Quiche! What an exotic sounding dish. So French. So upscale. You may think quiche is tricky to prepare. I used to. But it’s not, a fact I learned at my first outing to a Mother Earth News sustainability fair in Seven Springs, PA, when I attended a workshop led by Deborah Niemann.
One of her tips for living a simpler life was to serve quiche when company comes to dinner. Easy, she said. She was right. In fact, it’s ridiculously easy. Although we don’t have a ready supply of eggs like Niemann does, quiche has still become our go-to recipe whenever we have dinner guests.
All quiche needs to accompany it are a salad, perhaps some bread, and fruit for dessert, all of which can be prepared in advance. All the prep work for the starring attraction can be done ahead of time, too. I put the ingredients together and pop the quiche into the oven a few minutes before it’s time for company to knock on the door. Then I can fully share in a relaxed visit before we sit down to our meal. Since quiche takes a while to bake, it doesn’t even matter if the guests show up a little late.
Swiss chard is a perfect ingredient for a delicious quiche. So are kale, asparagus, broccoli and other garden fresh veggies.
If you’re lucky enough to have your own egg supply, quiche is a perfect way to use up excess eggs.
I used to think there was a magic, precise formula for making quiche, but there isn’t. You can find recipes calling for 4, 6, or 8 eggs. Some use milk, some cream. Different kinds and amounts of cheese are recommended. I’ve tweaked the recipes I’ve come across and came up with one that works best for our small family. It perfectly fills up a pie pan.
If you’re still anxious about making quiche, just remember it’s nothing more than eggs with some other stuff mixed in. Now, that sounds a little less overwhelming, doesn’t it?
You can prepare quiche with your favorite piecrust recipe or you can serve it naked in a well-oiled pan—even easier. Here’s my favorite recipe:
• 1 cup milk
• 4 eggs, beaten
• 4 cups of of the vegetable(s) of your choice
• 2 cups grated cheese—again, of your choice
Note: I’ve given specific measurements because some people really don’t like imprecision, but really, if you have a little more—or less—cheese you want to grate and use, that’s fine. Likewise, you can add a little more or less in the way of vegetables.
1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Lightly sauté vegetables and set aside.
3. Mix milk and eggs together.
4. Layer ingredients in the pan in the following order: vegetables, cheese, milk-egg mixture.
5. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the middle comes out clean.
6. Let quiche rest on a rack for a few minutes before serving.
My favorite quiche veggies are Swiss chard with mushrooms and onions. Other popular fillings at our house include kale, broccoli, spinach, or asparagus. As it happens, quiche is a pretty good way to use up tidbits in the fridge. I’ve had quiche with frozen peas and carrots, and that was mighty good, too. While it’s not necessary for flavor, you can toss some garlic and herbs of your choice (perhaps a teaspoon or so) to the egg-milk mixture if you want to up the zing factor.
I most often opt for Swiss or cheddar cheese, sometimes with a little Parmesan. It all depends on what I have on hand. Feta might be the perfect match for spinach, Parmesan for asparagus. Or you can use a combination of cheeses.
By using different vegetables from one meal to the next and switching out one cheese for another, you have almost endless possibilities for exciting, elegant meals—all from the same basic recipe.
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