Sunday, March 8, 2015

Most despised day of the year (also, quiche)

The day that Daylights Savings Time takes effect is my absolutely, beyond any doubt or question, least favorite day of the year. It offends on so many levels, and perhaps the worst aspect is that we are so complicit. An hour is stolen from us and rather than rise up in arms, or at least in pajamas and bathrobes, we ourselves dutifully change all our clocks before going to bed saying, "Yes, please, take an hour that is mine. Here, take it from the cat clock in the living room, from the kitchen clock, from the fucking alarm clock, from the very wristwatch which feels the pulse of my life's blood." And our cell phones, thermostats, and computers all act as silent accomplices. Myrna does not even tell me that she has reset herself anymore; it just happens. It is, to me, a sign of all that is wrong with the world, that we can't patiently wait for the evenings to stay lighter longer but instead insist upon wrenching the natural order of things so that we might have some sort of immediate gratification without any care for the costs. Time, I tell you, is out of joint and at times I feel that I was born to put it right.

But instead I write a blog post, in part because a friend emailed today to ask if I was alive. The whole online business has made me tired. I've abandoned Facebook more or less entirely (though I will likely revisit it just long enough to share the news of this scintillating post), and I can't really believe that it serves any purpose for me to write here and yet here I am, writing. As it happens I found myself making quiche today, and taking photos, so this will be a recipe post. The recipe is a mishmash of a bit of Joy of Cooking and a bit of Fannie Farmer, influenced by half a dozen recipes consulted online, what we actually had in the kitchen, and Scott's very helpful recollection of how he used to make quiche in his Nebraska days which, thankfully, came down to not worrying so much about all of it.

 The impetus for the quiche was 1) I've declared I'm giving up fleisch, inclusive of fish, for Lent, and 2) Jennie Grant (of City Goats) gave me a couple of balls of frozen chevre a week or so back, with the warning that something had gone slightly amiss in the cheese's creation so that it likely wouldn't be great eaten on its own. "So what do I do with it," I asked in my helpless way, to which she replied, perhaps surprised at my cluelessness, "make quiche?" I shifted the cheese from the freezer early this afternoon (what should have been late this morning had the hour not been stolen), and set out for the farmers market where we bought eggs and leeks, as well as arugula and apples and bread.

 The cheese was not entirely defrosted some hours later so I pried off what I could (about a cup) and set out to find recipes that would use what we had. It was a bit alarming. Many people pre-bake their shells (and nearly all buy their dough--shudder)  and some use as many as a dozen eggs. Though I googled "quiche with chevre" recipes, very few actually used chevre. Those that did were in French and gave measurements by weight, not volume. Some were extremely contemptuous of Americans who use milk rather than cream, "I like a frittata, sure, but if you don't want scrambled eggs, then you must use cream." Eventually, as hinted above, I opted to wing it, using my basic pie crust recipe.

1 c. flour
1 t. salt
1/3 c. cold shortening
1 T. cold butter
2 T. icy water

Combine flour and salt. Using pastry blender, cut in half the shortening and water and then add the balance of each. Sprinkle on water and blend with fork until dough can be gathered into a ball. Roll out and put into deepish 8" pie pan.

(Dither about whether to pre-bake or not. Prick with fork, preheat oven, and then reconsider and reseal fork-pricks. Opt to brush with egg white instead.)

1 small leek, chopped fine
1-2 t. butter
1 c. (more or less) broccoli, chopped smallish
3 eggs (less most of one egg white used to brush crust)
2 c. half and half
1 c. chevre
1/4 t. nutmeg

Saute leek in butter for a minute or two. Beat eggs. Add half & half, nutmeg, salt, and pepper then beat a little more. Add leek and give a stir to combine.

Put broccoli, and cheese into pie shell that has been brushed with egg white.

 Pour egg/cream/leek mixture on top and place in preheated 450 degree oven.

 Bake for 10 minutes, then turn temperature down to 350. Wander around backyard, marveling at how pretty everything is.

Realize that you really ought to rake up the fallen magnolia petals though it will disturb Gradka's rest on her cushions.

 Bake another half hour or so until done. (You'll know it's done when the filling on the perimeter does not wobble when the pan is shaken but the center still shimmies slightly.)

Allow to cool for a bit while making salad, then eat, marveling at how very light and fluffy and delicious it truly is. 


  1. I commend you on more or less abandoning Facebook... I keep trying, and hiding more and more people's posts, and yet... As for the DST dilemma, Alaska has a bill on the floor (as in a state Bill) to eliminate it. Apparently it takes an act of the Dept of Transportation once that happens. (Why DOT? Why not D o' Commerce?) Anyway, the purpose your blog serves is as a mental health strengthener in addition to a writing practice platform. That wondering if anyone reads it (install a visitor widget!) may then reduce that benefit is, well, unfortunate, as I found a number of years ago. (Kyle, who is choosing Anonymous since I don't have those other accounts.)

    1. Like I know how to install a depression-inducing visitor widget, Kyle! I heard that Washington state had a similar bill to get rid of DST but it died a quick death. My own response has been to have trouble sleeping last night and so stayed in bed an extra hour this morning. (Now, really, I should be getting out the door.) I guess my uncertainty about the blog business is whether it really *does* strengthen my mental health or improve my writing any. But I'm glad you made the effort to read the latest. Please come back!

  2. 1. Thank you for posting. I, of all people, certainly do not endorse the use of Tumbtwitterfacedom, for blogs are much more informative and entertaining; even so, if you don't wish to update it, that's fine, though an occasional email would then be pleasant. I do look forward to communications in any form.
    2. DST: This is an evil plot by anti-birders to prevent us from getting up and outside earlier in the mornings. One morning I was able to bird by 7:30am, but not so the next, for it was dark!
    3. I never pre-bake the quiche crust. Typically I use four eggs and one cup of cream. Yours does sound and look delightful.
    4. Gradka is charming, as always.

  3. I am definitely abandoning Facebook and not likely to switch over to any even more short-form online existence. We'll see if I become more regular about writing here. I will reply to your email, though, and it would be good to see you in person again one of these days. Gradka *is* quite charming, isn't she? While you don't do coffee, I am perfectly happy to walk.

  4. I read this blog. And I'm sure that the link to it on my blog has been driving hordes of reader here.

    Pretty photos. And the quiche was excellent.