultimately be beneficial to others in some way.
Of course if you had asked us when we were kids to describe all of those hopes and longings in so many words, we would’ve struggled to; but now, as adults looking back on things, we see that there was a sort of fire in each of our young bellies early on to live a full life, and to participate in something creative and meaningful (and with a partner, ideally) that would introduce us to a greater purpose, and offer that proverbial “click” that would mean we were on the path that was meant for us, the path we like to call “home”, which brings me to The Cozy Apron…
At the end of January, our little labor of love, our blog, celebrated her fifth birthday.
A little over half a decade ago this mustard seed of an idea for a simple little food website where I could post a recipe of mine every now and then revealed itself to us.
I resisted at first (not uncommon with me), but was persuaded eventually by my hubby, my partner, to give it a go.
The idea of a cozy and uplifting—loving—little space on the web where tasty from-scratch and love-filled recipes could be shared quickly ingrained itself in the very fabric of each of our psyches, hooked itself into our souls somehow; even though it seemed, at first, like sort of a strange endeavor that neither of us had the foggiest idea of how to proceed upon.
What in the world did either of us know about running a website, a blog?
But there was this longing, this itch, to begin sharing; to begin connecting with others in a particular way, using the medium of food and coupling it with personal thoughts on life.
By the grace of God (and His unrelenting and unshakeable inner prompting), we took the first little steps toward getting the blog going, completely on fawn legs with barely any knowledge of what it meant to run a website, so that anyone would even know it existed, or would even want to visit once they (most likely accidentally) stumbled upon it.
Frankly, Michael and I had never even considered that The Cozy Apron would be anything more than a hobby or a creative outlet that we could use to come together and play a little as time allowed.
So it’s interesting: somehow, over time, this little labor of love became this “little engine that could”, and blossomed and bloomed into a platform that we never would have imagined; one that allowed us to employ the many different aspects of ourselves, and that, to this very day, continues to grow and evolve, and continues to push us as individuals to grow and evolve.
And that, for us, is pure magic—it’s catching a glimpse of Divinity at work.
Looking back on the past five years, there’s much that floods in for me…
First, that it’s entirely possible for one to have the direction of one’s life change in the twinkling of an eye, and tap into something that was dormant in one’s being that was just waiting to be activated, and that would bring immense meaning and “good challenge” if one is flexible, open, and willing to receive it.
And second, that one can learn incredible lessons about life, about people, and about one’s self in situations and spaces that one would never have anticipated.
The Cozy Apron has taught me that I could find joy, purpose, and a sense of direction and that Divine “click” participating in something that came out of the blue as a sort of strange prompting.
I believe each of us have a Divine destiny, and it is often found in the most unexpected ways; and for my hubs and I, we have been blessed to have tasted a small, sweet sliver of it in our little blog.
It’s existence has given us a better understanding of who we are as individuals, who we are as a couple, and what our strengths are, as well as our weaknesses.
It has helped to show us what we potentially have to offer, and what “home” looks like for us.
So while five years seem to have passed in the twinkling of an eye, all of the wonderful lessons learned during that time in each of the unique experiences that have materialized, all ended up being added to our satchel of life experiences that we’ll carry with us going forward into the rest of our lives.
Funny how the little dreams and longings from childhood can, over time and with God’ merciful guidance, become reality.
I have no idea what tomorrow brings, never mind next week, next month, or next year…may it be revealed in due time.
What I am grateful for is the opportunity that Michael and I have to bring The Cozy Apron to you today, in the hopes that it will be abundantly fruitful and yield a good harvest that can continue to nourish not only us, but anyone who stumbles upon it looking for what we happen to have to offer up.
May it be enjoyed, and may its flavor be pleasing.
And speaking of flavor…
A late winter/early spring-inspired supper to warm you: Savory Quiche with Herb Crust, Caramelized Vegetables and Bacon.
Here’s to another 5 years, plus many, many more…thank you for your readership!
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Savory Quiche with Herb Crust
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 8-10
Herb Crust Ingredients (or you can use store bought, as well):
• 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• Pinch black pepper
• 1 teaspoon dried parsley
• 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
• Pinch red pepper flakes
• 8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut into pieces
• 1/4 cup chilled shortening, cut into pieces
• 2 tablespoons ice cold vodka
• 3 tablespoons ice cold water
• 6 strips bacon, chopped
• 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 3/4 cup small-diced baby yellow potatoes (about 2 baby potatoes)
• Black pepper
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1/2 teaspoon chopped, fresh rosemary leaves
• 6 ounces very thin-stalk asparagus, cut into tiny pieces
• 1 cup Italian blend cheese, or favorite variety
• 6 large eggs
• 1 1/2 cups cream
(*This recipe can be a breeze if you prep ingredients ahead of time, and just bake the quiche off the day you’d like to serve it: if preparing the crust from scratch, prepare the dough, wrap in plastic and keep in the fridge until day of when you’ll blind bake, and fill/bake it; you can also prep/saute all the filling ingredients a couple of days ahead, as well, and keep those in the fridge ready to go for the day of.)
-Begin by preparing your crust (if you prefer to use a store bought crust, skip down to the “blind baking” section): add ¾ cup of the flour, along with the salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, and red pepper flakes, to the bowl of a food processor, and process to incorporate; add in the cold butter and the chilled shortening, and process until a crumbly mixture forms.
-Add in the rest of the flour, and process by pulsing a few times to incorporate that in; turn the crumbly flour out into a large bowl.
-Combine the ice cold vodka and the ice cold water; drizzle a little at a time into the flour mixture, and use a spatula to incorporate and press the liquid into the flour, until all liquid is used and the dough comes together; turn out onto a work surface.
-Form the dough into a disc shape and wrap in plastic; chill for at least 45 minutes to an hour (even a couple of days if making ahead).
-To blind bake your crust, preheat the oven to 350°; carefully roll out the dough until very thin, and fit it into your 9” pie dish; crimp edges as desired, and chill in the freezer for 10-15 minutes; once chilled, add a piece of parchment paper in along with some pie weights or dried beans (my favorite), and bake for 1 hour; when you remove the crust from the oven, allow for it to sit with the paper and beans/pie weights for 10 minutes (leave the oven on to bake the quiche).
-While the crust is blind baking, prepare your filling ingredients: place a cast-iron, or a heavy-bottom skillet over medium-high heat, and once hot, add in the chopped bacon, and crisp; remove from pan.
-Add in the butter, and once melted, add in the onion and the small-diced potatoes, plus a small pinch of salt and pepper, and saute those for about 10-12 minutes or so, until golden-brown and caramelized, and the potatoes are fairly tender; add in the asparagus to warm through and gently soften, followed by the garlic and the rosemary, as well as the bacon, and stir in to incorporate; set filling ingredients aside while you wait for the crust.
-Once crust is ready, add the vegetable filling to the bottom of the crust; sprinkle over the cheese.
-Gently whisk together the eggs and the cream, and add a small pinch of salt (the bacon and cheese already add some saltiness, so be careful not to add too much), and pepper; pour the mixture over the veggie filling and cheese, and place into the (350°) oven to bake for about 50-55 minutes (mine took about 53 minutes), covering with foil for the last 10-15 minutes to prevent too much browning.
-Allow quiche to cool slightly for at least an hour before slicing, or serve at room temperature, or even chilled; serve with a nice green side salad for supper, or even for a brunch or lunch.