This recipe is a little time-consuming because it has several parts to it, but none of them are difficult and you'll end up with 2 quiches so it's worth the work. (Might not be worth it for only one, but definitely worth it for 2.) If you don't eat pie crust, you can skip it, just make sure you put a circle of buttered wax paper on the bottom of the pan or you won't be able to get the quiche out. (Or if it sticks, you could just eat it directly from the pan, I'm not judging...)
Part One is the crust. Do this first because it can chill in the fridge while you do the rest, it'll be flakier if it's very cold when you roll it out.
Basic pie crust:
1+1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
1/4 tsp salt
quarter cup very cold water
2 8-inch pie pans
Start by mixing the flour and salt, then use your hands to rub in the butter until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Add the water slowly until the dough just comes together. You don't want to over-mix it, the more you knead the dough the more the gluten in the flour will develop and you'll basically have bland bread instead of pie crust.
This recipe has no sugar in it, since it's a savory quiche.
Wrap the ball of dough tightly in plastic and put it in the fridge while you do everything else.
Part Two: Ratatouille filling
1 yellow onion
1 bell pepper
2 medium zucchini
lots of olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
fresh herbs, whatever you have - thyme, basil, rosemary are all good. Probably not mint, that would be weird, but oregano is good, parsley... whatever you have around
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of red wine
This part takes the most time. You're basically doing all the pre-cooking that you would do for ratatouille, which means cooking everything separately so that all the vegetables are lightly cooked and nothing turns into mush. Add more olive oil as needed as you cook each different vegetable.
Peel the eggplant. Cut all the vegetables into bite-size chunks, keeping them separate. Toss the eggplant with salt and put in a strainer over a bowl and let sit while you cook everything else.
Saute the onion in olive oil until soft, then add the bell peppers and saute until they are soft and lightly browned. Remove from the pan and put in a bowl.
Then saute the zucchini until soft and lightly browned, add to the bowl with the onions and peppers.
Rinse the eggplant and squeeze out as much water as you can, then saute in the same pan until soft and starting to brown. You'll probably have a glaze building up in the pan, as long as it's not burned that's what you want.
When the eggplant is done, add it to the bowl with the other veggies and pour the red wine into the pan to deglaze. Add the garlic, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. Cook until half of the liquid is boiled off, then pour over the vegetables and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Part Three: back to the pie crust. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Take the pie crust ball out of the fridge and cut in half. Roll out each half to fit an 8-inch pie pan. The easiest way to get the crust into the pan is to roll it out on a sheet of plastic wrap and then put the pie pan upside-down on the rolled-out crust and flip both over together. Don't worry if the crust isn't perfect, it'll be covered with quiche anyway. Make sure the crust extends slightly above the edges of the pan on all sides, though, because it will shrink as it cooks.
Poke the crusts all over with a fork and bake at 400 F for 4-5 minutes until lightly brown. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Lower the oven temp to 350 F.
Almost there! This is the final step!
half cup of cream
goat cheese crumbles
Beat 6 eggs in a bowl with half a cup of cream and half a cup of water. Divide the vegetable mix between the two pie crusts (the filling can be piled up a bit, but you may still have extra). Sprinkle the top of each with goat cheese crumbles, then pour the eggs over the whole thing, dividing the egg mixture between the 2 pies.
Bake at 350 F. for 30-45 minutes, or until the center is set. Let cool on a rack before refrigerating.
I deleted the Facebook app from my phone. I’ve gone about a week without it, and I’m actually having sort of creepy withdrawal feelings and fidgety tics. I take my phone out of my bag, look at it, then put it away, sort of like I sometimes open the fridge for no reason. I’m actually mildly horrified at how I’m reacting to not having Facebook with me at all times. I’ve never considered myself a Facebook addict, I only check it a few times a day, mostly on my bus commute. I don’t post very much, either on my personal page or on the Waking Life page. Still, I think it worked its way into my life and became quite the insidious brain-suck. I don’t like the feeling of being sucked out of the world around me.
