31 May 2012

We Have Come Full Circle with Julie Powell, The 50 Women Game Changers, and a Quiche Lorraine with Potato Crust

Quiche Lorraine with Potato Crust
As with all challenges, last June when Mary of One Perfect Bite asked bloggers to join her in recreating dishes from Gourmet Lives list of 50 Women Game Changers, those of us who rose to the challenge were oblivious to the amount of information we would amass in almost a year of blogging, the new cooking techniques we would discover, "new to us" foods,  and a whole new respect for those women (and men) who make their living in this industry.  It has been a challenge to post a recipe each and every Friday but we did it!!! We have checked out books from the library, borrowed cookbooks from friends, surfed the Internet and browsed our own cookbook collections seeking that one recipe that would highlight that weeks outstanding woman. I have eaten Caesar salad with my hands, braised and slow roasted lamb shanks, made a show-stopping voluptuous tomato sauce using 3 simple ingredients, learned the secrets of souffl├ęs, discovered a new way to make my favourite comfort food macaroni and cheese, made the best bran muffins in the history of More Than Burnt Toast as discovered by one of our members, absorbed a world of knowledge and been introduced to so many new woman on "the list". You can revisit all of the wonderful recipes recreated by our group over the past months from my compilation of their creative recipes. 

Whether you agree or disagree with the authors chosen fifty on the list of 50 Women Game Changers, and their order, it has been an enjoyable and creative outlet to cook from the masters and those we admire with a group of dedicated ladies. Some came later to the challenge but we were all there in spirit each and every week encouraging each other. Thank you Mary for being the inspiration behind this challenge, for keeping us organized and for your support each and every week. Also a shout out to all the friends who have read and hopefully been inspired to get into the kitchen with your unique voices.

Looking at the list who would you add to "the list" ? A local chef? A local activist or inspirational woman?

It is only fitting that Julie Powell should be the final woman game changer on the list. We began our journey with the iconic Julia Child and end with Julie Powell who chronicled her progress in cooking 524 recipes in one year on her blog from Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Her blog was  turned into a book "365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen" and subsequently into a movie Julie and Julia. The movie in my humble opinion, if it did not bring food blogging into the mainstream, at the very least it made the general public aware of what we do.  We can now take photos of our food with wild abandon at restaurants, functions and at home with a room full of guests and no one bats an eye! Even if Julia Child herself thought Julie "wasn't a very serious cook" her book and the subsequent movie brought bloggers out of the closet. 

Her book is a tribute to Julia Child, but also a hilarious and definitely irreverent look at Powell's life, "her sweet husband, eccentric friends and evil co-workers"and her journey as a writer to reclaim her soul.  This transplanted Texan living in Brooklyn and working in a dead end job in a temp agency had an epiphany and decided to take on every single recipe in Julia Child's 1961 "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". (Somehow blogging every Friday for almost a year doesn't seem nearly as monumental when I think about it does it?) As a blogger she had a great idea and she went with it turning her journey in the kitchen into a success. Let me just say there are no movies about More Than Burnt Toast and my life, although a 5 week sojourn to Italy is very Eat, Pray, Love.  Who would I choose to play me when they turn my upcoming book into a play? I'll enlist Kathy Bates. Not the "Misery" Kathy Bates where I still cringe when I see loose bricks, but the "Titanic" Molly Brown Kathy Bates or the "Fried Green Tomatoes" Kathy Bates.....Towanda!!!!!!!! Who would you have play you?

Four things I think we have learned from Julie Powell...

1) If you want to be a writer, write!
2) Be the first one with the great idea!
3) Don't be afraid to eat dinner at midnight (or Quiche Lorraine for breakfast)...wink...wink...
4) When one door closes another one opens.

What have we been up to with our 50th and FINAL Woman Game Changer....

