I love cookbooks. I love cookbooks and I love cooking (though I hate cleaning the dishes) and I love good food. And I generally like history, as long as it is interesting. (Which, listen: history is NOT ALWAYS INTERESTING.) So when a publisher sent me a copy of the Military Wives’ Cookbook, I was intrigued because it’s a cookbook (score!), presumably has good food (score!) to cook (score!), and is filled with little historical anecdotes about our country’s military wives. And that’s all fine, it’s a nice little package, but what I really needed to know was this: what about the recipes? Are they good? And the best way to answer those questions is to test a recipe out for myself.
After flipping through the book, I found a story about a bride who defied her father and married the man she loved. Which, I’m totally a sap, so it seemed like a good choice to me. What’s more, she married the man she loved (a military officer) in a shotgun wedding, both bride and groom sitting atop their horses so they could make a quick escape. Which I thought was hilarious, considering this took place back in the 1800s. The story was printed along with a recipe for Quiche Lorraine – I don’t know what the correlation was there: was it just a good place for the story, or did they serve that quiche afterward? – and my thoughts were suddenly consumed with BACON.
The key to frying bacon is trying not to eat all of it before you need it for the recipe. This is kind of difficult, because bacon is salty and delicious. And it’s crunchy, if you’re doing it right. I managed to only eat two pieces, so it’s a good thing I made extra. (Okay, fine. I ate two-and-a-half pieces, which no one would ever know because you have to crumble it anyway.) Also, you can never have too much bacon.
And then I took some of the onions from my mom’s garden and I cooked them in the bacon grease. This is the best way to do it because BACON. MMmmmmmm. (Also, the onions cook quickly. So don’t, say, realize you don’t have shredded Swiss cheese, pull out the deli Swiss, and start CUTTING IT INTO STRIPS WITH KITCHEN SCISSORS. That might be kind of lame. But it will probably work. Hypothetically.) Once the onions are done, you should sprinkle them over the crumbled bacon.
After you’ve poured the cream mixture over the bacon and onions, sprinkle it with nutmeg. The nutmeg doesn’t really do anything other than make it look pretty, and remind you of Christmas again. And make you want egg nog even more. So maybe you should just bake it and distract yourself with something else.
If you pair a slice of this quiche with something else, like strawberries, you’ll be less tempted to eat the entire pie in one sitting. (It was also very good the next morning.) But strawberries probably won’t be enough to stop you from going back for seconds. That’s respectable. If you do that, it’s a compliment. And, really, have you had enough compliments lately? I didn’t think so.
The cookbook is organized a little differently than most, in that it’s organized by menu. The menu titles are charming: “White Gloves and Hats: A Silver and Crystal Tea” or “Twelfth Night: A Williamsburg Buffet for Eight” or “A Sunday Reunion With Very Dear Friends.” See what I mean? It’s kind of a throwback to the days of yore, back when it was totally normal to be invited to Sunrise Coffee or Holiday Dessert Coffee or Afternoon Coffee or Breakfast Coffee — and seriously? How many types of coffee and coffee gatherings are there? (Note to self: Good topic for coffee lovers.)
So my first recipe from this book was a success. And just for you, I’ve included the recipe after the jump. And I’ve also included my edits, because I am horrible at actually following recipes.
Adapted from The Military Wives’ Cookbook: 200 Years of Traditions, Recipes and Remembrances, by Carolyn Quick Tillery
1 9-inch deep-dish pastry shell (buy the kind in the refrigerated section and roll it out/bake it yourself – that way everyone will think you made it. Shhhhhhh.)
9 slices bacon (I used 12 1/2, but they were kind of small strips)
8 thin slices onion (best from your mom’s garden)
3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese (no comment)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I used about a tablespoon of the Spicy Brown)
1 cup half and half (I like cream better)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper (my spice cabinet is a wreck, so I just ground up some black pepper)
one pinch grated nutmeg
1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
2. Bake the pie shell until slightly browned, but not done, approximately 5-7 minutes.
3. In a skillet fry the bacon, drain, and allow to cool before crumbling. TRY NOT TO EAT.
4. Saute the onion slices in the bacon drippings over medium heat.
5. Sprinkle the bacon and onion over the bottom of the pie crust.
6. Spread cheeses on top of the bacon and onion mixture.
7. Beat together the eggs, mustard, half and half and seasonings.
8. Pour mixture over the cheese, bacon and onions. Allow to stand 10 minutes. [This is where I sprinkled the nutmeg, rather than including it in the egg mixture.]
9. Place on a baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes until golden and firmly set. Test by inserting the blade of a butter knife in the middle of the quiche. The quiche is done when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Makes 8 servings.
Jes loves trying new recipes and using her family as test subjects. As of yesterday, she now has a daughter to feed as well. Read more on her personal blog, Chirky.