08 March 2009

Quiche in a Crepe

The final push has begun, T minus 5 days until my comprehensive exam. As you can imagine, I've spent very little time in the kitchen lately and when I have, it's just been to throw a few things together for dinner without regard for a recipe or making things presentable enough for a photo. Last Friday I couldn't stand it anymore and decided to find a recipe and make something new for dinner. I didn't want anything too heavy, or that would take to long, and after throwing some ideas around at the office (it's great to have co-workers as interested in food as I am) I decided on a quiche.

Though I love getting quiche out, it's always seemed a bit too fussy and indulgent to make at home. Pastry crust, for me, is reserved for special occasions and Friday night dinner is not one of them. I poked around a bit on the internet and came across an Alton Brown recipe for quiche made with a crepe crust instead of a short pastry. It seemed like the perfect solution and so it was. Zach made the crepe batter while I was at yoga and used some dried herbs de provance in place of the fresh called for (he even looked up the equivalency for dry to fresh herbs online!) and the crepe batter was ready to go when I got home. We cooked the crepes, sliced up the taylor ham, quickly sauteed an onion in a bit of olive oil, beat the eggs and milk and things were ready to go. I don't have a jumbo muffin pan, as Alton calls for, so the recipe made about 10 mini-quiches instead of the 6 in the recipe.

The quiche came out perfectly. It had light, delicate texture and the herbs de provence complimented the flavor of the eggs and ham. A little cheddar cheese on top added color and richness and with a spinach salad, it was a complete dinner.

I made very few changes to the recipe so I will give you the
link if you'd like to try it and I'll list my changes below.

- Substitute a few slices of taylor ham for bacon
- Use olive oil in place of butter
- Cut back on the cheese to 4 ounces
- Make sure to grease your muffin tin!!! I didn't and had a heck of a time trying to get the final quiches out
- My quiche took about 20 minutes to cook in the regular size muffin tins- the quiches will get all puffy when they are done.

03 March 2009

Macerated Strawberries with Lemon Creme

Tired of months of the apple vs. pear debate every morning while packing my lunch, I long for something a bit more exciting in the fruit department. The other day I saw the first strawberries of the season in the grocery store and while I know they have been trucked up from Florida, I still can't resist. After sniffing a few packages to find the most fragrant (if you know a better way to pick out a good carton of berries without tasting them, do let me know so I can avoid the strange looks I sometimes get from other shopper) I put two in my basket.

I sampled a berry when I got home-- not terrible but not great either, about what one would expect in early March living in DC. The berries needed a boost if I was really going to enjoy them, so I decided to macerate them in red wine and serve them with a little cream. Soaking strawberries in red wine does sound a bit odd; I was extremely skeptical the first time I tried it out. I expected the berries to taste a bit like the raisins you get in mulled wine- overplump and alcoholic. I was surprised when I tried one and it tasted more like strawberry. I can't really explain how it works- I think it has something to do with the alcohol in the wine releasing additional flavor compounds but soaking strawberries in white wine intensifies their berry flavor. It's a good trick to use with mediocre berries but absolutely amazing with fresh, ripe summer berries. Recipe after the jump.

Strawberries with Lemon Creme
Serves 2, easily multiplied

1/2 lb (250g) strawberries
1-2 C. (250-500ml) red wine (you don't want to use an expensive bottle here- really anything you have open will do)
1 T. sour cream
1 T. Greek yogurt
1 t. sugar
a bit of lemon zest

- Cut the strawberries in half or quarters if they are large. Put the berries in a bowl and pour in just enough wine to barely cover the berries. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

- Combine the sour cream, yogurt and sugar.

- After the berries have macerated, drain* and divide between two bowls. Top with the creme and grate a bit of lemon zest over each and serve.

*Sadly the wine is not drinkable at this point-- trust me on this one, I've tried.