Cooperative Quiche

A slice o' nice

Unfortunately, our kitchen is, while much bigger than previous ones, not really laid out well for working together 1. Unless one person’s job is washing dishes while the other person cooks and preps. Which isn’t really working together on creating something tasty. And that is exactly what Chris wanted to do on Sunday afternoon. We kind of had to tag-team on the various tasks but we made it work. And we got something really incredibly tasty out of it.

I’m not much of an egg eater. Not that I’m pointing fingers but my dad used to make ‘Army’ scrambled eggs which were pretty awful, to my six year old palette at least 2. It wasn’t until spring break my junior year of college that I willingly ordered an omelet. Actually, I at a lot of omelets that week- our hotel had an IHOP restaurant but there was no way I could eat pancakes and waffles everyday for 7 days. I needed protein in the morning because we’d have plenty of carbs later on. Since then, I will have the occasional omelet or scrambled eggs but I’m exceptionally picky and don’t have much interest in making them for myself. The omelet short list at present is really short: my husband, Sawyer’s Pancake House in Lansing. Sophia’s in Grand Ledge does a pretty good job but its way too big and sometimes not cooked evenly.

Now quiche and frittata and other egg-y pies have been way down on my list. I’m pretty sure I was subject to some spinach quiche that I found revolting both due to the eggs and presence of cooked spinach as a kid (note: don’t have a problem with spinach now). Might have even had brussel sprouts, lima beans or cauliflower associated with it- all verboten in my kid-self world3. So I don’t order them, I don’t make them, I don’t even consider them on the menu at a restaurant. If we and other people make quiche like the one Chris & I made though, I’d probably eat more quiche.

Using a combination of two recipes (one from Food Network: Quick quiche and one from Elise at Simply Recipes: Mushroom Quiche as jumping off points, we came up with this.

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Ingredients

3 eggs
1/8 cup mayo
1/8 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup milk
5 to 6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese

8 oz crimini mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced.
1 onion. sliced thinly
1 –1 1/2 tsp rosemary, dried
2 slices rosemary ham (Boarshead deli meat)

olive oil
butter
salt & pepper
refrigerated pie shell (or homemade)

Directions

1. Caramelize onions: if you do this right, it takes a while so you may choose to make a big batch and then just use what you want (about 1 onion worth) for this dish. To caramelize, heat 1 tabelspoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add thinly sliced onions a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar (optional), stir to coat and then leave them alone until they start to turn golden, almost brown on the edges. Reduce heat to low. Stir only occasionally. Continue to cook until browned to your liking. You may also let them get crispy, like we did. Sort of accidental.

At this point, pre-heat oven to 425.

2. Prepare remainder of filling: Remove onions from pan. Return heat to medium-high and add 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add one to two cloves garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt plus 1 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary. Cook mushrooms until they have released all their juices and the pan starts to look a little dry. Add chopped ham and cook another 2-3 minutes. Stir in reserved onions then remove from heat.

If using a pre-made pie shell, prick with a fork several times and place in oven for about 5 minutes. This step may not be necessary depending on the brand of shell

3. Prepare egg mixture: Combine 3 eggs, mayo, sour cream and milk in a large bowl, whisking to combine. Season with salt & pepper then stir in 5-6 ounces of shredded cheese (I’m estimating, Chris did this job).

4. Assembly: After mushroom-onion mixture has cooled slightly, stir in to egg mixture in spoonfuls. Reserve about 1/2 to 1/4 cup of mushroom-onion mixture. Pour entire egg-mushroom mixture in to pie shell then spoon remaining mushrooms & onions over the top.

5. Cook: Bake in oven for approximately 35 minutes. Remove and let rest 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. May be served hot or at room temperature.


While writing this post, I started thinking about the egg-based breakfast/brunch items and realized I wasn’t sure if we’d made a quiche. What makes a quiche, quiche? After perusing the highly informative site, Mr. Breakfast4, I determined that quiche was probably right even though we didn’t use actual cream. Frittatas don’t have crusts. There are also souffles; the best (and probably only one I’ve had) one of those can be had at the Featherbed Inn near Waitsfield, Vermont. And pie which sounds a like like quiche but with far more other ingredients. Come to think of it, we may have made a pie. I don’t know that quiche requires a minimum egg to filling ratio but this was not an uber-eggy dish. But it was delish!


1Smallest kitchen I ever had was while in college, living near the Green Door in downtown Lansing. A one-sided galley, the only counter space was just wide enough to hold a microwave (hey, I was in college) so I learned to be creative with prep work. This was also my first experience with a gas stove. I lit a lot of pilot lights that year!

2 Again, not pointing fingers but my dad (and brother) are also known for their creative versions of mac n’ cheese, when there is no milk. Or no butter. For what’s it worth, if you try to make the boxed version with just water, you get yellow wall paper paste that even our dog wouldn’t eat.

3These items, cauliflower, lima beans and brussel sprouts, are still on the verboten list. Remember Campbell’s Vegetable Soup? I used to spit out the lima beans and pile them all up on the side of the bowl. I did eat 2 baby brussel sprouts earlier this year. Still don’t like ’em.

4Neat site for all things breakfast. If I didn’t think it was criminal to get up before the last possible minute, I’d probably make and eat more breakfast items during the week. Not that I’m about to have an epiphany but this site might convince me to get up earlier, at least on Saturday or Sunday (but not both- baby steps people!).

Cooking Again, and it feels so good.

