Friday, December 7, 2007

Quiche a la Julia Child

In matters of eggs and custard-y things, I defer to Julia Child. I don't even try to mess around.
Ok, that's not true.

I defer to Julia Child on egg-to-milk proportions. But I do mess around with everything else.

For instance, I don't think Julia Child would ever tell you to use a storebought crust, but seriously, if I have to make the crust, I'd rather just not make quiche. I tried making it without the crust, but Neil revolted. And I don't like making crusts because it adds a good 40 minutes to prep time, and why do that, I say, when crusts are on sale at the grocery store for $1.50 a pair?
So buy a crust.
And these too:
3 "large" eggs
Cream (says Julia)/Milk (says I)
Meat (crispy bacon, sliced ham, turkey, etc.)
Cheese (Swiss is sort of the accepted quiche cheese because of its propensity to not make everything really wet, but Neil likes the taste of Cheddar better)
Parsley, oregano, basil, chives
Other things in the fridge that need to be eaten (last time I grated in some carrots)
**If you want spinach quiche, blend in 1 c. cooked spinach into the custard.

Ok, so I just realized that the Julia Child version only calls for eggs, cream, bacon, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, so this really isn't quiche according to Julia Child, it's messed-up-Julia-based-quiche. But I still think it's good.

Here's what's important when making quiche:
"Any quiche can be made with either heavy or light cream or with milk. The proportions are always 1 egg in a measuring cup plus milk or cream to the 1/2 cup level; 2 eggs and milk or cream to the 1-cup level; 3 eggs and milk or cream to the 1 1/2 cup level; and so forth."
--Julia Child

I prefer to use milk because a) cream is expensive and b) cream is fattening. I'm sure it tastes delicious, however, but I'll go on in my skim-milk ignorance, so please don't tell me if you use cream and it's just out of this world.

Ok, the actual makings:

Step 1:
Preheat oven to 450.

Step 2:
Arrange pie crust in dish, put in either pie weights or dried beans/rice to prevent crust from puffing up (a Julia trick), and bake for 10-15 minutes. The crust should be set but still soft. now turn your oven down to 375.

Step 3:
Grate your cheese, slice your onions, and cut up your meat things. Put in however much you feel like putting in. I usually put in half to three-quarters of an onion, a couple of ounces of chopped meat, and enough grated cheese so that it covers the onion and meat but doesn't obscure them completely from sight. I think the Julia rule is 2 T. (which doesn't seem like much. I definitely do more). Dump all your cut-up things into the bottom of the shell.

Step 4:
Mix up your custard. I usually go for the 3 eggs variant and then end up adding another egg and another slog of milk. It depends on how big your pie dish is and how much "good stuff" you already put in. I then add about a teaspoon each of parsley, basil, chives, and oregano, with about a half teaspoon of salt and a couple grinds of pepper.

Step 5:
Pour the custard over the yummy things already in the pie crust.

Step 6:
Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes. The quiche is done when it's puffed up and brown (it should not jiggle wildly when you take it out of the oven. That is egg soup and it's nasty, so put it back in the oven until it turns into quiche.)

We like to eat our quiche warm or cold as either breakfast or lunch, depending on how early I got up that day to make it. Yum.

Curried Pumpkin Soup

**no soup picture because ravenous family devoured it too fast

I made this recipe a couple of weeks ago with some of the leftover canned pumpkin filling my pantry. It was pretty hurried, and I was a bit unsure of how it would turn out, since I was smashing together several different recipes and adding in my own ideas.

So I was watching anxiously when Neil took his first bite. He rolled the soup around in his mouth. His eyes widened, and he started gulping that soup down.

We both decided it was a winner. Oh yum. I'm looking at the pumpkin-besmeared scrap of paper I jotted my measurements down on and getting hungry all over again.

The nice thing about this soup is that it requires very little time both in preparation and in cooking. You're only chopping one thing! (or two if you don't buy pre-minced garlic, which I highly recommend).

Anyway, here's what you'll need:

1 onion, chopped
1/4 c. butter
3 t. minced garlic
4 c. milk
3 t. chicken bouillion
1 15oz can pumpkin
1 t. curry
1 t. salt
1-2 bay leaves

Heat the butter over medium high heat until it's melted. Just as it starts to sizzle and pop, add the garlic and bay leaves for 30 seconds, then add the onions and cook 3-4 minutes. Add remaining ingredients.

Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Puree the soup (an immersion blender works really well for this! It's a nifty little gadget that I dearly love).