“If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen,” the old adage intones. Being a SoCal kid growing up, heat doesn’t particularly bother me. It wasn’t REALLY hot until it got over 110 degrees. The day my brother Tom was born, on October 3rd, it was 114 degrees outside.
Therefore, Monday morning, long before the sun would show its pointy little head, Gluten-Free Mama and I hashed over my plan to prepare lunch for the HappyDay Farm crew. We had to have this discussion early because she and HeadSodBuster were sallying forth to Sacramento reasonably early Monday morning.The thrust of the conversation was her educating me that a frittata was not the same as a quiche. Whereas I did not want to make a crust, I did want to make a substantial amount of grub for a hungry crew of farming personnel. So she educated me in the art of blending eggs and cream without using a beater, and she convinced me that this was all going to work out just dandy.
I do have an infinite amount of respect for GF Mama’s kitchen-expertise.
I could have been satisfied to harvest my cherry tomatoes (forty plants) and my Aces (80 plants), and then go on to either processing tomatoes, or prepping the cannabis for the upcoming inclement weather. However, I wanted to cook because Monday is market day, and no one has time- hardly-to even eat, let alone cook.
I am not part of the market day preparations, except for the aforementioned harvesting, so I have the freedom to don my chef’s hat and whip up lunch. Because we have so many seasonal vegetables, I wanted to prepare something that centered on them.
A soup would have been just fine but I also tend the chickens, and they had been clamoring to get into the act. Willing to do anything to keep the girls quiet, I acquiesced, and had therefore settled on quiche. I still had onions from Irene, and bell peppers, zucchini (three varieties), garlic, cabbage, and green beans from the farm; I had some bacon from Lito’s pig and some organic whipping cream that I could spare; and most importantly, I had vast quantities of tomatoes.
The irony here is that the gorgeous, just-picked Ace tomatoes that I prepared and served for our lunch, were the very ones that I had culled out of this morning’s harvest, as being a tad TOO home-grown for sale at market.
There may have been some mild splitting, due to irregular watering, or there may have been a blossom-end-rot blemish. There were also a few that were sun-burned, those kids turning a bright white/yellow on the side facing the sun, due to over-exposure. The change in color is purely aesthetics; there is nothing wrong with the taste.
Once the blemishes were removed, I sliced a dozen or so for inclusion in the quiche, and for serving on-the-side. Almost every meal I consume these days includes tomatoes on-the-side.
Monday’s plan called for me to start gathering materials and preparing the workplace for action by ten o’clock, so as to have lunch on the table precisely at noon. I was especially pleased to know that BossLady herself would be gracing my table with her presence.
Imagine my surprise when, just as I was wrapping up the Ace harvest out back, I heard SmallBoy hollering from the back door, inquiring if I would like some breakfast which he was about to whip up. Instinctively, I thanked him but said I had already eaten, but didn’t really have time to say anything more.
He returned to the kitchen, and as I was getting ready to join him, I realized my plan would have to include a little room for adjustment. I am too much like Gluten-Free Mama, after watching her in action for 35 years: I like a pristine work station before I can begin to work.
Ohhhh. Kayyyyyy. That was not going to happen until after SmallBoy had first cooked, and then cleaned up the counter. I absolutely did not want to discourage him, because he is in the state of flux, rearranging his personal living space, so he has been frequenting our kitchen.
GF Mama and I are always happy to have this happen, so I decided I could amend my plan to include working down on the far left of the counter, on the far side of the dish rack and sink. Huh, working on the far left should not pose a problem for this old hippie, so I went happily to work.
I diced two onions, one for each deep-dish, ten-inch quiche, and then the bell peppers, green beans, zucchini and garlic. I had some cabbage left over from Sunday night’s roasted chicken extravaganza, so I absconded with a one-fourth chunk to be shredded and divided between the two pies.
Just about now, as it was pushing 10:30, Small Boy wrapped up operations and headed off to town, leaving the arena ready for me to blast off. Once I had finished grabbing said bong rip, and feeling sufficiently blasted, I launched into frying the bacon, sautéing all the crunchy veggies, and preparing fifteen eggs and the whipping cream.
I used a marginal amount of the bacon grease to line the pyrex dishes, as opposed to the spray that GF Mama had suggested, taking advantage of a better way to guarantee there would be no stickage. I then grated up a mound of extra-sharp cheddar cheese, the white kind.
It was past eleven by now, the original time that I had slated to put the two pies in the oven, but I was not worried. I was flying, in more ways than one, and enjoying myself immensely. I lined both dished with the sautéed veggies, placed a layer of sliced tomatoes on top, covered the ensemble with cheese and divided the eggs/cream mixture between the two.
I dusted a little more cheese on top of it all, popped both into the oven, and promptly forgot about them for 37 minutes. GF Mama had told me about 45 minutes should do the trick, but I had tweaked the original directions a bit to include a few more eggs, so I figured more like fifty minutes.
The second I had closed the oven door, I was running water in the sink to clean up my mess, before I started frying the potatoes. I had baked a dozen small-to-medium russet potatoes in the wee hours, so they would be cold by now, and I diced them and fried them in avocado oil to make them crisp.
Since they were already thoroughly cooked from baking them, heating them on top of the stove took only minutes. I was so absorbed in cleaning and then prepping the taters, that I totally spaced the quiches for 37 minutes.
Bounding over to the stove, I pulled out the rack and was amazed to see they looked just fine. I stuck a butter knife in the center of one, and determined I still had ten or so minutes to go, closed the door and promptly forgot about them for another fifteen minutes.
I was frantically slicing the tomatoes to serve on the side, getting fresh water for the pitcher and making sure there were silverware, plates and napkins. Once again, just about 11:55, I cautiously opened the oven door one more time to see the most perfect quiches imaginable.
Inserting the butter knife again, it came out perfectly clean and I knew I did not have to check the second one.
Lunch was an unqualified great success as we made with the palaver and enjoyed the quiche and taters. Tobias asked me if I liked the San Fernando Valley Ogre Berry and I asked him if that was what we were trimming. When he said yes, I told him I liked it a lot.
“Just this morning,” I added, “I loaded up a bowl, took a rip and went about my way. A while later I took a second rip from the same bowl, and the planets must have been aligned just right, because I had to grab onto the washing machine to keep from spinning off the map.”
Every so often I get complete lift-off and it reminds me to keep my seatbelt fastened until the ride has come to a complete standstill. As long as I am still hanging on to the washing machine, I guess I am good to go.