A Savory Pumpkin Pie

16 12 2009

Patidou quiche, uncut

December.  Dreaded by pâtissiers around the world.  I wish I had something witty to say about this quiche I fashioned from last week’s CSA panier score, but I made over 100 kilos of ganache today at work. 

Before...

I used up all the chocolate (60 kilos) and all the cream (40 liters) and that’s why I stopped.  I have one more kind to make tomorrow morning before I spend another long day wrestling the hardened (well, not really hardened, more like firm-ened) ganaches into frames so that they can be cut, enrobed, boxed and sold for Christmas.  The skin on my hands feels like the sticky side of velcro, and all I really want is to dig into the leftovers of this roast patidou squash and shallot quiche, which is as luxuriously creamy as you could ever possibly want a quiche to be.

...and After

I’m counting on it to smooth out today’s rough edges.  As for my hands, well, that’s why God created shea butter.

A little slice of heaven

Read on for the recipe.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisement




Manger Comme Un(e) Français(e)

10 07 2009

After all that vacation-time excess, I returned home to Paris only to discover that most of my jeans had mysteriously shrunk.  It was time to start eating vegetables again.  (Not that I didn’t have any in the States, but the portions were always small in comparison to the hunks of juicy meat they were served with.)  So Nick and I headed down to the market to find fodder for some vegetable-laden meals.  Among other things, we came back with some gorgeous spinach and some bright red “Corne” peppers.  (Not sure if they’re the same as “Corne de Boeuf.”  Anyone?)  We decided to combine them in a quiche, which may not sound like the Lightest of All Possible Dinners, but hey, you have to ease into these things.

Ah, fire-roasted peppers.
1. Corne Peppers, Post-Char, 2. Pepper Braid

Plus, I used a new favorite whole wheat crust recipe.  Clotilde posted it on Chocolate & Zucchini several weeks ago, and I am as enthusiastic about it as she is.  Who ever thought a healthy tart crust could taste so good?  I love that it is full of whole grain goodness (while she suggests using light whole wheat flour or half white, half whole wheat, I have made it twice with all whole wheat flour, and have no complaints) and the olive oil is not only a healthier fat than butter, it’s also easier to work with, especially on warm summer afternoons.  Plus, the amount fits perfectly into my big ceramic tart dish.

Spinach, roasted peppers, and whole wheat crust

But back to the quiche.  After studding the spinach and pepper-filled crust with little cubes of feta, I filled in the gaps with a lighter version of my usual quiche custard (replacing one of the yolks with a whole egg and using more milk, less cream).  We played a round of cribbage while it baked, and when it was done we were treated to a tasty vegetarian supper.

This is as health food as I get.

As expected, the lighter custard, once baked, was firmer and less luxurious than the standard, but in this case, given that we’d kind of had our fill of rich, fatty food for the time being, that was just fine.  What we didn’t expect was the pepper to be as spicy as it was.  We were expecting piquillo-like smokiness, which was there, but the first bite with some real heat was a surprise, albeit a pleasant one. 

Later in the week we got a double panier from the CSA, the first of four additional paniers we will be getting to make up for the ones we missed while on vacation.  They were full of zucchini, garlic, and tomatoes, which fortunately are great together and serve as a basis for all kinds of light meals.  My jeans should fit again in no time.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.





Courgettes aux Herbes de Provence

5 08 2008

Last week I made good on a dinner invite I had extended to Hails of Coffee Helps.  I decided to revisit the pork roast that had been such a hit a few months back, but couldn’t decide on an appropriate vegetable side dish.  I’ll admit I sometimes feel befuddled in the Summer regarding what to do with the bounty of gorgeous vegetables available at the market.  It’s hard to strike a balance when you want to do something new and interesting but don’t want to mess up the perfection that is a ripe tomato, zucchini, or what-have-you. 

So I thought I’d do a simple summer squash sauté with a little garlic and lemon – nothing to overpower the freshness of the squash or compete with the apricot glaze on the pork.  And then, on my way out of the market, I saw these:

Cute little bundles of fresh Herbes de Provence

Fresh herbes de Provence!  Obviously, I had to buy them.  I just knew they would be fantastic with the zucchini I had picked up earlier, not to mention a lovely counterpoint to the fruity pork glaze.  And naturally, I neglected to take any photos.  (Sorry.)  But rest assured the end result was delicious.

So delicious, in fact, that I made a quiche using the same ingredients later in the week.  Using my usual recipe, with garlicky sautéed zucchini in place of the onions, I seasoned the custard with lemon zest and chopped fresh sage, thyme, lavender, and parsley.

You'll notice I finally got a round baking dish

After the quiche came out of the oven, I realized I had forgotten to put the fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano into the custard as intended.  D’oh!  Nevertheless, grating it directly over the top of the baked quiche isn’t a bad way to go.

Provençal Zucchini Quiche

The quiche was fantastic – the herbs and lemon gave the whole thing a feeling of lightness not usually associated with the buttery, eggy, cheesy goodness that is a typical quiche.  Served with a glass of chilled rosé, it made a refreshing summer supper.  It’s amazing how one simple ingredient (in this case, the fresh herbes de Provence) can inspire you to look at your cooking in a new way.  And who knows what it will be next?  I’ll just have to wait and see what the market has in store for me.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.





Enfin une Quiche

3 07 2008

I actually make quiche on a not-infrequent basis.  It’s relatively easy, and since I know where to get cheap eggs, it’s a good source of inexpensive protein.  But for some reason, none of my quiches have made it onto this here blog.  Why?  Maybe I was embarrassed about using store-bought pâte brisée, maybe I didn’t get any good pictures, maybe I had better things to blog about.  But this time I made up my mind to document the quiche.

First things first: the crust.  (A funny story just popped into my mind – for my culinary school final, I drew a menu containing quiche Lorraine.  We were given ingredient lists, but no other clues.  The list for the quiche did not include ingredients for the crust because, honestly, if you don’t know what goes into pâte brisée, you don’t deserve to graduate from culinary school.  At any rate, the TA told me after the test was finished that I had been the only student to make a crust for the quiche!)  Anyway, the crust is easy.  I used to make it in the Cusinart, which certainly makes it a quick process, but the truth is that it doesn’t take long to do it by hand.  Mix flour and salt in a bowl, rub in cold butter, gently stir in cold water.  I use my hands, that way there are no pastry cutters or knives to wash later.  (I’ll put my recipe at the bottom of this post.)  A French pastry technique called fraisage, which involves smearing the dough on the counter, gives the crust long, flaky layers that are totally worth the mess.  After chilling the dough for an hour or so, I rolled it out and wrangled it into my rectangular baking dish.  I lined it with foil and, since I don’t have any pie weights, weighed it down with a few ramekins.  I parbaked it for about 20 minutes, and it was ready for the fillings.

Parbaked quiche crust

 It was one of those rare moments when we didn’t have any bacon in the house, so I decided to use a ton of caramelized onions.  (For those of you just tuning in, I absolutely love caramelized onions.)

Mmmm... caramelized onions

But wait, there’s more…

Read the rest of this entry »








%d bloggers like this: