Wedding, House, And Building The Business

Dessert from our mini moon at Bourbon Steak.
Dessert from our mini moon at Bourbon Steak.

I married my love, Mr. PC. We tied the knot just over two months ago in a sunset ceremony surrounded by our family and close friends. While it was a beautiful day, we are still exhausted and attempting to recover.

I wish I could have spent more time with family and friends that came in from out of town. Everything went so quickly and the wedding day was a blur of hugs and quick conversations. I don’t feel like I was able to talk to everyone enough. Happily, I was able to at least speak with everyone who attended, but for me, it wasn’t enough. Now they are all home, we are moderately recovered, and I wish we had more time with our families and friends. Check out the lovely armadillo cake one of my best girlfriends made me over at my Sugar Rush column on Chow Bella.

Even though I was not allowed to make my own wedding cake, I still represented Pistol Whipped Pastry with some tasty cupcake treats for my family and friends to take with them as well as a dessert table at the rehearsal dinner. I wanted to give my out of town guests something from my bakery, plus, I love doing orders for dessert tables or dessert favors for weddings, and my wedding was no exception.

Cupcakes from our wedding.
Cupcakes from our wedding.

Of course, there is always drama when you put many different opinions into one space. I have chosen NOT to change my name at the present time. I like my name. I have a business and a career built on my name. Never did I think that it would matter to me, to change my name, until a couple months ago, when someone asked me if I was practicing signing my new name. I hemmed and hawed, caught off-guard at how much I didn’t want to change it. This has been my name for 31 years. I’m not ready to part with it just yet.

When we went to sign the marriage certificate after the wedding, the venerable female reverend told me that I HAD to change my name, because legally, my name is now that of my husband, and I could get into serious trouble with the law if caught with my maiden name on my license and social security card. My photographer frantically waved her hands and shook her head no behind the silver-haired reverend. It’s a great story to tell, and I eagerly wait being arrested by the police for not using my married name.

We hit the ground running after the wedding. Pistol Whipped Pastry is taking off and I am thrilled. Crazy busy. Somedays, I wish I could clone myself, but I am really excited about all the progress. We are booking events left and right, and I am getting to work with so many amazing people. Check out the new line of gluten free pastries I am doing at Kaleidoscope Juice. I’m writing for some fabulous publications, and being extended some amazing writing opportunities that I can not wait to share with you all.We bought a house in December, you know, because we haven’t done enough this year, yet. Life is good.

The recovery process after a wedding seems to involve the regaining of one’s appetite. I feel like I didn’t eat for about a month prior and during the wedding. My trainer was amazed at how quickly I was losing weight. “No appetite,” was not her favorite response. However, we are making up for it now, by eating good food.

It’s like I hit Suzie Homemaker mode this weekend, roasting a chicken, then making stock from the remains. Homemade chicken soup. Apples for applesauce gurgling away in cider on the stove. The windows opened. Prepping dinners for the week. It was the first time in a couple weeks I had cooked a homemade meal, and it was fully relaxing. As much as I love the precision and measurements of pastry, I equally love the dash-here-and-pinch-there of savory cooking as well.

Chicken soup, pink lady applesauce, and new wine glasses.
Chicken soup, pink lady applesauce, and new wine glasses.

I make chicken stock quite a bit, since I typically roast a chicken about every other week. I throw the whole chicken carcass into the stock pot, fill with water till just covered. Add a couple chopped carrots, some celery, an onion, a bay leaf, salt and pepper, and simmer for about 4 hours. Make sure to skim off and discard the foam as it collects on the surface.

I strain my stock through cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve. Store in deli containers in the freezer for use whenever needed.

With the proliferation of kale and other hearty leafy greens popping up from our local farmers, I have been chopping and tossing those greens in near the end of the soup making process.

Our new house is perfect. It’s exactly the amount of space we needed and in a great area, that is up-and-coming. I finally have a dedicated office to house my books, Pistol Whipped Pastry gear, and all the great photography gear & props I have been collecting.

I am loving the blank slate that is before me, daydreaming up how I want to decorate. I have already procured some paint samples, and have a pinterest board full of creative DIY ideas of how I want to organize and create my perfect workspace.

Over the next month I will be working on putting together my office space, and sharing it with you here. The challenge I am facing is the need for a lot of storage, but I don’t want it to look like I work in a storage room or a closet. With a growing collection of cookbooks and vintage cake stands, I want to be able to display them, but not feel overwhelmed in the small space.


