THE PIED PIPER (Krysař), Directed by Jirí Barta 1986


I've just watched one of the most beautiful stop-motion claymation films ever. It's a Czech adaptation of the old German folklore, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, where the beautiful music from a piper's pipe leads the rats of a rat-infested town to their deaths, then the piper leads the townspeople's children away in retaliation for not getting paid.

The films original Czech name is Krysař (The Rat Catcher) and its English title is The Pied Piper. Filming was complete in 1985 and was released in 1986. The ending is different than any previously written versions, as far as I know. It's dark, haunting, creepy, and so so beautiful.





Please watch the twelve minute making-of below.



QUICHE RECIPES FROM TASTEOFHOME.COM


These are my own photos of quiche's I've made from recipes at TasteOfHome.com.


BROCCOLI HAM QUICHE


This is made with two types of cheese. I didn't use the ham/thyme/rosemary nor did I use a pie crust. I used finely diced white onion in place of green onion. I used 1.5c. precooked frozen broccoli florets (8 minutes in quart bowl in microwave with lots of water, covered with plastic wrap) instead of only 1/2c. I used a 10" pie plate because someone's review said it was too much mixture for a 9" plate. It baked in 55 minutes but I think it was done at the 45 minute mark. The bottom is a bit tough from all that cheese (2c.!).

This is excellent but I'll cut down to just 1c. of cheese next time and bake it for 45 minutes. No one mentioned in their review that their raw broccoli was undercooked but I just can't see it cooking much in this mixture...so please precook yours. I did mine the night before, drained the water off then covered it with a clean piece of plastic wrap and refrigerated it.

Recipe is here.



ITALIAN QUICHE


This recipe makes two quiches so I made half the recipe and didn't use a pie crust because it's so unnecessary. This smells unbelievable. It has a little bit of Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top. I used Kraft Parmesan & Romano blend. I used just one cup of mozzarella cheese, not two. I left out the red and green peppers. I added 1/4t. salt and it could have used more. I added pepper. I used half and half cream instead of milk. I used a 10" pie plate but I didn't need one that big and will use my 9"/1qt. dish next time. Mine baked in 28 minutes.

I used a 19oz. Johnsonville Italian sausage pack containing five thick links. I cut the casings off each link, cut each link lengthwise then diced it and fried it. After it cooled I stored it in a zip-top freezer bag and froze it. You don't need to thaw it before using it in your quiche.

You can find the recipe here.




CHEESY BROCCOLI AND HAM QUICHE


This is beyond good and is my top favorite quiche. I used a 9"/1qt. pie plate. It has a shredded hash brown crust*. I think an extra 1c. of shredded hash browns is needed. It has precooked broccoli, chopped ham lunch meat, raw onion, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cheese. This quiche doesn't have much milk in it, just 1/2c., and I used half and half cream instead. I used a little less salt than called for and it's a good thing I did because the ham is very salty and this was almost too salty. Next time I'll use just 1/4t. I used equal parts mild cheddar cheese and mozzarella. I also used a lot more broccoli that I precooked in the microwave the night before. I'll add more milk next time so it's moister.

I didn't microwave this like the recipe said to. I baked it instead on 350 degrees F for 28 minutes. Your quiche is done when a knife that's been inserted in the center comes out clean and there's not much jiggle left.

Recipe is here.

*I think it would be best if you thawed the hash browns in a microwave-safe bowl then pressed them into a nonstick foil-lined pie plate because the hash browns stick to the glass plate a little.



SPINACH BACON QUICHE



This recipe has frozen and well drained chopped spinach, milk, eggs, salt, pepper, cheese, ground mustard, paprika, onion, and bacon in it. Though not part of the recipe I used frozen shredded hash browns, thawed, for the crust since I had some I needed to use up. I recommend lining your glass pie plate with nonstick foil whenever you use thawed shredded hash browns because they stick a little to glass.

This is good. I used a 10" pie plate for this. You can't really taste the spinach much, which isn't a bad thing. I was supposed to use a whole 10oz box of spinach but I only used about 1.5c. from a 16oz. bag. This needs more salt and because it's a bit too moist, less milk. I think I'll use 1.5c. next time instead of 2c. I used 2T. bacon bits instead of strips of cooked bacon, since I never buy bacon, just the bits, and it's the right amount. I used far less raw onion than called for but it wasn't enough.

