Sunday, November 25, 2012

BFD: Pitch-perfect Quiche Lorraine

For all of the years that I've loved quiche, making a good one has always been one of my greatest undoings as an unprofessional chef.  I've tried the most basic recipes to the most complex, all with lackluster (and sometimes inedible) results.  It dawned on me that since buying a new stove and pie pans, I hadn't given it another go.  I'd looked at so many recipes that I felt cross-eyed, so I decided to Frankenstein them together into what seemed like it would turn out best.  The recipe itself was incredibly simple - the secret is in the temperature adjustment.

1 refrigerated pie crust
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 C heavy cream or half & half
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 C onion, finely diced and sauteed
6 slices bacon (or more), chopped and fried crisp
1 C shredded Swiss cheese (bonus if you have gruyere to throw in, too!)

Pre-bake the shell in a pie plate or custard dish in 425 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes until it starts to turn golden brown. Don't forget to poke it with fork tines or a toothpick before baking, or it will be a bubbly disaster!  Pie weights or dry beans will also keep it from bubbling.

Bake 15 min at 425, reduce to 300 and bake another 30 minutes.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Street Cred: Senate - Cincinnati, Ohio

My buddy Tim from YouIndie and I fumbled our way through Cincinnati traffic (note to self: never complain about Dayton's again) on an unseasonably warm and sunny Thursday afternoon last month to see the Afghan Whigs.  Since this is basically my Metallica/Beatles/fillinsuperfanboyanswer here band, the meal needed to live up to the rest of the evening.  We had a few recommendations, but everyone had mentioned Senate in OTR.  They refer to themselves as "Pushers of beer, wine and gourmet street food," and are also known to sell some pretty fancified hot dogs.
Everyone watches their funds these days, but I've been pinching pennies since the day I got my hands on a nickel.  I loaned my sister a dollar once and tried to charge her interest on it, and told me 2nd grade teacher that I "wanted to be a loan shark when  grew up," based on my mom's commentary about the aforementioned loan.  So, a $10 hot dog seemed a little steep to me - but I figured there had to be something to it if people keep paying the $10 for them.

 Pretty much street parking only, but my pilot TimDogg scored a sweet spot right in front of their door.  In warmer weather, it's a very open air eatery, and aesthetically every bit of on-trend.  Small and bustling, but the service is top-notch.  The host told me it would be about 20 minutes (which is still less than what I expected), but it was really less than 5.  Every employee is clean cut and sharp-dressed, which goes a long way with me.  Especially when every single one of them is as handsome as the day is long.  Our server was knowledgeable about the drink and food menu, and had plenty of recommendations to help me make up my mind between all of the offerings.  I opted for a seasonal pumpkin cocktail and the Trailer Park dog, and my bro-date and I would split the truffle fries. If you're dying to know what a Trailer Park dog is comprised of and are too lazy to look at the website, it's an all beef dog wrapped in bacon with American cheese, creamy claw and crushed BBQ Grippos on a brioche bun.  Are you salivating yet?  Because I AM.   

The cocktail was perfect and distinct, and funky in the same way that grass-fed beef is the very first time you taste it.  The dog was not only only the best actual frank I've ever tasted, but the best all-together hot dog and probably in my top ten stateside food experiences, period.  $10 seems negligible once you taste it, because I'd gladly pay $20 for one right now.

I'm really glad our server recommended the truffle fries over the duck fat fries, because I really don't see how anything could have been better than these little sticks of heaven.  I've find most fries not to be worth the calories contained, so I'm not a big fry eater.  I'd rather skip'em and go whole hog on an entree or dessert.  But these?  These I could eat everyday, and probably die at a very young age or coronary heart disease.  If clouds were made of fresh butter, then somehow made slightly crispy on the outside, that's what these truffle fries taste like.  They're the unicorn of the french fry world.
You all know I rarely give 5 out of 5 sporks - but Senate really won me over.  For the quality you're getting, the price is perfectly reasonable and the service was unparalleled.  I've tried to think about any way one could improve upon the food, but the only answer is "MORE OF THAT."