It’s almost Easter, and I found last year’s remains of my Easter ham buried deep in my freezer. I channeled Julia, and lo and behold, created the perfect Sunday night dinner using leftovers.
I have been turning to Mastering the Art of French Cooking sooner rather than later when I am actually going to use a recipe. Julia rarely fails me, and she didn’t today. One of her signatures is the way she puts the ingredients and the instructions in columns, which makes it easier to read. If you have a Mastering, use it rather than my version. For those of you who don’t, here’s Julia’s Swiss Cheese Quiche with a couple of Jennie add-ons.
Quiche au Fromage de Gruyère, Hambon et Brocoli
3 to 4 ounces lean bacon (6 to 8 slices, medium thickness)
1 quart water
an 8-inch partially cooked pastry shell placed on a baking sheet
3 eggs or to eggs and 2 yolks
1 1/2 to 2 cups whipping cream or half cream and half milk or skim milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1 to 2 Tbs butter cut into peanut size dots
1/2 to 1 cup of grated cheese
(1 cup broccoli cut into small pieces and steamed)
Julia: The classic Quiche Lorraine contains heavy cream, eggs, and bacon, no cheese. The bacon is usually blanched in simmering water to remove its smoky, salty taste, but this step is optional. Diced, cooked ham, sautéed briefly in butter, may replace the bacon. Makes 4-6 servings.
Jennie: I thawed and warmed up the frozen leftover ham in my trusty Le Creuset pot at 300 degrees for about 90 minutes. I added a cup of water for the last 30 minutes to soften it all up and pull off the grease from the fat. It practically fell apart in my hands when I took it out of the oven. Perfect for quiche!
Julia: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Jennie: Heat your cookie sheet while you are preheating the oven. You’ll get a more evenly baked crust.
Julia: Cut bacon into pieces about an inch long and 1/4 inch wide. Simmer for 5 minutes in the water. Rinse in cold water. Dry on paper towels. Brown lightly in a skillet. Press bacon pieces into bottom of pastry shell.
Jennie: I used about a cup of ham and shredded it into pieces about 1 inch long. I also put the steamed broccoli in with the ham. Be sure to dry off the ham and vegetables with paper towels so the quiche isn’t runny.
Julia: Beat the eggs, cream or cream and milk, and seasonings in a mixing bowl until blended. Check seasonings. Pour into pastry shell and distribute the butter pieces on top.
Jennie: Julia says that you can use all milk instead of cream if you are making the cheese version of Quiche Lorraine. I use skim milk with everything these days. I also use freshly grated nutmeg. We got whole nutmeg seeds one year as a gift and having been using them ever since because they add so much more flavor to the food. We use a Microplane grater which is a wonderful tool that every household should have.
Julia: Set the quiche in the upper third of a preheated oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until quiche has puffed and browned. Slide quiche onto a hot platter and serve.
Jennie: I find that I have to bake the quiche a little longer when I use skim milk — about 40 minutes. Be sure to let it set a little before you cut into it.
I made a quick salad with baby greens from the bag, and topped it with our new favorite dressing. We bought blood orange olive oil and tangerine vinegar and they make a very tasty spritz for the salad. It only takes about a tablespoon of each, whisked together and poured on the salad. Low fat and incredibly good! We bought ours from The Olive Branch in Goshen, Indiana, but you can probably find these in your local gourmet store.
We love fresh fruit for dessert, and NRB (husband) had bought some blackberries on sale. I threw together a banana, an apple, an orange, some canned crushed pineapple, and the blackberries and made a yummy and healthy salad.