Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Quick and Dirty

An update from construction central ... there was brunch on Sunday, we already had it. Mama and Papa Diva were in town and we dined on this blueberry focaccia and this ...

... outstanding veggie quiche, among other things. My quiche, as always, was spectacular ... the blueberry focaccia? Not so much. I followed the recipe exactly, save for replacing some of the white flour with whole wheat, and the finished bread was very dry. Tasty to be sure, but the texture was all wrong. I plan on reworking the recipe and improving it over the next few weeks and will post my finished rendition once its perfected.

For now, let's talk quiche! Right off the bat I'm going to admit that I used a frozen pie crust. The horror, the horror! Can I make crust? Yes. Do I? Never. I just don't see the point. I've found a brand I like and, let's be honest, making crust is a pain in the ass. So much quicker to simply reach into the freezer and get on with it. That's how I roll.

Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I don't really use a recipe or measure anything when I make quiche. I will do my best to offer specific amounts for you here, but feel free to play around it. In this incarnation, I used a mix of orange bell peppers, asparagus, onions and chives. Use any veggies you prefer. Onions are a must, mushrooms would be most welcome, and you can never go wrong with any kind of cheese. Mix and match to your heart's content!

Basic Veggie Quiche:
  • one frozen, deep-dish pie crust
  • 1/2 of a small to medium onion, minced
  • 1 small orange, yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 8 large asparagus stalks, stems peeled, cut into small rounds
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk*
  • salt and pepper
  • grated fresh nutmeg
  • paprika
  • 1 tbsp. (or more) chopped fresh chives
  • some grated Gruyere, Cheddar or Swiss cheese
Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Once the oven has heated, bake your crust blind (using pie weights or similar) for approximately 6 to 7 minutes, until it just firms up and becomes opaque. Remove from oven and reserve.

Heat 2 tsp. of olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet until it shimmers. Add the onions, peppers, asparagus, a bit of salt and pepper and saute until just beginning to brown and the veggies are crisp-tender. Remove from heat and pour the veggies into the bottom of the pie crust, smoothing out to form an even layer. Top the veggies with some grated Gruyere, Cheddar or Swiss as desired. Place the filled pie crust on a large baking sheet and reserve.

Heat 1 1/4 cups of milk in a small sauce pan over medium-high to high heat. Scald the milk, but do not boil. Watch it carefully. You want it to be hot, not burnt, so as to hasten the cooking process. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

As the milk cools, whisk 4 large eggs in large mixing bowl and to the beaten eggs add a pinch of salt, a generous grating of fresh black pepper, a pinch of paprika and a generous grating of fresh nutmeg. Whisk to combine. Temper the egg mixture by adding a bit of the scalded milk, while whisking. Continue to whisk while slowly adding the milk until the mixture is light and frothy. Add the chopped chives, stir to combine and pour into the pie crust.

Carefully transfer the quiche, baking sheet and all, to the oven. Bake in the middle of a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes ... depending on the speed of your oven. The quiche is done when lightly browned and the middle has just set and is just firm to the touch. Do not over bake. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 or 10 minutes before cutting.

Serve and enjoy! As written, this recipe will serve 6.

*About that milk ... if I'm being super fancy, I'll opt for the whole milk. If I'm feeling fat-phobic, I will use skim or reduced fat. Both work, though undoubtedly, the whole milk yields a richer, creamier version. Do as you see fit. In either case, I often will not use the full 1 1/2 cups. I just use my eye and stop adding the milk when I think the custard looks right. I have no way to tell you what "right" is, you just have to know. The custard needs at least a full cup of milk, and a bit more. If this is your first time making a quiche, opt for the full 1 1/2 cups and see how you like the results. You can always scale it back the next time if you find you'd prefer an "eggy-er" version.

Making quiche is fun! Its a quick, easy and versatile meal. Add whatever combination of veggies, meats and cheese you like, spice them up to your heart's content and bake away. Add a big, fresh salad and call it dinner. I do ... often.

So, what's in your quiche? Hungry Diva wants to know.

Bon appetit!


Tracy said...

