Friday, December 1, 2006

The Quiche Chronicles

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1) This quiche, which I made for dinner last night, is adapted from Julia Child’s classic cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

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It’s a Quiche Lorraine, meaning that its origins are in Lorraine, in the northeastern part of France. This particular version, however, is somewhat bastardized (at least according to Julia), since it includes cheese. Not that Julia was ever one to stand on form, mind you. My adaptation ignores Julia’s recommendation to blanche the bacon before sautéing it in order to get rid of the smoky, salty, taste. Umm…excuse me, but isn’t the smoky, salty taste the whole point of bacon?

2) I met Julia Child once. She’d just published a book, The Way To Cook, and was doing tours and demos around the country. I was living in southern California at the time, a brand new mother, and so I courageously bundled up Baby and cookbooks and headed to the mall. I found Julia to be gracious and charming and tall. With good humor, she uncapped her pen and signed all my cookbooks, praising the well-worn aspect of the tomes. Then she patted Baby’s head and we made small talk and discovered that Julia and Baby shared the same birthday. She added in a stage whisper that Napoleon Bonaparte was also a member of that exclusive birthday club and then gave her signature chortle. I like to think that Baby smiled in return.

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3) The Larousse Gastronomique says, “Some writers claim that this kind of savoury custard tart belongs to German cookery, since in Germany the quiche is known under the name kuchen, from which the word kiche could have come.” I get the feeling that the Laroussians aren’t buying it.

4) This may not be a certifiable version of Quiche Lorraine, but to that I say tant pis. At least I’m not filling it with nasty things that have no place in a quiche, like this abomination from Bon Appetit containing succotash and goat cheese. Succotash! No wonder Real Men stopped eating quiche. Real Women wouldn’t want to touch that, either, and the French would probably turn pale and murmur Quelle Horreur if one of those so-called quiches landed on their Limoges.

5) And besides, the Queen decrees that this notion of gender-specific food is ridiculous. The three Real Men in this household gobbled up their slices of quiche and came back clamoring (yes, clamoring!) for more. And as far as I’ve been able to tell, there’s still plenty of testosterone coursing through their bodies. The Queen primly suggests that lumberjack breakfasts, kick-ass chili, porterhouse steaks and a restorative Scotch on the rocks be shifted from the dominion of “guy food” into the realm of “food.” Period. And by the way, fellas, help yourselves to all the petits fours and pink lemonade you want.

6) The B-52’s have a song named Quiche Lorraine (which you can hear a clip from here). It’s a sad little ditty about a poodle gone wrong. I’d rather eat the tart than listen to the song, but I’ll leave that up to you.

Quiche Lorraine
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

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Piecrust for a single crust pie

6 slices medium thick bacon
3 eggs
1 ½ c. half-and-half or whipping cream
¾ c. grated Swiss cheese
½ t. salt
pinch of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400. Line tart pan or pie plate with piecrust and then line piecrust with parchment paper and pie weights or dried beans. Bake 8-9 minutes; remove parchment and weights. Prick bottom and sides of crust and continue to bake for another 3 minutes. Remove from oven and place pan on baking sheet.

Lower heat to 375. Cut bacon into small pieces. Brown in skillet; drain fat. Scatter pieces on bottom of tart shell.

Beat eggs, cream, and seasonings together until blended. Stir in cheese. Pour into pastry shell. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until quiche has become puffed and lightly browned.


At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I always thought that Lorraine was just the name of the person who invented quiche.

Ya learn sumpin' new ev'ry day.

At 8:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, QoT, nice blog! This entry caught my eye as I live in the Lorraine area. Believe me, everyone I know puts cheese in their quiche, it just tastes better! And I've never heard of anyone boiling the bacon before, but perhaps people in Julia Child's age group (were she still alive!) do that...


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