Eggs….cont’d.

Let’s revisit the egg again, if you don’t mind. I like to have eggs stocked in my house at all times. My children love to eat them hard-boiled, and you never know when the baking bug might come and bite you, so it’s always good to have some extra eggs on hand. Then there’s the day when you know you have a full list and going to the grocery store is totally out of the picture. You look in the fridge, and it’s slim pickings; some cheese, an onion, a stick of butter, and some milk. But wait! The eggs! Of course you could always just make a nice, but simple, omelet. But if you’re feeling slightly more ambitious, you may just want to make a quiche.

My favorite aspect of the quiche is its versatility.  The egg base, for the most part, stays the same, however, you can almost add any other vegetable or cheese you have on hand. Perhaps you have some left-over asparagus or broccoli lingering in the fridge from last night’s dinner. Have a few slices of bacon in the freezer? The quiche is the perfect food for left-over experimentation, so try whatever floats your fancy!

Now for the crust…. I’m not sure why, but a lot of people shy away from making pie crusts. Perhaps they think they’re too complicated or possess a finicky nature, but with a little practice, you will never go back to the store-bought crusts. Trust me. Now, I do admit that I have used store-bought crusts when I am in a total pinch for time, but for about the same time it takes to thaw a frozen crust, you can whip up your very own. It’s really up to you and how you feel. You’ve gotta do what you gotta do to get dinner on the table every evening, but the next weekend, when you might have an extra 30 minutes, why not try a crust?!

A basic pie dough recipe (makes 2 x 9″ crusts):

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. sugar

1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1/4-1/2 c. ice water (just place a small bowl of water into the freezer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients)

In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar; pulse the dry ingredients a few times. Add the butter and process until mix resembles coarse meal, about 8-10 seconds. While machine is running, slowly add the ice water through the feed tube of the processor. Pulse until the dough holds together without being too wet. BE CAREFUL not to over-process the dough. It should not be processed for more than 30 seconds, otherwise the dough will not have the correct consistency. Remove the dough from the bowl and squeeze it together. If it’s too crumbly, add more water, 1 Tbl. at a time. Divide dough into two equal parts and flatten into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap . Transfer to refrigerator and chill about 1 hour. May be frozen 1 month, so you’re good to go the next time your in the mood for quiche!

Quiche Filling:

5 slices of  non-nitrate bacon, cut into 1/4″ cubes

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1 leek; cleaned, dried and cut into small slices (optional)

3 large eggs

1 1/2 c. half and half

1/2 tsp. salt

pinch of ground nutmeg

freshly ground pepper to taste

8 oz. hard cheese of your choice, grated (ex: manchego, cheddar, gueyère)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Add your bacon into a sauté pan on medium heat. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, until bacon begins to brown. Add the green onions and/or leeks. Allow to cook for another 4-5 minutes; set aside. Meanwhile, mix the eggs, half and half, salt,  pepper, and nutmeg.

Remove the dough from the fridge, and on a floured surface, roll out the crust to about 1/4″ thick. Gently place the dough into a pie pan. Fold under the extra dough along the rim of the pie pan; shape decoratively if you want.*

Sprinkle the bacon mixture and cheese onto the bottom of the crust. Pour the egg mixture into the crust. Allow to bake for about 40 minutes, or until the quiche begins to brown nicely on top. If your crust is browning too quickly, simply add some aluminum foil along the rim. It’s ok if the center of the quiche looks a bit “wobbly” when you first remove it from the oven. It will harden up once it begins to cool.

Serve warm or cold, straight from the fridge. It’s totally up to you…….

* You can “pinch” the dough between your thumb and forefinger.

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