French Fridays with Dorie – Mushroom & Shallot Quiche (now with bacon!)

I’m running a little behind with this one but it’s still Friday so we’re good. For anyone who doesn’t know, we are now in what is called “fourth quarter” in retail. These three months are when we make the majority of our money for the year. Consequently I am kind of a zombie from October-December. Long days and lots of events are going to make it tougher to get things done in a timely manner, but I’m going to give it my best. Yesterday we put out Christmas at the store so it was a particularly long one (9:30 AM – 9ish PM) so my idea of making this quiche last night didn’t really work out. I did make the tart dough around 11 though so at least I got a start on it. And before anyone starts complaining about us forgetting Thanksgiving and putting out Christmas too early just shuttie. All that inventory has been sitting in the basement since July and it’s time for it to start making us some money. End of story.

Apologies for the weird lighting on this photo. Who knew that 7:30 AM isn’t the best time to take pics in my kitchen?? I wanted to include it though because I have the same crust problem with all tarts that I’ve made. I swear on the awesome creative force of Joss Whedon that I am NOT stretching the dough and I am chilling it before baking and all that jazz, yet it still shrinks like this every time. What am I doing wrong? I want the perfect looking scalloped edges that other people are getting from their tart pans and it isn’t happening. Tips would be much appreciated.

I sort of went off-recipe a bit for this one for several reasons. I am a tentative guest at the mushroom party. I am starting to like the flavor of them but I just can’t handle a big ol’ slice of mushroom. I can’t do it. I have been faced with a lot of gross vegetables this week (the story is way too long to go into here) so I just had to make this one more to my liking. I diced up the mushrooms very fine and then I also went ahead and sliced up four pieces of bacon, crisped them up, and threw them in the mix. I am a stalwart member of the Bacon Makes (Almost) Anything Better Club and Bek mentioned that she loves bacon in quiches so I thought “why not?” I happen to love scallions but I forgot to buy them so some Italian parsley took on the role of obligatory greens in this one. Because my crust shrunk ($?*#!!!) I couldn’t pour in all of the cream and egg mixture – as it was I had a little bit of an overflow situation – so I had about a 1/4 cup left that I just had to toss. Sad day.

I threw this in the oven and then hustled to get ready for work. I feel like quiche seems like it should be a quick & easy thing to put together but this bad boy had a lot of steps. Make the crust and chill it for at least three hours. Roll it out, put it in the pan and freeze it for an hour. Prebake the crust and let it cool completely. Make the filling and let it cool for at least 15 minutes. Then finally throw everything together and bake it for half an hour. See what I mean?? Kind of one you have to plan ahead for. As it was baking and I was brushing my teeth I was thinking that this probably wasn’t worth all the effort and everything since I don’t really like mushrooms all that much but man, was I wrong. I took it to work with me and we all had it for lunch in between more Christmas decorating and it was so goddamn delicious! I think it might be my favorite quiche I’ve ever made. The flavor was just out of this world! Even though it was kind of a pain in the ass, I would definitely make this one again! Since I did a lot of subbing and I really liked the results, I am going to include the recipe for this one. If you’ve got some time on your hands, give it a try (even if you think you don’t really like mushrooms :P).

Mushroom, Shallot & Bacon Quiche

4 pieces of bacon, sliced and crisped

1 1/2 T unsalted butter

2 shallots, finely chopped

1/2 lb white button mushrooms, finely chopped

1 tsp dried thyme

1 9″ tart shell (use any recipe you like, or try Dorie’s) partially baked & cooled

3/4  cup heavy cream

2 large eggs

1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped

1/4 cup Muenster cheese, finely shredded

Melt the butter in a large non-stick skillet. Throw in the shallots, season with salt & pepper and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and throw in some more salt & pepper. Cook the mushrooms for about 5-7 minutes or until they have cooked down and started to brown a bit, then sprinkle them with 1/2 tsp thyme and cook for about 30 more seconds. Remove the mushrooms and shallots from the pan and put them in a bowl to cool for at least 15 minutes.

