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Unleash the quiche: Enjoying eggs with Hamm

16 Apr

Yummy egg pie for Sunday dinner, with a side of (Jon) Hamm


I am somewhat of a slowpoke when it comes to TV trends. I started watching Seinfeld when it was in its last season. Never saw Sex and the City until it hit mainstream cable in late-night reruns. First saw 24 on DVD when my brother loaned his Season 1 copy to me…last year. So of course I was late to Mad Men. Thank goodness for Netflix streaming. I spent the better part of this past September catching up on four seasons of this seductive serial in quick succession, not realizing that Season 5 wasn’t slated to air until March. I was watching three or four episodes a night. It was, um, unhealthy. I started drinking scotch. I craved cigarettes (I don’t smoke).

I even had a deliciously odd dream about Don Draper. In this dream, I woke up in Don’s post-Betty apartment bedroom, cuddling the maddest man…while my mother sat in a rocking chair beside us. “Mom! Oh, hi. This is Don. I mean, Jon. Meet Jon.” (Freudian coincidence: Hubby’s name is Jon.) Mom, with mild disapproval: “Now I know why you don’t call more often.”

That was a sure sign that I was a wee bit too invested in this Mad world. Fortunately, I got to the end of Season 4 shortly after that (and moved on to reliving five seasons of 30 Rock). Now, Mad Men is back on, and I am all over it. On this Sunday night, an oh-so-1960s caramelized onion quiche for dinner. In time for my weekly dose of Mad-ness, and just lovely when paired with a handsome slice of Hamm…


Caramelized Onion Quiche 

Adapted from a recipe published online and in April 2012 Family Circle


  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 5 c. thinly sliced onions
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 c. 2% milk
  • 1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 6 oz. shredded Swiss cheese
  • 2 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced


Preheat oven to 375. Fit crust into a 9-inch pie plate, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until browned and soft, stirring once in a while, about 35-40 minutes. (If onions begin to burn, reduce heat to medium-low.) Set aside to cool a bit.In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, mustard, salt, and nutmeg.

Remove pie plate from refrigerator. Sprinkle cheese evenly on bottom of crust.

Scatter onions on top. Pour egg mixture over cheese and onions.

Bake quiche at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, or until eggs are set and crust is browned. At this point, the quiche looked nice, but a little too plain (think “Peggy”).

So I decided to give it a little bit of color and added interest (think “Joan”). I had some leftover yellow Cheddar and a small zucchini on hand. I halved and thinly sliced the zucchini…

…and then topped the quiche with the Cheddar and zucchini slices, and brushed on a little olive oil

…then baked for about 5-10 minutes more, broiling for a few minutes toward the end to brown the top.

So, how do you like your Hamm…I mean, quiche?


Selling out: Why classic movies should return to theatres

23 Mar

Making the case for resurrecting the classics in local movie houses, and for why downtowns (especially mine) need quality theatres to screen these gems


On Wednesday evening, my mom and I saw Casablanca on the big screen as a part of a nationwide showing to celebrate the film’s 70th anniversary. While our area boasts the Palace Theatre–born as a plush movie house in the 1930s, and now enjoying popularity as a live performance venue–and Proctors–a storied vaudeville theatre expanded to host touring Broadway productions–this special screening of Casablanca took place at a modern multiplex. The sort of place I typically avoid at all costs, for its exorbitant prices, first-run crowds, maddening munching noises, sticky floors, texting tweens, and 20 minutes of in-your-face previews.

On this night, an eclectic but mostly older crowd has gathered. The theatre is packed, virtually sold-out. The movie is timeless magic. The audience claps at the end. In this over-the-top era of 3D movie spectacles, Hunger Games hype, and every other new release about war (real or imagined, past or future, alien or human), it makes my heart happy to see so many like-minded souls appreciating the quiet power of Ingrid’s teary glances, Bogart’s restrained anger, Claude Rains’ cheeky humor. In original aspect ratio, and flat, stark, black-and-white, no less.

“If only we could see more movies like that in theatres on a regular basis,” Mom and I muse on our way out. For years, I have hoped/wished/dreamed for a space in my hometown that would screen classic movies or alternative/independent-type films. We live in a small city, and like to think of it as a liberal, artsy, college town that would welcome and support an independent movie house. But nothing like that has “stuck” here. (Instead, we have become the bar-Italian restaurant-bar-Italian bistro-bar-Italian gelato hub.) Hubby and I enjoyed one of our early dates in the mid-1990s watching Rebel Without a Cause at an in-town theatre that was novel for showing classic and second-run movies to patrons seated in cozy wraparound booths, enjoying a full dinner with wine and beer. But that theatre went out of business at about the same time the nearby suburban mall was being reborn with an expanded multiplex. Years later, in the same space, idealistic entrepreneurs tried to resurrect the “dinner-and-a-movie” model, and were met with the same lack of community interest and ultimate business failure.

Popcorn Noir | Easthampton, MA

But maybe the time is right now…or soon. On the way in to work this morning, I hear a segment on APM’s Marketplace, about an enterprising couple in nearby Easthampton, Massachusetts, with a unique movie house called Popcorn Noir. It is genius. Here, all manner of movies–classic movies, film noir, kids’ features, cult favorites–are screened for free. For reals. (Or, should I say, for reels?) It is a great concept: Charge nothing for the movies; charge only for the quality food and drink, provided to patrons in an appealing, intimate setting (20 seats!). It’s doing so well that the owners are contemplating opening another location.

So this is my open plea…

  • To the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association and/or Chamber of Commerce and/or Zoning Board and/or any other entity that mysteriously shapes our fair city’s Master Plan and business mix: Please support the idea for a downtown theatre of this sort.
  • Downtown building owners: Please make it affordable for something other than a national chain, or someone other than a trust-fund socialite, to do business Downstreet.
  • Tom Doherty and Kristen Davis of Popcorn Noir: Please consider Saratoga Springs, NY for your second location.

Borders abandoned us…Let’s transform that still-empty brick behemoth on Broadway, and celebrate the classics–and cult faves, and independent films, and budding local cinematographers–in a big screen way. |

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