We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Quiche—Now and Then—and a Winter Solstice Brunch

by Michelle

"What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family." ~ Mother Teresa

Maddie and I party—literally—like it's 1999.
I hosted a Winter Solstice luncheon for friends and colleagues.
   The topic of the morning while my husband and I made our respective coffees—he in a French Press, me with the stove top Bialetti—was to mull over the feminine versus masculine reaction to quiche. Jay reminisced about reading Bruce Feirstein's now famous article for Playboy magazine published in 1982 entitled, "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche." Hubby recalled the article was so hilarious that he had to stop reading in places so that his laughing could subside before continuing on to the end of the piece. The article was so popular that it spawned a book released one year later with a title of the same name and the byline—The Guidebook to all that is Truly Masculine. That's all it took—one satirical article cautioning modern day Homo erectus about the dangers of becoming sissified in our modern age—and just like that... faster than you can say pie crust—a whole generation of males lived in fear of being seen eating (much less choosing to order it off a menu) the delicious custardy and cheesy egg dish that is full of protein and perhaps a few vegetables and herbs.

On a recent Sunday, I prepared individual quiches for brunch.
  Fortunately, I'm a woman, so I don't have to be concerned whether I am, or am not, a real man when I eat quiche. I also, thankfully, don't have to contemplate if I am a real man if I put ice cubes in my whiskey or if I wear pajamas to bed. I can talk about my feelings and enjoy a sappy romantic comedy without the least twinge of guilt. I agree, however, with the notion that it is probably harder to be a "real" man (whatever that actually means) today than in yesteryears. My assertion on the matter of manly men is this: real men shouldn't worry about being real men. Eat the friggin' quiche and be happy that someone—probably a woman—made you a home-cooked meal. Remember to say thank you and compliment the cook. It's that simple.

   On a more practical note, quiche is great for brunch because the pie dough can be prepared the day before. The next morning, all that is left to do is add the filling to the prepared crust and pop it in the oven. Side dishes are made while the quiche is turning puffy and golden while baking. Quiche feels like a celebration dish, even if at its heart, it's a humble pie.

My Winter Solstice Luncheon Menu from 1999 that was posted on the refrigerator.
For the official record, the name of each guest was handwritten on the reverse side.
   If I am to ever own a bistro, I know that I would have individual quiches on the daily menu. Quiche is open to endless variations and tastes best with fillings that are fresh and in season. I also like that quiche can lean more towards breakfast with a side of cottage potatoes or more towards lunch when served with a side salad, such a the tasty Rockin' French Salad with French Vinaigrette. If I'm feeling energetic, I'll serve both potatoes and a salad, 'cause that's the way I like it.
  The following recipe gives you a formula to follow to create your own quiche masterpieces. If you are interested in making individual quiches, I had to search wide and far before finding the small springform pans at Sur La Table. If I had to do it over again, I would buy cheesecake pans with removable bottoms. They look easier to handle (when removing the quiches) and clean.


   For the real men in your lives, my husband suggested that quiche would benefit by a rebranding campaign. "Wimpy" Quiche Lorraine could transform into Lumberjack Pie. Any "real" man would want that heartiness personified when eggs are enriched with bacon, cream and Gruyère. Wait, you better say cheese instead. Gruyère sounds like it could be a girly cheese, ya know?

For one 9-inch deep dish or 10-inch Pie
1 recipe All Butter Pie Crust or Gluten-Free All Butter Pie Crust, or commercially prepared pie crust
1 egg lightly beaten

3 eggs
1-3/4 cups half and half, or cream (do not use low-fat milk)
1/2 tsp sea salt
a few grinds freshly ground black pepper
a pinch of ground nutmeg

Absolutely Delicious All Butter Gluten-Free Gum-Free Pie Crust is easy to work with.
Protein:  Diced cooked ham, diced cooked bacon, crumbled cooked sausage, slivered Genoa salami
Cheeses: shredded white cheddar, crumbled chèvre (goat cheese), Gorgonzola, Gruyère, Monterey Jack
Vegetables: roasted and chopped Hatch chiles, most vegetables should be sautéed or roasted (and cooled) before adding to the quiche, this includes aromatics such as shallots, garlic, leeks and onions
Fresh Herbs: basil pesto (add to the custard mix, if using), minced dill, minced parsley, crumbled thyme, lemon zest

If you happen to be using a lot of cooked vegetables, that might expend even more water while being baked, such as zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, red bell peppers, mushrooms, you can add 1 tablespoon cornstarch to the custard mix to ensure thickening while baking.

buttered French or sourdough bread crumbs (or Gluten-Free, such a Glutino brand)
shredded Parmesan

1. Prepare All Butter Pie Crust or Gluten-Free Gum-Free All-Butter Pie Crust one or two days ahead up to the point the dough is rolled out, placed in the pie pan, edges crimped, and crust docked. Cover and refrigerate until ready to blind bake the crust (at least one day ahead).

2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove the cold crust from the refrigerator and immediately line with foil, the shiny side down and fill with your preferred choice of pie weights (I use dried beans that I keep and reuse as needed). Bake for 15 minutes, then remove foil and pie weights and bake for another 5 minutes. Brush the crust with the beaten egg white, and bake another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and set it aside to cool. You can placed the pie on a cookie sheet, if you like, for easier transfer between counter and oven.

3. Lightly whisk the eggs and then add the cream, then stir in the sea salt, black pepper and nutmeg.
4. Cover the pie crust with protein and shredded or crumbled cheeses. Sprinkle on vegetables and fresh herbs, if using. Pour the custard into the prepared crust. The custard should be level with the bottom of the crimped edge. Sprinkle the top with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan and 1 to 2 tablespoons of buttered breadcrumbs, if desired.

5. Bake until puffed and golden and the filling is set, about 25 to 35 minutes, depending upon your oven. Once removed from the oven, I let the Quiche cool on a rack for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...