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).
To be a whizz kid at creating homemade pasta is a blessing, one I sadly lack so far. To compensate, I used Bertagni porcini mushroom tortellini — only my favorite style/shape of pasta ever. The sauce was on a whim and happily turned out AWESOME. The usual shallots and garlic with olive oil and butter browned in a pan but with the added bonus of a tablespoon of red curry paste, about the same amount of balsamic vinegar, quick squeeze of a lemon and heavy whipping cream. Once the tortellini were ready they joined the sauce in the pan for a quick coating and then topped with a pinch of shredded gruyere. The curry isn’t overwhelming but mellow, interesting and gives the dish nice color. I paired this with a Southern Tier Gemini — kind of a sweeter, less hoppy version of most IPAs, what they call a “blended unfiltered ale”, which played nicely off the bite of the shallots and sweet spice of the red curry. I think it took 15 minutes max, to the beats of Hot Chip and La Roux (hipster version of Tilda Swinton?).
Thought this very simple dish up last night before bed because I was hungry and feeling like a child. As a kid, and to this day, I like to make a mash-up of the food on my plate — not like a nasty soup but almost alla Violet Beauregard in Willy Wonka and the amazing 3 course dinner gum. Oh also there was no bread to go along with it and given that the bleu cheese semi-fondue mashed potatoes made me snoozy 10 minutes after ingesting them, a biscuit topping would have been suicide.
So I grilled a strip steak, sliced it like flank steak and layered the pieces with bleu cheese mashed potatoes topped with the steak juices and snow peas. The mashed potatoes require browning a small shallot and one garlic clove (diced) in a sauté pan with butter and olive oil, then adding some heavy whipping cream and as much bleu cheese as you like. That becomes the cream that will make the potatoes heavenly.
I grilled again the other Friday with great food, beer, company and weather. This time I took it easy on the pre-lighter soaked charcoal and in so doing, managed to avoid the third degree burns of my first attempt. On the menu: grilled corn in their husks, portobello mushrooms, red peppers, chicken liver marinated in olive oil/soy sauce/cumin, hot doggies, strip steaks, pita and a sauce made of Fage 0% yogurt+chopped cilantro+diced garlic. We were all so stuffed that hardly any of us made it out to the parties that night. The assorted dishes and food stuffs also didn’t make it out of the trunk of my car until today, 2 weeks later…SO gross, really have to stop being lazy.
Anyway, the surprise of the experience was the liver. I guess it really shouldn’t have been a surprise but I was shocked at how velvety the liver was after its long sojourn on the grill. I kept forgetting it wasn’t heart and therefore not a muscle that would toughen up if I wasn’t careful. I really shouldn’t have been so taken aback since I’m a big fan of foie gras. In any case, it was delicious nestled in a hot pita with the yogurt sauce some jalapenos and peppers. I liked the liver and I’m still trying to break into offal but the local market doesn’t stock it! That said, long live grillin’ days, cuz they’re the best.
My mother raised my brother and me in a household that was ethnocentric — we grew up knowing all the names of different spices, we knew what a wok was, we were accustomed to curries, etc. — but the one that stood out the most was Italian. My mother and father spent some quality time in Italy and it stuck with them for a very long time. The simplest recipe my mother loves to prepare to this day, and I love to wow friends with, is the tuscan farmer’s breakfast of fettunta and red wine. If you’re doing a breakfast of champions a different way, I would go for a nice bitter or even a sour ale if you’re game to compliment the salty/garlic beauty of this simple fare.
Grab a loaf of some good thick rustic french bread (I love Italian food but the bread I will leave to the French, they are the masters): the kind with a dusting of flour and a basic ingredients list, we are NOT looking for a sourdough.
Cut a few thick 1/2 inch slices then cut in half and pop into the toaster. If you don’t have a toaster improvise and toss it into a hot skillet or even hold over a gas stove flame (try not to burn down the house).
Once out of the toaster golden brown, you’ll want a big garlic clove or two, with the skins off. Take the clove and start rubbing down that piece of bread, it’ll start to shred with the vigor of the rub but that is ok, this is the desired effect.
Next drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, do not soak it with the stuff.
Then just take some sea salt and sprinkle over top. This is the basic recipe but you can get creative with pepper and other spices if you so choose.
This is not the shitty creamy garlic soaked bread you get at the grocery store, so be prepared to fall in love and wish you were a Tuscan farmer.