Wednesday, April 20, 2016

You can have your ordinary love. I want to be drowned in passion every night.

Quiche Lorraine 
There's a majestic allure decadent things like cream, bacon, cheese, and butter provoke. Unless you are thoroughly anhedonic, there is an involuntary pleasure response that is stimulated every single time you see or hear these words.

I wonder if people can incite the same involuntary response. I think I've met a few of these people; the ones who have charisma leaking out of every pore in their body, the ones who make even the most platonic interaction seem like a romantic interlude, the ones who delicately yet permanently sear themselves into your memory.

I don't believe this is a god given talent. I think it's something you can cultivate, and it's a talent (I think) I have finally figured out after years of watching others. 

For someone who is naturally quite shy, it was quite the herculean task. Seriously! My grandmother tells the story of how at three years old, I preferred to sit next to her at parties to observe the other children engage in their tomfoolery instead of joining them.

I think over the years I've learned four techniques that up the charisma factor and help you appreciate someone as they deserve to be appreciated... 

1. Make someone feel like they are the only person in the room, in fact, make them feel like they are the only person in the world. 

2. Forget the small talk. I absolutely hate small talk. Instead, tell me your innermost thoughts, your fears, your pain, your passion. Most people, if asked the questions appropriately, want to talk about these things. All humans crave intimate connections and yet are unwilling to put in the work to have it. So, put in the damn work and get people to be vulnerable. We're all walking around pretending not to be crazy. Guess what? 100% of the world is crazy, and pretending not to be makes us more insane. 

3. Listen more than you speak. If you must speak, ask more follow up questions. I prefer to hear other people's stories unless I absolutely have to tell my own. Despite popular belief, I actually have a lot of trouble articulating myself on the cuff (hence, why I'm a better writer). Sometimes I have to figure out game plans on what I can talk about before I meet someone. Thus, I lucked out in the listening category.

4. EMPATHY EMPATHY EMPATHY! Don't offer solutions to people's problems. It is my belief that most people know what they want to do, they just need someone who will validate their fears and feelings. 

Got it? GOOD. Now let's go on to something that should illicit an involuntary pleasure response in your mouth, Quiche Lorraine with salty pancetta, creamy bechamel, and luxuriously nutty Gruyere. 


Quiche Lorraine for One

Pie Crust

2 1/2 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
1 Pinch Salt
1 Tbsp Cold Butter, Cubed
3 Tsp Ice Water


1 Strip Bacon, Diced or 1 1/2 Tbsp Pancetta 
1 Shallot, Thinly Sliced
1 1/2 Tbsp Sour Cream
2 Tbsp Heavy Cream
1 Egg
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1/4 Cup Gruyere Cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Whisk flour and salt together

2. Cut the cubed butter into the flour using a fork or your fingers. Work quickly so that the butter does not start to melt (the key to a nice flaky crust is keeping all the ingredients as cold as possible)

3. Add ice water and start kneading the dough until it comes together into a ball

4. Roll dough out on a floured surface using a rolling pin and place in a small baking dish

5. Place parchment paper on top of the crust and fill with pie weights, or rice like I do. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, remove pie weights and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes. 

6. Time to start working on the filling!

7. Saute shallots and bacon together until bacon is crispy (about 10 minutes)

8. Whisk together egg, heavy cream, sour cream, salt, and pepper

9. Fill crust with bacon and shallot mixture

10. Top with egg mixture

11. Finish off with Gruyere cheese

12. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and eat this decadent little treat!

A little pie from heaven, or my kitchen....whatever.