Center a rack in the oven and pre-heat it to 350 degrees. Put the cooled tart crust on a baking pan and sprinkle the other 1/2 tsp of thyme over the crust. Spread the mushroom mixture evenly over the crust, then sprinkle on the bacon and the parsley. Mix the eggs and cream together in a measuring cup and season them with a little salt and pepper. Then carefully pour the egg & cream mixture evenly over the tart. If it looks like it’s going to overflow, don’t use all of the liquid. Duh. Sprinkle the top of the tart with the cheese and CAREFULLY slide it into the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the filling has evenly puffed and looks nice and golden and crunchy on top. Transfer the quiche to a wire rack and remove the sides of the pan to let it cool. Eat while still a little warm or at room temperature. Yum!!
On a completely non-quiche related note, Halloween just happened and I was a fortune-teller. Is it good or bad that the only thing I had to purchase for my costume was this awesome turban-y hat thing I got in the clearance bin at Claire’s? I had everything else in my own wardrobe/possession (loud wrap-skirt, tall black boots, flowy sweater, big hoop earring & assorted other jewelry, tarot cards, & a crystal ball)…

Also, check out some of our cool pumpkins:

French Fridays with Dorie – Asparagus and Bits of Bacon

April is kind of a face your fears month for me in French Fridays. I am not an asparagus lover and just wait for next week’s post about sardine rillettes. It’s gonna be sick! Seriously. I haven’t even looked up what navarin printanier is yet. I’m kind of afraid. So yeah, I have to face asparagus, sardines, coconut and whatever navarin is all in one month. Is it obvious I didn’t take French? It wasn’t even offered at my school. Wait, that’s not true, you could take it from the local community college via CCTV or something. I chose German. Not one of my smarter decisions. Spanish would have been useful but my dad wanted me to do that so clearly, German was the attractive choice. Sorry Daddy, you were right.

Anyway, back to the asparagus. I know it’s a spring staple and everyone jumps up and down when it’s available fresh and everything but I have never really seen the appeal. The only time I have ever truly loved asparagus was when one of our cooking class chefs grilled it and then drizzled it with balsamic vinegar. So I decided to kind of blend that idea with this recipe. So here’s all the components chillaxing on the counter while the rolls and meatloaf were baking

I will say this for asparagus, it’s really cool looking. I love the close up photo I took of it that heads this post. I never realized how much purple prettiness was happening with asparagus. Instead of boiling it like the recipe suggested,  I heated up my grill pan, brushed some olive oil on and grilled the stalks for about 5 minutes until the grill marks were evident and the tops were looking a little wilty.

I sliced the bacon before cooking it because I really hate getting my hands all greasy breaking it up after it’s cooked and I threw the onion in a few minutes before the bacon was done so it could cook a little. I know Dorie said the onion shouldn’t cook at all but I was already changing so much I just thought, “What the hell?” When the asparagus was all done, I drizzled it with some really yummy balsamic vinegar and a little lemon juice and then sprinkled the bacon/onion mix over the top. You’ll notice I make no mention of walnuts or walnut oil. I’ve previously mentioned my nut aversion and when I read the ingredient list and saw walnut oil I knew I was going to sub in something else. I guess maybe the balsamic is taking its place? I just couldn’t justify buying a costly nut oil that I didn’t think I would even like when I know I LOVE balsamic and always have some on hand. It is clearly some kind of nectar of the gods. It’s my ambrosia. And before you go getting all impressed with my knowledge of ancient Greek and mythical foods, I’m going to admit that I learned this from reading Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. Yeah, I’m pretty awesome.

I actually really liked this recipe. Tristan said “Thank god for bacon!” but I think I might be turning into someone who likes asparagus. It’s pretty exciting actually. To go with our lovely spring side dish I made some slightly smashed potatoes with chives and parsley (and lots of butter), meatloaf, and no-knead focaccia rolls. Everything was good, but the rolls! The rolls! I think I will dream about eating them tonight. I love homemade bread so when I saw these on Budget Bytes the other day, I knew I was going to have a love affair with them. They are so good – please make them! I brushed mine with some herb oil before baking and I thought they had so much flavor that I didn’t even put butter on them! Yes, you read that correctly – NO BUTTER!

And to end things on a SUPER high note, here’s a pic of Tristan’s plate before he attacked it like a baby dinosaur! Name the movie in the comments if you can. I’m almost embarrassed to be quoting it, no scratch that, I am embarrassed, but it was cute! And it’s on Netflix Watch Instantly right now, allowing me to watch it multiple times while I do housework and such. That is all.

