Tag Archives: cooking

Simple and delicious quiche

Alright, a few weeks ago, I made a pair of quiches.  I was originally going to document the process as I did with M Fox’s birthday cake and the chicken stock.  But I didn’t.  I didn’t even take a photo of the finished product.  Because I’m a bad photo blogger.

Despite my failings, this recipe is a knock-out.  But don’t take my word for it!

10 out of 10 prospectors say this quiche is delicious

Because I am nothing if not magnanimous, I decided not to deprive you of the recipe because it is scrumptious!  The gruyere melts into the egg custard like a dream — very creamy, but not overwhelming.  I’ve never added vegetables to this recipe, so I don’t know what would happen if you did, but the reason why I like this quiche is because it is very simple and very satisfying.  I’ve made it plenty of times without the bacon (I don’t obsess over bacon like everyone else. . . I mean . . it’s good, but I dunno. . . relax) and it’s just as tasty, says I.

So if you are willing to trust an internet stranger with no photo proof that this quiche is delicious, then you’ve come to the right place!

A Quiche for All Seasons

Custard: Ingredients

8oz bacon, cut in pieces (you can use whatever kind of bacon you want, or none :))
2 large eggs + 2 lg yolks
1c whole milk
1c heavy cream
.5tsp salt
.5tsp white pepper (ground)
pinch nutmeg
4oz gruyere, grated (~ 1 cup. . . or as much as you can stand)

In terms of crust, use whatever crust recipe you like best!  Or just buy a frozen crust if you’re not in the mood to be fancy :)

Heat oven to 375; partially bake pie shell until golden brown.  Remove
the shell but do not turn off oven.

Meanwhile, fry the bacon until crisp and browned and put it on paper
towel or whatever to drain it.

Whisk all except cheese in a bowl.

Spread the cheese and bacon over the bottom and set the shell in the
oven rack. Pour the custard in (should come up to 1/2in below the rim, but sometimes it comes pretty near the top.  This is fine, just make sure that it’s cooked before you take it out).

Bake until light golden brown (knife blade inserted 1in from the edge
comes out clean, center feels set like gelatin) — 25 to 35 mins.

So yes, that is my go-to quiche recipe.  Without photos.  I guess you’ll just have to use your imagination.  Or bake the quiche and then send me photos — I’ll put ’em up :)

How to make chicken stock

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I don’t know why I left that newspaper in there. To prove that I’m still alive?

Chicken stock is one of the most addicting things you can make, second only to roasting a chicken.  I make roast chicken at least once a week because it is cheap, easy, and so fricken good that you find yourself nibbling on the bones and licking the cutting board.  Perhaps if you’re very good, dear readers, I will show you a video that my friends and I made while drunk about how to make the most delicious roast chicken you will ever eat.

Actually I haven’t seen the video yet and I will have to screen it before bearing my drunken soul online.  It may be that I just end up writing out the recipe ;)

The other amazing thing about roasting a chicken is making stock.  SO simple.  SO many uses.  AND there’s no real wrong way to do it, which makes it practically idiot-proof.  All you really have to know is 1) how to boil liquid and 2) what good chicken broth tastes like.

First you need a chicken carcass, preferably fresh.  That being said, I’ve used the remains of one of those pre-roasted birds you get for $5 at the grocery store (don’t you judge me) and I’ve used a chicken carcass that I had sitting for in the fridge 3 or 4 days (seriously, stop with the judging).  You’re going to boil the hell out of it anyway, so don’t feel guilty if after three bottles of wine and a roast bird later, you’re not really in the mood to do more cooking.  I’ve also frozen a carcass for later and that has worked out pretty well.  Not QUITE as flavorful, but it works.

First you place the carcass in a stock pot.

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Cover the carcass (yes, I admit it, I like writing ‘carcass’) with just enough water to cover it.  Sometimes it floats, don’t worry about it.

If you happen to have some celery or carrots, throw those suckers in there too.  I like to keep my stock simple because I’m rarely sure of what I’m going to do with it, but if you want to get crazy with herbs and onions, please do.  Just remember that whatever you put in your stock, you’re going to be straining the bleached remains of it out, so don’t get too attached and be mindful if you’re using anything with a strong flavor.  Edit:  My new ingredient staple is about an inch cube of raw ginger.  FRICKEN AMAZING.