The recipe is here.



ITALIAN SAUSAGE QUICHE


Very good and I'll definitely make this again. I used an 8.5"/1qt. pie dish. I used finely chopped cooked sausage links (Johnsonville), just enough to cover the bottom of this dish, about 1c. I left out the green pepper, jalapeño, and parsley. I used dried chives in place of raw white onion. I used 1/8t. dried basil in place of a lot of fresh basil. I didn't use a crust. Mine is a little overbaked at 37 minutes. I think it was finished at 28 minutes.

The recipe is here.



HAM 'N' CHEESE QUICHE


This one turned out to be pretty bland. The recipe was supposed to make two but as you can see it was only enough for one 9"/1qt dish. I cut back on the half and half by 1/4c. but it's still too moist and probably should have used less than half than what was called for, not 2c. I used less ham and less cheese. This one I wouldn't make again.

Recipe is here.




CRUSTLESS CHICKEN QUICHE


This turned out great. I made half the recipe in a 8.5"/1qt. pie dish. I added 1c. of precooked broccoli florets that I chopped even smaller. I used just 1T. bacon bits but I'll leave those out next time. I used 1/2c. finely shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/2c. of one called Fiesta Blend, which is a mixture of four cheeses. I used half a can of drained white meat chicken breast that I shredded. The recipes uses no salt or pepper so I added 3/8t. salt and 1/4t. pepper and it's the right amount. I used 1/2c. heavy cream. I didn't precook onion with garlic. I used just 1T. finely chopped white onion and used a scant 1/8t. garlic powder. Mine baked in 25 minutes. Because this didn't have much liquid in it it's not watery and is very firm, which is how I prefer quiche to be. I'll definitely make this again, minus the bacon bits.

The recipe is here.



TWO-CHEESE SPINACH QUICHE


I used a standard 9"/1qt. pie plate. I left out the mushroom, used 1c. cooked and drained frozen spinach in place of 1/2c. fresh, added an extra egg and cut back on the half and half cream by 1/4c. I added pepper and 1T. raw white onion, diced. I used 1/2c. finely chopped ham lunch meat (Hillshire Farm). I used a total of 1c. shredded cheese (Fiesta Blend- 4 different cheeses and mozzarella.)

This is very good. Because I used less liquid and added an extra egg this is firm and not too moist like ones that use a lot of liquid. I could have used a little less ham because it's a little smoky. This baked in 28 minutes. I didn't use a crust either.

Recipe is here.





NEW BAKING BOOK by Better Homes and Gardens (2004)

PUBLISHER: Better Homes and Gardens, 9/2004
GENRE: Cookbooks/Baking
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: Baking Basics chapter provides short course for novices and a good refresher for experienced cooks.

Includes chapters on baking reliables: Cakes, Pies and Tarts, Yeast Breads, Quick Breads, and Cookies.

Specialty chapters such as Baking with Kids, Holiday Classics, Spectacular Desserts, and Old-Fashioned Desserts meet the needs of a variety of readers.

Provides extensive baking tips and question-and-answer boxes throughout.





THINGS I'VE MADE

TRILEVEL BROWNIES


I'm very happy with how these turned out. This is a chocolate frosted brownie that's on top of a thin oatmeal layer. It uses a small amount of melted unsweetened chocolate in both the brownies and frosting as well as melted butter in both.

The oatmeal crust is made from oats, brown sugar, melted butter, and a few other ingredients and gets pressed into the pan and is prebaked. The cake-like brownie mixture gets poured over the partially baked crust and mine baked in 24 minutes. The brownie is extremely moist. The mixture used no salt so I added 3/8 teaspoon and I think it could have used more. I added ground pecans to the batter and sprinkled some on top of the frosting.

I used just half of the chocolate called for in the frosting and it was perfect. I doubled the vanilla and added a sprinkling of salt.

These are easiest to eat if you cut them into small bars and hold them because the crust crumbles slightly when you cut into it with a fork.

The recipe is here on their site.




COUNTRY PEAR AND CHERRY CRISP


I'd never combined pear and cherry before. I'm glad I tried this because they go really well together. This recipe used two tablespoons of flour in the filling (four pears and one can of drained tart pitted cherries) but it wasn't nearly enough to bind the fruit together. It just fell apart and needed at least two more tablespoons. I omitted the 1/2c. liquid too because it made no sense to add it. Cooked fruit produces its own juice so there was no need at all to add water/reserved cherry juice to it. Had I done that it would have been a real disaster.

