I’m currently reading Kathleen Flinn’s The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry (my Amazon Associates link) for my online book club. It’s not nearly as emo as the title suggests! It’s a memoir of the author’s time at Le Cordon Bleu. So many people’s worst fear is to lose their job, but in reality, being fired can make people happier in the long run, because they were are given an opportunity to leave a less than ideal, but comfortable, situation and think about what they truly want to do. Flinn lost her corporate job, and with the encouragement from her boyfriend, being let go gave her a chance to pursue a long-time dream: studying cooking at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. If you’ve ever been curious what culinary school is like, The Sharper Your Knife gives you all the inside scoop.
I’m enjoying the book so far, and it makes me think about taking a break from work and doing something for me. Though I’m in no financial position to enroll in culinary school for fun, it has made me think about how I want to spend the next few years. It made me reflect on the fact that I will soon be leaving a job of six years, and before jumping right back into another job I’m not passionate about, I should think about what my own dreams are. Culinary school does sound fun, I will admit. But that’s something I don’t need to pursue while I’m young…one day, perhaps! Flinn is a great writer and brings her culinary school and Paris experiences to life, drawing you into her story. This has been a very satisfying read so far, especially compared to the last culinary school memoir I read, which lacked the attention to detail and heart that this book has.
Most chapters in the book ends with a recipe inspired by her story. I’ve always wanted to make a quiche, so I went ahead and adapted one of Flinn’s recipe. It came out delicious. Enjoy!
Please check out our online book club, The Kitchen Reader.
Sun Dried Tomato and Caramelized Onion Quiche
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, cut into pieces and chilled
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large onions, sliced
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon flour
6 to 8 sun dried tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 tablespoon chopped or dried thyme
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 egg, beaten
3 large eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
To make the pâte brisée:
Add the flour and salt to a food processor. Process for a few seconds. Add the butter. Pulse until you get coarse crumbs. Gradually add a bit of water ar a time until the dough forms and sticks together. You may want to use your hands and add more water if needed until you get a soft dough. Form the dough into a disk shape and wrap in plastic.Let rest in the fridge for at least half an hour or up to one day.
To make the quiche:
Preheat oven to 425. Melt the butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion and bay leaf for about half an hour, stirring every so often, until soft and brown. Remove the bay leaf, then add the flour and a pinch of salt. Cook for 2 more minutes, then take off heat and let cool completely.
Meanwhile, pour boiling hot water over sun dried tomatoes in a small bowl and set aside to plump for a few minutes, then drain tomatoes. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Cook the garlic, drained tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of thyme, and Kosher salt for a few minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Roll out the dough and press it into a pie pan. Set a large piece of parchment paper in the center and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove parchment and weights, and brush the pastry with the beaten egg. Return to the oven for 7 minutes. Remove and let the pastry cool slightly.
Whisk the 3 eggs and heavy cream in a large bowl. Stir in one third of the cheese, a pinch of salt and pepper, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of thyme. Stir in the cooled onions and pour into the pastry shell. Arrange the tomatoes in a pretty pattern on top, and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes until firm. Reduce oven heat to 400 and return to oven for another 15 minutes until firm, browned, and a little puffy.