Toad's Kitchen

(mostly) healthy recipes for the family

Archive for the month “February, 2013”

Real men do eat Quiche…contrary to popular belief

When quiche was beaten to death in the 70’s, along with Harvey Wallbangers and Caesar Salad, part of the backlash was the comment, “real men don’t eat quiche”.

My experience says otherwise, but only if it is delicious and especially if it does not contain Miracle Whip and canned shrimp. *gag*

Quiche is an easy and fast dish which is appropriate for lunch or brunch, dinner, a family dinner or when entertaining. It calls for ingredients most of us have on hand so is great to whip up when your fridge is looking a bit empty. It is equally delicious in its vegetarian versions.

This recipe is a basic, more-or-less classic recipe which is easy to fiddle around with – sub out the bacon with some nice sausage, or leave it out completely, using a bit of butter and olive oil to brown the veggies. Mix and match the veggies (asparagus and red pepper are pretty)! The type of cheese you use is a personal choice also…cheddar, Gouda, Jarlsberg, even cream cheese are all yummy (bump up the seasonings with cream cheese or it will be bland). The proportions are what should be observed, and you should end up with a delicious dish that needs only a green salad to accompany it (and of course, a glass of wine…) 🙂

The type of pastry can be varied as well. I like using the puff pastry available in the frozen section of the supermarkets which saves me time and tastes just fine. You can use your favourite pastry recipe if you prefer – I did for years. However, I find puff pastry perfect for this. The rough, uneven edges make a lovely, rustic-looking crust and is so easy to keep on hand in the freezer.

 

one package frozen puff pastry, defrosted (or use pastry of your choice for crust)

75g (about 3-4 ounces) bacon, chopped – or pancetta or fatty smoked “speck” (optional)

1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil (if not using bacon)

1 onion, chopped

250-300g/8-10 ounces or so coarsely chopped mushrooms (brown ones are nice)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup whole milk or cream (or mixture)

4 eggs

1/4 cup sherry, vermouth or white wine

1 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and dry mustard powder (“Colman’s” or “Keen’s”)

2 tbsp. or so minced parsley (optional)

salt and pepper

1 cup grated Gruyère or “Swiss” cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place sheets of puff pastry on quiche dish (or flan dish), pressing seams together and trimming edges. Use trimmed pieces to “fill in” the edges – don’t worry about making it look perfect as it will puff when cooked and look fabulous. If using your own pastry, line pan and flute edges.

I recommend pre-baking the crust a bit, before adding the filling. When oven is fully heated, bake empty puff pastry shell “blind” for 10 minutes. You can put weights in it if you like to stop it puffing up…or as I do, after you remove it from the oven, let it cool a couple of minutes and press it very GENTLY (so as not to rip it) back down flat again. Do not mash it, handle it very lightly.

While pastry is pre-baking: in large pan, fry bacon (or your choice of meat) over medium heat until fat begins to render out and it begins to brown. Alternately, if not using bacon, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms and cook all until brown and delicious.

While veggies are cooking, whisk eggs, milk/cream, sherry or alternative, and remaining ingredients *except the cheese* together.

Take cooked vegetables (and bacon if using) and distribute over prebaked puff pastry. Pour egg mixture over, nudging veggies with spoon to ensure that it is evenly distributed. Then sprinkle your cheese evenly over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees or until a knife inserted halfway to the centre comes out clean. Let quiche sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting. As stated above, this needs only a salad (or simply cooked vegetable) on the side for a lovely meal. Wine optional, but recommended 🙂

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