Your quiche looks great! I'm with you on the frozen pie crust. If you've found a brand you like, why in the world would you go through the time and trouble to make one from scratch?!? I have a recipe for a ham, leek and 3-cheese quiche from Bistro Jeanty in Napa that I've been meaning to try ever since I ate there while on my honeymoon in 2006. Maybe I'll get around to it some day ;)

Miss Caught Up said...

Nom! The veggie quiche looks delish! I want to try to make it now and I cannot wait until you post the blueberry focaccia recipe!! It sounds tasty!

The Duo Dishes said...

The foccacia really got our attention. Too bad you didn't like it as much. We agree that store bought crust is so easy, and there are good ones. We've made it on the rare occasions it was necessary for our recipes, and that was a pain but worth it. Next time we're in a pinch though, it's pre-made all the way.

Heavenly Housewife said...

what a gorgeous looking quiche! I have never made on yet, but its definitely on my list of things to make :)

doggybloggy said...

whats in my quiche? my

spinach and cheese mostly

Lola said...

I always do the store bought pie crust too. But I've never done the custard technique. I usually use about 8 eggs and some 1/2 and 1/2, some cheese and veggies, bake it and call it quiche. I'm going to have to try your recipe.

words...words...words... said...

Sorry to hear about the foccacia. It really LOOKS good though! And so does the quiche.

I understand your position on frozen crusts. I feel the same way about making fresh pasta. It's a LOT of work for something that isn't that much better than what you can buy cheap, and it's not the kind of work that shows off skill or pays off in the presentation of the dish.

pixelgal said...

I'm here to tell you the quiche was really great! I liked the blueberry bread as well--toasted. A real divalicious meal. Thanks, Diva dear. I agree with you on piecrust and 'words' on home made pasta.
P.S. I was also offered a Moscow Mule and declined the offer due to the possible effects of alcohol on this suburban Sr. when there's walking to do. (sadly even one MM). But I'm taking a rain check when we have fewer activities planned.

Deb said...

any and all veggies ar quiche material.

What crust did you find that you like - I'm still looking for one that is like dear Mom's!

Anonymous said...

Yummy quiche with veggies! I also try to avoid making crusts if I can.

Anonymous said...

I make a foccaccia that looks like that one in the autumn when the seedless concord grapes are ripe and wonderful here in Ontario. .

Mom said...

Shame that the foccacia didn't turn out well. It looks delicious.

In my quiche, I'll take sausage, mushrooms, onions and cheddar. Yum!

stephchows said...

Can't wait to hear about the foccacia rework!!! Really though... blueberries??? I've never had a sweet version, mine have always been rosemary and sea salt encrusted :)

The Wino said...

Blue berry Focaccia...I have frozen blue berries and I know where to find pre-made focaccia dough...hmmm That is totally how I roll! When it comes to baking I cheet my ARSS off ;-) The quiche...I will need some mushrooms and bell peppers and spinach...or maybe spinach and artichokes, jack cheese....hmmm I am hungry now!Thanks for working throught he noise!

Marta said...

Yummy quiche! Have a good, reliable frozen pie crust is life-saving sometimes... but I really enjoy the whole process of making your own, when you have the time, that is ;)

nora@ffr said...

vat a perfect quiche. perfect coz of the healthy veggies :)
have a nice week end

Stacey said...

Wow, your veggie quiche looks amazing!

Tangled Noodle said...

I was going to say that I'm loving all the blueberries recently but sorry to hear that the focaccia fell short. At least the fantastic quiche makes up for it! I'm all about frozen pie crust - I have never actually made my own and I really don't regret it. 8-)

nick said...

"My quiche, as always, was spectacular"

It certainly looks that way. I recently had a "strata" for the first time, which is like a quiche/fritatta with less eggs and more bread. It's a great option if you are trying to keep some of the eggs out and don't mind the carbs.

It looks like the crumb on your blueberry focaccia is a little tight. I'd guess that either you over mixed or the hydration level was off (low). It does sound interesting though. I usually just stick to rosemary and MAYBE some cheese, but I'm a sucker for bluebs so I'm up for whatever!

Laura said...

Yum Diva! I'm curious, did the blueberry foccacia ever turn out? Thanks for posting on Just Another Meatless Monday! Hope to see you next week.