But, alas, no photos. I took photos and they may someday miraculously appear on this site, but at the moment I'm going through some technical difficulties. I don't know if it's because the computer my mother is kindly lending me is somewhat outdated or whether it's a global problem. But yes, we have no photos, for the moment.
Last Friday, my mother hosted a pool party so that all the family could get together and admire her new grandchildren. (Three: a good year!) Unbeknownst to her, my sister and brother and I decided it would also be nice to honor her 70th birthday, which was last July. So we took over the cooking and sent out requests for scrapbooking pages and memories from all the family. We set the older granddaughters collecting photos and making a big poster of them for the wall. My brother had the "help" of his six-year old daughter untangling the balloon strings.
I didn't have any great ideas for my contribution. Thanks to this blog, family expectations are now high when I contribute to the pot luck. But I'm on holiday and the old creative juices were not flowing. My sister helped me out by suggesting I put together a couple of quiches. It's easy to be creative with quiches; there seems to be an infinite number of things that taste good in them and they are easy to eat in a party atmosphere.
I still didn't have any specific ideas when I went shopping with the Critic at our family's new favorite shop: Trader Joe's. I knew I'd make one bacon and cheese one to please the children in the crowd but I wanted something a little more interesting for the adults. So I wandered the vegetable aisle looking for inspiration. I found it in a bag of broccoli rabe. I love dark greens in my quiche and this promised to add a lot of flavor. I also purchased a selection of Mediterranean vegetables (peppers, zucchini, eggplant, etc.) as I was also making the Roasted vegetables and Goat's cheese salad. And then in the frozen food section, I found Inspired Ingredient number two: thick meaty frozen scallops. With the pound of bacon in my mother's fridge, I could make a number of interesting combinations.
For the base of the quiche, I used a 5 eggs to 1/2 cup of cream ratio. Most of the recipes I saw called for more cream and fewer eggs, but I wanted a substantial quiche that would hold up well as party food. I bought the crusts pre-made as things were already getting chaotic on the day of the party. I would recommend making your own basic pie crust if you have the time. You could also experiment with Barrett's corn meal crust, which is very tasty.
250 grams of broccoli rabe, wilted (I followed the instructions on the bag and microwaved in the bag)
1 roasted red pepper (if you are lucky you'll have the help of your lively intelligent 6 year old niece in peeling them)
50 grams grated gruyère cheese
1/3 an onion, sliced in rings
1/2 cup cream
pinch of salt
Quickly fry the scallops in a little olive oil. I used a small drizzle of the pepper oil my mother had handy to give it a little peppery bite. Blot the wilted broccoli rabe dry and spread it in the bottom of the pie crust. Slice the scallops in rounds and spread them over the broccoli. Sprinkle the cheese over the scallops. Lay the onion rings over the cheese. Beat the eggs and cream with the salt and pour over the mix. Slice the pepper in thin strips and lay over the egg in a pretty pattern. Back 30-40 minutes at 400f until the middle is set and the crust is browned. If you have an unevenly heating oven (as my mother does) you may need to cut a brown paper bag into large pieces and place over the pie to keep the crust from browning too much.
250 g broccoli rabe, wilted
4 slices of bacon, fried to a nice crisp
5 scallops, cooked as above
3-4 Tbs goat's cheese
1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
5 eggs beaten with 1/2 cup cream
Blot the broccoli rabe and spread in the pie crust. Add each of the ingredients, ending with the egg and cream mixture and then the rosemary. You shouldn't need to salt this mixture much as the bacon will add salt, but some pepper would not go amiss. This quiche was not as pretty as the first one, but in my opinion it was tastier. The broccoli, bacon and scallop combination was delightful and the goat's cheese finished it off perfectly. Bake at 400f for 30-40 minutes.
2-300 grams grilled vegetables: eggplant, zucchini, peppers, figs
1-2 Tbs chopped fresh thyme
Optional: goat's cheese or gruyère
5 eggs, beaten with 1/2 cup cream
I don't think I would normally take the trouble to grill vegetables to put in a quiche, but I often grill more than I need when I'm using them in a salad. Their sweetness in this quiche is lovely with the egg and makes a very filling dish. As with the others, layer the vegetables (and cheese if using) in the bottom of the crust, cover with egg mixture and sprinkle the thyme. Depending on whether you salted the grilled vegetables or how salty the cheese is you may want to add a pinch of salt too. Bake 30-40 minutes at 400f.
Lastly, I threw a handful of gruyère and a 1/2 cup of bacon bits in a fourth pie crust and made a simple quiche for the kids. This was the only one my assistant thought she would like but in fact the next day she had some of quiche number one for lunch and liked it pretty well. It disappeared before the peanut butter sandwich, which I consider the highest praise a 6 year old can give!