The French say "Keesh"

One of the very first complicated things I ever cooked for myself, sans parents, was a quiche that I made with my brother and his lovely friend Katherine. They were home from college, I was still in high school, and I still remember how excited we were to make something that was essentially a fancy omelet. We made a special trip to the grocery store, carefully examining bagged spinach and loose, premade pie crusts and crust mixes, Gruyere and Swiss. I remember boiling the spinach down, which took forever, and carefully mixing all the ingredients. Baking the whole thing took another hour, and when we finally pulled it from the oven, it was well on to midnight, and I was exhausted, starving, and suddenly aware that I didn't like spinach. However, I'd made it and it looked pretty, so I was happy.

Since then, I've learned to be more tolerant of spinach (Foul weed!, just kidding), and I've learned the lesson that just because something has a French name, it doesn't mean it's hard to make. On the contrary, quiche is like solid stew, being something you can throw anything into if it could reasonably be an ingredient in a salad or a sandwich. Got some bacon and mushrooms lying around? Try a bacon and mushroom quiche. Beans and watercress? Get those suckers in there. It is versatile, easy to make, and usually delicious--good for a light dinner or a nice lunch (although I wouldn't know, lunch at my company being more like ignored hunger pangs as you huddle over your computer. Damn corporate America.).

I don't actually follow a recipe for quiche. It's basically pie crust + egg and milk base + diner's choice, and you can fiddle around with the quantities, ingredients, etc. I do have a pie crust recipe, although I typically just buy a frozen pie crust at the grocery store (I use that company that starts with a P with that little dough boy who goes "hoohoo!" when you poke him, but I can't remember the name--oh! Pillsbury! Way to go, brain!). It works out fine, and unless you are a master pastry maker--and have a lot of time on your hands--I would just get the frozen shells: they cook flaky on the edges, soft on the bottom, and you get three in one package.

My favorite quiche is spinach with a little bit of diced ham and a little bit of cheese. You have to be careful with quiche not to overload on the extras--it's a fairly healthy meal, but not when you pour in half a pound of Gruyere. Still, you can play a little with the bases, substituting low-fat milk for whole milk, cutting the cheese and upping veggies like broccoli. All in all, you could do worse.

1 6-ounce bag baby spinach
4 eggs, at room temperature, beaten
3/4 cup low-fat milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
pie shell or dough (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Chop spinach--it should be shredded, but not too fine.
Brush a pie pan with olive oil.
Place pie shell or dough into pan.
Brush the dough with a small amount of beaten egg.
In a bowl, beat the eggs until foamy.
Add the milk, salt, and pepper, and beat together until very foamy and light.
Stir in the spinach.
Carefully pour the egg mixture into the pie crust, scraping out every last bit with a rubber spatula.
Place in the oven and bake 40 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned in paces. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Can be served hot, warm, or cold.

1 teaspoon active dry yeast
3 tablespoons lukewarm water
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature, beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water, and allow to sit about 10 minutes.
Beat in the egg and the olive oil.
Pour into mixture of flour and the salt.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just until smooth; do not overwork the dough.
Shape into a ball.
Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise in a draft-free spot until doubled in size, about one hour.

No comments:

Post a Comment