Mary of One Perfect Bite - Queen of Sheba Cake
Val of More Than Burnt Toast - Quiche Lorraine
Susan of The Spice Garden - Strawberry Rhubarb Stacks
Heather of Girlichef - "Home At Last" Chicken
Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney - American Potato Salad
Jeanette at Jeanette's Healthy Living - The Best Tomato Bruschetta
Kathleen Van Bruinisse at Bake Away with Me - Flan Des Isles (Pineapple Custard).
Linda of There and Back Again - Orange Bavarian Cream
Barbara of Moveable Feasts - Braised Endive
Nancy of Picadillo
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits Poached Eggs with Sauteed Mustard Greens
Veronica of My Catholic Kitchen - Roast Chicken
Claudia of Journey of an Italian Cook - Sweet Potato Tacos
Alyce of More Time at The Table - Poached Eggs
Amrita of Beetle's Kitchen Escapades
Martha at Simple Nourished Living
Jill at Saucy Cooks - Quiche Lorraine with Heirloom Lettuce and Tomato Salad
Sarah at Everything in the Kitchen Sink - Poached Eggs

Quiche has always been one of my favourite "go to" brunch recipes. It is so versatile and you can throw in practically anything you have leftover in the fridge. What makes this my new "go to" recipe is the potato crust. Slice your potatoes thinly on a mandolin and line them up in your tart pan. You will be saving a few calories if you're minus the buttery flaky crust, and it comes together in minutes. I sliced my potatoes so thinly that the next time I make this I don't believe I would need to precook the potatoes and would just line the pie plate with them. Now Julia Child, in the French way, used neither a potato crust nor added cheese to her quiche but instead just added a few dollops of butter on top of the egg mixture before baking. I do not think she would mind these adaptations. Cheese please!

**Quiche Lorraine with Potato Crust**

For the crust

2 large russet potatoes, peeled

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

For the filling

3/4 ounces lean bacon ( 6 8 slices, medium thickness (I used Canadian back bacon

1 quart water
3 eggs or 2 eggs and 2 yolks
1-1/2 - 2 cups whipping cream or half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1 cup Swiss, Fontina or Gruyere cheese shredded

1. Slice the potatoes lengthwise into thin ovals (use a mandolin if you have one). Toss the slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. If you have sliced the potatoes a little thicker preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange the slices in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Bake until tender but still pliable but not brown, 10 - 15 minutes. Line the side of a 9-inch pie plate with overlapping potato slices so they stick out above the rim; line the bottom with the remaining slices. (If you sliced your potatoes "potato chip" thin as I did with the mandolin you can omit this baking step and simply line the pie plate with the slices and bake as directed below)

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3. Cut bacon into pieces about an inch long and 1/4-inch wide. Simmer for 5 minutes in the water. Rinse in cold water. Dry on paper towels. Brown lightly in a skillet. Distribute bacon evenly into the bottom of the pastry shell.
4. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and whipping cream (or half and half) with seasonings until blended. Pour into pastry shell and sprinkle the cheese on top. Set in the upper third of a preheated oven and bake for 25 to 50 minutes until the quiche has puffed and browned. It will retain its puff only when hot and will not re-puff if reheated. Let cool at least 10 minutes before slicing.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.

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  1. Mmm, this looks divine, Val. I really, really like the potato crust. :-) Julie Powell inspired me, not because I even like her as a person, but because she tried to make her life better. I like that a lot. :-)

  2. That is an interesting crust! Those quiches must be scrumptious.



  3. Congratulations! I admire your courage to have taken on this task and succeed in posting a year of great recipes. Loved Julie Julia; that was my first post. I think I have evolved a it since then in August 2009.Long live the Bloggers! that quiche is a must try.

  4. Quiche Lorraine was one of the first things I ever made for company, from a recipe in those old brown hardcover Gourmet cookbooks...there was a set of two. I still have them, of course, rather worn.
    I love your updated version with the potato crust, Val. It also makes an unusual and lovely presentation.
    I'm so impressed you kept a list of everything we've done! I'm going back right now to my post and add the link! Thank you so much!

  5. Very yummy quiche, Val! Potato crust is a great idea.

  6. What a great new take on a classic favorite. Val, it has been such a pleasure to make this trip with you. I can't wait to hear of your Italian adventures. In the meantime, I'll be back to read your posts as soon as they hit my reader. Have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

  7. This is just one beautiful post, Val. I love how you turned some of the controversy surrounding her into positives - because like her (or not) she did change the food blogging world. Loving the quiche - especially the unique crust.

