I am back from my quick stint in Florida and have never been more sad to leave, but at the same time more happy to get home to Jersey to this cool pre-Fall weather. Florida is hot ya’ll! I spent my last afternoon in Valparaiso feeling my skin burn on Eglin’s Military beach, though the water and company did provide some refuge.
Anyway, back to food and back to books.
As I mentioned in my last post, I brought the novel Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen with me on my travels and dug into most of it sitting around Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and on my flight to and from Florida. Stormy Weather has a lot going for it. I mean, the list of unlovable characters that you can’t help but adore is endless.
There’s a prostitute, Edie, and her pimp, Snapper, who attempt multiple insurance frauds with the occasional beat-down/murder-driven encounters. Then there’s the self-centered newlywed Max who literally leaves his wife Bonnie on the streets of hurricane-torn Miami to chase the feral monkey that stole his video camera. Did I mention he was taking footage of the devastation to sell to news stations? His persuit of the monkey inevitably got him kidnapped by ex-governer turned toad-poison smoking drug addict Skink. I said that right, toad-poison smoking drug addict. Skink happens to be friends with a gentleman named Augustine, of which whom Bonnie (Max’s bride) falls for. And as a real kicker, Augustine inherited his Uncle’s collection of exotic anmals from his zoo, all of which escaped from their cages during the hurricane- including a certain feral monkey.
All those loons, plus a son wanting to avenge his mothers death by killing the salesman who sold her a flimsy house, crazed ex-wife who is wants to run back to her ex-husband after she learned of her old home’s value and her current boyfriend’s affair, and two poor Dachshunds caught up in the mess of it all.
Even though it seems like I gave away a lot, I really only told you the first 50 pages. You can’t even imagine or guess what happened from pages 51 through 380. I’ll give one part away, kind of. There is a crucifixion gone completely wrong, but totally as planned at the same time. All I’ll say is, when I read the crucifixion scene, I had to read it twice because I couldn’t believe it. I’d never laughed so hard in public.
Also an interesting point, Stormy Weather is written in third person omniscient, meaning the narrator, who I believe is the hurricane, reports on events, feelings, and thoughts from the perspective of any character at any time. And more interestingly, it was done really well! Third person can be difficult to write in, especially when the perspective travels a lot. Considering the sheer load of characters the novel follows, Hiaasen took on a great challenge when he decided to write from this point of view. For a schmuck writer, like myself, this technique would be an epic failure. But for dark-comedic writer Hiassan, it came so naturally. I applaud you.
So how does this relate to quiche? Well it doesn’t. In fact, the quiche is very boring in comparison to this novel. But just as Stormy Weather was a nice season capper to Summer, so is this quiche. Made with Summer vegetables, but still acting as a food blanket to cool end of Summer morning, it’s also kind of like a season capper.
Anyway, you should really read Stormy Weather because there’s only one guy sick enough to think of the kinds of things written in this book, and that’s the author. And I say sick in the nicest, more endearing way possible.
For the Pastry:
1 1/4 Cups flour
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
4 Tablespoons cold butter
4 Tablespoons shortening
2-4 Tablespoons ice cold water
3 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
For the Filling:
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Tablespoon + 1 Teaspoon olive oil
1/4 Cup onion, diced
1 large potato, any kind
2/3 Cup green beans
1/4 Cup diced tomato
3 large tomato slices
2 Teaspoons sirracha
1 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon pepper
2 Teaspoons parmesan cheese
3 Tablespoons whole milk
1 Avocado, optional
For the Pastry: Sift together flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter and shortening. When it forms pea-sized crumbles, add in ice cold water until it just comes together. Roll out on a floured surface. Grease a 9-inch round pie with a TON of butter and lay your crust down. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
For the Filling: Preheat oven to 350 Degree Fahrenheit. In a saute pan, heat butter and 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Add potatoes and onions to the heated pan, giving them a light sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook until just fork tender. Set aside to cool. Beat the eggs with the milk, salt, pepper, and sirracha. Then add in cooled potato and onion mixture, green beans, diced tomatoes, and parmesan cheese. Pour the mixture into the pie pan and place the slices on tomato on top. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool and serve with sliced avocado.
When I asked myself, What quote BEST captures the themes and nature of Stormy Weather, this quote was the obvious fit:
“Edie Marsh headed to Dade County from Palm Beach, where she’d spent six months trying to sleep with a Kennedy.”
Wow, Shayna! As I was reading the reipce, I thought to myself, I don’t know if I’d like that. (I’m a picky eater.) But then you showed that wonderful photo of the finished product and I wanted to dig right in! It looks so good!