So Quiche Me and Smile for Me…

crust food homemade pie
Photo by Amanda Reed on Pexels.com

 

To: John Denver and Mary Travers

From: Fran

Forgive me for the pun. In no way was it intended to detract from or demean one of the great songs of the 1960s. I couldn’t help myself.

Thank you.

Love,

Fran

 

 

Now that the ear worm du jour has been activated, let us discuss quiche.

Let’s start with the crust. If it doesn’t have a crust, it is a baked omelet. It is a frittata. It is not a quiche, I’m afraid. Those have their charms, but I find that I really need a crust when I want quiche. You may use a frozen one for convenience if needs must. Otherwise, I recommend Patricia Well’s recipe for pate brisse from her book Bistro Cooking: 7 tablespoons butter, 1 to 1-1/4 cups all purpose flour (don’t use unbleached–for some reason it just doesn’t work as well), dash salt, and 3 tablespoons of ice water. I have the best results with cutting the butter into the flour and salt with a food processor. If you don’t have one, cut in the butter with a couple of knives. When it looks like sand, add the water gradually. Use just enough to make the butter and flour clump up, but not enough to make it turn into a ball. Place it on a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper (preferably the latter), pat it into a disc, and let it chill for an hour or so. Roll it out and line a pie plate or loose-bottomed tart pan with it.

For the filling, I use two or three eggs beaten with a cup of milk. If you want to go full frontal French, use cream. Or whole milk. I use 2% or skim depending on what’s in the house. For cheese, I’ve used cheddar, I’ve used Gruyere, I’ve used plain ol’ supermarket Swiss supercharged with parmesan. Grate the cheese and line the bottom of the shell with it.

Now, you can just pour in the eggs and milk and have a satisfactory product, or you can put cooked broccoli, cooked and drained spinach, sautéed onions or leeks, sautéed mushrooms, leftover bits of bacon or ham or other cooked meats. Scatter those over the cheese and pour on the eggs and milk.

I bake quiche at 350 for at least 45 minutes, or until it’s a lovely shade of brown and the filling doesn’t jiggle. Oh, and for the sake of your sanity, place the filled pie plate on a baking sheet before you put it in the oven, especially if you’re using a loose-bottomed pan. If the crust leaks, or the filling decides to climb over the sides,  it will create a mess. Cleaning a baking sheet is easier than cleaning your oven. Trust me.

Let the quiche cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing into it. It can be served warm or at room temperature. I would do a small green salad or a fruit salad with it. And probably a rose that erred on the crisp side if you’re doing this for lunch or dinner. Even in winter. (I really don’t like white wine, so if you’d rather have that I’d encourage you to obey your tastebuds for a pairing.)

Quiche began, as have many recipes that rose from humble beginnings as a way to use up dairy products, small amounts of vegetables, and bits of meat that may not have constituted a meal on their own to a dish of some glamour and prestige. It can be served in any season and for breakfast,  brunch, lunch, or dinner and be as posh or basic as needed. It’s one of the little black dresses of food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Too Lazy to Find My Copy of “The Great Gatsby” So Bear With Me

There’s a scene toward the end of The Great Gatsby where I believe Jordan comments that life begins again when everything gets crisp in the fall.

I’m not trying to wish time away, believe me, but when I walk outside and feel as if I’ve been hit in the face with a hot wet beach towel, I have moments of doing so. The half-hour morning walk with Oakley left me limp from the humidity. I’ll have to settle for the next best thing in the egg department: the hens at the farm where I usually buy mine have wilted in the coolest spots in their enclosure with spread wings, and are too hot to lay eggs.

Storms are en route, though. Some are saying this afternoon, a real possibility when the heat indices hover around 100 and the humidity is ridiculous. Others say tomorrow. I look forward to them, welcome them.

It’s a stay in the moment type of week. We have the last day care day at the place where Oakley’s been going the better part of his life before it goes out of business this weekend. A party’s been planned for staff, owners, and dogs the Sunday after Labor Day. Hopefully it will bring closure as we all make this transition. We all know that change is the constant in life, but did it have to be due to one person’s massive selfishness and greed?

