Monthly Archives: February 2007

The Winter Wonderland quiche

Chelsi just emailed me tonight to ask for the recipe for the quiche I served along with Claire’s wine to calm nerves and replenish souls the day after the “Winter Wonderland” ordeal (read below!). Seeing as her and her chef husband Graham run what I’ve heard is a fabulous restaurant in Brooklyn (and one that I have every intention of visiting sometime in the not-so-distant future), I figure that this recipe MUST be good enough to include in The Grape Journal.

So here is the Winter Wonderland (actually, to be completely honest here, Meme Germain’s) quiche recipe to scoop everyone out of those winter doldrums.

-1 flaked pastry crust, use any basic recipe except keep in mind that the French I know use only butter (no lard).

– 3 large-ish eggs

– 300 mL (approx) liquid creme fraiche

– 2 tablespoons of good Dijon mustard

– 1 cup of grated emmental cheese (gruyere works perfectly too)

– 1 cup of whatever filling you want – could be ham, tuna, smoked salmon, broccoli…or a mix of two or more things…the variations are endless…I used “jambon blanc” (thinly sliced oven roasted ham).

Roll out pastry and put in greased or parchment paper-ed pan. Spread mustard on bottom of crust. Throw pan with crust and mustard into oven at around 215 to 220 CELSIUS while you are mixing up the rest, but do keep an eye on it and take it out or lower the temp. if it’s browning too fast.

In medium sized bowl mix together three eggs, 300 ML of liquid creme fraiche (we use 15% Milk Fat, but 30% is even better! As one of our favorite and full-bodied french TV chefs always exclaims “Ca ne gache rien!”) and about 2/3 of the cheese, add a couple of turns of some freshly ground pepper. No salt as the mustard seasons it just perfectly (and, very unlike Meme, I’m actually imparting this secret willingly).

This liquid mix should come to about 1/2 litre in volume in total. If it doesn’t, just keep adding more creme fraiche and mixing until it does. I just mix it with a fork – no electrical appliances required.

Take the crust out of the oven, sprinkle filling (ham, tuna, or whatever) on mustard layer. Pour in mixed up egg and cream mixture, sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Put back in oven for around 20-30 minutes until puffy and nicely browned. Leave sit for around ten minutes before serving – I also like it cold out of the fridge!

Bon Appetit and stay out of those blizzards if you can manage it!

Bookings and the Chaos Theory

Forget about May! Look at the roses at Les Deux Clochers in June!

In my eight years of taking bookings for a vacation home in Burgundy, the only pattern that I can discern is that during the “popular” season, which now runs basically from mid-March to mid-November, there is no pattern

Well, I suppose there is in a way. Every year there is one or two months when everyone wants to come to Burgundy. It changes every year – last year it was September, the year before that July, and this year it is May.

Literally two out of every enquiries I’ve had in the past two months is for May which, because all three properties have been booked solid in May for months now, and because I’m the kind of person that generally enjoys accommodating people, makes me want to rip off my head and eat it.

When we had only La Maison des Deux Clochers I thought the problem was because we only had one house, and then when we added La Maison de la Vieille Vigne I thought it was because both our houses were village houses…and yet, even with the addition of what is proving to be the enormously popular Le Relais du Vieux Beaune, the phenomenon persists. Now I’m convinced that the chaos theory is to blame; some butterfly must be flapping its wings at the wrong intervals in Peru or something like that.

In any case, for any of those among you who are contemplating a trip to Burgundy, may (strike that, and replace with “can” as I don’t want to be sending out any misleading subliminal messages) I take this opportunity to recommend the equally lovely months of April, , June, July, August, September, and October? Merci!