For the last month, maybe 6 weeks, I haven’t done much cooking. Seems like Chris and I are always going in two different directions and balancing work-school-wedding plans has kept me busy. Add in a 10 day work trip to the UP and a weekend in Puerto Rico to equal perhaps eight nights of real recipe-based cooking since May 1st, much of that just repeats of previous successes.

I expect school to busy-fy me again next week and of course, that is that great big party coming up in September. On the plus side, we have yet to go cake tasting so at least there is still plenty of fun stuff to do! Now that we are back from the tropics (with an extra $300 in our pockets thanks to my mad video poker skillz), its time to start cooking again. Last night, it was a simple chicken marinated in balsamic vinegar and garlic, sauteed with onions and served with a box of white/wild rice blend which I jazzed up through the use of vegetable broth and a cup of frozen vegetables.

Tonight, I’m being more adventurous and involved. Both dishes are based off ones created by someone else.

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Buttermilk Brined Chicken
from Accidental Hedonist contributor Davekatz

The original recipe is meant to be grilled after an overnight brine and it used whole chicken pieces. Sadly, we don’t have a grill on our deck and anyway, its kind of rainy. So, instead I shortened the soaking time, used chicken breasts and pan-fried them.

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups buttermilk
less than 1/8 cup kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1 cup panko bread crumbs
Couple shakes each of garlic powder, sage and cayenne pepper plus 1 pinch of salt

1 1/4 pounds boneless chicken breast, pounded thin (or bought thin-fillet style)

Directions

Combine the buttermilk, salt, , and spices. Mix well. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator 90 minutes to 2 hours or longer, turning the pieces occasionally.

Heat pan over medium heat with equal parts butter and olive oil (about 1 1/2 tablespoons of each).

Mix bread crumbs with spices (shakes) in a plastic bag. Remove each chicken piece, one at time, from the marinade and put in bag with bread crumbs. Shake to coat thoroughly.

Saute coated chicken breasts in pan, 5-6 minutes per side until cooked through and bread crumbs are golden brown.

If you wanted to take this to the next level, I’d suggest making a buttermilk gravy to go with this. Also, the original recipe used hot sauce in the marinade which would seem to call for a nice creamy dipping gravy anyhow. You would not be able to use the buttermilk from the marinade though- your gravy wouldn’t get hot enough to kill the bugs it picked up from the raw chicken.

One caveat: the breadcrumbs don’t stick as well as I’d like. I think next time I’ll do flour-breadcrumb for more staying power.


Scalloped Potatoes with mushrooms and white wine sauce
from Half-Assed Kitchen.

I made a few changes, mostly because I didn’t have all the required ingredient but instead had similar ingredients I wanted to use.

Ingredients

6 fingerling potatoes, approximately equal to 3 small baking potatoes (thinly sliced)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3-4 green onions, white and light green parts only, chopped (reserve green tops, chopped)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1-1/2 cups milk, half-and-half or plain Silk Creamer
5 Tablespoons white wine
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper
Fresh rosemary (optional)

In a skillet, heat olive oil, onion ,scallion, mushrooms, salt and pepper until the mushrooms have given up most of their moisture and the onions have turned transparent.

Meanwhile, heat butter, milk and wine in a separate sauce pan. Once warmed, whisk in flour and continue to heat until the roux has thickened.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Layer potatoes into a greased, shallow baking dish. Stir mushroom mixture into sauce and then spoon over the potatoes. Sprinkle reserved scallion tops over top.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until potatoes are soft and sauce is bubbly. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary if desired.

So, I used fingerlings instead of baking potatoes because we had them. I’m not sure if it was my “thinly sliced” not being thin enough, the oven not being properly calibrated (rentals, eh) or just the different texture of using fingerling potatoes but this dish took an hour and probably could have continued to bake for even softer potatoes. I used the rosemary and Chris thought it was too much. He may not be the rosemary fan I am but I would err on the side of lightly sprinkled in any event.

There was some chicken left over from the previous night. Chris had asked me to make him some more of the balsamic chicken so he could just add it to something for dinner when I’m gone. I waited and not surprisingly, he instead asked that I throw the chicken in with this buttermilk marinade (which I saved, just in case).


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Notice the steam coming off those taters? Fresh from the oven photography has its pitfalls!

Turkey Day Recipes: Cornbread

Although I originally planned to just have corn, I was lured in by a wonderful photo at 101 Cookbooks. As a result, I ended up making Cornbread muffins for Thanksgiving.

My plan was to make this up the night before but I didn’t have time. I did take 10 minutes and measured all the dry ingredients in to a ziploc bag though. So, after we got home from the Turkey Trot (much less slippery this year except for the last 1/2 mile of black ice) on Thursday, I started pulling the eggs and corn from the fridge. I let them warm up to room temperature while Chris made spritz cookies.

Yes, we had to make more spritz cookies because the 3 dozen we made 2 weekends ago to “save for Thanksgiving” disappeared. Its a mystery, Interpol has been called in to investigate.

Rather than repeat the recipe here, I will just direct you on over to 101 Cookbooks for the Yeast Raised cornbread recipe.

A few notes:

  • Its pretty sticky but don’t go overboard with the flour when you turn it out of the mixing bowl; the muffins will end up dry.
  • I made 12 muffins and used the other 1/3 section to make a small loaf which I then froze. I’m thinking I’ll pull it out for chili in a few weeks.
  • I added the chives and I’m betting you could add some cayenne or even diced jalapenos to jazz it up.
  • Using white sweet corn (organic, Meijer) will require everyone at the table to ask if you really put whole corn in the bread. I did! Really!!
  • Best served hot hot hot with the honey butter. Trust me. They sit, they can get dry. And pull them out of the oven about 90 seconds before you think you should.