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Cooking with Joan Nathan.

This Sunday I made Crustless Quiche Clafoutis with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, and Olive Oil with my friend Moira (she graduated from my school last year and now lives in a house in Philadelphia – with a kitchen and everything). I should thank her now for helping me make the quiche. I don’t think it would have worked as well in my dorm’s microwave.

The recipe comes from Joan Nathan’s newest cookbook, Quiches, Kugels and Couscous, the result of Nathan’s exploration of Jewish cuisine in France. On November 13, during the First Person Festival , you can brunch with Joan Nathan and hear all about her culinary adventure while munching on delicacies from Argan Moroccan Cuisine, Hershel’s East Side Deli and Zahav. Click here for more information and to buy tickets.

After taking the short train ride from Bryn Mawr to Market East, I joined Moira and headed over to 10th and South to Super Fresh. There we bought crumbled goat cheese, grated parmesan, cherry tomatoes, eggs, and fresh basil. We only had a problem finding creme fraiche (probably because we were unsure of what it was); luckily, the nice man at Whole Foods (conveniently right across the street) pointed us in the right direction.

I’m not going to lie, I was really nervous for this assignment. I had never made a quiche before and am not the greatest culinary talent (except for my morning bagels which I toast and spread cream cheese on myself). Fortunately, I had two important tools with me: Moira and Joan Nathan’s cookbook. The recipe was easy quick and easy to follow. It only took about 15-20 minutes to prep and 45 minutes to bake. I feel like Julia Child, only Asian and in Philadelphia.

After only 5 minutes in the oven, the quiche already smelled great. The recipe said to serve the quiche immediately after coming out of the oven. So, after (im)patiently waiting for the timer to go off, Moira and I quickly gave ourselves generous portions. “This is the kind of thing you would make if you were going to a dinner party with a cute boy and you want to impress him,” Moira said gleefully. I was definitely impressed with our efforts, the quiche was light and airy. Plus, anything with tomatoes and basil gets an A in my book. The fact that the quiche tasted great this morning after heating it up for breakfast was the cherry on top.

In the end, it was a great way to spend my Sunday afternoon, and I hope I will be able to make more of Nathan’s recipes before anyone finds out that I have a copy of the cookbook in my dorm.

Here’s a sneak peek at the recipe I used: 

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
1/4 cup whole fresh basil leaves
6 large eggs
3 heaping tablespoons creme fraiche
1 cup of milk
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly round pepper to taste
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes


  1. Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 10-inch quiche mold or springform pan with parchment paper 
  2. Put the basil leaves in a small cup, and coat with the tablespoon of olive oil, letting them macerate while you prepare the quiche
  3. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Then stir in the creme fraiche, milk, goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, flour, salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste, making sure there are no lumps of flour. 
  4. Put the cherry tomatoes in the prepared pan, cover with the egg mixture, and poke the basil leaves in throughout 
  5. Put the quiche in a cold oven, then turn up the heat to 350 degrees. Cook for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the quiche starts to turn slightly golden on top. Serve immediately or at room temperature. 

Don’t forget to hear all about the stories behind this recipe and many others at Nathan’s event. (Besides, you never know when you’ll need one of the recipes to impress a cute boy).
– Laura Reeve

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