My friends are generally not that obnoxious on Facebook. A lot of my friends complain that their feed is all image-crafters and people instagramming their breakfast, but I get a pretty good mix. I know a lot of political activists. I get a few Bible quotes, a lot of “all religion is oppressive and terrible,” a bit of “look at how expensive my vacation was,” and lots of ads for dating sites and weight loss pills. The thing that really got me wasn’t the content itself, but how mindless I felt scrolling through it all. Picture of someone’s kid, infographic of how Ebola is spreading, article about Mike Brown being shot, picture of someone’s wedding, quote about loving yourself with a picture of the sky, blog post about Israel’s foreign policy. I started thinking that I should really not be looking at all of these things at the same time, in the same way. I should not be scrolling mindlessly through that list. The constant barrage of information is not helping me be better informed or more connected or more invested in my community or the world. I know that Facebook and Twitter have allowed us access to information that we wouldn’t otherwise have about what’s happening in a crisis. I recognize technology’s importance and usefulness. However, last week I also decided that my personal quality of life was diminished by constant access to information. That the steady stream made the information meaningless to me in a way that I find disturbing.
I have quit Facebook before, for more than a year, but I’m trying to start a business now and it would be silly to give up online marketing. I can have more control over it, though, and not having it on my phone is one way to do that. I actually look out the window, I sometimes just stare up into the trees when I’m waiting for the bus. I think about things, I notice my breath. I get bored. Remember what bored feels like? I had forgotten how much I like the empty space.
It's fig season! I love figs, they are probably my favorite fruit. Last Friday, I went to a family friend's ranch in Washington and picked 11 pounds of figs. I can eat a lot of figs, but 11 pounds is A LOT of figs, so I had to do something with them besides eat myself sick.
Here's what I made:
Fig, blue cheese, and prosciutto biscuits
Here is a basic buttermilk biscuit recipe:
The easiest way to ruin biscuits is to over-work them, so you want to mix / flatten / knead as little and as gently as possible. I only folded the dough once, then gently pressed it flat on wax paper. Thinly slice the figs and arrange a layer of figs, a layer of prosciutto, and a (thin) layer of blue cheese crumbles. Then, carefully roll the biscuit dough into a spiral around the toppings, using the wax paper for support so it doesn't fall apart. Cut the roll into slices and arrange on a baking sheet, then bake as directed. (Alternatively, you can just roll the figs and prosciutto and sprinkle the cheese on top halfway through baking.)
I also made fig ice cream, which requires either an ice cream maker or the desire to stand there and churn for an hour. I can't take credit for this recipe, it's from the Martha Stewart website:
The vanilla custard base is a great place to start experimenting if you want to make your own ice cream, you can add pretty much anything to it. It looks quite simple, but when you're cooking the egg and milk mixture, you have about a 20-second window between perfect custard and scrambled eggs. If you think "it looks pretty thick, I wonder if it's done?" that's when you should take it off the heat.
I'll upload pictures soon, forgot to take them when I was cooking yesterday.
(This is Martha's picture)
Have a favorite fig recipe? Put it in the comments!
Check out my sunburn! Added bonus: backpack-strap tan line!
We have a friend visiting this weekend, which usually means doing all kinds of fun outdoor things that we often don’t make time for. We went to Multnomah Falls on Friday, and Saturday we took the Timberline ski lift up Mt. Hood and hiked around for a few hours. It did not occur to me to put on sunscreen, we actually took sweatshirts thinking it might be cold at higher elevation. It was not cold, it was hot and totally exposed above the tree-line, and now I have my second sunburn of the season. (The first one was gloriously awkward, I went to the Columbia river and lounged in a raft all day and never turned over, so the front of my entire body was bright red, with a nice clear line dividing red front and white back.)
Okay, I know I should be worried about skin cancer. I’m more worried about climate change, honestly. Everyone go outside and experience the planet before everything is extinct.
If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know that my general advice tends to be moderation. Not surprisingly, I feel the same way about sunburn. Yes, sunburn adds cumulative damage, but the long-term impact of sitting inside all day every day is much worse. It's all a balance. Being in nature is so good for both mental and physical health. It can even improve your vision (or at least prevent it from getting worse). Here's a fun list of 7 reasons being outside is good for you, with studies to prove it.
So, the moral of the story: go outside! But remember your sunscreen.