February 26, 2013

Quiche for Dinner

Here's dinner: quiche with caramelized onions and fresh broccoli.
Until recently, we weren't "quiche for dinner" people. I don't know why; I love breakfast in pretty much any format, and quiche is one of the tastier ways to enjoy eggs. So how come I never cook it for a meal?

Because quiche seemed like such a venture. The pie crust, the vegetables, the eggs. The recipes. The never being able to decide what's better: leeks? Spinach? How many eggs? So much cheese!

A few weeks ago, all of that changed. Life as I know it came to a screeching... wait, no, that's not what happened. I simply made a good quiche and it made me think, "Oh, that was easy. Let's do it again." Ryan agreed; it was a success and we should have quiche more often.

Sometimes these things are SO EASY.

It started with an easy-to-follow, hard-to-screw-up pie crust recipe from my favorite cookbook author Mark Bittman. I love a straightforward recipe that's been tested and adapted, and his book (How to Cook Everything) has nothing but. Do yourself a favor and get a copy. It will be oft-referenced, complete with dog-eared pages and tomato sauce stains. Mine even has cornmeal sprinkled between a few pages.

Quiche is such an adaptable dish. I have made two lately that start with caramelized onions (again, following Bittman's instructions) and mushrooms and fresh garden broccoli. I love that quiche is a catchall; whatever is sitting in the fridge or on the counter can make an appearance. (Except garlic: I am not a fan of garlic with eggs. Why is that? Am I weird?)

Lately, I've been picking up fresh eggs at the farmers' market. They are unbelievably tasty, and it's how I'll buy eggs until we have our own backyard hens. (Who's dropping hints? Certainly not me.)

Really, there is no recipe here. I blind-bake a pie crust (instead of AP flour I like to use spelt, and I've subbed half of the butter for vegan margarine), saute some vegetables, and mix together about 5 eggs with a cup of 1% milk. There's usually some cheese involved, and a little salt and pepper.

These are the kinds of recipes I love—those that can be adapted endlessly. Having a technique down allows me more room for creativity and spontaneity. I'm gradually expanding the techniques I keep in my back pocket, from stir fry to tacos and now to quiche. It's liberating to shoot from the hip, to be freed from a recipe. It's like improv, or performance art. Except you can eat it.

What are your favorite kitchen improvs?

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