Sunday, July 4, 2010

Custard on the 4th

Our meal began with Wheat Thins. They became amuse-bouche when David spread them with cream cheese, then added a dollop of jalapeño jelly from Kristy's Barn and some cracked black pepper. A smart man, my husband. He crafted a deliciously complex bite of spicy, sweet and creamy. I could have eaten a dozen, and most likely will do so, once these small ones are finally abed (ah, fireworks - the bane of bedtime).

Our next course made use of the broccoli from this week's CSA, as well as the egg share and fresh chives from the garden. I used and followed the recipe for a Simple Quiche from America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book, forgoing my usual mishmash inclinations. It was surprisingly simple to make. The custard set very well, the broccoli retained just enough crunch, and the crust was worthy of being served to company savory or sweet.

The quiche was accompanied by a salad of lettuce with thinly sliced radish and turnip. I came back to my favorite dressing of olive oil, salt and sugar. If you haven't tried this yet, you really need to give it a shot with these turnips - they are young and wonderfully sweet, with that water crispiness of a radish. Drizzle on a reasonable amount of olive oil for your salad volume, then sprinkle salt and sugar in moderate amounts, tasting as you go. When it tastes right, share and enjoy.

The final element of the meal was a dessert of Blintz Cake. It was featured in Serious Eats' weekly newsletter a week or two back and I've been dying to try it out. The cake turned out to be Judaica meets American Pie at its finest, thanks to that Hampton's maven, Ina Garten. I substituted in this week's cherries from the fruit share for her blueberries in the sauce, and it was a successful venture. We served it all at room temperature, though the recipe indicates it can be served chilled as well. I look forward to finding out in the morning, at which time I feel it will make for an excellent breakfast. 

The cake layers were a pleasant surprise. I'm tempted to try using them on a full on cheesecake filling next time out. Perhaps I'll even make it with chocolate cake for the top and bottom layers, if I'm feeling fancy. Also, the cherry sauce is absolutely a keeper. Next time around it shall be served over vanilla ice cream and Duck, though not at the same time. 

Here's to the 4th, here's to the Land that I Love, here's to summer and a starry night full of fireworks. Long may my children sleep soundly, so that I have time to sneak downstairs for another round of amuse-bouche. May we all, someday, be at peace.

Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche
From "America's Test Kitchen's Family Baking Book"

1 pie crust - frozen or homemade, placed in a 9 inch pie tin.

4 cups broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt

5 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup grated cheddar
2 T chives, finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Place rack in the middle and preheat oven to 375. Bake crust, either frozen or homemade, with pie weights or beans set on aluminum foil. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until crust appears dry and golden brown. Lower rack to the bottom of the oven and lower heat to 350.

2. Meanwhile, combine broccoli, water and 1/4 tsp of salt in a covered skillet. Bring up to a boil, and cook for 3 minutes until broccoli is bright green. Remove cover, and continue to cook until all water has evaporated. Remove from heat. Sprinkle broccoli over pie crust.

3. Combine eggs, milk, chives, salt and pepper. Add cheddar cheese and stir thoroughly. Pour oven the broccoli and warm crust. Place assembled quiche on a sheet tray, place tray in the bottom of the over. Cook for 45-55 minutes, or until a knife inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean. Remove from oven, and allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Leah's Cherry Sauce
yields approximately 2 cups of sauce

1 cup sliced and pitted cherries (about 2 cups unpitted)
1/2 cup red wine
1 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 T kirsch
2 T cornstarch
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Zest of 1/2 lemon

1. Blend wine, vinegar, sugar, kirsch and cornstarch in a skillet. Add cherries. Bring to a boil, and cook until fruit is softened, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice and zest. Allow to cool. Share and enjoy.


  1. Mmm, red wine with cherries. Sounds delicious. Our 4th menu also featured Wheat Thins and dessert made with Kirsch and cherries from our CSA.

  2. We were channeling cherry vibes :)

  3. One of my families favorite snacks is the cracker with cream cheese and jalapeno jelly! I live in New Mexico and thought that was just a local thing. I guess I was wrong.