Things are not always what they seem

Friday, June 13, 2008

Yesterday I made a quiche. It's such a great recipe that after tasting it at her place, I made Melynda send it to me while Gui and I were living in Long Beach. I remember Gui going back at least twice to put another slice on his plate at Melynda's, so I immediately asked her to send me the recipe (it didn't hurt either that the recipe is pretty much a no-brainer if you get the pâte brisée pre-made). So, I've made this quiche a few times since, and it always brings a smile to Gui's face when I tell him that it's baking in the oven.

The recipe calls for bacon, which isn't something easily or cheaply found here, and is definitely not sold at the small supermarket by our place. What is sold, however, is lardon (fatty pork pieces that taste and cook similarly to bacon) which I can't help but think was the original ingredient for this recipe until it adapted to the more commonly found bacon in the States.

I find quiche to be such a delightful, satisfying dish that's filling, tasty and just pretty to look at. While I was picking up the lardon, I grabbed the rest of the ingredients I needed: Emmental (Swiss cheese), pâte brisée, and demi-écrémé - what I assumed was half-creamed milk. It wasn't until after I mixed the demi-écrémé with the eggs that I realized something was a little different. The mixture wasn't as dark or thick as it usually is. Maybe it was the eggs? Or, maybe the cream...did I translate that correctly? I remember Gui's mom asking me what I like to have in my cafe au lait, and when I told her "half-and-half," she showed me a box of demi-écrémé, to which I nodded and replied, "yes, half-cream and milk." It seemed right, but now, as I'm thinking about it, why did she always have such a large container of demi-écrémé in her fridge when she only drank espressos? Maybe demi-écrémé isn't "half-creamed milk," heck, I don't even know what half-creamed milk is. Half cream and half-milk, no? After googling it, I realized - while the quiche was baking in the oven - that I'd used skimmed milk in my quiche, instead of half-and-half. Doh!

The quiche turned out ok, actually. It tasted great, but wasn't firm like it's supposed to be. It worked, though and Gui was happy to eat anything even remotely resembling his favorite quiche. I'm quickly learning to keep my French-English dictionary handy when grocery shopping or translating ingredients. Oh, and I also learned that half-and-half is called demi-créme or créme light or something like that; just not demi-écrémé.

Unfortunately, I feel that this isn't going to be my last airhead moment while living here. In fact, just today I went to the store to buy bottled water. After looking at the grandiose water aisle, I grabbed the bottle in front of me, read eau minerale naturelle, took two and checked out. When Gui came home just a few minutes ago and offered me a drink, he asked why I bought the weird-tasting water that makes you regular. I bought wha? Yeah, apparently, the "natural mineral water" I thought I was purchasing was actually water for old people who have trouble going. Hey, I was just looking for something to keep me hydrated, if there's a few extra minerals in there, so be it. It might actually be better for me, what with my newly-acquired cheese-enriched diet. I'm just a little embarrassed at what the cashier was thinking when all I bought were those two bottles of "regularizing" water.

It's so nice to have pâte brisée stockpiled in every supermarket in town.

Des lardons cooking away in their own fatty goodness.

I couldn't keep Gui from stealing a few pieces before they went into the quiche.

The best part of the crust is the mustard spread on top and baked in before the quiche. You can taste the difference.

Almost nothing smells better than onions cooking in pork fat. :)

Yummy lardon sprinkled about.

Emmental added.

It looks and smells like a quiche, but is it a quiche?

The skimmed milk didn't really thicken, so it turned out less solid than usual.

I guess it turned out OK. But, as you can see, it didn't turn out to have the best texture in the world.


Evolutionary Revolutionary said...

"Regularizing water"!!! Who would even think this exists??? I mean, over here if it's regularizing it better damn well be CHOCOLATE. That quiche looks really good, regardless of the skim milk. It's ummm...low fat?

I think B looked for lardons here once and I had NO IDEA what he was talking about. They're like little pork bits! YUMMY!

JV said...

Send me the recipe. PLEASE!

Misplaced Texan said...

It's in your inbox, mum!

Lardons are great, but nothing could replace a few slices of good ol' bacon in the morning! I guess that's probably the same mentality Ber has about lardon, though. :)

lulu said...

I don't know what it tastes like, but it sure is pretty! Ok- you've inspired me to make one this week.

mmmmm... and the salad looks good too! Bien jouer... sp?

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