Quiche "Loryn"

Most quiches are contained by a fancy little crust. They sit formally on dainty porcelain plates surrounded by petite pink curlicues, quite delicious in their own right, but imprisoned by their (often dry) crusts. Sometimes a girl just needs to chow down on a liberated quiche that can fully express all of its cheesy and eggy goodness. My friends, this is that quiche.
  I’ve used this recipe so many times and changed it so much that the original recipe has become quite muddled, but oh-my-God is it ever delicious. This recipe is nearly impossible to mess up so it’s perfect for the beginner gourmet.

3/4 c flour (I use white whole wheat)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 c milk
4 eggs
1/4 c butter, softened
1 c grated Parmesan cheese
2 c vegetable (chopped)
1 c meat (in bits)
8 oz shredded Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease (I use olive oil) a 10-inch round pan.
2. In small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and olive oil.
3. In large bowl, beat together milk, eggs, and butter. Try as best as you can to get rid of any butter lumps, but in the end it doesn’t really matter. Add dry ingredients and parmesan cheese. Now you’re gonna have lumps no matter what.
4. Stir in vegetables, meat, and cheddar cheese. Pour into round pan.
5. Bake for 50 minutes (or until set). The top should be a nice golden-brown color and it shouldn’t jiggle when you take it out of the oven.
6. Cut and consume!

As far as veggies and meat go, I’ve tried several different combinations and all of them have been most excellent. Feel free to experiment! I’m a big fan of spinach, but broccoli is one of my family’s favorites as well. For meat, I usually go back and forth between bacon and breakfast sausage. Breakfast sausage is by far my favorite because it adds that extra kick.
  I’ve been meaning to try and dress this recipe up one day, meaning I would use fancy cheeses like Havarti or Gruyere, and savory vegetables like celery, leeks, or maybe even kale… This recipe is extremely flexible, so please, have fun with it. That’s what I always do!

P.S. I hope to someday soon have a decent camera. I feel so awful posting these recipes without any sort of image, so I hope my language is enough to convince you of their deliciousness!

UPDATE 1/7/12: I made a spinach and mushroom quiche today for a brunch tomorrow, and now that I have a camera I figured this merited a picture!

Some of the egg sank to the bottom of the quiche, which means I need to do a better job of mixing it up next time.
  I usually make my quiches in a round layer cake pan, but this time I decided to split it in two so I can have a quiche for my family and a quiche for the brunch. Both quiches turned out wonderfully, and the only adjustments I made were to lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and cut the cook time to about half an hour. Just proves how flexible this recipe is!

Friday Five: Namaste

Is it stereotypical that I love yoga? I write, read, love to cook with fresh ingredients, eat avocados with a spoon… Maybe. But it fits me. I used to dance quite a bit, so traditional endurance or strength training exercise bores me, and peppy aerobics classes are fun on occasion but get rather annoying with frequent repetition. So, I do yoga.
     My brand of yoga is a blend between Hatha and Vinyasa, but I really don’t categorize. If I find something that I like, I incorporate it, regardless of the school. That being said, I do still have a spiritual connection with yoga (how can you not?) and different poses inspire different feelings and meanings.

1) Lotus (Padmasana)

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The lotus pose is my preferred meditation pose. Cliché? Sure, but it works. It also is a pose I am naturally inclined to — I have always been quite flexible, and the lotus came easily for me, which I am very grateful for.

2) Warrior II (Virabhadra)

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There is so much strength in all of the warrior poses, but in this one I feel the most like a tribal woman warrior, in tune with my own body and self-assured, ready to conquer whatever comes my way. I especially like the visual of flattening myself in between two panels of glass, becoming a perfectly straight, thin line. The alignment in this pose makes me feel very focused and invigorated.

3) The Crane (Bakasana)

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The crane is my current challenge. It was only introduced to me tonight, and I have taken it upon myself to perfect it. I have never had much upper body strength so it will be difficult, but I have faith. This pose, to me, is a dream that I know I can realize, and dreams like that are so integral to self-development.

4) Tree pose (Vrishka-asana)

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Speaking of challenges, for all of my dance experience, I still seem to have more difficulty with most with balance. Just ask my friends, I’m a klutz. The tree pose represents an ongoing challenge I face with my body, that I may never completely overcome, but that I can still disguise with grace (in yoga if not real life!).

