I forgot how therapeutic the simple act of chopping up some onions and peppers can be. The smell of oil and garlic and butter all steaming together into one heavenly mix; the kitchen windows fogging up with the warmth of the stove/oven; the music turned up a little too loud… it always puts a smile on my face. I would have opened the bottle of Chianti Classico from Casa Emma that a friend got me, to truly round out the evening, but I didn’t have the heart—I promised I would drink it with him when he came to visit me in New York. The only thing my night-in was missing was someone to share it with.
I contemplated posting an ad in the personals section of Craigslist: “one short Italian girl in need of dinner companion—looking for someone to cook for while we share a bottle of wine and good conversation.” I figured, though, that I might be sending the wrong signal. Hell, I thought, maybe I’ll throw in “who loves to give/receive oral” just to see what kind of responses I get.
So there I was, alone, in a new city. With no one to cook for. But I didn’t let that stop me; otherwise, I’ll end up getting takeout every night and sitting in front of the TV. (I’ve already forced myself to eat at our pseudo-kitchen table for every meal so I don’t fall into that rut.) I decided to sauté a big batch of peppers, onions, and mushrooms to use for two different meals (take that, Suze Orman!). The first was simply tacos with 97% fat free turkey—yet another foray into “how to make low-fat ground meat taste good.” (It’s not easy.) I’ve been acclimating to the neighborhood by eating an almost-entirely-Latino diet as of late, partly because it’s cheap and easy, and partly because the “Food Dynasty” seems to carry little besides Goya products. I think I’ve had some form of rice and beans for the last three days straight.
The other meal is what I was really excited about: quiche. My mom made an awesome broccoli cheddar quiche last weekend using Julia Child’s recipe, and since my roommate and I eat eggs practically every day for breakfast it seemed like a perfect idea: make a yummy quiche, and simply heat up a piece every morning. Julia’s ratio of egg to cream is as follows:
3 eggs to 1 ½-2 cups of half & half or heavy cream
It seems like too much cream, but it’s perfect. Just add a tsp. of pepper and nutmeg (the secret ingredient) and any other ingredients you like. Pour into a pie crust and bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes (mine took longer, but it was in a deep dish ceramic pie plate, not glass) until the egg mixture is set and “puffed” and “golden brown.” Of course, there are many variations, but this is the basic recipe for a quiche. Julia has instructions for how to make the crust, too, but, hey, it’s pie season…no reason to make a shell if you don’t have to! She suggests serving it with a fresh loaf of French bread or a salad, for lunch.
[Interesting side note: when I bought the Pillsbury pie crust, the cashier had no idea what it was—she asked me a bunch of questions (Is it ready? Does it come with the stuff inside?) and even asked the cashier next to her to come over and have a look. I think I need to start a column: “You know you don’t live in the suburbs, when…”]
It looks delicious, aside from the fact that the edge is about an inch higher than the eggs…I thought it would rise! And, I might have forgotten to crimp the edges…I’m a disaster.
Two other interesting cooking tips I learned this week (that’s going to be my second column: “Things my mom taught me”): tarragon is delicious in eggs of any style (it’s true—I’ve been using it all week), and never add salt to a recipe that already has butter and/or cream—it’s already salty enough. Oh, and another of Julia’s tips: don’t crowd the mushrooms! If you cook them in a separate pan, with lots of space, they turn out golden brown and delicious every time.
Anyone got any other tips/recipes for quiche you’d like to share? Or another way to serve rice and beans?
I’ll let you know how it tastes in the morning…
And if you need another reason to Get Happy, here’s Barbara Streisand and Judy Garland doing the original, which was covered on Glee this week (hopefully it doesn’t get taken down, like the last one):