Today was a lovely, warm Mother’s Day for lunch in the garden, and with a little help from Jacques Pepin, ooooooo la la! Tres Bien. Merci, Jacque.
Read: Try Dorianne Laux’s poem, “Girl in the Doorway,” to remember the complex love of mothering:
She is twelve now, the door to her room
closed, telephone cord trailing the hallway
in tight curls. I stand at the dryer, listening
through the thin wall between us, her voice
rising and falling as she describes her new life.
Static flies in brief blue stars from her socks,
her hairbrush in the morning. Her silver braces
shine inside the velvet case of her mouth.
Her grades rise and fall, her friends call
or they don’t, her dog chews her new shoes
to a canvas pulp. Some days she opens her door
and musk rises from the long crease in her bed,
fills the dim hall. She grabs a denim coat
and drags the floor. Dust swirls in gold eddies
behind her. She walks through the house, a goddess,
each window pulsing with summer. Outside,
the boys wait for her teeth to straighten.
They have a vibrant patience.
When she steps onto the front porch, sun shimmies
through the tips of her hair, the V of her legs,
fans out like wings under her arms
as she raises them and waves. Goodbye, Goodbye.
Then she turns to go, folds up
all that light in her arms like a blanket
and takes it with her.
Sip: Chateau des Gravieres Bordeaux, a lovely white treat of a wine, floral and fruity from the Graves region in the southwest of France…mmmm. Perhaps we’ll be able to visit the winery in person!
For the quiche, I adapted three Jacques Pepin recipes: his galette pate brisee, his quiche lorraine, and his leek and asparagus quiche. After trying the leek and asparagus quiche with his quiche crust recipe last week, I decided to try the galette pate brisee recipe which is flakier without the use of the vegetable shortening. I love his simple instructions. He creates the least-fussy pate brisee recipes I’ve ever seen, and they turn out the best!
We have lovely spring aspargus and leeks on hand from our local farmers’ market, so those choices were easy, and it you want to keep it meat-free, you could stop there, but the bacon adds a nice salty heartiness if you like it. I think it would also be good with turkey bacon.
The quiche will serve 6 people as a main course with a salad. If you have fewer diners, the remaining quiche makes a delicious and easy breakfast, lunch, or dinner the next day
For the pate brisee, adapted from Food and Wine:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, lightly spooned and levelled, not packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter
1/3 cup ice water
- Put the flour, butter, and salt in a food processor and process for 5 seconds–really, you don’t need any longer than that! The butter should still be in pieces. Add the ice water and process for 5 seconds longer, just until the dough comes together; the butter should still be visible.
- Remove the dough from the processor and gather it into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to extend beyond your tart pan. Drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to the tart pan, flipping the flour side up. Crimp the dough around the rim, and roll off excess by running your rolling pin over the top of the tart pan. Place baking sheet with the tart pan and dough in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
For the filling, adapted from PBS Food and How to Make Quiche:
5 slices bacon
1 leek, halved and washed well, then thinly sliced (white and light green part only)
1 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off, then thinly sliced on the diagonal
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
1 cup grated or small-cubed Gruyere cheese
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Set your tart pan on a baking sheet and set aside.
- Cook 5 slices of bacon in a skillet. We used thick-cut, applewood smoked bacon from Whole Foods. You could omit this or try turkey bacon. When the bacon is done, drain it on paper towel, and wipe most of the grease out of the pan. If you’ve omitted the bacon, add 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter to a skillet at this point.
- Add leek and asparagus, season with salt and pepper, and cook until asparagus is crisp-tender, 6-8 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and dash nutmeg.
- Remove tart crust from refrigerator. Sprinkle cheese and bacon on crust. Arrange vegetables on top. Carefully pour 3/4 of the custard into the tart shell, then set baking sheet on oven rack and pour in the remaining custard.
- Bake until the center of the quiche is set and the crust edge is golden, 55-60 minutes, turning the pan halfway through. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
We made an easy salad with freshly grated beet, carrot, thinly sliced radishes, mixed greens and a simple balasmaic vinaigrette and plated it on the side of each slice of quiche, much like we’ve loved in our favorite little Paris corner cafe, Coleur Cafe. Bon appetit and Happy Mother’s Day!