I admit, I was a bit intimidated at first at the thought of having to peel all the shells off of those little quail eggs. I haven't always had the best of luck turning out pretty hard-boiled chicken eggs. I may not have braved it if I wasn't visiting my brother and sister-in-laws home where they were using 70 quail eggs to make deviled eggs. Can you imagine the cuteness!? Believe, me, they are so fun and are such a hit for any party, barbecue or baby shower. I'll post a recipe for that later. Or you can pickle them. It's William's favorite. I think we've got 4 different jars of varying flavors and colors of pickled eggs in the fridge as we speak. Or eat them as-is with a little salt. My boys love their small size and they are great for lunches. But wait, back to getting the eggs boiled.
Right, so they weren't hard at all to peel. In fact, I would say they were actually EASIER to peel than chicken eggs. Really. That little membrane between the shell and white of a quail egg is thicker and stronger than a chicken's egg and it seems to help hold the shell together a bit more so that it actually comes off in nice big pieces. Here's our favorite method.

Place quail eggs in a pot and cover with water, then add 2-3 Tbsp white vinegar (it helps to soften up the shells). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it's really rolling, turn off the heat, put on a lid and let it sit for 8 minutes. Drain off the hot water and put the eggs into cold ice-water (our tap water comes out very cold, so I actually usually just run cold water over them in the same pot). Peel the eggs, rinse them off and you're done! Bite-size, hard-boiled, quail eggs.
 
 
Seriously. This cake was delicious. Maybe even better than a regular chocolate cake. I haven't really jumped on the gluten-free train, we don't have any specific allergies to wheat or gluten, but I have really enjoyed that other grains (and other "not-grains" too, like quinoa. Did you know it's not a grain at all?) and recipes of how to use them are more readily available. Now, my father-in-law, does have a sensitivity to wheat. I think he'd mostly given up the idea of getting to eat cake on his birthday, so I set out to find a cake that would help him forget that he's had to give up so many of the bakery items he used to love. I mostly followed the recipe at Mel's Kitchen Café , and it turned out great. It was quite thin for the 9x13 cake pan I used, but if you use two pans to layer it like Mel did or if you used a square pan I think it'd be just right. I also insist on using duck eggs in baking, especially gluten-free baking. It holds things together and keeps it light and soft. As a note, when substituting duck eggs, it may take a bit longer to bake then the called for times, but otherwise just a 1:1 exchange works well.

Gluten-free, flourless Chocolate Cake
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa*
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4  duck eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt



*Cooking quinoa: use 1/2 cups dry quinoa. Rinse in cool water, then pour in small pot with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then put on lid, turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350* F. Grease your pan of choice (2 8" round cake pans or 1 9x9 square pan is what I recommend. Line the bottom with parchment paper for easier removal)
Combine milk, eggs and vanilla in a food processor (I used my VitaMix blender). Add the cooked quinoa and butter and blend until smooth.
In a large bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients, then add the wet ingredients from the blender and continue to whisk until smooth.
Pour batter into pan(s) and bake for 28-35 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick or knife until it comes out clean.

From there, choose a frosting. After consulting with William, we chose a basic cream-cheese frosting. To avoid pushing the frosting around the cake and catching lots of crumbs, I spooned the frosting into a gallon-size plastic bag, cut of the tip (making a 1/2 inch hole or so) and piped it on, then used a knife to simply even it out.
I'm sure this cake will be a hit at your house as well. As my almost 2 year old kept asking for more, I had a hard time deciding if I should say no, anything with quinoa is considered a health food, right?
 
 
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When we first show people our quail eggs, they first comment on how small they are and then ask how we use them. Well, just like a chicken egg, basically! Quail eggs do have a thicker membrane just under the shell that don't split very easily, so when cracking them open they actually have special "scissors" ( can be bought a number of places, including amazon.com ). They are pretty slick when working with quail eggs, but you can also simply crack the shell, then use kitchen shears to clip them open in a pinch. With an abundance of quail eggs, we've been enjoying them for breakfast! They make cute little fried eggs and the other morning, my husband whipped up a bunch of these cute miniature "Eggs in a Hole".


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You first melt butter in a frying pan. While it's heating over medium heat, cut small, quarter-size circles out of small slices of bread (we also quartered the slices of bread). Place the bread on the pan and break a quail egg into each center. Add salt and pepper and after about a minute, flip over and cook on the other side for another 30-90 seconds or until it's done to your preference. Serve and enjoy!

 
 
Through the winter, especially, we eat a lot of soup. It warms the body and the soul, is easy to throw together, can be easily doubled to feed a crowd and is an easy way to add some veggies to our diet when fresh produce isn't readily available. Winter is coming to an end, and I have high hopes that spring is here, but the snow on the ground this morning reminded me that it's not here yet, not really. This is a favorite soup recipe of mine which was inspired by Pioneer Woman. She's such an inspiration in the kitchen and I like to think that I know her from way back. Like, I was reading her blog and following her recipes back in 2010. I know, I know, we're old chums. And I love that she is married to a rancher and homeschools and lives out in the country. Anyway, here's a delicious recipe, based on her Cauliflower Soup.

Cauliflower Soup
  • 1 stick Butter, Divided
  • 1/4 cup Onion, Finely Diced
  • 4 whole Carrots, Finely Diced
  • 1-2 whole Cauliflower Heads (roughly Chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Or Dried Parsley, Chopped
  • 2 quarts Low-sodium Chicken Broth Or Stock
  • 6 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 3 cups Whole Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Salt, To Taste
  • Optional sour cream to serve on top

INSTRUCTIONS
In a large soup pot, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown. 

Add the carrots. Cook an additional couple of minutes. Add the cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine. 

Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.

In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Mix the flour with one cup milk and whisk to combine. Add flour-milk mixture slowly to the butter, whisking constantly. Stir in the rest (2 cups) of milk.

Add mixture to the simmering soup. Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary. 

Serve immediately