I guess it’s time to open a bottle of wine and start painting the walls. Do people have such things as painting parties? Hmmm…

Caramelized Onions and Quiche

I went through a phase a few years ago where I was obsessed with caramelized onions. I made them everyday to eat on thick toasted slices of bread I was testing, tossed with pasta and goat cheese, or with my morning eggs. They were sweet, charred, and with a dash of salt, perfect on just about anything. Due to some comments from friends and my sister, I am pretty sure that my house, as well as my person, were pretty pungent, but I didn’t care. I love the smell. It was comforting to come home and have the scent of onion perfuming the air.

Finished, caramelized onions.

Working as a pastry chef can be challenging at times, to keep your creativity fresh. I read everything I can get my hands on, taste the work of other chefs, travel to new towns to see what is happening in their food scene, scour the internet for new techniques and back myself against a wall, to force myself to come up with new ideas and methods.

Some days, I go back to my favorites. Hunting for new scone flavor variations the other day, I wandered around the kitchen. I scoured the walk-in, the freezer, dry storage. That is when I saw the onions. As freshly baked bacon wafted through the air, I started to piece together a new scone flavor. It is simple, but caramelized onions, bacon and cheese scones are one of my biggest sellers, so apparently others feel the familiar tug of comforting flavors too.

Chopped onions.

I hadn’t made caramelized onions in a long time and once I started at work, I couldn’t seem to stop. Zipping to the market after work, I filled my basket with onions and headed home to continue my caramelized project.

Pale onions, on their way to being caramelized.
Pale onions, on their way to being caramelized.

One of my favorite ways to eat caramelized onions is in quiche. Silky custard of eggs and milk, flaky pie crust and all the little bits and pieces you have left over in the fridge, tossed into the mix. I keep a pie crust rolled out in a pie plate in the freezer at all times. It is my quickie dinner when I just don’t feel like assembling a full meal. I mix up the egg and milk (or cream if you are feeling dangerous), toss in the bits and bobbles I can find. Pop it in the oven for about 45 min-1 hour. While it bakes, I toss together a small salad, and pour glasses of wine. It’s simple, like the caramelized onions, but it’s comfortable.


As Mr. Paul Child walked in the door, mid-caramelized onion sautéing on the stove, the first words out of his mouth were “Ohhhh! What smells so good in here?” I knew I was marrying the right man.



Caramelized Onions and Quiche

Rachel Ellrich Miller


For the Caramelized Onions:
2 large onions (any variety that you like)
A couple tbsp good olive oil
A pinch of salt

For the Quiche:
Pie crust in a 9.5" or 10" pie plate; chill very well (or keep in the freezer like I do)
7-8 eggs
1/2 cup milk (you can also use all cream or half milk, half cream)
Various odds and ends (I used zucchini, red pepper, teleme cheese, caramelized onions and bacon)
Salt and Pepper


For the caramelized onions:
Heat a sautee pan over medium heat. Pour in a couple tablespoons of good olive oil. You want to keep the onions from sticking to the pan, you do not want your onions drowning in oil. Toss in your onions. This process will take a bit, so be patient. Allow the onions to sweat, stir occasionally. The onions will start to color. When they do, try not to move them around too much. You do want to move the onions, to allow the color to cover all the onions, but you also want them to color, and moving them around a lot will not allow them to get nice and caramelized. If you like a paler caramelization, take them off at your preference.

Whisk egg and milk together. Toss all your odds and ends in the frozen pie crust. Pour your egg mixture over.Pop in the oven at 350 degrees for 45minutes to an hour. Basically, it should not be jiggly in the middle and golden brown on top. I always end up covering the top with aluminum foil near the end, to keep the top from over browning.

Serve with side salad and a glass of Arizona Sand Reckoner white for a perfect summer evening.

It’s a Farm Life For Me

Moving to a small town again, wasn’t exactly in my plans. I guess when I pictured life in a small town in my future, I assumed it would be Cornville, AZ or Jerome, AZ where I would be surrounded by amazing wine, and easily be able to get down to Phoenix to see my friends and family, for dinners and drinks in my favorite restaurants. Enter, love of my life, Mr. Paul Child, and off I go packing up my cookbooks and knives, into my FJ, and accept a job as an executive chef for a farm bakery in Yuma, AZ.

