September 9

Real Men Eat Quiche

Before anyone is offended by the post title, it’s a joke. Back in 1982, Pocket Books published a satirical book titled, Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche.” Basically, it made fun of male stereotypes and was popular enough to be on the New York Times Best Seller list for fifty-five weeks. The best part was that a segment of the U.S. population thought the book was serious (because they didn’t actually read it). There were actually marches by men who didn’t want to eat quiche because they considered it too feminine. Good thing we don’t have to deal with that kind of craziness any more.

Personally, I love quiche. I like to make a couple of them on a sleepy Sunday morning, then have a piece for breakfast every morning over the course of the week. Just toss it in the microwave for a minute and it’s a quick, warm, and mostly healthy breakfast.

One of the best things about it is that it’s versatile. As long as you have your base ingredients – eggs and milk – you’re good to go. Everything else depends on you and what appeals to your tastes. In fact, even the base is adjustable. So if you’re vegan or lactose-intolerant, you can switch out the eggs and milk for alternatives.

Me, being me, forgot to pick up pie crusts when I was grocery shopping this past weekend, so I ended up making crustless quiche. Which I guess you could simply call an egg casserole. But I made it in a pie pan, so I’m going to call a technicality and claim it’s still a quiche.

Pretty, isn’t it?

Quiche

Here’s the recipe I used. It’s enough for two quiche, with or without crust. If you do go with a pre-made pie crust, I recommend you use a deep dish one. Less chance for spillage.

10 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup of Almond milk
12 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 bag frozen spinach, heated and drained
Salt
Pepper
1 pound bacon, cooked, degreased with paper towels, chopped

Start off by sautéing the peppers and onions. Microwave the spinach while you’re sautéing, then put it in a colander to drain (you can also use some paper towels to get out the excess water). I’ll also cook the bacon at the same time (in the oven).

Once all that is done, let it cool off for a few minutes. Tossing the hot veggies and bacon into the raw egg will start to cook it, and you don’t want that. Also, set the oven for 350f (176c) and put the rack in the middle.

Crack your eggs into a good-sized bowl and whisk until well-blended. Add the milk and blend. I then add some salt and pepper and the cheese, blending it all together. Once the veggies and bacon are cooled off, toss them in, as well, and blend it well with a whisk or spoon.

Grease or oil your baking dish with some olive oil, butter, or if you’re feeling frisky, bacon grease. I used a couple of glass pie pans, but you can use a casserole dish. If you have pie crusts, you obviously don’t need to do this.

Pour the mixture into the pans/casserole/pie crusts, then put in the oven and set the timer for about 45 minutes. When the alarm goes off you can check to see if they’re cooked in the center. You can do this with a toothpick or a knife. Just stick it in the center of each quiche and see if it comes out clean. If not, give it another ten minutes and check again. Once it comes out clean, remove from the oven and let cool for about ten minutes before digging in.

Like I mentioned above, you can do so much to personalize quiche. Try adding a tiny pinch of cinnamon or some fresh herbs. Switch out kale for the spinach, or use fresh greens instead of frozen. Use different veggies, like tomato or thinly sliced carrots or parsnips. You can omit the meat if you’d like, or switch it up by cooking some ground sausage, shredded cooked chicken, or maybe some cooked crab meat. The options are limitless so let your imagination run wild.

If you try the recipe, or a variation of it, let me know how it turns out.

RB

September 7

The Prometheus Project Podcast – A Sense of Wonder

We often take for granted how important it is to have a sense of wonder about the world around us. Not only for our own mental health, but also because it can fuel our creativity. Join me as I talk about regaining our childlike sense of wonder and how we can use it to improve ourselves and our art.

The podcast is available at iTunes, GooglePlay, Spotify, and PodBean. If you prefer, I also have a YouTube channel.

September 2

Left in Stitches

So, I had a minor procedure on my shoulder recently that left me with eight stitches and a really cool scar. Nothing major. I was in and out of the doctor’s office in less than an hour. But it got me thinking about injuries I’ve had over the years, the bangs and bruises, the breaks and the blood. I’m amazed at how well the body can bounce back and heal from these things. It also makes me wonder about how injuries can change us and how the experiences can be reused.

In most cases, at least for me, the injuries were a result of doing something stupid or not paying attention. For example, I have a scar on my knee from when I was a kid. I was riding my bike on the sidewalk and looking back over my shoulder – instead of stopping to look at whatever it was – and I rode straight into a telephone pole. My knee located a protruding nail on the pole and taught me a valuable lesson: Look where you’re going, dumbass!

As a writer, I tend to use these experiences to help me in my stories, specifically when describing pain, or how it sounds when a bone snaps, or the sensation of being stitched up. I’m not entirely sure how much realism this allows me to add to the stories. Is accuracy here that important to the reader? Is it something they notice?

It reminds me of a story about the filming of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. He was shooting a scene with Christopher Lee where a character gets stabbed. Jackson wanted the victim to cry out and thrash about, but Lee pulled him aside and said that wasn’t realistic. You see, Lee had worked as a spy during World War II and had personal experience with this situation. Although he didn’t come right out and say how he learned it, but he knew how someone would react when stabbed a certain way. Jackson was impressed and went with Lee’s recommendation for the scene.

Which then brings me back to the old adage of “write what you know”. I know what it feels like to be cut by glass and by knives (both sharp and dull); I’ve stepped on nails and fallen off of roofs; I’ve wiped out on motorcycles far too many times; and I’ve had a few broken bones. And yeah, I’ve learned a few tough lessons. Like, taking my time when carrying heavy items on my shoulder when climbing a ladder. And while bushes will break ones fall, the branches will still puncture skin.

Of course, your life experiences may not be quite as adventurous as mine. Probably because you have more common sense than I do. But I do tend to look back on my past injuries with a sort of fondness. Lessons were learned, experience gained, and now I have a small library of real-life experience to pull from when I write.

When I was laying on the examination table in the doctor’s office while the nurse coaxed the stitches out of my shoulder, I thought about a story I’m working on where my protagonist gets drunk and ends up in a fight. I wondered about what injuries he was going to end up with (I haven’t written the full scene yet) and I tried to concentrate on my experience so I could use it. The soft snipping sound, the slight tugging at the skin as the nurse pulled the fibers out, the way it itched later in the day.

Yeah, that’s definitely going to be used.

But don’t take this as encouragement to hurt yourself just so you can write about it later. My point is that we can use life experience, our personal experience, in our writing.

And be careful on ladders.

RB