I’d be super pissed because I have just turned 22 and I wouldn’t be able to have my favorite breakfast food — quiche. Also I made this quiche to one of my favorite Biggie songs. First and foremost, my hat goes off to all pastry chefs and anyone skilled in the mysteries of dough. It’s the toughest food obstacle I have strived to overcome and so far, it is just not happening for me. That said, I made a decent quiche dough with the aid of a gratuitous amount of swearing. I started with M. Stewart’s standard recipe for both the quiche tart shell and the insides but added whatever else I wanted. Thankfully, the insides of the quiche were far more impressive than its shell: lots of eggs, heavy whipping cream, milk, flour, shallots, garlic, BACON, leeks and a healthy dose of grueyere cheese. The consistency is something like custard instead of the dense egg cake you usually find in the stores or restaurants. It’s lovely hot out of the oven but call me crazy, I actually prefer my quiche cold the next day. Quiche is often relegated to brunch menus but as a breakfast start to the day it’s pretty perfect — it doesn’t make you want to pass out, a nice protein source and quick (once it’s cooked).
An easy, happy little hors d’oeuvre that alters the traditional caprese. Phyllo dough or pastry sheets (you can find Pepperidge Farm frozen sheets in most any grocery store) rolled thin and cut out with a large heart cookie cutter creates the nest for the ciliegini (“cherries” of fresh mozzerella), avocado, cherry tomatoes, bacon or fried proscuitto and basil fried in the grease. You take all these little treasures and pile them in the middle of the heart, bundle it up and stick in a buttered muffin tin in the oven at 350° for 13-15 minutes. The hearts will undoubtedly unfold to reveal their cores — so poetic, I just watched Bright Star – thus creating the nests. Et voilà.
Finally went here for lunch the other day and it’s another great restaurant started by Michael Symon – a native Clevelander. The beer list includes more macros than micros, however he’s offering really nice micros: Erie Brewing Railbender Ale, Jolly Pumpkin La Roja, Jolly Pumpkin Madrugada Obscura, Leelenau Brewing Co. Amber Ale, Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold and another GL I can’t remember along with a few others. On Dec. 21st, Lola had a beer dinner featuring: FFF Alpha Klaus, Breckinridge Christmas, Aventinus, Heavy Seas Winter Storm, De Dolle Stille Nacht and Redstone Winter Solstice.
The food is awesome: this man loves meat. Beef cheek pierogies, incredible desserts like corn pudding with butter ice cream or french toast with maple/bacon ice cream. Pig roasts every tuesday night. E. 4th St. is a really small but cool spot with tons of little restaurants offering yumminess. Lola is actually pretty large, the service is awesome, atmosphere posh but relaxed. It’s a happy spot if a little pricey (lunch with soup, pierogies and pint: $35+tip). Parking all around, tops $8 at the parking garage a few blocks down and valet at Lola. Cleveland is a city that gets a lot of heat but for those who live there, the golden spots are all around you just have to look for them.
Unfortunately, if I don’t eat every two hours my hands start to shake, I get grumpy (even a little weepy if it’s been a very long time) and sleepy. The hunger shakes struck when I was out running errands and so before I got really nasty or passed out we stopped at Swensons for some blazing hot tater tots. It’s a family run, strictly Northeastern Ohio drive-in burger joint that has a special spot in most every NE Ohio native’s heart, unless they’re a total Scrooge. By the time we got home I was still hungry which catapulted exponentially after browsing through Paste Magazine’s 15 best food movies. So, I whipped up a BLT.
Fried 2 strips of bacon, and once I flipped them I threw in a handful of halved grape tomatoes. While those were bouncing all over the place, I stuck 2 pieces of wheat bread in the toaster, then turned the burner off under the b and t. Next a little miracle whip spread on one slice of bread, tomatoes over top, 2 slices of havarti — one on each slice (or you can put the cheese over the tomatoes while they’re still in the pan until it melts a bit), then the bacon halved so it makes 4 pieces. A scoop of horseradish on one slice spread over, or under, the cheese, then a big wad of crisp romaine. Crunchy, creamy, bacony goodness — really nothing beats a BLT in a pinch: ”So shines a good deed in a weary world” (courtesy of Willy Wonka).