Deep in the woods of Maine, almost at the Canadian border, there is a most amazing, secluded paradise. The Gorman Chairback Lodge is seated in the Hundred Mile Wilderness owned and operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club. In winter, one must park seven miles away and ski, snowshoe or snowmobile in—the latter brings your gear.
Accommodations include cabins without plumbing (outhouses available) and several cabins with full baths. Bunkhouses are available for larger groups. Meals and merriment are found in the beautiful lodge. The entire enterprise is off the grid—solar and/or generated power provides the lighting and cooking needs. Cabins are heated by a wood stove and light is provided by propane lanterns. All this on the edge of Long Pond, as the New Englanders like to call what others of us would term, a lake.
About six or so 20-30- year-olds staff the place, grooming the cross country ski trails, maintaining the cabins, and cooking. This is not camp food. Instead, after a long and wonderful day enjoying the outdoors, one is treated to a sophisticated meal by a distinctly inventive cook. Abby Akeley was on duty while we were there in February and provided some of the lunches and dinners that we so enjoyed.
I’m not a person who loves a quiche, so on the morning that quiche was served, I was indulging in the sausages, the potatoes, the fruits, and the muffins. But the mushroom quiche looked too good to pass up, and I had a slice.
It was delicious, without the soggy bottom crust that so often turns me off of quiche. But I could not discern either the herb or the cheese that Abby used. I poked my head into the kitchen afterwards and learned that she had used gorgonzola—and dill. Dill?! Who would think to combine that with gorgonzola? Not I, but I was immediately sold.
If you ever have the chance to visit Gorman Chairback Lodge, you’re in for a treat, both with the natural beauty and the fabulous hospitality provided by the staff there. Till then, enjoy Abby’s unusual quiche, which I reproduce here.
Mushroom Gorgonzola Quiche
- One, 9- or 10-inch pie crust (recipe provided in the June 2013 Crozet Gazette)
- 8 oz mushrooms
- 1 T butter
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 4 oz gorgonzola cheese
- 6 eggs
- ½ cup cream
- 2 tsp dried dill
Sauté the mushrooms in the butter and oil. Add the Worcestershire sauce to the mushrooms to intensify the flavor.
Line a 9- or 10-inch pie plate with the pastry dough. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, to prevent sogginess. Put the cooked mushrooms in the bottom of the pie crust. Cut the gorgonzola into chunks and cover the mushrooms with the cheese.
Beat the eggs with the cream and pour atop the mushrooms and cheese. Sprinkle the dill on top of the eggs.
Note that I’ve not suggested additional salt. The cheese and Worchester sauce provide plenty of saltiness.
Bake at 3500F for 45-50 minutes until the eggs are set. Serve warm or at room temperature. At the Maine ski lodge, this was served at breakfast. I made it for dinner and served with green beans.