Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Anna Sultana’s Quiche Lorraine & Pat-in Pie Crust / Mercury Goes Direct

In a couple of days Mercury will go direct.
For those who know about these things, that’s a good thing. 
Well, there may be something to that idea.
I mean, I don’t think that even planets find it easy to go backwards.

Some people just love to look back and to talk about the “good old days”.
Well, sometimes the stuff we did in the past was downright dumb.

It’s hard to believe, but in 1982 there was a book named Real Men Don't Eat Quiche by American author, Bruce Feirstein.
On the New York Times Best Seller list for 55 weeks, it sold over 1.6 million copies.
Real Men was meant to be a humorous book, focusing on the worries of middle class men who just didn’t know how they were supposed to act when feminists were becoming more a part of the mainstream.
Yeah, I know, men confused by feminists’ wanting to be treated fairly… Big yucks…
So much for the 80s being a great time.

With a name like quiche many people thought it was a French recipe, something really fancy, not for simple, meat-and-potatoes type of folks.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The English - the creators of meat-and-potatoes dishes - have been eating eggs and cream in pastry at least as early as the 14th century, while the Italians have been making dishes like this as far back as the 13th century.

As you might expect, a recipe that’s been around for a few hundred years has seen a lot of variations. In addition to the eggs and cream and / or milk, it can include cheese, vegetables, meat or seafood.
It's a handy way to make use of bits and leftovers one usually finds in any kitchen.
As you can see, there's nothing fancy about this recipe at all.

A few of the most popular combinations are:
quiche au fromage (quiche with cheese) 
quiche aux champignons (quiche with mushrooms)
quiche florentine (quiche with spinach) 
quiche provençale (quiche with tomatoes)

But it’s definitely not limited to those mixtures.
My Ma often made a Greek Spinach Cheese Quiche, using Feta cheese.
She made a Mushroom and Ham Quiche when she had ham leftover from the holidays.

Quiche Lorraine, named after the Lorraine region of France, originally was an open pie with eggs, cream and lardons (fatty bacon or pork fat). 
Modern recipes can also include mature cheeses, such as Cheddar cheese, and vegetables, while the lardons have been replaced by regular bacon.


Quiches are perfect for brunches or light suppers, as well as for when a friend or two have popped in for a casual visit that's lasted until mealtime.

Quiches can be made in advance and frozen. Ma kept a few in the freezer so she'd have something easy for when the relatives hadn't notice how late they had stayed.

Quiche Lorraine is a recipe that is very accommodating.
Instead of the Swiss cheese you can use Gruyère or Cheddar. 
You can also add sautéed onion, leeks or shallots to the filling.
Or you can add whatever else is beginning to look a bit sad in your crisper.

Have chives in your garden? 
Finely chop enough fresh chives to make 4 teaspoons to replace the onion powder.

Want to avoid the eggs and dairy?
Make a vegan quiche with spinach, onions or green onions, and green herbs like dill, parsley or celery, olive oil and a little wheat flour. Top off with leeks, chard and / or sorrel, then bake until the top vegetables are a bit crisp. 

You can also use tofu instead of the cheese, or your favourite pastry recipe or a frozen pie shell instead of the pat-in crust.

About the pat-in pie crust recipe below:
If baking an empty shell: prick and bake 15 minutes at 425º F. 
If baking it with a filling: use the filling's instructions

If you’re using the pat-in pie crust to make a dessert pie that’s being baked with a filling you could use this crumb topping:
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup flour
1/4 Cup margarine
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix together and sprinkle over the filling in the pastry-lined pie pan and bake.
You can also double or quadruple the ingredients and store what’s left in a covered container in the refrigerator for topping other pies.

                                                Pat-in Pie Crust

Place in a 9-inch pie pan 
1 1/2 Cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar         
3/4 teaspoon salt
Mix together.

Place in a measuring cup 
1/2 cup oil
3 tablespoons cold milk
Beat together until creamy.
Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and blend well.
Spread the mixture in the pan and pat in to line the pan.
Set aside.

                                                Quiche Lorraine

Cook 4 slices bacon.
Cool slightly and chop the cooked bacon.

Shred enough Swiss cheese to make 1 Cup.

Place the oven rack in the centre of the oven. 
Preheat oven to 325°F

Place in a medium bowl
4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon onion powder, more or less
3/4 Cup 18% light cream
1/4 Cup milk
Beat together. 

Sprinkle the prepared bacon and cheese over the pie crust.
Pour the egg mixture over the bacon and cheese. 
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes (the filling is set but still jiggles slightly in the centre) 
Remove from oven, place on a wire rack and let stand for 15 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature. 
If you’d like to make it more of a meal, serve it with a salad.

About the sky, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac

August 18—First Quarter Moon at 3:48 a.m. In this phase, the Moon looks like a half-Moon — one-half of the Moon is illuminated by direct sunlight while the illuminated part is increasing, on its way to full.

August 19—Mercury is no longer in retrograde, instead goes direct at 12:25 a.m.

August 20—As darkness falls, look for Saturn well to the lower left of a 75% illuminated gibbous Moon. Saturn can be easily located by going out in late twilight and looking south-southeast at the beginning of August, or due south around month’s end. Saturn is the bright “star” roughly a third of the way up in the sky; the farther south you are the higher it will be. Later in the evening, Saturn swings low to the southwest. Below Saturn is the Teapot in Sagittarius. The pot starts August upright during twilight, then gradually tilts as if pouring in the following hours and weeks.

August 22—A wide gibbous Moon can be found sailing far above Mars, which dominates the sky east of Saturn. Fresh from last month’s opposition and close approach to Earth, Mars is still very bright and fiery. But it fades noticeably during August.


  1. Margaret, I'd love a slice right this minute! And my "real man" likes quiche, too. If I had one in the freezer right now, I'd be so happy.

  2. Hi, Jean! Yes, "real men" do eat quiche!
    Well, why not make one now so you'll have a quiche ready for a future quick meal :)


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