Improvised recipe you are proud of.

Here’s my story:

Made onion and cheese pie the day before yesterday and, because of popular demand, am making another today. I had never heard of an onion pie before until my husband was watching Paula Deen and she made one. At first I thought ‘mmmmm, onion pie sounds delicious’ and then she made it and I was all like ‘blaarrgh!’.

Here’s her recipe.

Note that there is no cheese and some sour cream in there. When she cut the pie it was runny and yuckky-looking.

Inspired by Paula but not bound to unappetizing mess, I improvised my own. I sauteed the gigantic vadalia onion in about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and a little more than a teaspoon of butter. When the onion was limp I added a crushed and chopped garlic clove. That went into the ready made deep dish pie shell.

Then I shredded 4 ounces of sharp cheddar and 4 ounces of mozzarella and added a buttload of parmesian/romano mix. Into the cheese I added about 2 tablespoons of flour-- more or less. I’m an awful measurer and do things by eye. Mixed it up and put that on top of the onions.

And then I scrambled two eggs with a little half and half (I’m sure milk would do just as well but I had half and half, so I used it) and poured that over the pie. It didn’t look like enough (what’d I tell ya. I measure by eye) and scrambled up another egg with a little half and half.

A little salt and pepper went into the onions, the cheese and the egg mix too.

That went into the oven at 350 for about 50 minutes. The top was browner than I would have liked. Today I may try it at 300 degrees instead.
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Mmm, onions. I’ve always wanted to try some Flamiche—I love leeks. Anyway, posting a recipe here for possible further inspiration/variations etc.

If there’s one recipe that’s “mine,” it’s spaghetti sauce. I read through lots of recipes and never found what I wanted. Everybody’s so timid with the spices, many didn’t add cheddar to thicken, etc. So I started developing my own, taking the best of the best and adding my own ideas.

Probably the reason I don’t make it much is that I can’t take it to parties etc. You’d need to make noodles on site and that’s the deal killer.

I have made pie crust from scratch. When it’s good it’s very, very, VERY good but when it’s bad it’s just terrible. I’m not good enough to make it worth the effort to make pie crust from scratch.

You’ve never heard of cheese and onion pie?! What a horribly deprived childhood!

Make life easy for yourself. You don’t need all those processes or all that stuff (and from your description, that really sounds more like a quiche anyway). Line a pie tin with pastry and bake it blind. When it’s ready, layer in medium sliced raw onions, pretty much any kind, and grated strong cheese (I use extra mature Cheddar). Put on a top crust, brush with milk or egg if you can be bothered, and put it in the oven for about 25 minutes at about 180. Voila! Proper cheese and onion pie. [Should be served with sausagemeat pie: a small slice of each with a green salad.]

Not horribly deprived. I did have pasteles and alcapurrias and enpanadas. Pretty good trade-offs.

Oooh, what’s a good recipe for alcapurrias? My childhood was horribly deprived too, apparently!

You’d have to ask my Abuelita. But you can’t, cuz she passed. If you’re ever in The Bronx or any other place that has a lot of Puerto Ricans, you can go to a cuchifrito place. They sell Caribbean heart attacks there by the bagful.

Pasteles are better for you since they’re made from yucca, plantains, green bananas and other starchy veggies and stuffed with meat then boiled.

I love cooking, but I hate recipes. So almost everything I cook is improvised. I seem to have something of an instinct for it, because 9 out of 10 are successful. Well . . . 4 out of 5 anyway. Some of my most successful, judging from the reactions of the consumers:

Chocolate Duck
Shrimp Margaritas
Asian Trout Fajitas
Carrot Crab Fennel Bisque
Apricot Curry Chicken Flan
Candied Ginger Fried Ravioli
Monkfish with Bacon and Sage
Wasabi Salmon en Croute
Pork Medallions with Blackcurrants and Rosemary
Duck and Apple Soup
Man, I should write some of these down; I’ve forgotten a lot of them over the years.

I made something last month that even my oldest brother admitted was delicious. This may never happen again, so I’m thrilled.

Fry a little bacon, break it up and set it aside. Heat oil (or bacon drippings if you swing that way; I do) in a large deep skillet. Add garlic and whatever spices you like (I used basil and black pepper and maybe some other stuff I can’t remember). Throw in a chopped onion or two and a whole bunch of sliced zucchini and potato. Fill the skillet up, baby! Pour in 1-2 cups of water, depending on how much veg you’ve got. Cook at medium heat until everything is cooked down a bit and the potato is tender but not mushy. Throw in a fistful of grated Parmesan and about the same amount of coarse bread crumbs (best if it’s bread crumbs from the freezer that you’ve saved from your own homemade bread, but it can’t always be) and stir. Sprinkle the bacon on top and serve.

Zounds, it’s good! Also, uses up lots of zucchini, which is good in the late summer if you have lots of garden-y neighbors who are trying to push the stuff off on you. You can add some fresh garden sweet corn shaved off the cob if you like. It’s good either way.