J and I met because we taught a class together – the students thought she was like a genie because she wore flowing skirts and things with glitter on them. J lives in my favorite beach town in the world and studies how to be a writer there, which means that when I once visited her, she and I walked for ages under the bright sunshine, and ate bowls of steaming lobster bisque with mountains of hush puppies on a beautiful boardwalk, at a restaurant where the waiter clearly was flirting with her. In the mornings while I was there, I’d wake up on her couch and work on a short story until she woke up and made us toaster pastries. She is not pretentious in any of the ways that writers can be pretentious. When I saw at the bottom of the recipe card that this quiche was what she made when she felt “fancy,” I knew I would be excited to try it, even when it turned out that, like so much of what J does, it was both simple and wonderful.
This time, I took pictures! I warn you, they are amateurish – was talking with a friend this very morning about how hard it must be to take good food photos (for me, the hardest part is finding a pretty enough backdrop for them – I have to zoom pretty far in to make my kitchen look tidy).
First, I sauteed some frozen peppers and onions with the last of the week’s salad spinach. Husband may love salads but I often find myself with the halfway-to-inedible bits of greens left, and this seemed a great use for them.
Husband made bacon with breakfast this morning, praise be, so I got to put it in the bottom of the pie crust to add to the “glory” of it all. (The recipe literally says: “Extra glory: add bacon!”).
I used coconut milk instead of regular, because we just don’t seem to buy milk because we never drink it and it goes bad faster than regular milk… I don’t taste a difference and Husband, who doesn’t like coconut, survives all the things I cook with it. It’s rich while still letting me pretend it is healthy – as you’ve seen, one of my favorite tricks to play on myself.
The proportions weren’t quite right for me, eyeballing contents expertly and given that J didn’t specify a quantity of veggies, so I added one more egg and it worked just fine. I also used sharp cheddar instead of mozerella because – surprise surprise – I didn’t have any mozzerella. So sue me.
The end product was good – a wonderful combination of light and crisp, earthy and rich. I enjoyed eating it and Husband said he would eat the whole thing if he could, though that might have been because he’d just been replacing a window all day and was really hungry.
J is a person who teaches those around her that even hardship produces some kinds of wonder – I rarely spend a day or afternoon with J when she doesn’t spend part of that time amazed by something. She isn’t naive or sheltered – her life has held more already than I could reasonably expect to see during my own – but her vision of the world is tinged with magical possibility. She’s a hopeless romantic and given that she and I met the same day I first asked Husband out, she’s been giving appreciative gasps and “that’s so cute!” through our whole story. I treasure sharing her “feelling fancy” recipe on this cold afternoon as Husband fixes the window and I try to tidy this place up a bit. I hope it warms you up too.
- Pick the veggies you want (I go for onion, red pepper, or broccoli)
- Saute veggies till they look good (like well-dressed men)
- Beat 3 eggs and ⅔ cup of milk together
- Put sauteed veggies in the bottom of a 9-inch pie crust and pour the egg mixture on top.
- Finish with about 1 cup of mozzerella cheese sprinkled on top.
- 30 minutes in the oven at 375 degrees.
- I make this all the time. It’s basically the only thing I can cook and feel fancy.
- Extra glory: add bacon!