This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe is Quiche Maraîchère. What an appropriate choice for my last FFWD posting from Cambria. A loose translation of the french word, maraîchère, is truck farming. “When you see the word,” Dorie says, “you know market-fresh produce is in the mix.”
Cambria’s Friday afternoon farmer’s market has been a constant delight. ( In Aspen our market begins in late-June.) This quiche, filled with celery, leeks, carrots, and red pepper, was a nourishing market bonanza for me. In the spirit of full disclosure, I purchased my tart shell. The flavorful filling, however, of fresh-grown veggies mixed with heavy cream and eggs masked the humiliation of store-bought. The grated cheese on top provided a needed punch.
I head back to Snow Country this weekend. You’ve already read about my central coast explorations and wine shenanigans. Now let me stroll down Cambria’s lane to show what’s made this winter so special. To my thinking every long-term living situation needs structure, routine and a support system. (Well, mine does.) This sleepy, generous community has provided that to me.
Although I had visited here before, I arrived in January knowing only Heidi and Janet Huff, the mother/daughter duo who owns Cambria Vacation Rentals and rented me my house. I’d often climb the 50-some steps to their office just for free red licorice and chit-chat, Cambria-style. Juanita Poff and Suzie Hiatt, who own Cambria Business Center, took care of my mail and business needs. A daily and friendly stop.
It was also Suzie who helped me find my Gym. I wanted to continue Zumba this winter so she suggested the Dance Fitness class at Gym One. Why I thought Dance Fitness translated into Zumba, I will never know. I showed up for my first class with my Zumba shoes on! There were about 20 very fit women in the gym, ranging from annoyingly-young to 75 years old. They were barefoot. The instructor, Calico, who was also barefoot, explained that this was a sensory-based movement class called Nia and since the first class was free, why didn’t I just try it. I agreed to try it but I kept my shoes on.
I may have walked into this class as a hotsy-totsy Zumba student from Aspen but I crawled out humbled. And, sweating. And, my knee hurt. But I decided I had 14 weeks, 3 lessons a week, to look like Calico so I joined up. Nia is not easy, my friends. There are 16 different hour-long routines, your hands are supposed to coordinate with your feet and you make guttural sounds. I never was very good but by class #3, I was barefoot. The best part – my fellow Nia-ers. I will miss them.
For the 6 years I previously visited Cambria, the town was always fund-raising for a new library. Every year I’d return to stop by the same cramped and small library. This year, Holy Andrew Carnegie, they’d raised the money, had just moved in and were soon to host a grand opening. I picked up my library card and planned to join the celebration, a 5pm-7pm Open House a week later. When I arrived the entire town was already jammed into the library for the reception. I’ve never seen a community so pleased and proud of an accomplishment.
Although I usually prepared my own meals, when I’d run out to lunch, my favorite spots were the uniquely appealing Ruddell’s Smokehouse in nearby Cayugos or Boni’s Tacos, Cambria’s only food wagon, where their authentic tacos are $2. My scandalous snack of choice this winter has been the Caramel Glazed Kettle Corn. Every Friday I would buy a $6 sack at our farmer’s market and throughout the week, eat the whole thing. Yep, I did.
My souvenir t-shirt should read: I SPENT THE WINTER IN CAMBRIA AND SURVIVED THE DROUGHT RESTRICTIONS. It’s been a new experience to share my shower with a big black bucket but we’ve bonded and become friends.
French Fridays with Dorie is an international cooking group working its way through Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table, more than 300 recipes from my home to yours. The recipe for Quiche Maraîchère is here. To see if real Doristas eat quiche, check out our FFWD site. Next week I’ll be home, posting from Aspen, Colorado — where, since it is still snowing, I will not be going barefoot.