Traci Anello

The Power in Food

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Quiche makes an easy meal anytime.

Quiche is one of those menu items you generally see on a brunch menu. The truth is, it can make any meal anytime a quick and easy task. There are many ways you can approach this. You can make your shells up ahead of time and freeze them so they are ready when you are. You can make the entire quiche and freeze that so it’s completely ready when you are. Or you can just have someone else make it and lose out on the feeling of satisfaction when you serve it. The last one sounds a little harsh but I’m here to give you a boost into cooking for yourself. Let’s face it, you know you want to do it so I’m here to help.

Generally I like to make a batch of shells up all at once. I use 6″ pans so I can make several varieties of quiche all at the same time. It’s a real time saver and if you already have them ready to go, make a pie too for dessert. Pie dough works the best and holds up very well in the freezer. If you’re hosting a brunch or just making it for your family, choices are good. I suggest making a simple cheese quiche. That’s a no fail pleaser. Other suggestions would be: Lorraine (bacon), smoked turkey and portobello, garden vegetable, caramelized onion and goat cheese, sun dried tomato and fresh basil and my family favorite: Italian with bits of salami, capicola, roasted peppers and provolone cheese. Your choices are as broad as your imagination. Feel free to share them on this blog.

Construction is very simple: Place the cheese on the bottom followed by the ingredients of your imagination and then the filling. Here is a simple basic quiche filling that will make 6 (6″) quiche:

12 large eggs
1 quart of half and half
salt and pepper to taste
dash of worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup of fresh chopped parsley

Whisk this all together and fill the quiche where it meets the bottom rim of your pie crust. I bake them at 350° for about 30 minutes, depending on your oven. When they have a slight giggle, they’re ready. Remember, they’ll cook a bit longer once they’re out of the oven. The beauty of quiche is it can be served warm or at room temperature.

This is a basic recipe so feel free to add herbs of your choice as well. See what’s in the fridge for leftovers from the night before. I bet that will make a pretty cool quiche unless ofcourse it’s spaghetti but hey, you never know. People are covering bacon with chocolate now a days and calling it good. Just don’t put that in your quiche.

Serving suggestions to go with your homemade (yes, you did it!) quiche are as simple as the dish itself. A few ideas could be fresh fruit, a garden salad, crispy roasted potatoes, crusty baguettes toasted and lightly buttered and maybe even just a small dish of cottage cheese flavored ofcourse with a few herbs.

If you are following a gluten free diet, use the basic recipe and gluten free pie shells. There’s no reason why you can’t join in on this fun too. I have made many Gf quiches and honestly, no one could ever tell the difference. Most of all of my recipes I can convert to gluten free very easily for you and i’m happy to do so.

This is quick and simple meal. Take the time to give it a try and remember to take pictures. I’d love to see them. Tomorrow we will conquer pie crust. It’s that time of year and with a few simple tricks, you’ll be known as the pie lady in no time!

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What do you mean there’s no equipment?…A true story about challenges, faith and triumph.

About 12 years ago, I was working at a beautiful cafe in mid coast Maine. We had a dining room, a lounge and a full gourmet bakery. I was the bakery manager at the time. The one thing the owner said was to make sure everyday the cases were full and looked their best. She said you never know who’s going to walk in that door. Her words rang true a May evening.

A well-known movie company was filming in town. That evening the prop master decided to come in for dinner. By then I had gone home after a long day of fresh baked breads and pastries. He commented on how lovely the cases looked and asked to speak to the bakery manager. The host informed him that I had left for the evening and so he gave her his business card with instructions for when I was to call. The following day I called. He wanted to ask me to come to the set and create a New England style continental breakfast for a scene they were doing. He especially wanted the scones to look like the ones he saw in the case. No problem. It was a long day but a great experience. I worked with them for the next three days.

