Friday, June 4, 2010

Mushroom and Leek Quiche

We had plans to go to Shakespeare in the Park tonight and I wanted to take something for a picnic instead of buying dinner... this way we're also more sure to have a seat since it's Friday night!
Go early, maybe find a parking spot at least remotely close- but you can be sure you WILL be walking, find a place on the lawn and have a picnic.
It's free and in Forest Park (in St. Louis)- and this year they're putting on the happy play Hamlet.
Actually- not so happy. It's sad. It's a tragedy.

I had an English professor in high school who was a little different personality-wise. Some of the things she said were said for what was most likely shock value, are extremely quoteable (for those who knew her), and real doozies...
For instance, when she was talking about sentence structure she had examples she would give such as:

Simple sentence:
The deer ran from the forest.

Compound sentence:
The deer ran from the forest for he was running from the fire.

Complex sentence:
Fleeing from the raging brushfire, Bambi ran from the forest onto the freeway and was hit by a car.

I think she had quite the imagination, but she was always very serious.
The woman also had an intimidation factor like no other- totally unmatched, and she was completely unapologetic about it. I think she had a reputation to keep and it seemed that what she REALLY enjoyed was scaring underclassmen in the hallways who were yet to be students of hers.

Anyway, one day we were reading something- obviously a tragedy of some sort. She had a habit of suddenly stopping, looking up from a book, making eye contact with the class- the classroom completely silent, and giving us pearls of wisdom. Oh, yes.
The mini-diatribe on "tragedy" was that when something happens in the news and they call it a tragedy it's more often than not NOT a tragedy.
She said, "Ladies, it's only a tragedy if someone dies."

Point being: the people who give us the news are complete idiots and I don't want to hear any of you call something a tragedy unless someone is dead.

So, because it's a tragedy, people will be dying in Hamlet tonight.

Quiche, tarts, galettes... all are great warm or room temperature. Since it happens to be so warm and humid we'll go for "room temperature" in this instance. In addition, they travel fairly well- especially if they are totally set, cooled, are not eaten before it's time to travel.

They tend to be particularly good fare when you happen to be present for a tragedy every now and then (along with some wine and strawberries maybe).

Mushroom and Leek Quiche
1 9-inch pie or 10 inch quiche

1 pre-baked crust in a quiche or pie pan
(for this one I baked at 375 for 20 minutes, removed the pie weights, and baked a further 3 minutes)

2 medium leeks, white part and some of the green- halved lengthwise, cut in 1/2 inch pieces and washed well
8 oz white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
3 T butter
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 t fresh thyme, leaves only, chopped (or 1/2 t dried)
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t fresh ground pepper
1/8-1/4 t fresh ground nutmeg (optional)
2/3 c grated Swiss cheese

While the crust bakes, melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Add leeks and saute 5-10 minutes or until soft. Add mushrooms and saute another 5-10 minutes, or until they are cooked and liquid has mostly evaporated. Let vegetables cool slightly.
Whisk eggs with milk in a medium bowl until combined. Add thyme, pepper, salt, and nutmeg and mix well.
Spoon leeks and mushrooms into pre-baked crust and spread evenly. Sprinkle Swiss cheese evenly over the top of the vegetables (or stir it into vegetables before spooning them into the crust). Pour egg mixture over the vegetables and cheese, and place quiche in preheated oven and bake approximately 30 minutes, or until filling is set and browned in some areas.
If you're using a pie pan instead of a quiche pan you may have to cook the quiche longer.

For a quick and cool dessert, I decided to make a watermelon granita... but I'll save that for another day!


  1. Dear Ms. Nathalie,
    So today we tried to cook kale for the first time with bacon, onion and garlic. It was steamed.
    What do you recommend?
    This is the first year I grew kale in my home garden.

  2. Well...
    The only times I've used kale would be in colcannon (an Irish dish with blanched kale, mashed potatoes and bacon) and sautee'd with onion as a filling for vegetarian empanadas (with a little cheese too). Both good.
    If I were personally to throw together something kale off the top of my head, I think I would caramelize onions, add some garlic, and then add partially cooked (boiled)kale and saute it all together.
    Somewhat like what you did, I guess...
    How did it turn out?
    Maybe you could also saute garlic in olive oil in a large pan, add kale, cover and let it steam itself, stir occasionally until it wilts, and then add salt and pepper to taste.
    I think anything that might sound good for spinach or broccoli would work...
    Caramelized shallots? Lemon zest?

  3. I am so glad to hear something about kale. Bless you two! Curly kale reduces your risk of going blind,and is packed with antioxidants. Horseradish is another health food,(lots of B and C vitamins). Do you have any horseradish ideas N?
    or do you just put it on roast beef?

  4. Some of us in my family (not all of us) like horseradish. Others definitely do not. If there is a recipe that calls for a bit it's best not to say anything...
    As a condiment, it's a little difficult for it to take center stage and be the prima donna.
    On roast beef, of course!
    It may sound really strange, but some people in my family (extended included) put peanut butter on a cracker and add a little dab of horseradish on top. Like I said, it may sound really strange (or disgusting), but if you like horseradish it's really not bad at all.
    Put in in soup for a little kick (even plain old tomato), use it in mashed potatoes, with apples if you're serving with pork, salmon, any beef, creamy sauces (with creme fraiche and dill), with a mayonnaise, creamy dressings...
    If you're adding it to something hot, remember that the pungency will decrease as it cooks- so add it at the end.
    Horseradish would also be a really great thing along with chiles in a machismo competition.

  5. I miss Dr. McCord. She was awesome.