5) Shoulder stand (Salamba Sarvangasana)

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There is something beautiful about a world turned upside down. The first time I attempted a shoulder stand, I was struck at how far above my head my feet were, although they weren’t even as far as they were from my eyes normally! I love the shoulder stand because it forces my body to act and my mind to look at the world differently (and it’s not as hard as an actual headstand!).

My yoga may be simplistic — I know very well that I’m not an expert — but I am happy where I am because I know I am moving forward. With yoga, I will never be stuck in a rut. There is always room for improvement, always something new to learn, and always a smile at the end of each practice. Namaste!

Super-Duper Easy Peanut Butter Stir Fry

I quite literally just made this and it turned out so well that I had to share it! Sorry I didn’t get a picture, in all honesty I had no clue how good it would be until I tried it. It’s simple, yummy, and all you need is a cutting board, a knife, and a skillet (electric or otherwise). The recipe I’m providing will be enough for two servings for me, but I eat small portions so adjust accordingly.

2 slices onion, cut in half
1 clove garlic
2 mushrooms
handful green beans, halved
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 spoonful natural crunchy peanut butter
olive oil as needed
salt and pepper to taste

1) Sautée all veggies in the skillet with olive oil
2) Add peanut butter and olive oil as needed (so it doesn’t dry out), stirring frequently

And that’s all there is to it. I ate mine on pita bread, but it would also go well over rice (duh) or noodles, or even just on its own. Enjoy!

Words Nonpareil!

On Friday I came across an NPR blog article about Shakespearean phrases we still use today, which caught my eye because, well, I love Shakespeare. The post reminded me of this poster, which I have seen in several English classrooms today but love no less for its ubiquity:

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Attached to the blog article was an interesting little gadget that analyzes your own words and tells you how similar your speech is to that of Shakespeare’s. Of course, I jumped on that. I input a sample (the second paragraph) from this blog post and was told “the waters of Avon lap at your feet.” My writing is 84% similar to Shakespeare’s!
  Whether this means that I have simply read too much or I’m a true literary genius, the world may never know, but I must say I was surprised to see how much my writing aligned with Shakespeare’s. I guess it’s true, we do owe a lot to the Bard.

What You Can Do With a B-Grade Dorm Room

I didn’t know how good I had it in my dorm last year. I was living in what is called a semi-private room, so I had more space than I knew what to do with, a kitchenette, and space to have all of my friends over.

  When it came time to select my dorm for this year, however, I reconsidered the semi-private room in favor of a dorm that was not only closer to all of my classes, but cheaper. The only downside would be the room size: all of the semi-private rooms in this dorm were already taken, so I would have to content myself with a smaller private room. 

I knew at the time and have only been affirmed that the biggest and most difficult change for me would be losing the kitchenette. (Space for clothing was astonishingly only a minor adjustment!) Being the foodie I am, it has been so hard for me to go from a kitchenette (to a full kitchen back home over the summer) to almost nothing at all. I say almost nothing because I feel as if I have done something fairly ingenious with my extremely cumbersome university-issue desk.

It’s a kitchenette! I never used it last year anyways. I put storage and trash where the desk chair is supposed to go, in the back corner of the desk I put a corner rack for dishes, and my electric skillet resides in the space below the drawer (which holds all of my utensils).
  In my makeshift kitchenette, I can make salads, any egg dish, stir fry, hot tea, coffee, filets… in fact, more than I could have made last year, thanks to the electric skillet.
  There are, of course, still some drawbacks. The lack of kitchen sink, for instance. The water temperature bathroom barely gets above lukewarm so I never feel as if my dishes are entirely clean. I also had to give up my toaster oven because there isn’t enough room for it and I was concerned it would melt the desk.
  But there have to be sacrifices, no? If there wasn’t anything wrong with this setup I wouldn’t have anything to look forward to in a full kitchen. As things are, I’m pretty pleased with my renovations. And if you’re wondering, yes, I did go out and get a (much smaller) replacement desk.

