Friday, May 18, 2012

The incredible, edible egg custard!

Trying to get back into the Friday night routine.  I’ve missed spending time here, but work has been very busy, so it has been difficult to get my brain to sit quietly here and write. 

But a couple of days off has helped restore some creative energy as well as some sanity (what little I possess).  ;o)

Last weekend was Mother’s Day, a day when the Mom in the house gets a day off.  In a house with two moms, that proves a bit of a challenge, but since we wouldn’t have G if Nancy hadn't given birth, I figure that gives her a bit of an edge. 

So I decided that on Mother’s Day (or Mothers’ Day, if you prefer), I would set out to cook some yummy meals for her. 

How did we celebrate?  With egg custards, of course!  

First, there was French toast for breakfast.  In my family, there wasn’t really a recipe with measurements, there was a demonstration and a lot of practice.

This will do it for 6-8 slices of bread.  We like to use the spelt bread from Trader Joe’s. 

For starters, two or three eggs get cracked into a pie plate.  Splash in a good bit of milk (probably ½ a cup), add a healthy dribble of vanilla, a generous sprinkling of cinnamon and a dash or three of nutmeg.  Beat with a fork or whisk until well combined.  Keep that fork handy to keep mixing the custard…the cinnamon will float to the top and then get used up by the first two slices of bread if you don’t mix between dunks.

Now I like to fry my French toast on an electric griddle.  It will hold 6 slices of bread easily (instead of two in my 12” skillet) and there are no sides to get in the way of your spatula when you turn your slices. 

Dunk your bread, one slice at a time, in the egg mixture and transfer each slice immediately to the griddle.  Fry on the first side until brown, turn and let cook until brown on the other side. 

Keep warm in a 180 degree oven if you need to, but if you’re only making 6 slices and you used your griddle, you should be done in one. 

Serve with butter, maple syrup (and peanut butter if you’re from my family). 

It was delicious…French toast is so easy to make and makes people so happy.  It makes me wonder why we don’t do it more often. 

But the custard celebration wasn’t over.  When I asked Nancy what else she wanted to eat that day, she said, “Quiche.” 

I’d never made quiche before, but how hard could it be, right?  Especially if I was going to use pre-made pie shells.  (Shut up…I have a two year old and have been working a lot of overtime.  I am allowed a shortcut here and there.)

What surprised me about the recipe I chose was that there were only two eggs in the whole thing.  For a ten -nch quiche, only two eggs. 

The examples I had tasted before couldn’t have been that light on the hen fruit.  In fact, I have been turned off quiches before because they were way too eggy. 

But really, Julia Child can’t be wrong about something as beautifully French as Quiche Lorraine, now could she?

My answer to that is not only no, but hells to the no.  It was the most simple, exquisite thing in a crust. 

Technically, it came from Saveur Magazine, but it was adapted from the recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.  Close enough.  Here, check it out.

1.5 cups heavy cream, a half teaspoon of salt, two eggs, a dash or two of nutmeg and about 6 ounces of bacon is all that was needed to make this gorgeous treat.  Someday when I have more time and energy, I will make the pastry from scratch, but now is not that time. 

Dice the bacon and fry until crisp.  Drain on paper towels and sprinkle in the bottom of the pre-baked crust.  Combine the cream, eggs, salt and nutmeg and pour into the crust.  Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until top is golden and puffed and the middle is just set (if you stick a sharp knife in the center, it will come out clean).

Let it cool a little before serving.  Otherwise you will end up with pieces of delicate crust and filling all over your kitchen counters. 

Be patient, because the end result is well worth the wait. 

This quiche surpassed any other I have ever eaten.  It was light, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth delicious.  It was sublime.  It made us weep with joy. 

We finished the leftovers today for lunch.  It was just as good the second time, though it was challenging to warm up in the microwave without destroying it.  But we managed.  And I am very sure we will manage again.

So Happy Mothers’ Day!  Because there are lots of mommies in the world and the day belongs to all of us!