A detour from all the Thai cooking we have been enjoying with Joon takes us to a weekend -two weeks ago- at our coastal home with friends Caroline, Jerome, and their son Gaspard. They have been living in the states for some time now (Gaspard was born here), but have decided it is time to go back to France. We had them over for a weekend so we could enjoy their company.
Jerome is a meteorologist and teaches meteorology at the University of Washington and Caroline is a writer and photographer. Rick edited a book Caroline is writing about the death penalty, a book which features interviews with inmates, guards, and a view from inside the walls of death row. Working on the project moved Rick deeply. I have yet to read the book.
I asked Jerome to teach me how to make a quiche. I know what you are thinking. She can’t make quiche? Well, I have made quiches before, but mine never tastes just right. Just like mastering the Sicilian frosha, it seems you have to watch the process, pull up your sleeves, dig in and get the whole hands-on experience directly from someone in the know in order to really master the technique of making a quiche.
I am hard put to find good bread, good cheese (including Gruyere), and creme fraiche here in Ocean Shores. Jerome and Caroline brought these items with them from Seattle. And just so you know, Jerome bought his creme fraiche from Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s creme fraiche is the best, he says, and it is made in France!
So in this blog post, I am including a photo of la quiche and a “loose” recipe. What I mean by a “loose recipe” is that Jerome doesn’t use a recipe or exact measurements. He eyes the quantity of ingredients. You can go to any cook book and get exact proportions, but what I will write down is what I learned about the process of making quiche.
For the crust, Jerome used 250 grams of flour, one stick of butter at room temperature (cut up into small pieces), some salt…he mixed this with his fingers until it resembled coarse meal and then added a little water until he could form a ball of dough. Using a rolling pin, he rolled the dough out on a floured surface and spread it onto a well buttered quiche pan. The crust was precooked in the pre-heated oven at 275 degrees F for a short while until it started to brown.
While the crust was baking and making our house smell of heavenly butter, he mixed 8 eggs with Trader Joe’s Creme Fraiche from France. The container of creme fraiche was 8 ounces but I’d say he used about 2/3 of the container, maybe less. Once this was mixed, we added gruyere (I can’t say how much gruyere we used, but I do know we didn’t over do anything…less is more when it comes to cheese in a quiche). He added nutmeg, some salt, and some chard (one solid bunch picked fresh from my garden, de-stemmed, leaves sauteed in a pan with lid on until it wilted. We also used one entire small onion, chopped fine and sauteed in olive oil.
Once the quiche crust was starting to brown, we added the egg mixture, decorated the top with rounds of chevre (goat) cheese and baked it until it was firm.
I wonder if Jerome is reading this, laughing at my recipe. It is not a scientific rendering, but it worked and I am so inspired to make quiche again and again because I think I really got it this time! It was incredibly tasty.
In addition to making and enjoying the quiche, we walked the beach and fought fierce winds! Gaspard was delighted by the wind as it made his Squid Kite go crazy wild. At one point, the tentacles of the squid got all tangled up! The more mom and dad tired to untangle it, the more entangled it got. Later, back at home, shielded from the gusts of wind, Caroline patiently untangled and revived Mr. Squid Kite and Gaspard was able to fly his kite once again the next day.