I’m not a ‘city person’. Not anymore. I do, however, find nostalgia in specific aspects of the city, particularly as relating to food.
As an occasional pastime, I used to enjoy dining out at sidewalk cafes, once every few weeks when the weather was nice. I particularly treasured sitting outside at those types of cafes residing on quiet, tree-lined streets.
Especially compelling to me continues to be the way certain specimens of such restaurants indicate the prices of items on their menus. For example, some items might be listed in this way:
Mediterranean Three-Cheese Panini 9
Roasted Vegetable Pilaf 10
No need for additions of such superfluities, as .95 or .55. The prices were just whole numbers. The best part? No need for a $ sign. Why waste space and ink here? Such menus seemed to shrug. Let’s just deliver the necessaries, in a way that is elegant to the eye.
The weather was pretty nice here in Pennsylvania today, and as I caught the last glimpses of the golden sunshine caressing the still-green grass, I was inspired to think al fresco. And even though my meal was prepared and eaten inside, it seemed like something that might be found in one of those sidewalk cafes.
The carrot soup was a simple thing to make.
Chopped potatoes, carrots, onion, and sliced garlic set to boil in fresh water with salt, pepper, cumin and tumeric. I brought it to a boil, covered, and then let it simmer for about 25 mins. I waited for it to cool somewhat as the quiche finished baking and then poured the still warm mixture into my glass jar blender. A few minutes of whirrr and the colors had consolidated into an orange-yellow hue. A sprinkling of pignoli nuts added some texture to the creamy blended soup when served in a bowl.
The garden quiche made quick work of vegetables in my fridge and freezer that were waiting to be consumed. Not to mention, I had bought way too many eggs at the grocery store over the past couple of weeks, each week thinking I needed a new carton. (Always check your inventory! :))
First, I sauteed chopped onions, chopped scallions, and chopped mushrooms in a bit of olive oil on medium heat. I added some cooked frozen broccoli to the mix, and stirred for a bit. I put the vegetables into a glass pie dish and tore up small pieces of marbled sliced Colby cheese, and put them on top. I then beat together 6 eggs and poured the eggy mixture over the contents of the pie dish (sounds like a lot of eggs, but the final dish can serve at least 4 people.) I wanted a bit of crispy crunch for the topping, so I coated the top with bread crumbs. I baked the quiche for about 35 minutes in an oven preheated to 350.
On the side, I created a salad of arugula greens, with a dressing of EVOO, balsamic, dijon mustard, and maple syrup (for a touch of sweetness).
The quiche was very nice; it was satisfying, and filled with varied textures from the variety of vegetables. It also had that nice warm flavor from the melted cheese and breadcrumbs on top. The side salad, slightly bitter and slightly sweet, paired well with the ‘pie.’
Question for you: what’s a meal you’ve made that was inspired by an experience?