The topping is made from store-bought granola (oats, brown sugar, oil) and melted butter. I forgot to check for overbrowning at the fifteen minute mark so my topping burned slightly. My fault. It need more because 1.5c. wasn't enough to even cover the top of the dish.

This was very good and I'd make it again using 1/4c. flour mixed in with the fruit and use more topping...and not overbrown it.





CLASSIC CHOCOLATE CAKE


This turned out to be very moist. It's made with melted unsweetened chocolate. I can't really explain the flavor. It's not bitter but flavorwise it would probably taste better if made with bittersweet or semisweet chocolate. This tastes the way unsweetened chocolate/semisweet chocolate smells, if that makes any sense. I wouldn't make it again.

I made half the recipe in an 8.5"/2qt. baking dish. I made my own buttercream frosting for it.




MILK CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE


This is the milk chocolate version of Vanilla Cream Pie and is made with semisweet chocolate. It's very easy to make and is cooked on the stove and poured into a pre-cooked or pre-made crust. It's a little bitter, so it's not like milk chocolate at all.

I made half the recipe and that took 1.5oz semisweet chocolate. I used a store-bought 6oz. graham cracker crust. This pie is nearly identical to one called Epic Chocolate Pudding Pie from The Cookies & Cups Cookbook, published eleven years after this one, that used unsweetened chocolate...and was very bitter. I've come to the conclusion that this would be best made with milk chocolate. The pie is very firm and holds it's shape when sliced.



CHEESY BATTER BREAD


This yeast bread is very good, moist (made with shortening), and couldn't have been easier to make. The recipe's actually called Sweet Pepper-Cheese Batter Bread. I left out the sweet peppers because I don't like them, and left out thyme and onion. I used dried chives and pepper instead. I used 1/2c. shredded cheddar, as called for, but I can't taste it very much.

The top was as brown as I wanted it after just fifteen minutes so I covered it loosely with a piece of foil. This baked in five minutes less than the maximum time suggested. It's lightweight and very good. I made compound butter to spread on each slice after toasting.





SOUR CREAM-CHERRY MUFFINS


I made half the recipe and got 23 mini muffins, not 18 like stated in the recipe. They have good flavor but need more salt. I also added 1/2t. vanilla extract. I don't care for the texture. They're very firm, tough, not moist, and seem like they were overmixed but they weren't. These were to bake on 400 degrees F for 12-15 minutes. Mine were overcooked at 10 minutes. Because of the texture, I wouldn't make these again.





PEACH AND ALMOND CRISP


This is nothing special because of the crumb topping. I made half the recipe in a 1.5qt baking dish. I used canned peach chunks in place of fresh or frozen slices, about 4.5c. The topping (flour, rolled oats, butter, white sugar, brown sugar) is a little too sweet and strange-tasting from all the brown sugar. It's made with a lot more brown sugar than white sugar, which is very common for crumb toppings. Definitely wouldn't make this topping again or if I did, I'd use very little brown sugar.




GIANT RASPBERRY MUFFINS


These may be the moistest muffins I've ever made. They're made with your choice of melted butter or vegetable oil. I used oil. The actual name of the recipe is Giant Blueberry Muffins but since I don't like blueberries I used frozen raspberries instead. I made half the recipe and got four jumbo muffins. They baked in 27 minutes. The recipe didn't call for salt so I added 1/4t. but that wasn't enough. I also added a little vanilla extract. I made my own glaze for these (powdered sugar, melted butter, almond extract, vanilla extract, water).



CUSTARD PIE



This is your basic sweet custard (eggs, milk, sugar, salt, vanilla) that's to be poured into an unbaked pie shell. I skipped the pie crust, made half the recipe and poured the mixture over a drained 14.5oz. can of pitted tart red cherries (1.5c.) that I'd placed in the bottom of a deep dish 8.5"/1qt. pie plate. I added 1/8t. almond extract to the mixture. This needed a lot more salt than half the recipe called for so I used 1/4t., not 1/16t.

This tastes very good but the custard doesn't look at all right because of all the water that cooked out of the cherries into it. Completely my fault. I should have cut back on the milk or used just half a can of cherries. It must have been severely overbaked too because overbaked custard will curdle and this was definitely curdled. It's ugly but it tastes good!



