The Family Chef

I got a call from my mother-in-law last week. She asked me if I wanted to make something for her upcoming birthday party, since I’m the family chef and all. (The ironic thing about that statement is that my brother-in-law is an actual chef.) I offered to bring my famous spinach and artichoke dip because people get disappointed when I don’t bring it. Of course, one of those people is my husband, so I don’t mind. She told me I could make something different if I had a recipe I wanted to try or if I was sick of dip.

Later in that conversation, my mother-in-law mentioned that quiche is her favorite. I had never had quiche until a baby shower several years ago. There were a few different types of quiche at the shower and my friend Tracie and I put tiny slivers of each one on our plates. She had never tried quiche either. We each took a bite, thought about it and said, “I like quiche!” I’ve never had the occasion to make it, but I thought that it would be an interesting experiment to make quiche for the birthday party.

My friend Melissa makes a crustless quiche that I have heard good things about. I had asked her for the recipe but, unfortunately, I’d already been to the store by the time I heard back from her, so I decided to go with the recipe I’d already found. I decided to make the crust separately rather than buying it from the store. (I’m crazy that way.) This crust recipe was super easy. You mix flour, salt, oil and water with a fork and then press it into a 9″ pie plate. That’s it. No rolling-pin required. You know what else isn’t required? An oven. The crust cooks with the quiche. I was a little confused by the recipe, but reading the comments, I figured out that you just bake whatever filling you want at 400°F for however long the recipe says to and the crust cooks with it.

For the filling, I found this recipe for Ham, Leek and Three Cheese quiche. Mr. Wonderful and I discovered leeks this week and Surprise! we really like it. It’s an aromatic vegetable in the onion/garlic family. I used it in a pasta dish last week (stay tuned for that post) and couldn’t get over the smell! It’s so strong and sweet. I was really excited to both try it again and introduce the rest of the family to it.

Some observations if you try this recipe:
1. Grating cheese is hard. Fontina, Gruyère and Mozzerella are not easy cheeses to grate either since they are so soft. No lie, I grated cheese for an hour. As I told my husband (and later my mother-in-law because I apparently lost my filter at some point during the party), my arm felt like I had jerked off 200 guys. Not that I know what that feels like, but that’s what I imagine. (No, I didn’t drink at the party.)
2. You buy crème fraîche in the cheese section. I’ve never even heard of crème fraîche before Saturday. It’s some kind of sour cream and buttermilk mixture. I wasn’t sure Market Basket would have it. I thought it would be with the cream cheese or with the buttermilk. None of the above. It was in the cheese case. I do all my cooking by weight and I have no idea how much a cup of crème fraîche weighs. The recipe says to buy two 8 oz containers, so I just used them both.
3. Physics hates chefs. This quiche is a layering project. You put the ham down first, then the cheeses, then the leeks. Then you pour in the egg mixture. You’re supposed to pour slowly and move the cheese and leeks around so that the egg mixture permeates through the pie plan. You’re not supposed to do what I did, which is dump the egg mixture on top of the leeks and hope for the best. You’ll just end up with egg goo all over your counter, the floor and your shoes. I don’t actually know if that’s physics, but I usually just assume that, when things go wrong, it’s because I don’t understand a single concept from physics. Boo physics!

I cooked the quiche for 1 hour at 400°F. It was filled to the brim and the oil from the cheese oozed out into the oven. It made for a very smoky hour. The end result was this:

The best part was showing up to my in-laws’ house and handing over the plate. “I made you a quiche!” I told my mother-in-law. “Quiche?” she said, “That’s my favorite!”


About Tara Salvi

I'm a 30 year old woman living and working in the 'burbs.
This entry was posted in Culinary School Graduate and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Family Chef

  1. That recipe sounds awesome thanks for sharing!

  2. Erin Buscemi says:

    I learned from Real Simple this weekend that if you freeze soft cheeses for an hour before grating, it’s super easy to do…and thus prevents you from saying inappropriate things to your MIL 🙂

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