April 25, 2011

Got Time for a Quickie?

Oh, get your mind out of the gutter. I made a quiche tonight, and I was simply reminded of how when my brother was learning to read, he came across the word quiche and pronounced it 'quickie.' So sweet.

I haven't made a quiche in for-evah. But I got home tonight, having planned nothing for dinner, and realized I had leftover pie crust dough in the fridge, and although pumpkin pie sounded awfully delicious and tempting and I would so totally eat one for dinner, it takes way too long to bake. So I decided to throw together a classic Quiche Lorraine. I happened to have all the ingredients on hand, which was lucky because I'd already changed into my polka-dot fleece pajama pants from Target and I didn't want to go back out to the store.

Gruyere cheese, bacon, and a mixture of eggs, cream, milk, and spices

Pie crust. Not nearly as moldy or gangrenous as the photo might imply.    

This is really a great option for a quick dinner, especially if you have a pre-made pie crust on hand (homemade or a frozen one from the store - no judgment). The custard base is simple and is a great vehicle for a variety of fillings:  vegetables, ham or chicken, cheese of any kind. You can get fancy with things like sauteed leeks and goat cheese, or just throw in last night's leftover broccoli and cheddar.

I pre-baked the pie crust and tossed in all the ingredients while it was still hot, and put the whole thing back in the oven. Half an hour later: 

Yum. Smooth, fluffy eggs, tangy cheese, and BACON. Excellent with a fresh green salad on the side. Bonus:  tomorrow's breakfast is taken care of!

Here's the recipe:

Classic Quiche Lorraine
1 single-crust piecrust
8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and then crumbled
1 cup (loosely measured) grated Gruyere cheese
2 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks
1.5 cups half and half
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
pinch nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place piecrust in pan and line with foil. Add pie weights (or dried beans or marbles or anything else that will weigh it down without melting). Bake for approximately 15 mins until crust begins to look dry and slightly golden. Meanwhile, mix together all other ingredients except cheese and bacon.

Remove crust from oven, remove pie weights and foil, and immediately spread grated cheese and bacon (or other fillings of your choice) on crust. Pour milk & egg mixture on top and place back in oven. Bake 30-35 mins, until the filling is set. It should jiggle just like Jello. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 mins. Serve warm or at room temp. Quickie afterward optional.

April 21, 2011

Breakfast for One

I loved Beth's (who just ran the Boston Marathon!) recent post about doing something every day that scares you.  Not, like, bungy-jumping scare you, necessarily, but something that's intentionally different. Something to shake things up, even if it's just a little jiggle.

I am very happy in my comfort zone. I am often described as "even-keeled." I like my routine, and I get, dare I say, irritable when it's messed with. But I think this is not always good. It's good to be steady and reliable, yeah. But adherence to routine, when taken too far, is how people become cranky old ladies who live in dusty apartments and sit in the same chair day after day, glaring suspiciously at the mailman when he comes at 11:15 instead of 11:30.

I figured I'd try it, starting pretty small - maybe one thing a week? I found an opportunity last Thursday.  Due to family scheduling difficulties, I couldn't go to my early morning workout class, and I was bummed to miss it. So instead, for the first time ever, I went to the evening class (say it with me: ooooh). It was great! There were all new people there. Friendly people! I noticed I had more energy than I do at 6am, so I worked harder, and was sorer the next day. Success.

Then, last weekend, I did something ever so slightly braver. I went out to breakfast by myself. And not the Starbucks drive-through, either, but an actual sit-down restaurant where I had to interact with the server and had no table mate to banter with. Just me. There are some things I enjoy doing by myself, like going to the movies (because I get to sit in the dark and not talk to anyone for two hours, and I don't have to share the candy). I've never liked dining out alone, though - it makes me feel naked and exposed. But I was hungry, and had some time to kill, so I did it. And again, it was lovely. I ate slowly and people-watched out the window, and it was all very peaceful and I felt refreshed afterward.

a third new thing:  breaking out my phone while dining alone to take a photo of my breakfast. hi, weirdo.

What will my next thing be? Perhaps I will break out short shorts and a tube top on the next warm-ish day. I'll let you know how that goes.

How about you?

April 7, 2011


Where I live people focus kind of obsessively on weather. It is practically a sport in itself, especially in winter. Will it snow? When? How much? For how long? What kind of snow? Is it light and fluffy pow-pow, or slushy, heavy cement that's a bitch to shovel? Are the ski resort's accumulation reports true, or are they exaggerating? These are the topics that bond the locals in my town, over and over, at the post office, the grocery store, the bus stop.

From November through February or so, I am right there, comparing thermometer readings and secretly kind of proud of the four-foot drifts in my front yard. Our long mountain winters make us feel special and tough - exotic, even. We sit in our all-wheel drive cars, bundled up in our puffy coats, and shake our heads when we hear about the cities that shut down over a measly couple inches of snow. We've collected over 400 inches this year, and our kids haven't gotten so much as a day off school. We don't even think about gardening until mid-June.

This time of year, though, some of us start thinking, fuck special. Although there are plenty of people who are all gleeful about snow straight through until it's full on mountain biking season, there are just as many of us who, by April, have a hard time cracking a smile in response to a neighbor's cheerful  "Happy spring!" and surreptitiously kick the stupid snow shovel when passing it (what. it was in the way). Then we go down a few thousand feet in elevation to run errands or attend our kid's soccer game, and are startled by the sight of green grass and people wearing flip flops. And damn, it's ... really nice. We start to remember how lovely last summer was, how glorious to run on trails outside in shorts instead of fleece and gloves and earwarmers. We start feeling a little left out, a tiny bit bitter, and pretty soon we're all like OMG I WANT TO LIVE DOWN HERE WHERE IT IS SO WARM AND DRY AND BEAUTIFUL.

I'm trying harder to just ride it out this year. My husband, who grew up here in the mountains, is fond of reminding me that we chose to live here and you can't control the weather, so there's no point in complaining about it. And aside from expressing sheer disbelief at the volume and consistency of this year's snowfall (which, to be fair, has been mind-boggling and record-breaking), I really have tried to be more accepting and keep my mouth shut.

But after a truly schizo weekend of Colorado weather (snow on Friday, then 85 degrees in Denver on Saturday, then a FOOT of snow and gale force wind back home on Sunday) I was kind of looking forward to my quick business trip to Washington, DC this week. It's cherry blossom season there, and, well, I've been feeling like wearing a skirt. Without tights and boots and a down jacket.

It was 80 degrees when we arrived. Sigh. Just lovely.

But the next day? 40 degrees. Rainy. Windy. Turned my umbrella inside out and soaked my laptop bag.

I'm glad to be home.