Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Quiche Me Quick! Bouchon Quiche Lorraine

Adjusting to our new normal, I decided it was past time to do this recipe. With great resolve, I picked up the book, announced "I'm making that Quiche" and marched to the kitchen. I lugged out the Kitchen Aid stand mixer, measured my ingredients and went to take a picture.  Hmm.....where did I put that camera? After about a 30 minute search and rescue mission, the camera was located. Relief!  I composed my first shot and the camera refused... low battery. So I plugged it into the charger. A multitude of obstacles I had to overcome to bring you this Quiche, my friends, inertia being the biggest.  Now that I am finished, and it took 3 days to make this... I probably would have chosen another recipe.  Quiche Lorraine is filled with onions, bacon and cheese, only nothing is ever that simple with T. Keller and crew.

Two cups of sifted flour, (yes Loren, I see what you will likely see in that picture) 1 tsp salt, 8 oz. unsalted butter cut into not quite 1/4 in cubes. 1/4 inch would have make the process easier I think. You also need 1/4 c ice water at the end.

This is a pate brisee (I don't know how to do the french accents on the computer) which means short pastry. All the references I looked at compared it to pie crust, but this is really not at all like pie crust. In fact, in the ELEVEN pages devoted to Quiche in the Bouchon cookbook, the author makes quite a fuss about how Americans have never had real quiche. Assuming, that is, until Bouchon opened. He assailed the pie crust as absolutely wrong for quiche. In any case, devoting 11 pages to one concept tells you it is a very important concept within the confines of the cookbook and authentic French Bistro fare. Heck, I even had to search the city for a 9" ring mold 2" high. 8 3/4 by 1 7/9ths was as close as I could come and it was the only ring mold I found. Thank you Cook's Warehouse.

Ok so on with show--I mean dough. You place half your flour and all the salt into the mixing bowl with a paddle attachment fitted and on low speed, add the butter in small handfuls. The most important thing is to completely incorporate the butter into the flour. Once it's looking mixed, turn the speed up to medium and continue.

When fully incorporated, add the remaining flour and go back to low speed (unless you want a dusting). Over and over the recipe stresses that you must not have any discernable pieces of butter. This is where it differs from pie crust. Pie crust needs little pieces of butter for flakiness, this dough must not have them in order to keep it's integrity when filled with the custard.

At the last, add the 1/4 c ice water and mix until it "comes around the paddle"  then shape into a 7-9 in disk, wrap in plastic and rest in the fridge for at least 1 hr, up to 1 day.  I chose the overnight option ! (what a surprise!)

On a cleaned and flour-dusted work surface, roll your dough out to about 14" diameter, it should be 3/16" thick.

Roll the dough up on your rolling pin and unroll it onto your ring. You're supposed to coat the mold with canola oil but I forgot. Gently work the dough downward to form a shell and use extra pieces of dough to patch and holes or cracks. Save the extra dough pieces for later patching.

Place a piece of parchment in the shell carefully working it to the the edges and then fill with pie weights or dried beans.

Bake in a preheated 375 oven on the center rack for 30-45 min. The outer crust should be lightly browned.
Remove from the oven and carefully remove the parchment and beans (or weights if you're fancy). Inspect for holes or cracks and patch as needed.  Return to the oven for about 25 min when the bottom of the crust should be a deep golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheet. My shell won't win any beauty contests but I like its rustic looks.

Meanwhile, start on the Onion Confit. Slice 3-4 large onions along the grain, thats root to tip. Heat 1/4 c water into a medium pan and whisk in 4 oz of butter, 1 tsp kosher salt and add a bouquet garni. I didn't have any leeks so I just made a sachet instead.

Add the onions and cover with a parchment lid. These onions need to cook very slowly and should never brown, it takes about 2 hours to accomplish this. The process softens them and really intensifies their flavor.

