Yesterday, I decided to take a break from brooding about the past elections to check my refrigerator and see what food needed to be used before going bad. Among other things—we have a very big refrigerator—I found milk that was near its fresh date; a hunk of feta from Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, Maine; and a piece of organic cheddar. I also had broccoli, eggs, and tomato. Quite naturally, smooth, cheesy quiche came to mind, and if real men don’t eat quiche, then what fools these men be!
As a guideline, I used Craig Claiborne’s Quiche Lorraine recipe from an old New York Times cookbook, and this is what I did. I very lightly steamed 1 cup of broccoli and then chopped it. I also chopped one tomato, complete with skins and seeds, which my husband, Clif, and I don’t mind one bit. I crumbled ½ cup of feta, grated ½ cup of cheddar as well as ¼ cup of Parmesan. Finally, I minced one clove of garlic. I put all these ingredients into little bowls and lined them up so that I could feel mise en place.
Then, in a little mixing bowl I beat 1 egg, and blended it, along with 1/8 teaspoon of white pepper, into 1 cup of milk.
Next came the crust, which I whipped together. (While I was doing this, I preheated the oven to 450° F.) I rolled out the crust, put it into a 9-inch pie pan, and using a fork, I poked holes all around the raw crust. Into the oven it went for 5 minutes.
After it came out, I put the chopped broccoli and tomato onto the slightly-baked crust. I sprinkled the chopped garlic on top of the vegetables. Next came the cheeses. And finally the egg mixture. Very, very carefully, I put the full pie pan into the oven and baked it at 450° F for 15 minutes. I turned down the oven to 350° F and baked it for another 25 minutes or so, until the top was nicely browned and the whole thing was set. A knife inserted half way between the center and the edge should come out fairly clean.
And what were the results of “a this and that kind of quiche”? Success, mostly. I must admit that the garlic tasted sharp and that Clif and I, in turn, tasted it all night. So here are some possibilities.
The garlic could be sautéed in a bit of oil, and the tomatoes and broccoli tossed in at the end so that they are all mixed up. This might take the edge off the garlic. It also might add more oil than necessary to the quiche, so only a small, small amount of oil should be used.
The clove of garlic could be dry roasted in a fry pan. To do this, take a small fry pan and heat over a medium heat. When the pan has warmed, put in a clove of garlic with the skin on. Then, watching constantly and shaking frequently, fry the garlic until a few brown spots appear on the skin. But watch carefully. The line between brown and burnt is very fine indeed. This process takes some of the “bite” out of garlic and gives it a more mellow taste. Once the clove has cooled, it can be minced.
Or, finally, and easiest, leave out the garlic. Between the broccoli and the feta (and the cheddar) there are plenty of strong tastes, and I plan on trying this quiche without garlic next time. Then maybe I’ll try it with the pan-fried garlic. Because despite the sharp taste of garlic, this was a quiche definitely worth making again. On purpose, even.
For the pie dough:
1 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
6 tablespoons of shortening
1/4 cup of cold water
Combine the flour with the salt. Cut in the shortening until the mixture is crumbly. Add the cold water and stir until the ingredients form a ball. Do not over mix or the dough will be tough.
For the quiche:
1 cup of broccoli, lightly steamed and chopped
1 tomato, chopped
½ cup of feta, crumbled
½ cup of grated cheddar
¼ cup of grated Parmesan
1 clove garlic, minced. (This could be optional. Or, if you like things really strong, try a bit of onion.)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup of milk (I used whole milk)
1/8 teaspoon of white pepper
Pastry for one-crust nine-inch pie
Using the methods described above, make and bake the quiche. Crusty French bread, a green salad, and some white wine would make a nice accompaniment. Hell, with enough white wine, the sting of the past election might not feel quite so bad.