Saturday, October 2, 2010

Quiche Me, Baby

Cooking ideas can come from some pretty unexpected places. You just have to be ready. More on that in a moment.

Since recipes must be called something. I decided to name this week's offering, "Trinity Quiche," in honor of its main vegetable component, Louisiana's famed “trinity” of celery, onions and peppers. (It also has mushrooms. I think everyone who cooks has certain ingredients that seem to find their way into almost every recipe. For me it's mushrooms, for their nice taste, peculiar sort-of-soft-and-sort-of-crunchy texture, and their comically off-balance appearance that makes them the culinary world's version of penguins or, if you like, giraffes.) Adding to the "three" concept are its three cheeses which, combined, get along with each other wonderfully.

One oddity you'll find in this recipe is that the milk usually used in making quiche is replaced by a mixture of ingredients you'll probably recognize as a pancake batter. Here's where getting ideas from unexpected places comes in. Some years back I was looking for a way to improve the texture of the quiche filling I was using in those days. While dining at IHOP, I had an “aha!” moment when I read on the menu that they make their scrambled eggs fluffy by mixing in pancake batter. I tried that idea in the quiche filling and the rest, while not history, did give it the texture I'd been looking for.

Of course, if you prefer other combinations of vegetables, or different cheeses, great! One of the real beauties of quiche is that there's a lot of room to improvise and experiment. If there's something in your pantry, refrigerator or freezer you feel like making part of your quiche, go for it!

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and blind bake a 9” pie crust. (If you’ve never baked a pie or quiche and aren’t sure how to blind bake a crust, just let me know and I’ll describe what to do. It’s basically getting the unfilled crust to a partially baked state (or, for a refrigerator pie, a fully baked state), then adding the filling and finishing the pie or quiche.) Prepare the other ingredients below during the blind baking, looking in on the crust now and then to prevent overcooking. When it is firm and starting to get “crusty,” take it out of the oven, use a brush to apply an egg wash made from one egg and one tablespoon of water, and set it aside.

While the crust is blind baking, sauté about 1-1/2 cups of mixed chopped celery, chopped pepper, julienned onion, and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to taste, but if you're using the mushrooms hold off adding the salt till you're almost done; mushrooms have a high water content and adding the salt early draws some of that water out and affects the final texture of the mushrooms. When the vegetables are cooked (but still have a firm texture), place them in a colander and rinse them well with cold water. This stops the cooking, and cools the vegetables so they won't prematurely cook the eggs in the filling when you mix everything together later. Set them aside.

Prepare the “pancake batter” by combining 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 egg-substitute egg,  5 ounces skim milk, and 1-1/2 tablespoons of melted butter substitute. Whisk until they form a batter.

In a large bowl, combine ¼ cup grated Swiss cheese, ¼ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, 1/8 cup crumbled goat cheese, 3 egg substitute eggs, ½ cup skim milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of fresh ground black pepper.  Add the cooked vegetables and the batter, whisk until combined, and fill the blind-baked crust.

Bake the quiche at 425 for 15 minutes. During this time, partially cook 2 slices of turkey bacon. (For example, if the 2 slices should be microwaved for two minutes to be fully cooked, microwave them for about one minute. They'll cook more later when you finish baking the quiche.) When the bacon slices are done, cut them into small pieces.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300.  Remove the quiche from the oven, and sprinkle the bacon pieces over the surface. By now the surface of the quiche filling should be firm enough so that the bacon pieces will stay on top without sinking.  Return the quiche to the 300 degree oven and cook for 30-35 minutes, until a knife inserted half-way between center and the edge comes out clean.  Let the quiche stand 10 minutes before serving. A salad or cup of tomato soup on the side goes very well with this.

As an added bonus, if you find you have some filling mix left over after making the quiche, I recommend saving it to make one of the best omelettes you'll ever have. And one of the easiest, since everything's already mixed in.

If you would like a notebook-ready, cookbook-style version of Trinity Quiche or any other recipe on this site, just let me know and I’ll get it right out to you. Ditto for any questions you may have about anything I’ve written that you'd like more information about.

See you next week! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)

12 comments:

  1. I appreciate the idea of using "pancake batter" instead of milk for the quiche. Sounds and looks just wonderful...well, I gotta go get a glass of Shiraz for that!

    Have a flavourful weekend!
    Angie

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  2. This recipe seems easy! More so than I thought quiche would be. I will have to try this soon!!

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  3. This post could have been called "Quiching the Cook"! hehehehe :)

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  4. Thanks, Angie. :-) I figure if the folks at IHOP arent' going to know about using pancake batter, then who's going to?

    Thanks, too, Tawnya. It really is easy and I hope you will give it a try! (Allow some extra time if you're planning on braiding the crust, though. lol)

    And Keri...I knew there was a reason I liked you!

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  5. I like a guy who isn't afraid to eat(or cook) quiche. Most of the men I know see this as a sort of group identification marker for a ....um, ..as uhm, let us just say, being unmanly.

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  6. I absolutely LOVE quiche!! When I get settled in my new home, I am going to make this dish ASAP. What
    would you suggest for a side dish with this as the main course??

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  7. we may have to make this! blind baking is just pre-cooking the crust a little so that it stays crisp right? i think my grandma had another name for it, but i couldnt remember what she referred to if my life depended on it right now. i so did not know they made turkey bacon!

    xxalainaxx

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  8. Thanks, Mary. I actually don't know when I started eating quiche or making it, but I certainly remember the macho-parody of the "real men don't each quiche" early-80's. For all I know, maybe making it is my sub-conscious attempt to lash out in response. If it helps these guys any, I sometime do listen to ball games on the radio while I'm baking.

    Ah, Mark...I'd love to hear how this comes out when you make it. As far as serving the quiche goes, I had it the other day with a salad on the side and it worked really well. Since tomato soup is so good with grilled cheese sandwiches, I would give it a try with quiche as well.

    Alaina, I can't wait to hear how yours comes out as well! Blind-baking (did your grandmother perhaps call it par-baking, another name I've heard used?) is pretty easy but, like anything, becomes a bit easier after you've done it a time or two. It occurred to me to offer an explanation after a close friend who is quite a gourmet cook told me it's something she's not completely comfortable doing. I'll post something about it shortly. And turkey bacon...not exactly the same taste as real bacon, but close, with a good bit lower fat. (Some brands are still lower in fat than others; Godshall's is the brand I've found to have the lowest fat of the ones I've looked at.)

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  9. Very original idea to use pancake mix to the quiche. I sure must try this and see how it differs from the common one. Great recipe!

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  10. Pancake mix. I would have never thought. It's quick and easy. Great recipe.

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  12. Thank you much, Katerina and Nirmala. I felt like I was onto something when I read about IHOP using it in their eggs. No wonder they're international! :-)

    And Vincent, thank you as well. Petitchef.com sounds great...I'd love to be a part of it!

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