Last year, LunaCafe’s first annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Deck the Halls marathon was all about tradition. Over a few weeks, I baked my way through most of the cookies I have baked every year for the holidays for the greater part of my life. I did, however, up the ante for myself a bit by exploring royal icing techniques for the first time, which added a colorful new dimension to two of the cookies. And I explored a few new-to-me cookie ingredients, such as powdered green tea, rose petal extract, and crushed peppermint sticks. But for the most part, last year’s cookie collection was tried, true, and traditional.
Every year I develop a new pumpkin pie recipe and add it with a pretend drum roll to the Thanksgiving dessert table. I do this even though no one in the Bradley family, except me and our son Joshua, actually likes pumpkin pie.
So you can imagine my surprise a couple of years ago when we were invited to a Thanksgiving potluck and asked to bring ONLY the pumpkin pie. (How could they know that was my favorite part of the meal?) I used the opportunity to create SIX new pumpkin pies that year and of course brought them all to the potluck, each with a little description alongside. Some folks in that appreciative gathering actually ate a tiny slice from each of the six pies. I was delighted.
To tell you that this pie is beyond delicious is not to do it justice. But perhaps you will get some inkling of how good it is when I reveal that MauiJim ate an ENTIRE LARGE PIECE. Oh sure, he tried to avoid the pumpkin custard while focusing on the caramel, but in the end that effort proved futile, so he ate the whole darned thing. And then he raved about it and asked how long he had to wait to have another slice.
OK, let me break this to you gently. You may want to sit down. This is not actually a TART. It’s a QUICHE. You remember what a quiche is, right?
Quiche is one of those unfortunate foods that while enjoying its heyday in the 1970′s, riding the French culinary wave that swept America, finally flagged under the weight of overexposure bordering on hysteria, to become the antithesis of the nouvelle cuisine that hit the country near the end of that decade.
Every Saturday morning, from April through December, whether in Seattle or Portland, I head to one of the many world-class Northwest farmers markets. You might think I would become jaded after awhile, but it hasn’t happened.
Every week, I’m blown away by the gorgeous, tantalizing offerings, and every week I buy way more than I can cook over the weekend. I do this even though there is this strange man following me around, intermittently interjecting, “Enough already! You can’t cook all that.” I pretend to have no idea who he is, but of course it’s none other than MauiJim.
When Columbus first set foot on the Caribbean island that is now shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, he was hoping to find black pepper, the world’s most costly spice. Instead he found the genus Capsicum which the native inhabitants called aji. Probably a little frantic that his expedition was going unexpectedly awry, he quickly renamed the spicy vegetable, pepper, and while he was at it, the Arawak natives, Indians, to support the idea that he had indeed found a western trade route to India.