 Take 1 lb. of slab bacon and slice it into lardons 1 1/2 long by 1/4" thick. I didn't have slab bacon but I had the most wonderful bacon I've tasted yet: Applewood Smoked from Pine Street Market in Avondale Estates, outside of Atlanta. The proprietor has a booth at the Peachtree Road Farmer's Market and we always buy a bunch and keep it in the freezer. Anyway, bake at 375  on a baking sheet until the fat is rendered but the bacon is not yet crispy, then remove and drain on paper towels. Warning: Food Porn!

Once the onions are done, combine the onions and bacon in a large skillet and cook through until warm, then drain on paper towels.  Grate 1/2 c Emmentaler cheese.  In a medium saucepan combine 2c cream and 2 c milk and heat until a skin forms on top; let the milk mixture cool 15 mins  In your blender place 3 eggs, 3 gratings of nutmeg, some salt and white pepper, add half the cooled milk and blend away.

Place a layer of onion mixture on the bottom of the quiche shell and sprinkle half the cheese on.  At this point it became obvious that I had waaayyy too much stuff for my rustic little quiche shell.  So I decided not to make the other half of the batter. Now for the moment of truth!  I poured my quiche batter into the shell......

The shell  had cracks (I made a thorough inspection and I never saw them)  and it leaked and leaked and leaked... I wiped it up yelling... what should I dooooo!?!??? Cook it anyway? WSH said sure, the cracks will seal in short order. So I slid it in the oven and waited.  That husband of mine.... he's so cool in a crisis and is (almost) always right.  It turned out fine!  I can't tell you what it tastes like though, because it has to cool to room temp, and then in the fridge for 1-3 days and then be reheated before eating. I think French cooks must be into some serious self-loathing....  Photo with burnt leaked eggs :(

Cleaned up nicely!

So if your quiche shell leaks, try it anyway and use the leftover fillings for omelettes! It's a win-win!
Thanks for reading! I'll have something new next week.
See you soon!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Making it day by day

Sorry for the lack of posts. We have been pretending to be professional hospice workers at home. Bullet is very, very ill but doing very well. I realize that doesn't make any sense. But she is the toughest little pup I've ever met, and stubborn as a mule. She has had 3 close encounters with death and has bounced back from each. This is, needless to say, very difficult for us to deal with emotionally, physically, psychologically  and every other ally. But anywho, she is with us, and most of our energy goes to caring for her. We've never loved a pet like this, she is a very unusual dog. But I guess everyone has that one special pet in their lives.... there will never be another Bullet.  **Edit: Just so you know, she is walking, eating, tailwagging and doing all those other doggy things. We are not holding on to her while she suffers, we wouldn't do that.

In the meantime.... we must eat. Not Keller, thank you. Look in the cupboard and the freezer, what's there? Actually I stood in the kitchen staring at a package of defrosting chicken for a good 15 minutes thinking oh dear.... But I looked around and found canned black beans, rice, salsa, onions garlic and corn tortillas. Starting to come together here!!! Defrosted the chicken and cut it into chunks and marinated it in olive oil, chopped garlic, cumin and some chopped onion. The marinade went on about 30 minutes.

Make the rice" 2 parts water 1 part rice , a pinch of salt and a drizzle of white vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, but still boiling, cover and cook exactly 12 minutes... dont peek. After 12 minutes remove from heat and let water absorb 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork when ready to serve.

Black Beans: heat some canola oil in a pan and add onions, cook till translucent about 5 min. Add garlic (chopped) and cook for 30 secs more. Add beans. Salt and pepper and cumin to taste. I added some Ro-tel.  Chopped jalapenos are good too but I didn't have any on hand. Simmer for about 30 minutes.

I am off the chart into canned stuff on this one, usually not my preference at all.

Put a littke canola into a nonstick skillet and fry up your corn tortillas. A little goes a long way. Just brown them up and flip and then remove to drain.

FINALLY, heat canola in a large skillet and on hight heat sautee the chicken and marinade mixture. I like having the chicks brown but if you have too much liquid, they won't. It doesn't matter, do it either way, it will taste great.

SERVE: Rice, beans, chicken grated monterey jack, salsa, and fried corn tortillas.

AWESOME... I am serious... It was really really good. And sometimes presentation just isn't all that important!

See you soon.. pat your pets, hug your special people