Thursday, December 31, 2015

Say Goodbye and Hello

The best way to bid farewell is with an afternoon of cooking, no doubt culminating in 20 minutes of gluttonous eating. Trust me. And the best way to cook is with copious amounts of fat, preferably butter. Ask any chef and they'll tell you. If they don't, they're flat out lying.

Tonight's menu is a family fave: quiche Lorraine (Julia's recipe - though I make the crust recipe from The Joy of Cooking), asparagus with wild mushroom and brie sauce and, for dessert, apple pear crumble (with pistachios and almonds). I can't be sure there won't be cream on top of the crumble.

And for some food porn:

Prebaked Crust - Recipe in The Joy of Cooking. You've got to blind bake it before adding the quiche custard...

Seriously, is there anything better than bacon? Except lardons??

You line the blind-baked crust with lardons, just before adding the custard mixture (see photo below)...

This custard is a simple mixture of eggs, cream, salt and pepper. Takes 3 minutes to make.
And here's what it comes to, in the end:

We like a lot of space between the top of the deep-dish pan and the custard. Makes for more crunchy crust!
Seriously, people, if you are afraid for your arteries, do not make this meal. I have actually modified the menu items to remove some of the fat. For example, I cannot conscion adding 2 tbsp butter to the top of a quiche, the ingredients of which are these: lard, flour, butter (in the crust), lardons, 1 cup of heavy cream, eggs, salt and pepper. A girl needs to draw the line somewhere. I use whole milk, not cream, when making my mushroom cheese sauce.

But I do NOT skimp on the butter in the crumble:

See those little dots of apple/pear coloured something? Yeah, that's butter. And, btw, that's the secret to your perfect crumble. When it mixes with the collapsed fruit, vanilla extract, pinch of sugar, lemon and corn starch, it creates a perfect confit.

Add some hand-crushed pistachios, almonds, more butter, flour and sugar, and you've got yourself an awesome, crunchy topping:

Natch, this is pre-baking
And this just came out of the oven (which is why I've updated the post):

You'll have to trust me when I tell you that this is much browner than the pre-baked version and bubbling nicely.
You can see why we need to add some asparagus to the mix.

(I cannot be sure that there won't be a good bottle of wine for pairing.)

Bye-bye 2015. You've been all kinds of things. But I'll put my money on the future.


  1. Happy New Year! That meal sounds A-mazing. I haven't decided what to cook tonight, but whatever it is, it won't be that exciting! There will be booze though. ;)
    Hope 2016 is a wonderful year - in 12 months, you'll have an even more fabulous house! Keep your eye on the prize!

    1. It was pretty damn good - but it was eaten in precisely 15 minutes. And there was all that clean up... I am definitely keeping my eye on the prize. The alternative is keeping my eye on the intermittent chaos and I don't have the fortitude for that :-)

  2. I visit irregularly, but always enjoy reading about your antics and doings.

    Best in 2016!!

  3. Mmm, this looks delicious. Maybe I can make it. The crust worries me. I've never had success with crusts. How difficult is this one, comparatively? Can you link to the Joy of Cooking recipe you use?

    The rest of the recipe looks doable, even for me. Mmm, bacon. Have you seen the video of the baby in his high chair eating bacon for the first time?

    1. I can't find it online (though there are a zillion recipes purporting to be "the one"). It's 2 cups flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 2/3 cup lard (or shortening), 2 tbsp butter and 4 tbsp water (though you may require an extra tbsp or 2). Key is to keep the fats chilled. I use a pastry cutter. Cut in half of the fat into the dry ingredients, get a cornmeal texture, then cut in the other half of the fat. Get that to a pea-sized texture and then add the water. Use your hands to form the pastry into a ball. If it doesn't quite stick, add a bit more water. Chill for at least an hour. Let it sit for another few minutes (if possible) and then roll. If it's been chilled for long, you'll have to let it warm up before rolling.

  4. I chuckled that you use the Joy of Cooking pie crust recipe. I'll have to take a look at it. I love my old, stained copy, but I use my mom's pie crust recipe from the late 1950's copy of the Betty Crocker Cookbook.

    Hang in there through the renovation. It is a challenge, but the results will be so worth it.

    Lois K

    1. It's a good standard though I do like Michel Roux's recipe and also one a friend gave me (it has vinegar and eggs). And thanks for the positive reno vibes. Let's see how I'm doing in June :-)

    2. I made a single crust tonight for a pork and apple pie for dinner - leftover pork that we needed to do something with. It was delicious. I also took the opportunity to look at JoC pie crust. The basic crust is almost identical to my mom's from BC. BC uses all shortening where JoC uses 1/3 C shortening + 2 T butter for a single crust.

      Lois K

  5. Oh! my! God! So much goodness and I do love your attitude about the virtues of fat. Happy New Year!