About two weeks ago, at Baking Day, I decided to make quiche. I had a huge bag of spinach taking up space in my refrigerator and quiche was all I could think to do with it. I bought two pre-made pie crusts, grabbed my spinach, eggs and cheese and headed over to Caren’s.
Once there I sauted onions in butter and then added the spinach. The house was soon filled with the savory aroma.
“Does anyone know how many eggs I should use?” I asked.
“Don’t you have a recipe?”
“Nah. I figured it’s just scrambled eggs really.”
Though they gave me kudos for my courage I sensed some underlying mockery. I don’t blame them. I’m not sure myself why I thought I could bake something without a recipe when I don’t fare well with a recipe.
No one really had a suggested egg quanity and so I winged it and scrambled 8 eggs in a bowl with milk, the amount of which I eye-balled. The results were wonderful! I did it all by myslef, sans the assist from Caren of wrapping the exposed pie crust with foil so they did not burn. They looked and smelled so good that we all took a slice right away! The quiche tasted as good as it looked. Yes!
The following week Stacy brought ingredients to make a quiche as well, so inspired had she been by mine.
Now that’s a compliment.
See, Stacy is a lot like My Man. They do things right. Always. Because you should. Because it’s right to do it right. And so they eat right, excercise right, work right, and just do life in general, right. Stacy often blows into the Baking Day kitchen straight from a work out. Though having just worked out, her skin and hair are beautiful. Famished, she quickly whips up lunch for herself and all the rest of us. After fueling her amazingly toned, well worked for body, she then proceeds to produce, not one but usually, two delicious baked goods. They turn out right. Then, as quickly as she entered, she packs up her things and flys out the door onto her next errand.
Compare this to me who straggles in, kicks off my shoes and puts on the slippers I keep in Caren’s closet. Then I sit at the island perusing a cook book trying to decided what to make. Even if I’ve come prepared with recipe in hand, 9 times out of 10, I have left major ingredients at home. I then make a trip back to my house for said ingredients only to find that I’ve forgotten something else. After 2-3 trips to my home and back I manage to bake up one disaster to offer to the group. My cooking area shows evidence of a struggle as do my clothes. Sometimes there are trails of tears through the flour on my face.
So the fact that Stacy was inspired by something this little novice whipped up is astounding.
Stacy began her quiche much the way I did. The onions sauteing in butter motivated all to cook something delicious! I had come armed this day with lemons, determined to make the groups coveted lemon sandwich cookies. As I battled with the dough I noticed that Stacy was at the “egg and milk stage” of her quiche.
“I ended up using 4 eggs/quiche,” I offered, “and then I just guessed on the milk.”
“Oh, thanks girl, but I’m using a recipe here that includes cream.”
“Oo! That sounds good!”
Doing it right.
After watching me fight for awhile with a crumbly and flaky dough, Caren stepped in and suggested I add a touch of water. It did the trick and I was finally able to roll the dough out. Stacy put her quiche’s in the oven and began a batch of brownies while Caren gave me a lesson on how to roll out dough.
I would roll the dough and then Caren would run a floured hand over the top.
“You want the dough to be even through out. If it’s not all the same they won’t cook the same and your thin ones will burn. You feel it now. See? Yours is thinner on the edges and thick in the middle.”
I re-rolled and Caren would re-check, trying not to let her OCD get the best of her. After her inner Monk was satisfied with my rolling job, I cut out the cookies and lined them in neat rows of five on the cookie sheet. (I have a tiny Monk too…) After the cookies were nestled into the oven I repeated the process.
“Do you all smell something burning?” Stacy asked.
“Michal, did you set the timer on the cookies?”
“Argh! I forgot!”
Caren opened the bottom oven to find my cookies were coming along quite nicely. Stacy then opened the top oven where her quiche were baking. Smoke billowed out. It cleared away to reveal that the quiche had overflowed, the escaped ingredients burning on the bottom of the oven.
“Oh no!” Stacy groused.
“It’s OK, ” I encouraged, “the quiche’s look great! It’s just the over flow that’s burning.”
The quiche were no where near finished baking and so the oven was closed. Everytime Stacy checked on them, more smoke came pouring out. Once it even set the smoke alarm off.
“Oh gosh! I’m sorry guys!” Stacy apologized.
Caren opened the windows.
“Stacy, I grew up in a house with no smoke detectors because my mom set them off every night when preparing dinner. So…you see where I get my mad skills.”
Meanwhile, my cookies came out great! Caren made the yummy cream cheese and lemon filling. Periodically, Stacy would check on her quiche and the house would be doused again with the smoke.
“Man…I hope the quiches don’t have a smokey taste to them…” she worried.
I finally had to laugh!
“Oh Stacy! I’m so sorry you had trouble with your quiche but I have to tell you it thrills me a bit as well! Here I made beautiful quiche and with NO recipe and you, whose stuff always turns out great, followed a recipe and had a total Michal time of doing it!”
Everyone had to agree that there was great irony in it.
My cookies BTW:
And they are amazingly delicious! Stacy likes to freeze her cookies for a refreshing treat!