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Because of my particular roast chicken recipe, I don’t usually need to season my stock and I’d actually advise that you shouldn’t anyway — unless, again, you have some sort of divine master plan that requires salty stock. I also caution against garlic cloves (which I NEVER say) because, well . . . I dunno.  It kinda just ends up tasting like garlic juice to me.  Also lemon.  Please don’t put lemon in there or accidentally forget to take out whatever you stuffed the bird cavity with.  It sucks.

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Once it’s on the stove, I like to bring it to a boil and then turn it down to a healthy simmer.  I find that simmering for long periods of time doesn’t blanch the carcass ( :D ) quite so quickly and the simmering allows the flavors to really come out.  I also like to leave the lid off so that the water boils down — makes for a richer flavor, in my opinion.

Here is where my instructions will fail you if you need specifics.  Honestly, I don’t know how long you should let it simmer.  I’m thinking three to four hours-ish.  I usually just go about my daily business and check on it now and again to see if it tastes good yet.  If the water gets too low, I add more.  If I added too much and it now tastes like chicken water, I turn up the heat and let that sucker boil down some more.

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Heathily simmering

How I know it’s done is by one of two methods:

1) The carcass falls apart when you swirl it with the spoon, or

2) More telling, when the chicken and/or vegetables taste like nothing.  That’s when you know you’ve boiled the taste out of them (which is the plan, Stan).

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The cloudier the broth, the richer the flavor.  Avoid chicken water.  It’s really awful.

When you’re satisfied with the taste, strain all the tasteless crap out of it and then you can either use the stock immediately or freeze it and use it later.

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I have a little tiny lame strainer and so straining an entire steaming carcass is hard enough without also juggling a camera, so sorry

I like to freeze it in 1-2 cup increments (I write on my tuperware in sharpie, which amazingly comes off, but to be safe you might want to use a dry erase marker. . . or write on tape. You’re clever, you’ll figure it out).  Some people do it in ice cube trays, but who the hell only uses an ice cube of stock?

So there you go!  One Classy Dame Chicken Stock.  Get to work!

It’s Fun to Stay at the YMCA, Julia

This weekend my friend B and I decided to take a page from Julia Child’s book. Several pages, actually. She bought me Mastering the Art of French Cooking for Christmas last year (10 days ago. . . weird) and I decided that I was going to try and expand my cooking repertoire, which pretty much consists solely of easy American dishes and a few Italian American dishes. And pie. We decided on a menu, pretty much centered around sauces (yeah, oops), and bought ingredients. I felt emboldened as I had already made a bechemel sauce with cheese for macaroni a week or two previous which had turned out simply HEAVENLY. And it was so easy! (Also, let me say now that I am going to butcher the spelling of several French words in this blog and I am far too lazy to go to the cook book and look up the correct spelling. Those who judge can kiss my aspartame). I remember that after seeing Julie and Julia a few months ago, that I had been in a bookstore a few days later and picked up Julia Child’s book, just to see what it was like. I opened to something totally insane like how to pluck and tie up your own chicken and I put it down, frightened and intimidated. Then I kicked myself for doing something so consumer-liciously obvious–God, think of all those other people who had gone to the bookstore to be like Amy Adams. Stupid me. . . but I was really glad when I got it as a gift (hehe). After the successful bechemel, however, my fears of being too stupid for the book vanished, my confidence in my ability to turn words on a page into a culinary masterpiece at full strength. B happens to be a very good cook and has a good instinct for it, so I knew I had a good wingwoman for anything more complicated.

First of all, it was absolutely, positively a BLAST. We bought a bottle of wine and drank most of it while cooking, speaking loudly and obnoxiously with an atrocious Julia Child accent (or, at least in my case, since I’ve never actually heard Julia Child speak, Meryl Streep’s Julia Child accent) that goes to prove that my boyfriend is the most patient and tolerant man that a woman could ask for. Referring to each other as “Julia” for entire evening, we stumbled through three sauces–a bernaise sauce, a white wine and tarragon sauce whose French name I don’t remember, but something like “escargon” or something, and a hollandaise–and gnocchi. We decided to put the bernaise on the gnocchi, pan fry some chicken for the white wine sauce and put the hollandaise on steamed asparagus. We also bought a delicious loaf of par-baked bread to dip in the sauces.

