Sunday, March 14, 2010

The circles are small, small

Some time ago, I began to volunteer for a rescue organization called Boxer Aid and Rescue (BARC). Most of you know this. Most of you also know that Rodney joined me willingly and the rest of the family came along genially, for the most part. One of my friends told me she was impressed; she'd long been engaged in dog rescue in central Florida, and knew BARC by reputation. They're tough, she said. I asked what she meant, and she said they're known to be one of the strictest organizations of this kind in the state. They look very carefully at foster and adoptive families, and take very seriously their stated organizational rules and guidelines. She was right, as it happened. Since that time, we've fostered 10 different dogs and been enriched far beyond our expectations. But here's the interesting thing: the friend I mentioned, Cathy, became part of our small circle via Gatorbone Studios. I don't see Cathy often enough, but we share friends, loved ones, music and of course dogs. Cathy was busy with her own life, and very focused on helping to run an organization in central Florida called Paws in Prison, a program currently on hiatus because of the daunting challenges such initiatives face. (We weren't able to get one started in our county, for instance, because the County Commission won't sanction it. Presumably the liablity is too high for them. But that's another topic.) And I was busy in my little corner of the world. We connected occasionally via email or music news.

This week the BARC membership was asked if anyone could volunteer to conduct a home visit for a prospective adoptive family. I noticed that the request was in the same small town where Cathy lives, and mentioned casually that though she's not a BARC member, she's an extremely capable dog person, and has all the right tools to be able to help assess a home situation with an eye to its ability to provide a good adoptive environment for a dog. I mentioned it in passing, really, because as I said, Cathy had turned out to be right about BARC's high standards and its consistent adherence to them. To my surprise, I was asked to make the connection between our coordinator and Cathy. I sent her a note: would she consider doing this favor for our organization? She replied: It would be her honor.

And so the circles are small, my loves, holding us all close together in our little orbits, reminding us to cherish our friendships, even those in varying states of distance, old and fading or embryonic and not yet fully awakened. It's a fine old world.

In fact it is such a fine world that I have 2 quiches in the oven. And while I grant you there are people with a true arist's gift for quiche (think Giselle at Le Pavillon) they are easy enough for all of us to enjoy at home, especially if you're a rotten cheat like me, and keep a couple of frozen pie crusts around for just such occasions. This afternoon I had a beautiful bowl of pale green asparagus, steamed for dinner and leftover. And I had a bit of frozen spinach. And a shallot. Here's what I did, after thawing out and doing a little repair work on the pie crusts.

In a small skillet with a little olive oil, cook finely chopped shallots and a bit of finely chopped red onion. When the spinach is drained of as much liquid as possible, toss it into the sam skillet over very low heat, just to dry the moisture out. (I put the asparagus in the skillet, too.) Season with salt and pepper. When it's all pretty well cooked together and there's no more moisture, put this mixture into the pie crust and dsitribute evenly. Sprinkly with grated cheese. I think Giselle uses Gruyere, but Irish cheddar was what I had, so that's what I used. Whisk together about 3 eggs, a good dollop of cream if you have it, and a cup or so of milk. Season with salt, pepper and a touch of nutmeg. Pour this gently into the pie crust, too, and bake at about 350 until it's lightly browned and tests done with a toothpick. Ta da!

Make a big salad and gather your circle around. The circle will be small, small, my loves, and exceedingly happy.


  1. Mmm... I haven't eaten a good quiche in a while, and this sounds simple to make. I love spinach and asparagus too. I'll have to file this recipe away for a rainy day that begs to have on a warm oven and the smells of baking food.

    A wonderful thing to foster our four-legged friends. You have a big heart, along with your circle of friends - no matter how big or small of a circle.

  2. Michelle,
    I do love a good quiche, partly because you can bake one on Sunday and have it for lunch a couple of days during the week with a salad. If you don't have the same vegetables I talked about, use whatever you have leftover. Sometimes I think people get hung up on the idea of Perfection in Cooking, and end up being intimidated when the reality is, good simple food is not hard to make. And we seem to be in pursuit of it almost all the time.
    Thanks for your kind words about the dogs, too. I believe with you that it's a fine thing to help take care of the animals we've domesticated for our purposes, whether dogs, cats or (this is for Ms. Moon, of course) chickens. Love, love.


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