Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What's in a Name?

I think everyone who cooks for their family is familiar with the question "What's for dinner?"  Well, my husband asks this question a lot.  Mostly because he tends to forget the answer quite frequently.

Recently, my husband kept asking what was for dinner and for some reason (and this wasn't planned), the dishes we were having were named after people and places.  Chicken Diane, Quiche Lorraine, and Potatoes Anna.  My husband then asked me "What's with all of these foods with women's names?  I can't keep them straight!"

Then it got me thinking about foods that were named after people and places and why.  I found this handy (and quite extensive) list: List of Foods Named After People.  It's kind of fun to browse through.  It has some fun facts as well.  Many people are aware that sandwiches are named after The Earl of Sandwich.  However, they were around a long time before he was.  However, he made them popular because he liked to eat them while he played card games.  He could eat and play at the same time and thus his games weren't interrupted.

Some fantastic foods are named after people.  Beef Wellington, Napoleons, Eggs Benedict, just to name a few.

I'll have to revisit this blog subject many additional times in the future with other recipes inspired by names.  But today, I'll just do the ones that my husband was teasing me about.  I had already posted the recipe for Chicken Diane (which you can find here).  So, I'll share the recipes for Quiche Lorraine and Potatoes Anna tonight.

Quiche Lorraine is not named after a woman, but after the Lorraine region in France.

Potatoes Anna or Pommes Anna is a dish of sliced potatoes that was created and named by French chef Adolphe Duglere for the 19th-century courtesan/actress Anna Deslions.  Both of these dishes are great no matter who or what they are named after!

Quiche Lorraine



1 cup Gold Medal all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
2-3 tablespoons cold water


8 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled (1/2 cup)
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese (4 oz)
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
4 large eggs
2 cups whipping cream or half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)


In medium bowl, mix flour and salt.  Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas.  Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl (1-2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).

Gather pastry into a ball.  Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface.  Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable.  This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky.  If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.  With floured rolling pin, roll pastry into round 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch quiche dish or glass pie plate.  Fold pastry into fourths; place in quiche dish.  Unfold and ease into dish, pressing firmly against bottom and side.  Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate.  Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; flute as desired.

Carefully line pastry with a double thickness of foil, gently pressing foil to bottom and side of pastry.  Let foil extend over edge to prevent excessive browning.  Bake 10 minutes.  Carefully remove foil and bake 2-4 minutes longer or until pastry just begins to brown and has become set.  If crust bubbles, gently push bubbles down with back of spoon.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.  Sprinkle bacon, cheese, and onion in pie crust.  In medium bowl, beat eggs slightly; beat in remaining filling ingredients.  Pour into quiche dish.

Bake 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Source: Betty Crocker recipe found here.

Notes: The recipe mentions that if you don't have time to make your own crust, you can use a ready-to-go refrigerated or frozen pie crust.  And that's just what I did!  I got a Marie Callendar pie crust and followed the package's instructions for baking a quiche.  And do you know what?  It saves something like 200 calories per serving.  So, it saves you time and calories.  Win/win!

Potatoes Anna


6 medium russet potatoes (2 3/4 pounds total), peeled
6 tablespoons butter, melted
Coarse salt and ground pepper


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Using a food processor with a slicing blade or a sharp knife, slice potatoes as thinly as possible, 1/4 inch thick or thinner.  (Do not place sliced potatoes in water; the starch is needed to bind the layers.)

Brush bottom of a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with 1 1/2 tablespoons butter.  Starting in center of pan, arrange potato slices, slightly overlapping, in circular pattern, covering surface.  Brush with another 1 1/2 tablespoons butter; season well with salt and pepper.  Repeat for two more layers.

Place over high heat until butter in pan sizzles, 2-4 minutes.

Transfer to oven; bake until potatoes are fork-tender, about 1 hour.  Remove from oven.  Run a small spatula around edges of potatoes; slide large spatula underneath potatoes to loosen.  Carefully invert onto a plate, and cut into wedges.

Recipe Note: Brushing each layer with butter and seasoning with salt and pepper creates a delicious buttery flavor throughout.

Source: Martha Stewart recipe found here.

Notes: I used my mandolin to slice the potatoes.  My potatoes only took 45 minutes to cook, so watch them carefully!


  1. Is that the mandolin that I gave you that year for your birthday? Do you really like it? Do you use it a lot?

    By the way, the first time I had Quiche Lorraine was in the mid 1970's...close to when you were born. Doesn't sound quite so long ago as the mid 1900's. :)

  2. That is the mandolin that you gave me for my birthday two years ago. I love it. It definitely comes in handy. I really hadn't had too many opportunities to use it before we moved into our new house though. It was just too hard to get out, use, clean up, and put away at my in-laws'. But now, it's a lot easier to do!