Oakley will be four on Saturday. We just did an early birthday treat run to his favorite store, the mom (no pop) one that’s a little drive. He gets adored by the staff, greets the store cat whether or not he wants to be greeted, and charms other shoppers. And we get to support the shop owner and a small local biscuit bakery. It’s all good.

And when the weather breaks, it will be even better.

 

Monday Potpourri

Oakley scared me this morning. He left food in his bowl, which doesn’t happen very often. Then I realized that I had committed the unforgivable transgression of incorrectly layering the egg, pumpkin, and goat kefir in the bowl before mashing them together. An additional dollop of goat sauce (what it’s called around here) earned my way back into his favor. 

Drinking green jasmine tea. It’s one of the few greens that I enjoy, as is gunpowder green. Gunpowder green has roasted notes and the wow factor of unfurling itself into the full leaves when the water hits it. Very cool to watch. 

Hubby came home, so I’ve been cooking. Scrambled eggs yesterday; almond and coconut flour muffins this morning. Turkey cutlets with rosemary, but do I want to do a rosemary and mushroom or orange sauce? After three weeks of cooking for himself, he really appreciates my culinary efforts and likely doesn’t care.  I’m leaning towards the orange sauce. I have some oranges that need to be used up.

On this day in 1536, Anne Boleyn was beheaded. A note of Tudor nerdiness for the day. Other than wearing black and watching the episode of “The Tudors” where she meets her fate, nothing planned. 

So we go on to this week.

 

 

 

 

Fried Rice Heck Yeah!

I make a pot of rice about every two or three days. Hubby is of an ancestral background that uses it as the main carb dish. 

Consequently, fried rice appears pretty frequently. This is how I do it…

Scramble one egg per diner ( in my case, one for me, one for Hubby, one for Oakley which I take out and keep to the side for him).  They will wait patiently while you heat up a little more oil and stir-fry the onions and other veggies that take a while to cook. If you are using meat that needs to be cooked, add it now, too. Whey they’re almost done, add the veggies like the bean sprouts, water chestnuts, and baby corn (cut into smaller pieces if necessary) and if using, tofu cut into small squares. Now, add the rice and keep stirring. Start drizzling in the soy sauce to taste–in my case, when the rice turns medium brown. Keep stirring. Now return the eggs, add leftover meat if adding, and give it a good stir.

And now you have your own pot of homemade fried rice. Enjoy. 

 

France is Where You Find It

I made my weekly run to the market yesterday. I bought bread made with an antique variety of wheat (with a lower gluten content and kinder to my tummy) from a young woman whose father, I believe, comes from Paris and whose mother hails from Russia. I bought a small tub of marinated olives and peppers from a man who comes from Marseille and is patient with my dusty high school French. The tomatoes just might end up in a tarte, made with a pastry crust (spelt or gluten-free) and some goat cheese. 

Kind of like the one I had when I went to the cooking class in France some years ago. We cooked and lived a la Francaise for an incredible week. 

It’s going to be a while before I get back, but in the meantime, small everyday practices keep me connected:

  • Flowers. I need flowers on my table. Nothing huge, but a $3.99 bunch from Trader Joe’s or the market can last for up to two weeks and go a long way.
  • Whether I’m getting produce from the market or the store, I select very carefully. I engage in conversation with the seller about the food, where it came from, chat about recipes, that sort of thing.
  • Making meals a little ceremonial. Having one without interference from the TV at least once a day, sitting at the table, and serving the salad as a first course, minor things to shift the focus. 
  • Focusing on the food. Ok, I have been known to read while eating if I’m dining solo. I do sometimes eat in front of the tube. But I try not to very often. Well, more often than I want to admit. 
  • Small touches, even with what seems like minor details, enhance the dining experience. Have you tried tuna and egg sandwiches? Most memorable meal for me was sitting on a bench eating one while watching motor scooters zip around the old quarter of Roanne (it’s near Lyon).  Can of drained tuna, chopped celery and onion, two chopped hardboiled eggs, enough mayo to make it hold together. I had it on a sandwich roll, but it would be great on whole wheat with lettuce and tomato. Perfect when you are getting the first draft of a novel started.

The market I frequent may be in an asphalt parking lot surrounded by small stores, railroad tracks, and early to mid-20th century homes instead of being framed by medieval church spires and supported by cobblestones. Its spirit and intent are the same. And that is where I find my small slivers of France.