Doughies!

Doughies! - april 23, 2010

These little lovelies are something sweet my friend Steph reminded me of long ago. Steph and I go way back, before even high school, and today we still try to get together to cook and eat dinner frequently. For many years it happened once a week and often featured chicken pot pie, but now that we have three children between us, not nearly as often.

Steph is the pie making queen, but I have to say that although she can whip up a crust in no time at all, my Grandmother wins out in the flakiness category. She tells me her secret is to make the ice water as cold as you possibly can. I've struggled with crust making for many years - honestly, I just don't like to do it. Its not a difficult thing, but more a motivational problem. Once I get going its actually kind of fun and I'm always surprised at how little time it takes. So I make mine well in advance. They keep fine in the freezer, wrapped in plastic, and my recipe makes enough for two quiches or pot pies (if you only do a top crust).

Speaking of pie contests - I just heard about the San Francisco Giants County Fair yesterday. Its too bad that our city doesn't have a county fair, or at least I don't think it does, but this sounds like the next best thing. 2010 is the second year for the fair, and this time CUESA, the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (they run the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, among other things) will host a program called Urban Eats that celebrates home grown produce and home made food. There will be contests for baked and preserved food, home food gardening, eggs, and more. I can't wait!  There will also be carnival rides and more crappy food than is usually served at the ballpark!  Hooray! The fair runs June 11-20 and will overlap with six Giants games, which I guess means run at the same time as. I'm so there.

Tonight for dinner we had ham and cheese quiche, with a salad. Doughies are what one makes from the leftover crust after the quiche crust is installed in the pan, so of course we had those too. I like the long, rectangular pans for purely pragmatic reasons - they fit better in the fridge, make a smaller quiche which means fewer leftovers and create slices that are easier to plop into a tupperware for lunches. Ours are 14x4.5", which feeds four or five. For any more than that I always make a second quiche, or just set out lots of bread. So its good to have two of these around.

Ham and Cheese Quiche with Doughies: (adapted from Joy of Cooking)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream (you can substitute whole milk, just increase the cooking time)

3 eggs

one pie crust

4 slices ham

1/2 cup grated cheese (jack is good)

salt and pepper

cinnamon (about 1/2 teaspoon)

sugar (about 1/2 teaspoon)

For starters, you'll need to roll out your crust. You can use a store bought crust, one from the freezer, one from someone else or one that you have just finished making. They all will work fine. Roll it until it is bigger than the pan it needs to fit into, then drape it over your pan. Gently press the dough down to sit on the pan, with the sides coming up over the edges.  Take a rolling pin and roll around the top of the pan - this trims the crust to make it fit just right. 

For the doughies, gather up the trimmed edges of the crust and roll them into a ball.  Using the rolling pin, roll the crust thin, then roll the crust up like you would a carpet.  Slice the dough carpet into 1/2 inch thick rounds, and lay each piece down on its side, on the cookie sheet, sprinkling cinnamon and sugar on top.

Next crack the eggs and pour the cream into a small mixing bowl. Whisk it up, adding a little salt and pepper as you go. Chop the ham slices and add them to the bottom of the pan, then grate the cheese and put it in with the ham. Next, pour your quiche mixture into the pans. Its a good idea to put the pan or pans on top of the cookie sheet in case there are leaks, and it gives you a place to put the doughies. 

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. The quiche should be puffy and golden on the top, and a toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean. The doughies usually need to come out before the quiche is done, so keep checking them. Pull them out when the sugar starts to caramelize on top and they turn golden.

Mock Cesar Salad: (adapted from Canal House Cooking volume 3)

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped

salt and pepper

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

juice of one lemon

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 medium or 3 small head of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped

In a jar with a lid, add the chopped garlic and anchovy fillets, mustard, half the cheese and juice of one lemon.  Put the lid on and shake it up.  Just before serving, toss the lettuce with some of the dressing - this recipe makes more than you need.  Add the remainder of the grated cheese on top.

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