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Don't Be Knead-y! Pastry And Romance, Part 5: Have You Ever Dreamed Of Going To Culinary School?

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Lesson 16. 32 recipes to go and I'm officially obsessed with cooking.

Every night after class, I hit Dean & Deluca. After putting the kids to bed, I practice. I cook the steak, filet the fish, add the butter, butter... more butter! Delicious. Instead of a facial, I usually get my glow from a nice bottle of Bordeaux and finally, I can relax. Cooking has become an all-consuming lover and I can't separate from it now -- no matter how exhausted I am beginning to feel. I will complete 600 hours in the kitchen and qualify to test for certification in the Culinary Arts program at ICC. At that point, I will stop, breathe and take stock of my future.

In the past two weeks, I've learned how to make the most amazing Brandade De Morue, or salted cod using heavy cream. I've also learned how to gut, filet and carefully remove any tiny, hair-like bones protruding from the spine of a fish with something that closely resembles an eyebrow tweezer. Next came the chicken, then the duck and now I'm just praying they don't hand me a small puppy. Although hard to stomach, I have become laser focused and fearless.

Today is tart day. I love breakfast so much I often eat it for dinner. Quiche Lorraine has always been a personal favorite for brunch with the girls. I'm really looking forward to it as I make my way towards the train. Suddenly, my phone starts vibrating. It's Lisa. Her romance is reaching a hard boil and she's gone from having a plastic bag under his bed containing her private matters to a bit of hanging space in his closet. As we all know from our single daze (intentional), this is cause for celebration. However, it's been two days since the monumental moment and he hasn't called. I remind her we are 40, successful, independent and fierce women. Of course he will call. I'm suddenly missing Sex and The City, wishing we had a regular brunch spot where we could see Samantha and Lisa could adopt her carefree attitude about sex with younger men. Can anyone out there relate to that? In the spirit of true sisterhood, when one takes a hit, the other goes along for the fall.

I rush into class... late. Soon, I'm chopping and beating and whipping up quite a fury in the classroom. We had previously prepared the recipe for pate brisée, a flaky tart dough made with egg, so it could rest overnight in the refrigerator. I gently knead the dough to soften it and my mind wanders to Lisa. It's so hard coming out of a divorce not to feel needy. It's sort of like having a limb chopped off and being forced to carry it around with you and flog each other with it from time to time. Relationships are complicated and messy. I realize I'm overworking my dough and start to roll it. I place it in a small buttered pan. I cook the bacon until it's lightly browned. My mouth instantly starts to water. I season the custard and sprinkle in the Gruyère cheese.

I breathe in the salty goodness. I let it bake until just set.

Tune in on Thursday for Part 6 & for more on posts from Heidi Brod on culinary school, click here.

Excerpts inspired by the class, Serious Amateur, French Culinary Institute, Recipe and photos taken from International Culinary Center.

Heidi Brod and Lisa Stolov have a daily newsletter/website DishInOutBeauty.com that focuses on health and beauty from the inside out.

Quiche Lorraine
Yield: One Tart, 8 Servings
For the Tart Shell
1 recipe Pâte Brisée (with egg)
*This will be available on our website.
Butter, for the flan ring and bottom

For the Garniture
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 oz slab bacon, cut in lardons
2 oz Gruyère cheese, grated

For the Custard
4 oz of milk
4 oz of heavy cream
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
Salt, as needed
Cayenne Pepper, as needed
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 egg for egg wash
Parsley sprigs, for garnish

1. Make the pate brisée and allow it to rest, refrigerated, for 30 minutes.
2. Roll out the dough and place it in a small, buttered flan ring. Decorate the borders and refrigerate until cold.
3. Cook the bacon in oil until lightly browned. Remove and reserve.
4. Prepare and season the custard.
5. Blind bake the pastry shell at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove it from the oven and distribute the cheese and bacon evenly on the bottom. Pour the custard mixture over it.
* See website for directions for blind baking.
6. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Two thirds of the way through baking remove the ring and brush the crust with egg wash. The quiche should bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until just set: do not over bake, or the eggs will scramble.
7. Serve warm, in wedges, garnished with parsley sprigs.

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