28 September 2010

Lessons from some Eggs and Cream

At my high school we had a Who's Who just like most other high schools -ours wasn't called that, because we were too snobby to call it what most call it... But anyway... Wittiest, Most Beautiful, etc. The senior class voted and nominated three or four girls and guys for each award - and then we voted again to pick from those three or four. You know how it works, right?

I was nominated for four things - Most Intellectual, Most Likely to Succeed, Most Versatile and Favorite. Well, as it probably is in most high schools, the other folks nominated for these things were mostly also great friends of mine. It was nice, because we got to laugh all the way through it - no pressure or hurt feelings or anything.

One of my very, very best friends (now the godmother to my only daughter) was nominated for Most Intellectual with me. And she's smarter than I am, and at least as intellectually curious, so I voted for her and rooted for her (and apparently the rest of the school did too, because she won...).

Another dear childhood friend of mine was nominated for Most Likely to Succeed. And I bet the other three of us nominated got five votes combined because, well, we all KNEW she was more likely to succeed than the rest of us. (Although, I'd challenge the definition of success we were all assuming...). But using the traditional version of success, well, she needed to win, and we were right - she's now in her anesthesia residency and married to a fellow anesthesiologist and just, well, the picture of 'success'.

But... well, I wanted to win Most Versatile. What a fun thing to be, right? Versatile? I wanted it. I can admit it now. I think I admitted it to a few then, but now I can loudly proclaim that's what I wanted (it has been a while...). But I lost. To a friend who was probably more versatile than I - she was an athlete after all. And an athlete I am not.

I got named a Favorite - which is great! And I'm in a Favorites picture with some of my favorites - including bee's other godparent and eason's godmother.

But...I always wish I had been Most Versatile. I was reminded of this adolescent disappointment last night while making supper.


The Most Versatile of dishes.

I should have taken lessons from some eggs and cream. Or joined the cross country team my senior year.

Quiche is an unsung hero in the culinary world. Clearly it is versatile in the time of day it can be served. What other food can be breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon snack, hors doeuvre, weeknight supper and midnight snack and never, ever be out of place? But, it is also versatile in what can be in it. Anything. You can make an anything quiche. Well, maybe not chocolate. But pretty much any veggie, meat or cheese, and the combinations are endless.

There are as many combinations of quiche fillings as there are ways to make shrimp according to Bubba. (Now I know I've referenced that recently.... =) ).

So, I'm here to encourage you to become a quiche maker.

Need a real lunch?
Inviting friends for brunch and mimosas on Saturday ('cause you should...)?
Have people coming in from out of town to spend the night and need a late night snack or an easy breakfast?
Want to feed your family a nutritious meal on a weeknight and clean out your fridge a little?
Morning baby shower?

You get the point - Quiche - it's the way to go.

So, here is the Quiche recipe I use.
Realistically, it's about 30 -35 minutes of active preparation and then 40 more minutes in the oven, but you can do so much in that 40 minutes, I don't really count it.
You could also get your toppings ready to go and all your ingredients out earlier in the day and feel like Martha Stewart putting all together. If you want to eat at 6:30, get out your food processor at 5:15.

For a 9x13. Can be halved for an 8x8 or a 9-inch pie plate, but it makes great leftovers.

Preheat oven to 375. Get out your food processor. Buy one if you don't have one. You know who you are...

(You can use any pastry - store bought pie crust or your favorite savory pastry recipe, but this is my favorite)

In the bowl of your food processor, put 1 1/2 cups of flour and a generous pinch of good salt. Whiz it around once. Take the top back off and take a stick of butter out of the fridge. Cut pieces off until you've cut the whole thing into the processor. Top back on. Whiz again, about a minute until it looks like oatmeal or small peas or some other sort of visual representation of butter-bound flour globs. Leaving top on, leaving it whizzing, spoon 3 T heavy cream into the spout thing. You'll all of a sudden have a ball of buttery dough. You'll want to eat it. Resist.

This is called Pat-in-the-pan dough - a recipe from Joy of Cooking, that I don't remember if I've changed at all. Anyway, pat it in the pan.... =) Take your fingers and just pat it into your 9x13. If you want to refrigerate it first for about 15 minutes, it'll be easier to pat. But I'm usually in a hurry and just fight with it.

Pop in oven for 13 minutes.

While pastry is cooking, do the following:

Wash bowl of food processor. Crack 4 eggs into it as well as a bonus egg yolk, reserving his white in a hand dandy ramekin off to the side. Whiz them about a bit. Add generous salt and pepper - probably 1 1/2 tsps salt and 3/4 tsps pepper, but again, just please grind it yourself.

Now, you have two options. You can be really bad or just sort of bad. You need 3 cups of milk/cream stuff. When I'm being really bad (so making for guests or a baby shower or something), I do 1 1/2 cups half and half and 1 1/2 cup cream. But, when I'm doing it for supper, like last night, I do 1 cup cream, 1 cup half and half, and 1 cup milk. You can tell a difference, but it's still great and not quite so bad for you.

Add your three cups of liquid goodness to the bowl of the food processor. Now, pulse it. If you turn it on and let it run, it will over flow the sides and that will be disappointing for you. Trust me. So, just pulse a few times. And leave it there.

When the crust gets done, remove from oven, brush it with the reserved egg white and set aside.

Now, for the filling. There isn't really a recipe, per say, but I will give you a list of options I use most often.

Sauteed onions
Chopped, fresh tomatoes
Cooked Broccoli
Cooked Spinach
Left over Roasted Chicken
Deli ham or turkey, chopped
Shredded swiss, cheddar, mozzarella
Fresh goat cheese, blue cheese, mozzarella
Rosemary, Basil from the garden

Last night, I did 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes cut in half, an onion sauteed, basil and 1 cup shredded mozzarella. You want about 3-4 cups of toppings. Honestly - unless I have meat I need to use up, I don't add meat. You are getting plenty of protein (and fat) from the eggs, cream, cheese.

Sprinkle fillings over the crust.

Pulse the food processor mixture one more time.

Pour over fillings/crust.

Put back in the oven for 40-42 minutes. =) At 30 minutes, check on it and see it if it needs a foil tent. It may be too brown on top, but not done in the middle. So.... tent it.

Serve with a giant green salad that you sweetly request your spouse make.


  1. yum. is that the same crust to use for tomato tart?

  2. Anna - I often times used a refrigerated store bought pie crust for that, but this would certainly work, I would think. It might be a little greasier than you'd like, since you're putting olive oil on the tart - but it might be great! You wouldn't have to prebake it for the TT, though!

    Do you have that recipe?