I like lists.
I’ve been making them lately, checking them off, and feeling quite accomplished.
Ok, so here are three things on my list of what to write about today.
1. I’m not one of those people who lets food rot in my fridge. I pride myself in my ability to creatively use up remainders of ingredients. So what to do when you have extra cream? A million things! Like these chocolate scones – do you need extra cream as an excuse to make those?
Or strawberry shortcake! Or no-bake cheesecake (the reason for my leftover heavy cream)! But if you have some rotting onions on your counter (did I say rotting onions? Er, I meant ripening onions) AND heavy cream, now that calls for a delicious French Onion Tart (except alas, you have to go buy more flour because, surprisingly, you’re out).
2. Have you ever noticed how different everything feels with painted fingernails? I NEVER paint my fingernails and yesterday I did. Inspired by my recent dress purchase for a certain wedding in Italy, I painted my toenails and my fingernails a bright shade of “spoiled.” (Not even kidding. That’s the name of the color. Although, Ellen DeGeneres has a hilarious segment on her show where the audience learns there are some much more shocking polish colors out there. Check it out here.) Suddenly each ingredient I measure or word I type looks more glamorous (or more childish?). Eating toast feels different.
Buckling my belt…
Alright Erin, cool your jets. No one wants to see a picture of you eating carrots with nail polish on.
The nails sadly only lasted one day, but I feel much more myself now that their pale naturalness has returned.
3. Some things are too good to be true (even though you really want them to be true!). Like losing 30 pounds in a week or making yeasted whole wheat rolls in 30 minutes. Unless you are using something incredibly harmful or unnatural you cannot lose 30 pounds in a week. Just like you can’t make yeasted whole wheat rolls in 30 minutes. I tried it anyway (the rolls that is). With the plan of blueberry muffins ruined thanks to curdled milk, I searched the internet for bread-variety inspiration and found a few recipes for 30 minute dinner rolls promising to be delicious and fluffy and gone too fast to take a picture. I settled on a whole wheat one that I had the ingredients for and made them, mostly in about 30 minutes. Well, let’s just say the cats were not lining up for these rolls, though they did pass for edible. They were dense and had good flavor, but they were certainly not the fluffy dinner rolls I was looking for. Nonetheless we ate and enjoyed them along with our delicious quiche.
Now that my list is done, back to the fun part: recipes!
If you love quiche and you love French onion soup, this recipe will make your day happily delicious. I find that serving it along with some sautéed greens or a big green salad really helps to cut through the cheesy, buttery saltiness of the quiche and makes you feel slightly healthier.
French Onion & Ham Quiche
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen (see link above)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled butter, in cubes
3-4 tablespoons ice cold water
1 1/2 pounds yellow onions (about 4 medium), halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Scant 1/2 teaspoon table salt
Pinch of sugar
1 cup low-sodium beef, veal or mushroom stock/broth
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese
4 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream (half-and-half and milk work too, but cream tastes best)
½ pound smoked deli ham, diced
For the crust, mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add butter; either rub the butter bits into the flour with your fingertips or blend with a pastry blender. Sprinkle in cold water and mix it with a spoon or your hands. The mixture should form large clumps. Knead it gently into a ball, adding more water a teaspoon at a time if necessary; it will be on the firm side but should be easy to roll.
Lightly butter a 9-inch round pie pan (SK does hers in a tart pan, but alas I have no tart pan).
Roll your dough out between two pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper until it is about 11 inches in diameter. Peel the top plastic layer off and reverse the dough into the prepared tart pan, lifting the sides to drape (rather than pressing/stretching the dough) the dough into the corners. Press the dough the rest of the way in and up the sides. Trim edges and chill for 15 minutes in your fridge.
For the filling, melt the butter and olive oil together in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions to the pan, toss them gently with the butter and oil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover the pan. Cook the onions for 15 minutes, then remove the lid, stir in the salt and sugar and saute without the lid for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the onions are fully caramelized and have taken on a light golden color. Pour in the stock (I used beef, which gives it the French onion soup flavor), then turn the heat all the way up and scrape up any brown bits stuck to the pan. Simmer the mixture until the broth nearly completely disappears (wetter onions will make for a wetter quiche), about 5 to 10 minutes. Add freshly ground black pepper. Let cool so that the hot onions do not scrambled the cold eggs and cream. You can hasten this process by spreading the onions out on a plate in the fridge, or even faster, in the freezer.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and cream together. Stir the onions and chopped ham into the egg mixture.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the pie crust and fill with onion and egg mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and bake 35 to 45 minutes, or until a sharp knife inserted into the filling and turned slightly releases no wet egg mixture. Enjoy while listening to a little Madeleine Peyroux.
Oh and maybe give your cats some attention – poor things.