Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Brooklyn Barn-Raising (with Quiche!)

Dear Mouse,

"I like New York in... October...
How about you?"

Oh, Autumn. I think it's only fair to say that probably my next three posts will be dedicated to this, my favorite season. Anyone who is not as enthralled as I am by fiery gold and magenta trees, boots and jackets, chill winds and bright sunlight, apples and pumpkins and squash, and the subtle surge of excitement as the Wheel of the Year turns once again...

Still Life w/apples and homemade challah (or "Jewish Egg Bread" according to the recipe that came with The Poets' breadmaker. Uh-mazing.)

Oh, as if there could be such a person. (What's the Fall version of Scrooge?). Anyway, my point is that once again we have entered the glorious Season of Change, and this one is more exciting than most. First of all, there is YOUR wonderful, exciting news that "The Boyfriend" is now a free handle for use in this blog. :-) Secondly, last weekend, I attended a gorgeously autumnal New England wedding on 10/10/10 and am now convinced that the October wedding is THE way to go... and, thirdly, THIS weekend ...I made quiche.

(Oh, and I'm gonna be in my first movie. !! But you can't eat that.)

Not just any quiche. Life-affirming, celebratory, in-with-the-new quiche. Also, really really easy to make, so I thought I'd share the details.

Not far from The Mouse House, in another part of the forest, another lovely couple were preparing themselves for a new chapter. My dear friends Mr. and Mrs. Poet, who regularly welcome what seems like NY's entire literary/performing community to their Friday Night table, are about 2 months away from a more permanent form of dinner guest. One who needs a room to sleep in, with a fresh coat of paint and cute stencils on the walls. And probably one or two embarrassing, rock & roll-themed onesies. Only time will tell...

"Come help us paint", said Mrs. Poet, "and we'll feed you."

Basically, I was at the door five minutes later bearing a large box of Dunkin' Donuts from the set. (Side bar: why, WHY, is there so much of this kind of food on movie sets? Why would you lock a bunch of actresses in a room together to prepare to be in your film and then buy them pastry? It's hilarious. There is more food available than at one of our family gatherings, and no one eats. )

Mr. Poet and I rolled up our sleeves and began to paint Little Poet's room a lovely dove gray. We hauled a set of bookshelves out to the curb and stained them dark brown as the sun began to slide orangely (orangely?) down the Williamsburg sky and the building's heat clicked on.

"One more coat", said Mr. Poet, "and then let's break for dinner." I thought about how there is something really satisfying about food that is eaten after manual labor, as replenishment and reward for a tangible, self-evident job well done. I thought about Amish communities, who all get together to build somebody's house. " I feel like I'm at a barn raising", I said.

Over glasses of Mr. Poet's father's buttery-toffee-scented, peat-smokey-flavored HOMEMADE WHISKEY (which it pains me to inform you that you can't get anywhere but at their house), Mrs. Poet (she was drinking seltzer, don't worry) said "I think I'll make a quiche for dinner with the eggs from our CSA."
Crust awaiting farm-fresh friends.

When I arrived for the Barn Raising, Mr. and Mrs. Poet were already busy in the kitchen. Their kitchen table was covered with tomatoes, potatoes, prune plums, turnips, a golden, dusty head of garlic, and a carton of eggs of delightfully varying sizes. It was their latest Farm Share haul, and they were sorting it into piles to muse on before tucking away into the fridge. Mouse, when I move back to your hood, we need to go in on a CSA together. It's crazy not to. For the uninitiated, a CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) is a win-win situation where, for a yearly fee, you get to pick up a 'share' of fresh vegetables, fruits, eggs and/or even meat, sometimes flowers, that come straight from local farms. As the East Williamsburg CSA site says, "you are purchasing a direct link to the freshest local produce, providing farmers with much-needed capital at the beginning of the growing season, and investing in sustainable farm practices". Further info is at many web sites, but here's one for NYC folks, for starters.

AND more to the point.... you can taste the difference.

Farm-Share, Baby-Welcoming, Fresh-Egg Quiche with tomatoes, cheddar, and some kinda greens, I forget what, I was so enthralled with the taste of the eggs. Hard to describe, just delicate, super-fresh, and HEALTHY. And as always when eating REAL FOOD, I wondered "why would you eat anything else?"

This quiche was made out of local eggs and tomatoes (& store-bought grated cheddar thrown in, but it could easily have been farmer's market goat cheese, picked up on the way home from work). And - as all cooking is when you have stellar ingredients - it is SO, SO EASY. Mrs. Poet taught me this trick for the filling: Break the eggs into a measuring cup and whisk them. Then, just thinking "1/2 cup milk per egg" (because it doesn't actually measure out that way), pour milk into the same measuring cup til it reaches that line. ie, if you're using 4 eggs, pour in the milk til the "2 Cup" line has been reached. Then, whisk to combine and pour into a bowl.

Then, put ANYTHING you want in with the egg mixture -- a package of grated cheese, diced tomatoes, chopped fresh herbs, salt & pepper --- to heck with measurements - and pour it all into a prepared pie crust (yes, you can buy one). Bake it at 350 for probably 30 min (check at 20) or until a fork inserted in middle comes out clean and it isnt runny. Serve with a big green salad, and of course, movie-set-reject donuts afterwards. Expectant Moms will thank you.

What? What did I say? No pressure.



The Boo


Anonymous said...

...reading this was a little meditation on the delights of being alive - had it all! love, nature,art,good friends, family, FOOD -made me happy. really happy.

Anonymous said... I love your writing...really love it! relish it, delight in it...draws me in, allows me to be there somehow...wonderful post, just wonderful.

Anonymous said...

sounds so, so yummy.
Do you remember your Grandmother's quiche? Maybe I'll make the mini ones for thanksgiving, for an app, what do you think?
Loved the post...duh, as usual. ha

The Greedy Crumpet said...

I am Amish-obsessed, so I like the allusion. Here's an interesting thing: in England, we always bake our pie crust "blind" for 10 - 15 mins before putting in the filling, which sets the pastry and keeps the bottom of the crust from going soggy. Your quiche pictures look like the filling went into raw pastry. To be honest I don't remember my grandmother ever doing the blind baking thing in America. Is it simply another symptom of British anal-retentiveness?

The Boo said...

ha! @crumpet, or american laziness.