Now, I admit that I am not an everyday cook in my household. My mom is such an amazing cook that I do not often get the opportunity to test my culinary skills. But I enjoy cooking, I took a cooking class in high school, and I have spent countless hours with my mom and grandmother in the kitchen. Mastering the Art of French Cooking still seemed a little intimidating upon first opening it, but following Julia Child's advice, I dove into the cookbook with the "courage of my convictions" and was not afraid to try something new or to make mistakes.
The recipe: Quiche Lorraine. I think this is a very good beginner recipe because it is typical French cuisine, it looks and sounds impressive, and it is not too difficult to make (but your party guests don't need to know that little secret). The first step is the pie crust. There was a recipe for a homemade pie crust, but people (myself included) are usually intimidated by this step. Fear not, though, because frozen store-bought pie crust is here to the rescue. All you have to do is buy the pie crust, and then follow the instructions in your recipe for prebaking the crust before you fill it. The result is a fantastic goldeny-brown crust that will win you much praise with your guests. It is a noble endeavor to attempt your own crust, but why put yourself through the extra work and stress??? By the way, I hope Julia Child is not rolling over in her grave right now from this advice.
Next, I cut bacon into small pieces, simmered it in water, and then browned it lightly. I found cutting the bacon to be more difficult than it should have been. For one thing, I was not using a sharp enough knife. Also, it is probably better to buy thicker bacon that is not very fatty. After browning, I pressed the bacon into the bottom of the pie crust. Then, it was time for the egg mixture, which consists of beating eggs, cream (or half & half), milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a bowl. This gets poured in the crust on top of the bacon, and then you place pea-sized pieces of butter on top of the liquid.
Now, I know what you are going to say...real butter is not a friend of the waistline. But Julia as a rule always cooked with butter, and I think it really contributes to the overall success and deliciousness (I don't think that's actually a word, but you know what I mean...) of the dish. Julia does have this great quote explaining her philosophy on food and eating, though: she thinks "the way to a full and healthy life is to adopt the sensible system of small helpings, no seconds, no snacking, and a little bit of everything." I think that is very sound advice.
Finally, the quiche goes into a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes (or until puffed and lightly browned), and it comes out looking like this:
The quiche was absolutely wonderful. The crust was perfectly golden and oh so yummy. The egg was light and buttery, and the bacon added a nice flavor to the dish. I was so proud of myself for this success, and my mom ranted and raved about it. I think this is a terrific dish for anyone wanting to have some fun in the kitchen, and you can mix it up to match your own tastes: use green pepper, onion, cheese...whatever you want to do, the possibilities are limitless. Just remember to have fun!
Well, folks, it has been a pleasure. I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed sharing my culinary experiences with you. I hope to be back soon. Bon Appetit!!!