I grew up on 60 acres of land and went to college at a school that was built by farmers and known for a long time, for it’s agriculture. Apparently, living in a city has become ingrained in me, because the moment I see a combine driving down the road, on my commute to work, I started laughing. The third day it happened, I started to get pissed, trying to get around it. Now, it’s a common day annoyance.

This is a massive change in my life and exciting development in my career, all rolled into one. It thrills me that my job includes being able to order seeds for the fields and watch the guys lay the irrigation lines for the pumpkin patch (see photo above), knowing that soon I will pull them from the fields and turn them into delicious edibles. It’s a dream gig for a chef to have a field of produce at their fingertips, and now it has happened to me!

Mr. Paul Child no longer has to listen to me proclaim my love for chickens and how convenient it would be for me to be able to retrieve eggs for cooking from a coop, if I had one. The shabby chic coop will house 50 hens and is made from all up-cycled materials from the farm and the vintage shop. It’s going to have a chandelier and a guest book for kids to leave the chickens messages.

Part of what we are trying to do at the farm is to feed people good food. In a world where store bought bread doesn’t mold for a month or longer, we are going to be offering breads to our customers. I’m in love with breads, and the simplicity of the ingredients, that must be manipulated by a skilled hand, to create a rustic, beautiful product. This is how they made breads for centuries before we got the cockamamie idea to commercialize the process. Our breads will be made by hand, specifically, my hands.

I am missing Phoenix and all my friends and family there. I’ve been trying to create really healthy habits for myself and just be kind to myself. While I’m working every day getting everything in line for the opening of the farm bakery, a couple weekends ago, I zipped over to San Diego for the Color Me Rad, color run. If you haven’t done one of these 5K’s, it’s amazing. A sea of people in white arrive, a sea of people colored by pink, purple, blue, green, and yellow cornstarch leave. It’s renewed my desire to get my butt into shape so that I can run a half marathon at some point.

I made my first solo pot of my mom’s (passed down to her from my grandma) sauce. Waking up to the smell of onions and garlic being sautéed, is home for me. Letting the scent permeate the house, so that leaving and coming back, it smells like my parents house…happiness. I think I needed the reminder, since I’m missing my family.

And now, a new recipe for you. I’m sure I’ve seen a recipe like it somewhere before. Have you ever craved a recipe you’ve never had? That’s how this was for me. I was hungry for it, and I had to create the recipe from the taste I dreamed of in my head. I just knew I wanted veggies, herbs de provence and some crunch.

Mr. Paul Child likes veggies, but doesn’t love them like I do. I could eat roasted veg for dinner every night, but I’m pretty sure he would view that as torture. I have to come up with different ways to get him to eat veg, hence this recipe. Yeah, there’s some parm and breadcrumbs (panko) on there, but it’s a light sprinkle, and in the end, he’s eating veggies.

The farm I work at has a U-Pick, and I can’t wait till we get the delicious fall veg coming off the fields that I can use with this recipe.


Roasted Veggies with Panko

Rachel Ellrich Miller


2 small zucchini
1 small-medium eggplant
3-4 small potatoes, purple or red
olive oil
1/2 cup panko (can be found in the asian section of most grocery stores)
1/4 cup fresh grated parmigiano-reggiano
1 - 1 1/2 tsp. herbs de provence (I use about 1 1/2 tsp. but herbs de provence is not for everyone, so start will a little less if you have never tasted it.)
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Rub a baking dish with olive oil. I use a Le Creuset baking dish that's 10" X 6 3/4" x 1 1/2", and it works perfectly.

Mix together panko, parm, herbs de provence, salt and pepper. If you want more cheese, add more cheese. I usually do this by eye.

Thinly slice the veggies, making each slice close to the same thickness. I cut the eggplant in half length-wise and then slice them from each half.

Toss the veggies with olive oil. Start with one veggie type and line them standing up down the shorter side of the pan. Sprinkle with panko mixture. Line with the second veggie type. Sprinkle with panko mixture. I think you get the point. Once layered, I sprinkle any remaining panko mixture on the top and drizzle the little drizzle of olive oil that's left in the veggie bowls, over the top. Pop in the oven for 30 minutes to bake. After 30 minutes, my oven doesn't get it nice and browned, so I turn on the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up the cheese and panko topping.

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