Eating Thai, Serving Beer, Growing Up French, Chocolate Truffles, Heavenly Herbs

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It Began in the Garden sells all kinds of herbs and scented geraniums at the Wednesday and Saturday Santa Monica Farmers' Markets, both at 3rd and Arizona.

Jet Tila is a private cooking teacher and the owner of Bangkok Market in Hollywood. He spoke about Ban Phai, at 5908 Sunset Blvd (near Bronson) in Los Angeles, where he recommends the spicy steamed seafood.

Sang Yoon is the owner of Father's Office, 1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, 310-393-2337.

Cabaret Chocolates can be found online and at Vicente Foods, at Bundy and San Vicente in Brentwood.

Josie LeBalch is the owner/chef of Josie, 2424 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica. 310-581-9888.

Mushroom Quiche Filling:

  • 1/4 cup chopped assorted mushrooms
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 tsp chopped shallots
  • 3/4 lb Swiss cheese, grated
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • Dash nutmeg, optional
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed in small pieces
  • 3/4 cup shortening
To make the crust, heat oven to 350oF. Lightly butter two 9-inch pie pans.

Blend the flour and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the mixture looks like meal. Slowly add just enough cold water for the dough to come together.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and shape it into a ball. Cut it in half and wrap each half in plastic. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.

Roll the dough outward from the center to 1/8 inch thickness. Place the dough in the pie pans, flute the edges and prick the bottoms with a fork. Line the dough will foil, then place dry beans or pie weights on the dough so it does not shrink.

Bake the crusts for 20 minutes. Remove the beans, and bake the crusts another 5 minutes, until golden brown. Let them cool.

To make the quiches, heat oven to 375 oF. Saut- the mushrooms in butter over medium-high heat until they have released their moisture and are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper, and cook them until they are softened and very fragrant, about 1 minute.

Beat together eggs and salt. Add the sour cream and half-and-half. If you like nutmeg, add it to the batter. Beat until smooth.

Layer the cheese in the bottom of the cooled pie shells, then the chopped mushroom mixture, and another layer of cheese. Add the egg mixture just to the top of the cheese. Do not overfill. Bake the quiches until the center is set and has puffed up a bit and the quiches are lightly browned, 45 minutes. Cool before cutting.

Shirley Kerins, former curator at the herb garden at the Huntington Library is the author of A Celebration of Herbs published by the Huntington Library.

Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens is open from 12-4pm every day but Monday. In May, the Huntington holds its annual large herb/plant sale.

Here are the herbs that Shirley mentioned:

Shade herbs:

lemon balm
Sun herbs:
Creeping thymes good to grow between stones:
caraway thyme
wooly thyme
red creeping thyme