Insulting the French and loving quiche

I have to say that quiche is one of my all time favorite foods. The first time I had quiche I was staying with a French family in the Loire Vally, outside Montoire. I was incredibly dense at the time and offended them in oh so many ways, the look on Madam’s face says it all.

But, I have retained my love for quiche and make it at home whenever possible. I try not to eat it if it is not homemade because it usually sucks. She gave me her recipe, which I will share when I find my travel journal from that time… oh and translate it.
Here is an improvised quiche using some of my garden peppers, prosciutto and onions.
I crisped the prosciutto and then drained and set a side using the fat to sauté the onions and peppers.
I cooked the onions first till they were soft and starting to caramelize, then tossed in the peppers. I figured the onions needed more time than the peppers. The onions and pepper smell pretty good at this point.
Once the onions and peppers were done I layered them in a prepared crust with elemental. I normally like gruyere, but it is impossible to find in Kyustendil and tricky to locate in Sofia, unless you go to the specialty cheese shop Dar ot Bogovete. Then I mix 1/2 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup heavy cream (preferably Presidents) 2 whole eggs and one additional egg yolk, fresh ground sea salt, pepper and a pinch of fresh nutmeg. Whisk together to incorporate and pour mixture on top of the quiche.
Here is the laying break down(crust, 1/2 cheese, prosciutto, onion & peppers, 1/2 cheese, milk & egg mixture) Bake at 350 – 375 F for 45 – 55 minutes.
Here is the finished product, but I missed an essential step. I didn’t pre-bake the crust. It was undercooked (just look at the color of the pastry), but still tasty… at least I thought so!

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Blueberry Muffins in the Morning with Blueberry Johnson

I haven’t made a Blueberry pie since 2000, but walking in the bazaar with Maya and seeing buckets of blueberries did make me think of yummy muffins, but she suggested that we make a pie. I was really happy how she made the connection. I hadn’t really had any intention to bake, but I wanted to encourage her to enjoy the kitchen. If you look in the upper right hand corner of the photo, you can see what she made out of the scraps of dough.
I ended up making a blueberry crumb, since I only had one crust. I have always been a fan of crumb pies. The topping is just awesome. I usually only make a covered pie, when I want to be creative an make something decorative.
The crust recipe that I use is my favorite. I have been using it for years. I like to keep some crust in the fridge through out the fall and winter, for quiches, tarts or pies. This recipe yields 2 9″ (22.86 cm) crusts.
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose/universal flour, you can chill it in the fridge.
1 tsp salt
8 oz unsalted butter, cold/chilled (not frozen) cut into little pieces about 1″
1/2 cup ice water, not chunky, just really, really cold.
Plastic wrap
When making dough you need to keep thinks cold and work quickly. If you keep it cold, the results will be a delicious flaky pastry. Don’t work so fast that you don’t actually incorporate all the ingredients.
** I used a food processor for my dough. I am lazy and don’t make it by hand. If you don’t have a food processor google some tips for using a pastry cutter or other methods!**
Combine flour and salt in a food processor fitted with the sharp blade. Pulse to combine. Add the pieces of cold butter and combine till little pieces form. Then add the ice water and pulse till everything comes together. Don’t over mix.
Pour the contents on a clean work surface and form 2 equal sized balls. Work quickly to make the balls come together. Your hands are hot and if you over work the dough, you will melt the butter.
Wrap the balls individually with plastic wrap and flatten the balls to make a disk. Wrap the 2 disks well and put them immediately back in the fridge for at least an hour, then you can roll it out.
It will keep in the fridge for 2 or 3 days. I guess you can freeze the other disk, but I haven’t had success with freezing dough.
I recommend pre-baking the dough, but it is not required. If you do pre-bake, make a foil ring to protect the edges from burning.
If you follow the recipe, I would suggest a little less lemon zest. When you eat it fresh the lemon zest is a touch overpowering, but the next day you don’t even notice. It is your call. Let me know how it turns out!

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