Last week, the husband and I went for a vacation. We drove along the Oregon Coast (oh, it’s so beautiful there!) and went in-land for a night to visit my grandparents and other family in Oregon. We had a great time. The coast is amazing! If you’ve never been there, you should go one day. It’s something incredible to see even in the middle of a spring storm (complete with high winds, lots of rain and even some crazy hail!). In the summer time, I think it would be simply spectacular. (I know I went when I was a young child, but I hardly remember it… just clamming, which I hated).
One of the beautiful places we stopped.
While we were on vacation, we found an independent bookstore. There are not that many independent (new) bookstores in Canada, so it’s pretty cool to find one! I bought Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. I realize that it’s totally stereotypical and a popular book choice simply because of the movie (Julie and Julia). However, I listened to the autobiography of Julia Child (My Life in France), and it was a pretty amazing story. Julia Child tested each recipe at least 5-6 times before it made it into the book. The final product of Mastering took about 10 years to complete!
So, I started reading the book, and it’s a great cookbook! Julia Child did a lot of research into her recipes, and the book is full of a lot of information. There are recipes that I’m not sure I’ll ever cook (for example, aspic– jelled stock… eww) … but there are definitely recipes I want to try. And really, how can you go wrong with French food? And the cook book is surprisingly easy to read and follow. The ingredients are pretty common and the recipes are well-written.
So, I decided to try making this quiche. It was really good! It has anchovies in. I had anchovies in Italy in a pasta salad (whole fillets!), so I knew I could eat them. They have a salty flavour, and they add body to the quiche. I know anchovies are scary to use, but try them! They’re really good in some things, and surprisingly decent in others:)
For this recipe, you need a partially baked 8-inch pastry shell. To do this, preheat your oven to 400°F. Take your pastry and put it in your pie plate (I had made about 6 crusts earlier and frozen them in aluminum pie plates). Take a fork and punch a bunch of holes in the bottom of your crust. This will release the air so that your crust won’t get air bubbles. Take a piece of parchment paper and butter one side. Put the butter side down inside the pie dough and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Take it out of the oven, and remove the parchment paper and beans or weights. The beans can be saved especially for this purpose and reused. By the way, this method of partially baking a pie crust is also known as blind baking.
To easily peel the tomatoes, put some water on to boil. When it’s boiling, drop one or two tomatoes in for 10 seconds. Take them out of the water and peel them! The peels should come off quite easily. To seed the tomatoes, cut them in half width-wise (not through the stem) and gently squeeze out the seeds and juice. You can discard them, and just keep the flesh.
Quiche A La Tomate, Nicoise
Recipe barely adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
1/4 cup minced onions
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1-3/4 to 2 lbs firm, red, ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded (see note above)
1 large clove mashed garlic (I minced mine)
1/2 tsp oregano, basil or thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 egg and 3 egg yolks
1 small can of anchovy fillets, chopped
3 Tbsp. olive oil (use the oil from the anchovies and make the remainder of 3 Tbsp. with olive oil)
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
3 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1 tsp paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
8 inch partially baked pastry shell on a baking sheet
12 pitted black olives (preferably Kalamata or other Mediterranean olives)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Swiss cheese
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Cook the onions slowly in the 2 Tbsp. olive oil for 5 minutes, or until tender, but not browned.
Chop the tomatoes roughly. Stir the tomatoes into the skillet and add the garlic, herbs and salt and pepper. Cover skillet and cook for 5 minutes over low heat. Uncover, raise heat and cook for 5 minutes more, shaking pan occasionally until the juice is almost evaporated entirely. Allow to cool slightly.
Beat the egg, egg yolks, anchovies, oil, tomato paste, parsley and seasonings in a mixing bowl until blended. Gradually fold in the cooked tomatoes.
Spread the tomato mixture in the pastry shell. Place olives on top nicely. Put the cheese on and dribble the oil over it. Bake in the upper third of a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until quiche has puffed and browned on the top, and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
The Hungry Teacher
Us near Nice, France this summer