A California Shabbos

If I could choose anyplace outside Israel to spend Shabbos, it would certainly be the Bay Area. Why? Because there’s nothing like a Shabbos meal made from fresh, local California produce purchased at the Chinatown farmer’s market. On this particular Friday, we scored some perfect little eggplants, Chinese long beans, bulbous heirloom tomatoes, and an enormous bunch of fragrant basil, along with fruits for noshing.

We rounded out the menu with chicken in a garlic and white wine sauce and homemade challah.

A gut voch to all!

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Recipe: Caramelized Onion Quiche

Jimmy is the new kid in town. When he wakes up tomorrow morning, there is an 80% chance that he’ll be brave and strong, and a 20% chance that he’ll be cowardly and weak. The local bully, Jesse, enjoys fighting new kids, but only the weak, cowardly ones. Jesse won’t be able to figure out whether Jimmy is brave or cowardly, but he will be able to observe what Jimmy eats for breakfast. As a general rule, brave, strong new kids prefer beer, while cowardly, weak new kids prefer quiche.

I’ll spare you the choice theory part of the Beer/Quiche Game, mostly because I don’t understand it at all. I heard this game from my friend Y, who loves riddles, and who often, in jest, uses the Beer/Quiche dichotomy to categorize the men in his life.

Dearest Internet, there is nothing weak or cowardly about this flavorful, savory, slightly tangy quiche. But just to be safe, serve it with a cold summer ale.

Caramelized Onion Quiche
Adapted slightly from Simply Recipes

1 pie crust (store-bought is fine, but this recipe is really tasty)
2 tablespoons butter
1 lb red onions
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
3 large eggs
nutmeg
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated (or whatever sharp cheese you like)
salt and pepper

1. Caramelize the onions. Cut onions in half, root to tip, and peel. Then cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick. Melt butter in a large skillet and add the onions and a pinch of salt. Stir frequently so the onions caramelize without burning. This will take a while. After 40 minutes or so, add the balsamic vinegar. Continue cooking until onions are completely caramelized.

2. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare the crust and parbake it.

3. Make the custard. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, eggs, and a pinch of nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Set the tart pan on a baking sheet lined with foil, to catch any custard runoff. Sprinkle half the cheese over the bottom of the parbaked crust. Spread onions loosely over the cheese (so the custard can fill up the nooks and crannies). Top with remaining cheese. Pour custard over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. (If edges of crust begin to burn, cover with foil.) Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before slicing.

Recipe: Summer Squash Salad

At the beginning of this summer, I set one goal for myself: to spend time enjoying simple pleasures. I have succeeded magnificently.

I have picnicked and barbecued. I have seen a craft project through to completion. I spent a delightful evening with new friends repurposing old books into luminaries for a wedding centerpiece. I have baked many pies and eaten them. I danced with my friend at her beautiful wedding, and the joy, pure and so palpable, has stuck with me all week.

Summer is an easy time to revel in simplicity, especially when it comes to food. All my favorite things are in season – tomatoes, apricots, rhubarb, basil, and, above all else, avocado, which is the one produce item I’ll buy year-round, no matter how out-of-season it is, no matter how many miles it traveled on a truck to reach me. I just can’t help myself.

Mmm, avocado. >>