Since this isn’t that Julia Child-wannabe Julie girl’s blog, I’m not going to go into the serious details, but basically, Julia Child is a genius. When she said that the potatoes were going to leave a film at the bottom of the pan when they were done (yeah, B and I had no idea what the hell that meant either), they did! When she said not to use the milky substance at the bottom of the melted butter (???), there it was! And we didn’t use it! When she said that the gnocchi shouldn’t be boiled or else it would disintegrate, boy did it disintegrate in the most beautifully French way possible. Fortunately we had doubled the recipe and had leftover so that we could make the most delicious mashed potato balls EVER. Also, B and I have a really horrible track record for making gnocchi–the first time, while, again, hilarious and fun, was. . . well. . . it’s always edible, but it’s not gnocchi. I guess this time was better, but, man. . . it really doesn’t seem as easy as it sounds. The moral of the gnocchi story is that when Julia says to make the gnocchi 3 inches by 1 inch in diameter, YOU JUST FUCKING DO IT. Don’t second guess this woman–I don’t care how inane or ridiculous or whatever it seems, just do it! She even says at the beginning of the book, very frankly, “Look. I studied at the Cordon mother fucking Bleu. I’m not making this shit up. So just follow what I say and you’ll be good.” And it’s true. More than with any other recipe that I have followed, she has your back, our little Julia.

Anyway. Aside from the gnocchi debacle (at which point we were tipsy enough not to care and used packaged tortellini to supplement our resounding failure), the sauces were DELECTABLE. I mean, really, just absolutely gorgeous and delicious. Now, I’ve never had hollandaise, bernaise, or white wine whatever sauce before, so frankly, I could not know what I’m talking about, but they were good, so even if they were a bastardization of what the French masters wanted, they all turned out great!

Ahh. But here is the sauce moral of the story. NEVER make three rich French sauces for one meal. I seriously had a butter hangover this morning. We used FOUR STICKS OF BUTTER and A DOZEN EGGS in these three sauces. No fricken joke. Thank God there were five people eating the dinner or else we would each have literally eaten a stick of butter. My heart feels like it’s going to explode. I can feel a little butter ball choking my arteries as I’m typing this. Delicious, but so conceptually gross. One of those sauces would have been PLENTY. Even the three boys who devoured our meal, who seemed to love every bite, were a little staggered. Oh yeah, did I mention that we didn’t end up eating until midnight? Did I also mention that we started at 7pm? Frankly, if I were to make any of these sauces again, it would probably take about a half hour for each of them (except the hollandaise, which we did in a blender, sanctioned by Julia, and took 6 minutes, seriously). I think the gnocchi is what made this insane.

Also, shout out to M Fox for helping with the dishes :)

I woke up this morning, literally rolled out of bed so I could beach myself on the couch, and found a gym. The YMCA (TITULAR LINE!!!) is having this great promotion where January is free. And, for GOD’S SAKES, I’m going. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even feel good anymore and the French sauces just kicked it into the abyss. Bleck.  The boyfriend and I went and worked out for about an hour and boy did it feel good.

Also, I couldn’t find my discman (no, I don’t have one of those new-fangled mp3 contraptions, sue me), but I DID find my WALKMAN. Take THAT 2010. I had just recently uncovered all these mix tapes that I made in high school and went to town. I forgot about DENI!! Holy shit!! Waaaay back in the day, my high school friends and I went into what was once a pub and brewery (we didn’t sit at the bar, obviously) and now is a Mike’s Subs (lame), there was this guy whose name was Deni performing. Stupid name, maybe, but for some reason I LOVED his music. Apparently he sampled a lot of The Matrix movie into his stuff, but since I hadn’t seen it (and didn’t care. . . saw it later and still don’t care, actually) I didn’t see it as the kinda nerdy DJ guy that he was. I remember feeling so trendy that I had discovered this cool new artist at a PUB, no less. Anyway, when I heard one of his songs on the mix tape, my chubby German thighs kicked into high gear on that elliptical. It didn’t know WHAT was coming.

The conclusion. I think that this may become a delicious tradition. Lots of wine, French food, and a guilt-induced work out the next day.