Words Can’t Express: Jack White and the Insane Clown Posse

When I first heard (one week ago to date) that Jack White was collaborating with the Insane Clown Posse, I laughed. I was shopping at Plato’s Closet, the news was a blip on the store’s pop culture radio station, and I scoffed. It was one of those things that is weird enough to not even register.
  I admit, I once was a fan of Jack White’s. A big fan. His and Meg’s music carried me through my freshman year of high school, and later the Raconteurs served as a nice background for my indie inclinations. He has kind of faded to the background of my musical scope, but until now I had no overpowering reason to actually dislike him or any of the music he has created.
  As far as the Insane Clown Posse goes… well, the impression I have of them is not favorable, to say the least, but until now, I was never offended by anything they’ve done. To me they’re more like a joke that never fails to get a laugh. At one point I probably referenced their song “Miracles” on a weekly basis.

But this… is not okay.

Honestly, I’d expect something of this caliber from the Insane Clown Posse; like the bulk of the celebrity world, to me they are merely a source of ridicule and my general feeling towards them is ambivalent. In other words, I give very few sh*ts about what they do.
  But enough is enough, Jack White. In one stroke, he has lost any sort of respect I once had for him. I get it, he wants to shock, he wants to be edgy, but nothing is new or unique about spotlighting Mozart as a pervert. Cracked.com beat him to it almost exactly one year ago. It’s such an adolescent tendency, to go out of your way to make sure others know that yes, even though we idolize these people for their contributions to academia, they were freaks in the bedroom. Shakespeare may have been gay, Ben Franklin loved messing around with the ladies, and yet none of it has any real bearing on the fact that they changed the world.
   And to top it all off, the song is disgustingly crass. I would never want my name pinned to something like this.
   So, Jack White, you got my attention today, but I can guarantee you that nothing else you do after this will even register on my radar. Mr. White has effectively joined the ranks of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and the ICP itself. It makes me kind of sad, but c’est la vie. Sometimes people (Mozart, Einstein, Chaucer…) are just weird.

Friday Five: What Are You an Expert In?

I have read a couple Malcolm Gladwell books and although he has been often under supreme scrutiny, I found the general ideas and concepts presented entrancingly insightful. Gladwell has taught me that a good first impression goes beyond the smile on someone’s face and that sometimes, it is actually better to trust your gut. It’s why I’ve become such a good test taker. I’m no disciple of his by any means, but he must be an incredibly interesting individual.
The other day in class, one of my professors briefly mentioned Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 hour rule” from his book Outliers, which states that in order to become an expert in a field you must spend about 10,000 hours doing it, equivalent to approximately 1.15 years or 20 hours per week for 10 years. This got me thinking in a very tongue-in-cheek manner, something along the lines of, “What have I inadvertently become an expert in?” Breathing, sleeping, and other generally normal functions aside, I have compiled a list of five things which, according to my professor and Mr. Gladwell, I have probably an expert in without realizing.

1) Playing with my hair.
This one might be a stretch, but it is legitimate. Ask any of my friends — one of my main nervous habits is messing with my hair, and this is documented as far back as third grade presentations. This will only get worse because I recently stopped biting my nails. I think it’s safe to say that no one is as good as nervously playing with their hair as I am. 

2) Writing.
There is no question that, after all the journal entries, essays, scribbled poems, and notes taken, I have become an expert in writing. Too bad most of those expert hours were spent while my brain was still developing, or I just may be a rhetorical genius by now.

2) Singing.
From kindergarten through twelfth grade, I was in a choir. Through 5th grade the choirs only met once or twice per week, but then from 6th through 12th I imagine there were days that I spent four or five hours engaged in vocalizing. And this tally doesn’t even take into account the singing in the car, in the shower, the voice lessons, or the just-because-I-can singing. I believe it’s safe to say I am a Gladwell expert in singing.

3) Thinking.
Okay, yes, this is a bit of a general function, but when I say thinking, I mean the type of thinking that is completely absorbing, pulling you inside your own mind — the type of thinking people get lost in. Sometimes I think about serious matters, sometimes I am worrying, sometimes I can daydream for an hour about a clothespin, but it’s all thinking.

5) Smiling.
I smile at just about anything. I probably spend about 7 hours per day with a smile on my face, and I think it’s safe to say that the one subject area I have best obtained the level of Gladwell expert would be smiling. And there’s not a darn thing wrong with that! 🙂