A well known actor’s caterer happened to be there and asked me if I would fly to Georgia for 6 weeks to make his pastries and help with the desserts for the crew. This was a very good opportunity but I took a couple of days to think about. I decided to go. My plane left in mid June. I packed my favorite knives and some cake supplies (Thank God I did!). I get to the hotel and check in. It was a beautiful hotel. I went up to my room unpacked and then out to see the historic city. I got my itinerary from the front desk and needed to meet the crew in the lobby the following morning. We were taken in a van to an old warehouse with a Sysco refrigerated truck already filled with product and ready to go. The caterer had a small utility truck which had the grills, tables and other set up equipment. The catering truck had pans, sheet pans, some refrigeration and work stations. As I peaked around, I realized there was no baking equipment…at all! No mixers, no measuring spoons or cups, no scales…nothing. My heart sank. I went to the neice who was now my supervisor and her reply was simply this,”Next week you will get a check. Get what you need then.”.

I went back to the hotel room and buried my face in my hands and just sobbed. What would I do without the right equipment? What did I get myself into?? I thought…Hollywood…good money…best equipment. Boy was I wrong. I called a very good friend and told him I was going to book a flight home. This was a nightmare already. He said,”You? You’re going to give up without trying? You? The one that’s always saying never let them see you sweat? Put your game face on?” I told him this is why I called him. He was always there ready to reason with me. I got on my knees and prayed. I prayed hard too. I asked to just get me through this. It was only going to be 6 weeks. I went down to the bar and had a martini and thought about how I was going to pull this off. At 4:30am, the games would begin.

After a brief sleep and a good shower, I met the rest of the crew at the van. We headed over to the warehouse to prep for the morning. I decided that chocolate chips cookies would be my first attempt at beating the odds. All of my recipes were in weights so I had to do a conversion with each of them. I saw a few pallets stacked off to the side of the dock so I got my tea and headed over for a brief thought. After a few deep breaths, I decided how I was going to make this work. I would take a pound of butter and a plastic zip lock bag. I would hold the butter in one hand and put flour in the other. I closed my eyes and when the bag and butter felt at even weights, I had a pound of flour. The repeated the same for sugar, brown sugar, eggs and chocolate chips. I put gloves on and mixed the batch by hand. I portioned them out on a sheetpan and in the oven they went. If this worked, I would convert every recipe that way. Waiting for these cookies to finish was like being in labor. Deep breaths and constantly watching the clock. Even a few cramps found their way in my stomach. I had to pull this off. I couldn’t let them see me sweat. The timer went off and moment of truth was about to show itself. I opened the oven and there they were! Beautiful little cookies that said nothing more than “You did it!!”. What a relief. That was all I needed to give me the confidence to get through the 6 weeks. I tried everything, cookies, cakes, pies, cream puffs, cream puff swans even. When the cater saw what was coming out of the ovens, they presented me with a beautiful Kitchen Aid mixer and anything I needed. This caterer bragged he had a pastry chef that could make whatever he needed. He may have thought that but fortunately he was too busy all of the time to remember what he said. I kept it simple and elegant.
I didn’t have to use that first paycheck on anything more than a new pair of shoes.

By the end of the 6 weeks, I remember being in my hotel room and thinking about how I made it through that mess or challenge as I like to look at it. Then I sat quietly and looked down at my hands. I realized then that I had the right equipment all along to get this job done. I thanked God for getting me through this challenge, strengthening my faith and being there to colebrate my triumph.

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The most amazing Italian breakfast sandwich ever!

I want to share with you the most amazing breakfast sandwich ever. I created this little masterpiece at my bakery in Wells, Maine which was then known as “Anello’s Pastries”.
This sandwich consisted of a well toasted Asiago bagel with a thin layer of Cabot butter, a farm fresh egg, warmed hot capicola and imported provolone cheese. People would line out the door for one of these which usually turned into two. The crispy toasted bagel with a soft chewy middle, the spicy flavor of the capicola and the sharp taste of imported provolone cheese was the best start to the day.

Just because you’re gluten free doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy life too.

