When I went away several hundred miles to college (and what seems like several hundred years ago), I was assigned to live in dormitory with all single rooms. What was initially lonely turned out to be a terrific way to make new friends. We were all in the same boat. By sophomore year, my three new BFF’s and I were using the lowest lottery number among us to pick the best “quad” room we could – a huge renovated classroom that was our home for the school year. What a blast we had there!
The following year, one of us took a break from school, and then there were three. This time, our number was even better and we “won” a beautiful suite, two bedrooms, bath, beautiful view. Then mid-year, one of us got the marriage bug and abandoned us. Now we were two and Michele and I reveled in our luxurious little apartment.
LeMans Hall at St. Mary's Collge, Notre Dame Indiana
By senior year, though, Michele was ready to move off campus and rent a house with several other friends. Although I was welcome, I really didn’t want to go. I liked campus life. So I stayed behind and this time chose another single! Most of the rooms on the same floor were also singles, so we were enjoying the ebb and flow of wanting privacy and then company. We were mostly English majors, it so happened, so I had another sense of community.
It wasn’t until several years later when I was having an intimate chat with my mother that she shared with me how much she enjoyed living a few years on her own after she graduated college. It wasn’t because Mom was a party animal. Au contraire! The experience taught her real independence and responsibility. She worked all day as a teacher, was involved with school activities, might go skating, grade her papers and fall into bed. And she said she wished that I had been able to do the same at that tender age, instead of taking the long way like I have. I hadn’t really thought about it until she mentioned it. I had pretty much jumped from home to college to marriage to working to motherhood, to making that all work together.
But it’s just a minor regret. I can see myself as a young woman decorating a little studio apartment, cooking in a teeny tiny “kitchenette,” entertaining friends with great dinners on a card table graced with candles. (Actually, I had my eye on a great looking carriage house.) But if I had taken that turn, maybe I wouldn’t have ended up here and I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.
Back to cooking – I often fall back on egg dishes. Eggs, especially Dude’s eggs, are a great way to make a motley collection of stuff come together. This dish came together because I had a lot of Swiss chard growing in the garden. This “crustless” quiche is a great way to cut back on the carbs a bit. And the reason I call it a crustless quiche instead of a frittata is because everything just goes straight to the oven – no stove top cooking of the eggs to start. I wish I would have taken a picture of this as soon as it came out of the oven. It looked so pretty then, all puffy and golden brown, looked like a soufflé. Whatever it’s called, it was delicious, especially with the addition of the curry powder. I only regret not adding something red - like peppers or tomatoes for a little color kick
Chard & Cannellini Crustless Quiche
About 4 cups fresh Swiss chard leaves (a big bowful)
2 tablespoons butter, divided
½ cup chopped onions
1 cup cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
4 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon curry powder
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly film a 9 inch pie pan with vegetable spray. Melt the butter in a high-sided frying pan and cook the Swiss chard leaves until wilted. Remove from pan to a cutting board and roughly chop. Wipe out the pan and add another tablespoon of butter and sauté the onion until transparent, not browned. Place the chard, onion, beans, and Swiss cheese evenly in the pie pan. Then whisk the eggs and half-and-half together. Add the curry powder and pour the custard over the veggies. Carefully place in oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.