French Fridays with Dorie – Cheese Souffle

This post kind of snuck up on me. Hmmm I just found out snuck isn’t a real word. Weird. I’m still using it. It’s a really busy week at work and a really busy upcoming weekend so I actually made this FFWD recipe last Sunday and just remembered as I was laying on my bed thinking about drinking a glass of wine after a 12 hour workday that I have to get this baby done! I’ve got the glass of wine and a really yummy candle lit, so I think I should be good to go.

We recently did a Celebrating Julia Child class at work, so I had witnessed and sort of helped in the preparation of a souffle not too long ago so this didn’t really worry me a lot. I borrowed the souffle dish from the store kitchen though. I don’t have one of my own. Have to fix that. Perhaps Le Creuset will come out with one in the near future… 🙂

So the ingredients are pretty simple and I usually have almost all of them on hand at all times. Once I get that elusive souffle dish, I could crank one of these out a week! Here’s my little mis en place display:

God bless those little clear glass bowls! They make even the humblest of ingredients look a little fancy-schmancy! So this comes together fairly quickly once you have the cheese grated and the egg whites whipped. Every time I do something with egg whites I am extremely thankful for my Kitchenaid. Candy really is a champ when it comes to beating egg whites. I tried to get a pic of the beautiful peaks we created but I haven’t really got the knack for getting great mixer photos yet. You know who does? Shelly over at http://www.cookiesandcups.com. She always manages to get great shots of ingredients in her mixer. She also makes delicious things. I pinned her most recent concoction and I think I might make it for Easter.

Any old who, back to the souffle, or rather what we ate with it. Even though I knew it would be really yummy, I felt like we needed to have something to chow on with it. Tristan is not really into meatless meals and the only meat I really had was bacon. Bacon is the real reason I can’t be a vegetarian. It is so delicious and versatile and I wanted to try something new with it. For a recent Tuesdays with Dorie recipe I had purchased some Medjool dates that I didn’t end up using. I’ve never bought dates before because they always make me think of this:

While Indiana Jones is very handsome to look at and super badass, I always think of how this little monkey eats the poisoned dates and saves his life (kind of) and therefor have a negative association. I bought the dates because I felt like I shouldn’t give up so quickly when faced with something I maybe don’t like and I’m so glad I did. I asked my coworker Kath for a suggestion on what to do with them and she said she stuffs them with bleu cheese and wraps them in bacon and bakes them. Sounds like a plan Stanley! I had gorgonzola so I slit open the dates, removed the nut (seed?), stuffed some gorgonzola in there and then wrapped them up in half a slice of bacon and baked them while the souffle was doing its thing. OH. MY. GOD. They might very well be one of the best things I have ever eaten. You’ll see that they’re not pretty but holy shit were they good!

The dates got really sweet and sticky and the creaminess of the cheese and the saltiness of the bacon mixed with that were just about the greatest thing ever. Make these as an appetizer for your next get-together and I promise, you won’t be sorry. The souffle was really delish. I think I got the proper amount of lift and the texture and everything seemed just right. I think maybe next time I would throw some chives in there for color and a little bit of onion-y flavor. Having only eaten one souffle before, I don’t have a lot to go on but I think it was a success. The only sad thing was that since it was only the two of us we didn’t finish it and souffle is not really a leftovers type of meal. Bummer.

True confessions time – I always make a joke that my refrigerator is 50% cheese and when gathering the ingredients for this souffle I realized just how close to true this is. I have 11 different kinds of cheese in my fridge. 11! That seems excessive. Here’s the line-up:

Gruyere

Neufchatel

Cream Cheese

Parmesan (both hard & shredded)

Merlot Bellavitano

Raspberry Bellavitano

Provolone (sliced)

Sharp Cheddar (in both a fine and coarse grate)

Mozzarella (in both a fine and coarse grate)

Velveeta (if you say this isn’t a cheese, we can’t be friends. I love Velveeta mixed with milk and melted over noodles. Sue me)

Gorgonzola

Anyone else have any embarrassing refrigerator confessions? What do you always have too much of?