BLACKBERRY BUCKLE


This isn't a good cake recipe at all. It's actually called Blueberry Buckle. I used blackberries because I don't like blueberries one bit. I added 1/4t. vanilla extract. Though it tastes good it's very dry. I didn't overmix or overbake this. I made half the recipe (thank goodness) in an 8"x2" pan. It took 36 minutes to bake. I used 3/4c. frozen berries that were naturally 'slightly sweet'. They were huge so I cut each into thirds. I sprinkled the top with about 2t. sugar instead of making a crumb topping. I definitely wouldn't make this again.



BAKED CUSTARD


This is basic custard that consists of milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. I used half and half cream instead of milk. The recipe didn't call for any salt so I added a scant 1/4t. and it was perfect. I also added a small amount of melted semisweet chocolate but it wasn't really enough to notice. I baked mine in three 10oz. bowls in a water bath for 32 minutes. This turned out great and I'd make it again.



PUMPKIN PIE


This turned out well. The recipe is very similar to that on the can of Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin except this uses an extra egg, part evaporated milk/part whole milk, and nutmeg in place of cloves. I used cloves as I don't like nutmeg at all. This recipe called for no salt at all so I added 1/2t., which wasn't nearly enough.

This was too much mixture for a 9"/1qt. pie dish. I had to fill my dish with more mixture than I was comfortable with and I poured out about 1/2c. that definitely wouldn't have fit in the dish, so at least 3/4c. got wasted. This took 58 minutes to bake. Next time I make any pumpkin pie I'll use my 10"/1.5qt. dish.

This pie is not quite as firm as I'm used to but it does taste good. I think I'll just stick to Libby's recipe.



PIE CRUST

This is almost the same recipe as the classic one from Crisco. It's very easy to work with and roll out. It's flaky and doesn't have a strong flavor once baked. I made two and froze them both. I rolled each out between two sheets of wax paper, rolled them up, folded the ends over and wrapped each one in plastic wrap and froze. I thawed each one in the refrigerator then left it on the counter for ten minutes before rolling out to put into the pie plate. I used this crust in the pumpkin pie recipe from this book.


TRIPLE-CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES


I made half the recipe and got 26 doughballs using a 1T./1.5" diameter scoop. The cookies taste good but they didn't spread out quite as much as I'd have liked and they're cakelike, which I don't like. The recipe had no salt in it so I added 1/4t. but it needs more. I added a lot more vanilla too. I left out the semisweet chocolate chunks and white chocolate chunks and used ground pecans instead of chopped. I used a small amount of mini semisweet chips.


BROWNIE PUDDING CAKE


This is one of those 'magic' cakes that makes its own pudding on the bottom. It uses no egg and just 1T. oil. It turned out good but was a little bitter. The cake part was dry even though it was baked in less time than the recipe stated. There's a little too much cocoa powder in both the pudding and cake part. I added a little vanilla to the pudding mixture and I added 1/8t. each to both the pudding and the cake.



OATMEAL-CARAMEL BARS


These oat bars have a layer of chocolate and caramel in between. You take caramels (I used Kraft Bits), add a little milk to them and melt them in the microwave, 50 seconds. You press 2/3 of your creamed mixture into the baking pan, sprinkle semisweet chocolate chips over it evenly then pour your melted caramel mixture over that. You drop the remaining 1/3 of your creamed mixture evenly over the top and bake it a short time, 25 minutes.

I added 2T. unsweetened cocoa powder to the dry ingredients. I used equal parts brown and white sugar instead of all brown. The recipe used no salt so I added 3/8t. I left out the nuts. If you use salted butter you'll still need to add probably 1/4t. salt. I used an extra 1/4c. mini semisweet chocolate chips because 1/2c. wasn't enough to cover the surface.

I made half the recipe in an 8" foil-lined pan and baked them for 25 minutes. After they cooled I trimmed the edges because the caramel got too chewy where it cooked out onto the edges of the foil for my liking. I cut them into six bars then cut each of those in half.

The recipe is here.




MY THOUGHTS: This is truly a great book. I don't care for the binding because you have to turn the pages carefully so you don't rip them. Everything I baked didn't turn out perfectly but you can learn from each and every thing you've made, decide what to do differently the next time. There's not a photo for every recipe but there are a lot.

I purchased this book myself in 2004.