There is a very good gluten free version of this sandwich: Bake off GF rolls ahead of time but add Asiago cheese to them before they go in the oven. Freeze the batch. When you’re ready, pull one from the freezer and toast. use a farm fresh egg, a sice of GF capicola and Gf provolone cheese. Deitz and Watson has Gf meats and cheeses as well as Citterio which is my favorite. Lightly butter the roll, add warmed capicola and the provolone will melt on it’s on. You should probably make two. I’m just warning you because the one who doesn’t want to dare try the Gf version will ask for a “small” bite because the aroma is amazing. Then they’ll ask for another bite. Just give them the sandwich and keep the second one for yourself.

Breakfast is the start to the day. With a sandwich like this, you not only treat yourself to some Italian love, you treat the whole family.


Gluten free can be beautiful

Wedding cakes should always taste as good if not better than they look. That’s not as hard as it sounds.

There are plenty of GF all purpose flours on the market. Most of them ate pretty good too. My advice is not to search the entire Internet for a cake recipe. Instead, look inside the passed down recipe box. Find that favorite cake and simply replace the all purpose flour and add appropriate xanthan gum. Youd be surprised at the incredible recipes you have at your finger tips.

This particular wedding cake was created for a couple in Maine. The tier flavors are chocolate raspberry, chocolate white chocolate ganache and lemon raspberry. The shells are all handmade from chocolate.

This cake was served to all the guests and yes, there were requests for seconds!


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The power of food

The power of food is nothing short of amazing.

This morning did not start out as I had intended. I woke up early to get to the health store to have a fresh squeezed juice before a long day of meetings. I was so excited about this juice that I decided when I got there I would get two: one for breakfast and one for lunch. Thirty miles later, the store was closed. So I went to a second store I knew of and it was closed too. Now I had 10 minutes to get to my meeting. When I got there, just seeing a friend I knew upon arrival was enough for me to take a deep breath and know its going to get better. Not that big a deal. Then she hands me this beautiful loaf of homemade cinnamon bread. On it was my name and the person it was from. At that point, I knew the day just got better. The love that resonates from a baked good hand made and presented with a little note confirmed to me that food IS love.

I’m very thankful for this beautiful loaf of bread.

Remember the next time you make something for someone, you’re giving them more than just a homemade treat.


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Are these really gluten free?

Most certainly this tray of cookies is free of all gluten. Assorted biscotti and shortbread make a simple decorative tray. Starting with easy to make base recipes, you can create quite a selection. Shortbread cookie dough can be transformed into linzor cookies, dessert bars, holiday cookie shapes and even just a simple shortbread to serve with afternoon tea.

Biscotti is a wonderful cookie to serve with a nice cup of espresso. Popular flavors are lemon, almond, white chocolate cranberry and my favorite, chocolate chip raisin with a hint of orange zest. Spend an afternoon making biscotti dough and assorted flavors. Roll into logs and freeze until ready to bake. I make several kinds and by the holidays, I just reach in the freezer and bake an incredible assortment. Biscotti ships well so if you know someone who is gluten free, surprise them with a homemade gift of cookies. Grandma Cookie will be proud.


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New England is home

The Atlantic Ocean alongside the Maine boarder is breathtaking tonight. The beautiful pink sky and rocky coast are the perfect setting to sit and ponder about my next post. This is New England. This is home, for now anyway.
It’s moments like these I reflect and I’m thankful I have the gift of creating different foods and types of cuisine for everyone. If you thought you could never have it again, I’ll find a way. I come to this spot and just imagine the what and how. Food is for everyone. It should look great and taste even better. Food is healing. Food is love. This is why I come to this view.



Good morning autumn apples!

Waking up to a crisp fresh apple leads a girl to wonder “What am I going to do with you?”.
Little apple, you just grew up and became a donut. Today’s surprise was apple donuts with a warm maple cinnamon glaze. Open your senses to one of these little beauties and you will wonder how did gluten free become this good. If you’re not gluten free, use traditional flour and wonder how did life become so better.
With the help of a donut pan, these gems are baked, not fried. See ?..,Still getting better. They take about 10 minutes from mixing bowl to that sweet autumn glaze.
The next time you’re apple picking or at the farmers market, pick up a bag and create some new traditions.