  8. Val I love the potato crust-Let's see eggs, bacon, potatoes-BREAKFAST!!! And two quiches to boot-you are a brave girl! My one quiche left me with concerns of sinking to the bottom of the pool!
    I will miss waking up on Friday mornings and checking your post, but I will continue to follow Burnt Toast! BTW, I want Goldie Hawn to play me!

  9. This look absolutely divine dear Vall and love your post I love quiches so much!

  10. Val I love this challengue was amazing thanks you to you, and Mary and all of you that made this!!

  11. I've made potato crust before. It's a quick and easy way to make a quiche and it tastes good! I'm sad to see this ending.

  12. What a neat idea this crust is. And congratulations on completing the challenging Game Changers.

  13. Oh Val! What a nice post to wrap things up! Julie has been pooh-poohed by some in the foodie world, but who cares? She has inspired a whole new generation of cooks and writers ... and that's such a positive thing.

    This project has been one of the most rewarding challenges that I have been involved in since starting my little blog ... I can only hope to find another group of blogging friends to learn and share with!

    As for this quiche ... lovely alternative to the traditional crust! And quiche? Oh, so French!

  14. I love the idea of a potato crust, a great gluten-free alternative too. This is has been such a fun event, I'm going to miss it, but look forward to following what you continue to cook up in your kitchen.

  15. So gorgeous, Val. I adore the crust!
    Kind of relieved, but am sad our journey is over. Kind of a controversial and interesting last post. She did change our world anyway. Happy cooking, Alyce

  16. Val, Such a fabulous post..It has been a pleasure! I love Kathy Bates and would like anyone who would want her to portray them! She is so fearless, with such a great sense of humor! Have a wonderful trip to Italy!

  17. Greta post val and that crust is quite interesting....

  18. I'm definitely in the mood to have brunch for dinner and quiche lorraine sounds great right about now!

  19. Ah, so, all good things must come to an end. But, knowing you, you'll have new special project lickety split.

    I like that you closed with a blogger and the recipe looks quich-elicious!

  20. WOW! What a fabulous recipe. Great idea on the crust. It is a wonderful way of making the recipe uniquely yours. Thanks for sharing with us this one last time.

  21. You guys have probably taught us just as much as you've learned.

  22. What could be more perfect than Quiche Lorraine with a potato crust.

    Looks delicious.

  23. ha ha ha...great write-up on Julie. She is definitely a character. This quiche looks absolutely divine - I love that potato crust!!

  24. Hi Val - congratulations on such a fabulous achievement. So impressive. I've enjoyed reading the posts along the way. Learned a lot from you and other bloggers. Thank you.

    Reading your post gave me a new-found respect for Julie Powell. With Taste With The Eyes about to turn 5 years old, I really do have thanks to give to Ms. Powell. Food blogging is so much more than just a hobby, it is a creative outlet, and a source of much learning, pride, and friendship. We definitely have to thank her for her contribution to our craft...


  25. Oh, and that potato crust is terrific!

  26. I LOVE the potato crust, Ivy. I need to try this the next time I make a quiche. The olive oil is definitely healthier than the standard butter in the crust, and who doesn't love crispy potatoes?!

  27. the potato crust is perfect for this! i always consider the quiche lorraine to be the pinnacle of egg dishes. so nice. :)

  28. What a fun year! I've loved following, wish I could have played... I love the potato crust - an alternative to my usual rice crust.

  29. What a fun challenge, Val. And it's nice to hear Julie talk sans bashing. People can say what they want about her, but she put bloggers on the map.

  30. Congratulations, Val! What a wonderful series it was and so interesting to see what you picked to make from each woman's tome of recipes.

    This one looks really good with the potato crust!

  31. What a great post Val. I agree with the other commentors, whether you like Julie or not she did make a mark for bloggers. The quiche looks delicious,love that it is gluten free!


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