Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lessons Learned

So I have only a few days to go until I leave for Colorado. I am almost completely packed. The only things I don't have are food and beverage items. That is the beauty of train travel. You can bring your own food and drink! I have learned to bring cheese, beef jerky, crackers, soda, and propel packets (the powder kind that you mix into a water bottle). Yes I also bring a bottle of wine. And yes, I have a small cooler to hold all the foodstuffs. If you bring a sports bottle, you can fill it at water fountains in every car.
I also recommend bringing a blanket. And one of those sleep mask things. And ear plugs. These three things will help you achieve the near impossible. Sleep. The wine helps too. I am an old hand at this, having done it several times already. Each time I think of a new way to make my trip more enjoyable. This years is a regular twin sized blanket and a pillow. I have been bringing a travel blanket in the past and it's not all that great.
Books, music, and a laptop are also pretty much essential to passing the time without killing someone. They help you ignore the 7 year old kid that won't stop running up and down the aisle saying "boogerboogerboogerboogerbooger!". And if you can ignore the kid, the kid survives to see another day.
A note about the alcohol. Technically it's a no-no to bring your own. They want you to buy it from them. I guess this would allow them to monitor your level of drunkenness as well. But, if you don't make an ass of yourself, start a fight, get sick or any other ass-like thing, they don't really care. I sit quietly in my seat, drink what ever I brought and read. Or watch a movie on my computer. To my knowledge no one has ever complained about my behavior on the train. And believe me, the conductors tell you when there's a problem.
I'm sure when I get back I'll be full of train related horror stories. I choose to pretend that this time it will all go according to plans. And that this time the train won't arrive at my destination 5 freaking hours late!
The other night my mother and I cooked. We made quiche. When I was young I hated the stuff. But in recent years I've had the little mini kind at parties and liked it. So I thought I would try my hand at making it. It was divine. And I figured that I can use this method to use up leftovers so I won't throw as much food away. My mother, who has traveled the world and eaten quiche in some of the best places, declared this to be the best quiche she has ever had! I think it was the leeks that made it so good.

Ham and Leek Quiche
1 pre-made pie shell (the refrigerated kind)
1/4 lb smoked ham, cubed really tiny
3 cups shredded cheese ( 2 cups a four cheese blend from Trader Joe's and 1 cup Mozzarella)
3 medium leeks white and pale green parts only
3 eggs
1 1/3 containers of creme fraiche (the 7oz package)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
cracked black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp butter

In a pie plate place the crust and bake according to instructions on the box.

When you remove the crust from the oven, turn the heat down to 350 f.

While you are waiting for the crust to come out of the oven cut the leeks in half lengthwise, and then into 1/2 pieces.
Put them in a bowl and swish them around to clean them. Drain and pat dry.
In a 10 inch skillet, melt the butter and add the leeks, stirring often until leeks are tender.

While the crust is cooling you can place the ham in the crust, try for an even layer and up the sides if you can.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, creme fraiche, nutmeg and pepper.

Add leeks to the ham, in a layer. Add the cheese on top of the leeks.

Pour half of the egg mixture into the pie, moving the cheese about (gently!) to get the mixture to settle more evenly. Pour the rest in.

Bake for about 1 to 1 1/4 hours. The top should be a rich brown and the center should wobble ever so slightly. Allow to cool for 15 min before serving.

The next time I make this, I'm using BACON!!!

--Little Bird only breaks minor rules


Mama Bird said...

I forgot to tell you how much S liked your quiche. And he ate it stone cold, said it was delicious, as good as he's ever had.

Mama Bird said...

Today we had stir fry in NM. The usual recipe, veggies from Whole Foods including red onion, broccolli, red and yellow peppers, squash (yellow and green) , snowpea pods, beansprouts and crimini mushrooms with boneless, skinless chicken breasts (from WF) cut into chunks. Jasmine rice from Trader Joe's, Tumari sauce. It was even better in NM than Chicago. Why is that? I'm making a pie tomorrow, apple with ice cream and cool whip. Wish me luck.

Little Bird said...

Good luck Mama Bird! And I'm happy to hear that S liked it!

Mama Bird said...

If you get on-line in CO and look at your site let me know you got there OK.

Little Bird said...

Clearly that didn't happen. I'm home now. I managed not to kill anyone so all went well.