We’re so happy to announce a new series here on Jackdaw Journeys! My good friend Claire Tuffereau, who is an exceptional cook will be sharing one recipe a month with us. First up, the Zucchini Quiche! Here’s a little about Claire.
Claire Tuffereau was born and raised in Nantes, France, the historic capital of Brittany. She lived in France until 1971 when she came to New York on vacation and fell in love with America. She never went back to France to live. In the early days of living in New York, Claire had many jobs: she was a teacher, owner of a catering/takeout business in Dobbs Ferry, New York and worked with an import business importing French cheeses, French mushrooms and at the time the rare French white asparagus.
In addition to adjusting to the American way of life and working, she was busy raising her two sons, Damien and Jason. As years passed, Claire, found herself living in Connecticut where she resides with her husband Alain.
Today, Claire stays busy by teaching French (for free) to residents in her local community. She is constantly gardening and when not gardening she paints watercolors of her beloved France. Perhaps, one of her greatest pleasures in life is watching her two grandchildren grow up. As quoted by her grandson, “Goomah is the greatest cook in the world.” Those of us who are lucky enough to be her friend tend to agree!
IN PRAISE OF MY MOTHER’S COOKING
It would have been raining all morning, one of those Brittany fine rains which are almost a caress to the skin. Not being able to go out, my sisters and I were probably bickering and calling each other names. When the first ray of sun lit up the windows, my mother handed us the wire-mesh egg basket and said (and there could not be any argumentation to her order): “Go get some snails”.
Everybody in the country knows that snails come out in the rain. In those days, when pesticides or weed killers were unknown and the red poppies blanketed the sides of the wheat fields, the snails were big, safe and ominously sliding along the inundated ditches just down below.
A few weeks later, after lunch, my mother would prepare the sauce for the snails and by late afternoon, the kitchen exhaled fragrances of garlic, onions, simmering white wine
We were poor – everybody I knew was poor after the war – but my mother never let it deter her from cooking the most wonderful meals I have ever known: Wild mushrooms gathered from the surrounding forests, sautéed in garlic and parsley; chestnuts picked up from nearby country lanes, and boiled with fennel; a multitude of the freshest fish cooked “
I have recognized much too late what a tremendous influence she was in my life and my constant desire to prepare food which is simple, affordable and delicious comes from her.
For the Crust
- 1 1/2 cups Plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Stick diced unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp Cold water
- 1 tbsp Regular oil
- 1 Egg yolk
For the Filling
- 2 Medium size zucchinis
- 1 Medium size onion (any color)
- 2 Garlic cloves grated
- 3/4 cup Grated parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup Grated Jarlsberg cheese
- 3/4 cup Heavy cream
- 3/4 cup Whole milk
- 5 Eggs
For the Crust
- Put all ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and run, using the pulse button until the dough comes together.
- Take it out, roll it on a floured surface until it forms a ball.
- Flatten the ball with a rolling pin until it can fit a 9” buttered pie plate.
- Pinch up the edges with your fingers and place in the freezer for at least half an hour.
For the Filling
- Heat the oven at 350 degrees F.
- Peel and slice the onion as thinly as you can and sauté it in a frying pan on medium heat until light golden brown. Let it cool on the side.
- Wash, grate the zucchinis, then squeeze them by hand, add the garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
- While the zucchinis rest, grate the parmesan and the Jarlsberg, mix the eggs with the cream and milk, add salt and pepper to taste.
- Squeeze the zucchinis a second time by hand, add the cooked onions and the cheese mixture. Adjust seasoning.
- Take the pastry shell out of the freezer, line it with aluminum foil and one cup of dry beans or rice and let it bake for 15 minutes. Take it out, remove the aluminum foil and the beans and let it bake five more minutes (this will dry the bottom part of the shell).
- Fill the cooked pastry shell with the zucchini, onion and cheese mixture, add the egg and milk/cream mixture and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes or until puffed around the edge and the center feels firm under the finger.
- Let it cool ten minutes before cutting and.