Sunday, October 12, 2008


A few weeks ago, I was out at a clounge (a club/lounge), and I started talking to a few Britsh guys. Here's how meeting new people usually goes for me:

Me: Hey.
Them: Hey.
Me: I'm Natalya
Them: Hey Natalya, I'm George, where are you from?
(It's weird, absolutely EVERYONE I meet is named George. Such a coincidence)
Me: [pause] I always end up telling my life's story whenever anybody asks me this. Basically, I was born in Virginia, but I grew up in Norway.
Them (Or George, apparently): NORWAY, really?
Me: Yup, yup, Norway.
Them: Wow.
Me: Yup.

I basically blow their minds.
Anyway, this time, going through the whole spiel, I got to the "NORWAY, really?" part and then all of a sudden this night's George pulled a girl from (seemingly) out of nowhere, and said, "This is Lisa, SHE's from Norway!"

I talked to Lisa for about 3 minutes before her whole group left and went to another bar, but we exchanged phone numbers due to our common Norwegian experience.

Lisa sent me a text this week and we decided to meet up for coffee on Thursday.

Coffee goes well with cupcakes, I thought, and I wanted to try out a bakery a friend of mine suggested, so we walked all the way over to 8th street where it was supposed to be. Supposed to be as in it wasn't, so after walking back and forth a couple of times, we gave up and started looking for a new place to get a quick bite.

We walked by this restaurant called La Lanterna di Vittorio (129 MacDougal St, New York, NY, (212) 529-5945) that seemed cute, and decided to go in since we had been walking around for a while. It was dimly lit and really meant for impressing first dates, but it worked for us too. I ordered spinach and mushroom quiche with a salad ($10) and it was probably one of the best quiches I had ever had. They did something with the crust that I couldn't really put my finger on, but it was slightly sweet, but not in a sugary way, if that makes sense. I enjoyed myself. The pizzas and all of the other dishes looked really nice as well, and apparently they have a garden in the back with a lot of tables.

I had a nice time hanging out with Lisa, it was fun to compare notes on New York with another Norwegian.

This leads us to part two of the story:

Yesterday, my brother came over to my apartment with his family for lunch. They hadn't been to see my new place yet, and they were going to be in the area for a birthday party, so it was a good opportunity to have them over.

Inspired by the quiche I had had a few days earlier, I decided to make a broccoli and cheese quiche for them. I used a recipe my mom uses; quiche is sort of one of her specialties.

Broccoli and Cheese Quiche

1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon chilled vegetable shortening
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons ice water

I also added some honey and basil to the crust, honey because I was trying to imitate the crust I had had a couple of days earlier. The crust turned out pretty well, but I either didn't use enough honey or it wasn't the restaurant's secret ingredient...

To make pie crust without a kitchen machine, all you need is two knives and some patience. Basically, you need to cut the shortening into the flour to the point where the flour is crumbly and you can no longer tell the margerine from the flour. Just use one knife in each hand and cut them with an X movement. Once you've gotten this far, add anything else you want to add (like spices or the honey I tried out) and then add the water seriously a tablespoon at the time, because it takes very little water to get the dough to stick together. You want it moist enough for it to hold together, but not sticky. When you've got the dough together, throw it in the freezer to cool off until you're ready for it again.

1 cup cheese, cubed or shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups heavy cream or milk
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
a bunch of broccoli
any other spices you think might fit

Preheat oven to 450 degrees fahreinheit or 230 degrees celsius

Cook the broccoli, cut into small pieces. Mix all the other ingredients together in a bowl.

Roll the dough out. I often do it on a piece of wax paper so it doesn't stick to the bench. Once it's big enough, sprinkle flour on top, fold in half, sprinkle more, and fold once more into quarters. This makes it easer to transport to the pan without it breaking. Unfold. To make a nice edge on the pie, go around the edge and push one finger into two fingers on the other side in a pinching motion. If that makes sense.

Pour the egg mixture into the crust, add the broccoli evenly into the pie.

Put the pie in the oven at 450 degrees (230 celsius) for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees (175 celsius) and bake for another ten to twenty minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Let the quiche stand for about ten minutes once out of the even so it sets.

Serve with bread and a salad!

The quiche was a success, even my nephews seemed to enjoy it, and we had a really nice time together.

I'm going to have to go back to the restaurant and sneak into the kitchen to figure out what the secret ingredient in the pie crust is. I'll keep you posted on my food sleuthing...

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