Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I like to quiche and tell

Quiches and Hugs. I must be stopped. 
"Baby, put the books up, it's time for sleeping," Healthy boyfriend yawns as he begins to close the mini fortress of cookbooks I have stacked around me in bed.
"I gotta figure out something to do with this eggplant and chard. Five more minutes, promise."
 After another 20 minutes he forces me to put the books away and lay down. Our bodies mold to each other and I attempt to shut my brain down, beginning my calming yoga breathes.
 "Quiche! Why don't you make me a quiche!" He whisper shouts, poking me in the sides with his excited fingers.
"Those are kinda time consuming babe, I would have to-"
"Yes! Great! A quiche it is. Thanks baby." He smiles and hugs me close, knowing I'll be dreaming of quiche all night.

And how did this quiche turn out you wonder? Really fucking good is how. Possibly one of the best things I've made so far for my blog. I have made a few quiches in my day, but never one this tasty. There are a few tips that, if followed correctly, ensure a creamy center and crispy flakey crust every time. The ingredients I used were all local vegetables I needed to cook before they spoiled, and I think they worked beautifully together. Even though plain saute chard really bothered my taste buds, I loved it in the quiche. Cream and goat cheese helps plenty of things go down easier. I used fairy tale eggplant, because that's what I had, but traditional or japanese would work as well.
Don't they look right out of a fairy tale? They have hats! 
Does making your own crust take a while? Yes. Does everyone have that kind of time? No. Does a light, flakey homemade crust set your quiche apart and encourage you and your dining companions to high five each other in a victory that can only be described as a Quiche-ictory? Hell yes! Make your own crust, your life will be better for it.

If you are making your own crust, then you have plenty of time to carmelize the onions. I started cooking the onions about 15 minutes after I put the crust in the freezer. That way they were done before I had to cook all the other vegetables. If you buy a pre-baked crust you can always just saute the onions until lightly browned, which takes about 5 minutes. The caramelized onions were succulent, sweet and added a real pop to the quiche, so I highly encourage the additional effort. Earthy garlicky chard, sweet onions, salty eggplant, finished with creamy goat cheese. What more could a quiche ask for?

I debated whether you really need heavy cream AND whole milk. That is what I used because I happened to have both on hand. Healthy boyfriend drinks whole milk (still not a ounce of fat on his beautiful body) so he always has some handy. Next time I will try 1/2 and 1/2 and perhaps 2% milk.

All the vegetables and eggs were local. The thyme was from my tiny herb garden. Fall has incredible vegetables to offer, so go explore your local farmer's market. It's likely you can find all these vegetables. You don't have to quiche and tell if you don't want to :)

Quiche with Carmelized Onion, Eggplant, Chard, and Goat Cheese
Adapted from America's Best Test Kitchen
Having your crust be still warm when you pour the quiche batter in is crucial to having a firm bottom crust.
The Goods: Makes one 9 inch quiche
1 9 inch pie crust partially baked and still warm
2 medium yellow onions, halved then cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 1/2 cups swiss chard, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup eggplant, peeled and diced in 3/4 inch cubes
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus extra for sprinkling
Dash nutmeg

The Deal:
1. Start by Caramelizing your onions (click on the link to get step by step instructions). If you are pre-baking your crust, you can carmelize while your crust pre-bakes. The onions should be ready before the pie crust finishes pre-baking. Once you get your onions started, mix a teaspoon of salt into a bowl with your eggplant and let it dry out for 20-30 minutes.

2. Remove crust from the oven, and decrease oven heat to 350 (oven would be at 375 if blind baking crust). Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saute pan on medium high heat. When hot but not smoking, add eggplant, tossing frequently to cook until lightly browned, around 4-8 minutes.
Cooking eggplant and chard at the same time
3. At the same time in another saute pan, heat remaining olive oil on medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add chard and saute, stirring occasionally until wilted, 3-5 minutes. Your onions should be caramelized at this point, just be sure to remove from heat.

4. While your vegetables are cooking in a large bowl whisk eggs, milk, cream, thyme, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

5. Once all your vegetables are ready, sprinkle eggplant, chard, onions and goat cheese on the crust. Open the oven and place your pie plate on the oven rack. Then gently pour the egg mixture into the shell until it reaches about 1/2 inch from the top of the crust (Depending on the depth of your pie shell you may have leftover quiche batter). Bake until the top of the quiche is lightly browned and a knife inserted comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes.
Add vegetables to crust first
Pour egg mixture on once pie is on the oven rack
Leave room at top for quiche to expand, then bake! 
6. Transfer the quiche to a baking rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Insert fork and prepare for happiness. 

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