Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I love quiche!

Do you like quiche? I sure do.  Ever since I found a recipe for Quiche Lorraine on a can of Carnation brand evaporated milk years ago, I’ve been making quiche at home. I often make two at a time. I like the leftovers for a quick breakfast in the morning or I take a slice to work and warm it up for a yummy lunch. My husband likes the left overs too... it reheats well and he tops it with salsa. Over time, I’ve discovered quiche is like pizza... pick your favorite veggies, cheese, and meat (or leave the meat out)... throw it in a pie shell, cover it all in a milky-egg custard, and pop it in the oven. Easy as pie... I mean quiche! Bacon (I use turkey bacon), onions, and Swiss cheese for traditional Quiche Lorraine. Ham, Swiss cheese, onion, and bell peppers are a good combination, as are smoked andouille sausage, onions, bell peppers, and pepper jack cheese. Quiche is actually a good dish to make to use up “odds and ends” in the fridge.

The one tip I have for quiche is to always saute the veggies before including them in the quiche. Sauteing sort of “sweats” the excess moisture out of the veggies; if you miss this step, the quiche can be a bit “wet”... not a good thing. I made this quiche for my husband yesterday so he has some easy left overs in the fridge. I used what I had on hand as far as veggies, meat and cheese... but really... there are infinite possibilities. Here’s the recipe:

Quiche with Ham, Swiss, Peppers, and Green Onions

1 un-baked pie crust (frozen, your own recipe, or see my Mom’s recipe below)
3 large eggs
1 can evaporated milk (14 ounces)
1/4 to ½ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
½ to 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
½ red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup sliced green onions (green and white part)
1 to 1 ½ cups grated Swiss cheese
5 to 6 ounces diced ham

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the eggs, milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and crushed red pepper flakes; set aside.

In a non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil; add the peppers and onions. Saute (or sweat) out the excess moisture until the white onions become translucent; stir frequently.

To assemble, place the ingredients in the prepared pie pan in the following order: cheese, sauteed vegetables, ham. Next, pour the egg-mixture over the layered ingredients. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes. You might want to check your quiche for doneness at about 45 minutes (I live at high altitude and 55 minutes is perfect for me, but your sea level quiche may cook more quickly).

Mom’s Pie Crust:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 to 3 tablespoons ice cold water

Here’s what my mom taught me to do:

Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the vegetable oil; stir with two forks until mixture resembles peas/coarse crumbs. Add about 2 tablespoons ice cold water (more if needed) and gently mix until dough comes together; stir the dough as little as possible once the water is added (or crust will be tough). Roll the dough between two sheets of wax paper and then put the pie crust in a pie pan. This pie crust is relatively easy to make but it’s not easy to shape like crusts made with shortening or butter. I like to think my pie crusts have “rustic charm”. My mom makes this crust better than me (her’s are much prettier). Despite the fact that this is not the prettiest crust, it works well in this quiche recipe and I always have the ingredients on hand.

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