I've mentioned before that birthdays are a big deal around here. The birthday girl (or boy) gets to pick what kind of cake she wants and also what she wants for dinner. I felt really bad this year for Gillian's birthday, because life was really crazy and I didn't manage to make her requested meal for her birthday. We eventually had what she requested, about a week later. We did have cupcakes on her actual birthday and a fabulous birthday cake a few days later for her party, so I hope that made up for it somewhat. (It didn't help that Gillian's birthday was on a Thursday, and as I mentioned in my last post, Thursdays are somewhat difficult around here.)
Gillian's isn't the only October birthday in our family. My youngest sister's birthday is tomorrow. And one of my cousins was on the 21st. I have friends with birthdays on the 12th, 13th and 14th (which G shares). I just made cupcakes for my boss's little boy, who turned 1 on the 22nd. And I recently discovered that one of our favorite cookbook authors, Dorie Greenspan, celebrates her birthday today!
One of my blogging friends, Holly, had an absolutely wonderful idea. She and Laurie (our fearless leader) asked a bunch of us TWDers who have also joined French Fridays if we'd like to help celebrate Dorie's birthday. I'm not sure what Dorie's favorite cake is or what she would pick for her birthday meal. So we've picked for her. =) It's probably safe to say that she likes all the recipes in Around My French Table, so we've chosen a variety from all sections of the book and are sharing them with you today. It's like a giant progressive dinner party!
My recipe come from the "Salads, Starters and Small Plates" section of the book. I picked the Spinach and Bacon Quiche (which can be found on page 160). I actually made this before I made the mustard tart that I just posted. This was my first experience making the tart crust recipe from the book--the dough is lovely to work with. It turned out great, though I did have a bit of trouble with the crust shrinking during baking (even though I froze it for several hours beforehand). I'd recommend using weights when blind-baking it.
The filling calls for fresh spinach to be steamed. I don't have a steamer, so I had to find another solution. I put the spinach in a large bowl with a tablespoon of water, covered it and microwaved it for several minutes until the spinach wilted. (I think you could use thawed frozen spinach instead if you want.) The hardest part of this recipe is squeezing all the liquid out of the spinach. Talk about a workout for your hands! =) Next, you cook the bacon in a skillet. Again, I didn't quite follow the directions. I cut my bacon into small pieces first, then sautéed it until it was crisp. Once the bacon is done, you cook onion and garlic in some of the bacon drippings until they're soft. Then the spinach and bacon are mixed in.
The whole mixture goes into the partially baked tart shell. The last part of the filling is a custard mixture made of eggs and cream. I added a bit of nutmeg, as well, since I thought it would go well with the spinach and cream. (I should have added more--I couldn't detect it in the finished tart.) Before it heads to the oven, the tart is topped with finely grated Parmesan cheese. My tart was puffy and golden brown in 26 minutes.
The verdict? Jamie and I both loved this quiche. I'm not a big egg person, and this tart is perfect for that. There's more "stuff" than custard in the filling, and a nice amount of crust, too. I'll definitely be making this one again, and I can't wait to try some of the other quiche recipes in the book. Even though it's listed as a starter, we actually ate the quiche as our main course, with salad on the side. The leftovers are good for breakfast, too. I knew the girls wouldn't like this one, so I saved it for a night when I fed them early and Jamie and I ate after they went to bed. Below, you can find a rare glimpse into my crazy life--where the food sometimes ends up after it's carefully photographed. =) (yes, that's the coffee table...)
Head on over to Holly's blog for a full round-up of today's dishes. I hope you'll visit all of the other people who came together for this birthday celebration. Happy birthday, Dorie!