It’s no secret that I’m not much for winters. I, who am always cold to begin with and whose body reliably, constantly aches from bracing against bitter wind three months out of the year (four to five months, here) — no, I could really leave it all behind. But this weekend’s thaw has reminded me that without the bone-chilling chatter of below-freezing weeks, forty degrees wouldn’t feel so decidedly springlike. Seventy degrees? What a sauna! It’s forty-one outside, and I have been skipping around in a skirt and flats, never mind the pools of melted snow. Windows down. Summer scarf. An awesome new coat that I previously imagined for 50 or 60 degree days, but on this side of winter feels decidedly appropriate for 30’s and 40’s.
Last night, we went to dinner at Hearth and we walked there. The first time we were able to do that in 2010 was my birthday — which is over a month and a half away! I took out the trash this afternoon — a task normally grudgingly performed by Billy on Monday mornings, and sometimes skipped altogether when temperatures are particularly mean — simply because it’s so gorgeous out. I do hope this thaw, early and incredibly welcome, is a permanent one. (Psst. A high of 55 on Thursday!!!)
And with this jolly spirit, we capered over to a delicious Sunday brunch at Rob and Jill’s house. It was lovely and fresh and baked and reminded me (since I’m all about being reminded of things today) of how great brunch is, how it’s the most wonderful meal of our time, how we don’t get enough of it, how we should do this every week, amiright? Macaroni and cheese, fruit salad, incredibly light orange-scented scones, cheesy potato gratin, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, piles of thick-cut bacon, and this quiche I brought.
We’ve actually talked about this quiche before, but you would be forgiven for forgetting. It was perhaps my fourth entry ever and while the quiche was and is perfect — woodsy and warm, hearty and rich, cheesy, smooth, delicious even if you don’t like mushrooms (like me!) — the photos were not. (I hope these are better!) So here is is, once more in its delectable beauty, and I hope you make it for brunch next weekend. Your friends will thank you (and if your brunches are anything like mine, your friends’ sneaky puppies will too).
Wild Mushroom Quiche
(Slightly adapted from the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook)
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
- 3 tbsp ice water, more as needed
The same as all pie crusts, described in detail here. To wit: process the flour, salt, and cold butter in a food processor until the butter is the size of large peas. With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube and pulse until the dough just holds together. Turn it out onto a sheet of wax paper, flatten into a disc, and refrigerate one hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll the dough 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. (If it cracks while rolling, it’s too cold; let it sit out a few more minutes.) Line a 9-inch pie pan with the dough. Trim the edge to 2 inches, fold the overhang under, and crimp it decoratively. Freeze for ten minutes.
Line the shell with aluminum foil and weight it down with dedicated pie weights, dry beans, pennies, etc. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and foil and set aside to cool.
(Not your style? Use a frozen crust; I have before, and the result remains wonderful.)
- 1 cup apple cider
- 3/4 cup dried porcini
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 oz fresh wild mushrooms (shiitake, chanterelles, oysters [shown above]), rinsed, dried, and sliced
- 8 oz fresh cultivated mushrooms (those button mushrooms at the grocery store, the plain janes), wiped clean and sliced
- 1/4 cup brandy
- salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup half and half (heavy cream is suggested, but this strikes me as gilding the lily)
- 3/4 shredded mozzarella, smoked if you can get it
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano
Bring the cider to a boil and pour over the dried porcini in a small bowl. Let stand 30 minutes.
Heat the oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add the onion, wild, and fresh mushrooms and sautee for ten minutes. Add the porcini with their liquid, brandy, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook uncovered over low heat for 20 minutes. The liquid should be almost entirely evaporated away (as in the lower left photo, above); if it’s not, turn up the heat to help it along. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.
Reset oven to 375 degrees.
Beat together eggs and half and half. Stir in the cheeses. Combine the egg and mushroom mixtures and pour into the pastry shell.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until quiche no longer jiggles. Cool 5-10 minutes and serve.