Ahhh, Autumn...Dark, cool evenings, flannel pj's, gas log blazing brilliantly in the fireplace and the irresistible urge to conjure cuisine! Yes folks, 'tis the season to be cook-king, fa-la-la-la-la la la la la (ooops, too early for that tune). Anyway, you get my drift...
Break out your pots, your pans, your humbled masses of spices. Ready your cookie tins, your casseroles, your Pyrex and your utensils. Pay homage to your taste buds and your tummy, bringing forth sacrificial foodie delights that are sure to appease all five of your senses (okay, maybe not your auditory sense, whateva). Revel in the rich explosion of a caloric motherload of Fall dishes: hearty soups; crusty breads; creamy sauces; a plethora of pies and pastries; not to mention mouth-watering meats and poultry. Yes, Fall cooking is a right of seasonal passage over here at Chez Linoleum and I've yet to forego the tradition in favor of the drive-thru route heavily traversed by those not infected by the need for cuisine.
Rich dishes are to Fall (and Winter) as barbecue is to Summer, in my humble opinion. My favorite decadent delights employ pounds of butter, gallons of whole cream, entire sacks of flour, fields of pure cane sugar, syrups, brandies, wines and of course plenty of hot, bubbly, melting cheese...No, these dishes are not for the rice cake addict nor for those who believe carbohydrates are a version of Satan molded from a piece of Wonderbread. Now, I'm not advocating anyone stuffing themselves like a Thanksgiving Turkeyzilla during the darkened days of Fall and Winter, but I am encouraging everyone to put down their celery sticks, close the lid on your fat-free, low-carb, heart-smart Ranch dressing and delight in a few of the foodie goodies this season has to offer.
If you feel you cannot trust yourself in the presence of a steaming bowl of mashed potatoes whipped up with a vat of real cream and a palate of butter, seek out supervision! Think of this supervisory individual as an extention of your spotter at the gym, but instead of making sure you're not flattened while benchpressing the equivalent of a steer ready for market, this individual will be your very own utensil extraction unit, making sure your splurge doesn't tip the eating meter to gorge. Simple.
Okay, cookware, check. Spotter, check. Recipe and ingredients...hmmm, let's try a favorite Linoleum Fall dish (actually, it's a year round dish, but seeing as I only cook in the Fall and Winter, well, you get the point)...Quiche! Nothing like a gaggle of eggs, luscious whole cream, sweet butter and heaping masses of cheese in a rich, flaky pastry crust to warm the soul. Not to mention the wealth of filling possibilities! Pretty much anything tastes great when enmeshed in eggs, cream, cheese and pie dough. So go ahead, add a little broccoli, a touch of onion, mounds of mushrooms, speckles of spinach and lots of leeks. Think about it. The more veggies you add, the less guilt you'll feel when eating your mouth-watering cheesy delight. Hey, you can even go hog wild and add crumbles of bacon! Okay, that's tipping the fat meter forward to wideload, but what the hell, you only live once. Anyhow, the sky's the limit when it comes to quiche collateral components. And always remember more is definitely, well, more.
Also, when cooking up a storm, get your family and friends involved. Nothing beats spending a moment with your loved ones working toward a common goal (at my house it's seemingly cheesy pie), laughing, talking, sharing, loving, being...End result: lots of wonderful memories and very happy tummies.
My gorgeous daughter cooking up a storm:
Are you not inspired? Well, get cooking peeps!
My favorite basic quiche recipe is from Epicurious:
One recipe for basic pastry
6 large eggs
2/3 cup heavy cream or creme fraiche
1 cup milk (preferably whole)
8 ounces gruyere, emmenthal, or other Swiss-type cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg - optional
Roll out the pastry to fit a 10-1/2 inch glass or metal pie plate (not removable bottom). Crimp the edges, poke the bottom with a fork or the tip of a sharp knife, and place the pastry in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Line the pastry with aluminum foil and pastry weights and bake in the bottom third of the oven until the pastry is golden at the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove the aluminum foil and pastry weights. Return the pastry to the oven to bake until the bottom is golden, an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, and the milk until thoroughly blended. Season with the salt and pepper, then add the cheese and stir until it is blended, Turn the mixture into the pre-baked pastry, and spread out the cheese evenly over the bottom of the pastry. Sprinkle the top with nutmeg if you've used a Swiss-type cheese, and bake in the center of the oven until the filling is golden and puffed, and is completely baked through, about 30 minutes. To test for doneness, shake the quiche - if it is solid without a pool of uncooked filling in the center, it is done. You may also stick a sharp knife blade into the center of the filling and if it comes out clean, the quiche is baked through.
Remove the quiche from the oven and serve immediately.
Serves 6 to 8.
Got a rich dish you think your good buddy LadyLinoleum should try? Well, send it to me! Always looking for gastrointestinal delights...