Quiche

Mushroom, Shallot and Goat Cheese Quiche

Fall is in the air — or at least, football is — and I’m more willing to turn on my oven.

Around this time of year, I also start wanting something savory and more substantial for breakfast than just yogurt. Good fuel before an early kickoff on Saturdays, and a bit more filling on a weeknight.

Enter the quiche. Versatile, simple, hearty, and portable. All you need is a couple eggs, cream (don’t substitute milk or half-n-half), and whatever vegetables, cheese, meat, and herbs you have hanging around. (Here’s one for spinach and bacon quiche).

Have a great weekend, and happy cooking!

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Mushroom, Shallot and Goat Cheese Quiche

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 pkg (8-10 oz) crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh minced thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled (or substitute your favorite cheese)
3 eggs
2/3 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

In a large pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots. Season with salt and pepper; saute until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms; season again with salt and pepper. Increase heat to high; sauté until browned and softened, 5-8 minutes. (Be sure the liquid absorbed into the mushrooms,  released, and then evaporated.) Add thyme; sauté for an additional 30 seconds. Pour mushrooms into a bowl to cool for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread mushrooms across a 9-inch pie plate, discarding any liquid. Sprinkle with cheese. Combine cream, eggs, and additional salt and pepper; beat lightly to combine. Pour over pie plate. Carefully transfer plate to oven. Bake for 35 minutes, until center has puffed up uniformly and top is lightly golden-brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Let sit at least 15 minutes before slicing. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.

Bacon Spinach Quiche

I am not a morning person, and I am always looking for make-ahead breakfast ideas.

If I don’t get enough protein in the morning, I am invariably famished and sneaking down to the ABP in the basement of my office building for a sugary carb fix before 10:30.

Quiche seemed like a great solution: versatile (what leftover veggies are in mt fridge?), with protein and vegetables, as well as portable. Leave off the crust, and they’re pretty guilt-free.

But I’ve been experimenting with quiche recipes off on and on for about six months, and they always turn out watery. Turns out, eggs release water when they cook, without the right balance of fat in the liquid. You can’t substitute milk or half and half for the cream. Vegetables should be pre-cooked and sufficiently drained of excess moisture, especially for a very watery vegetable such as zucchini. Also, oven temperature matters: 400 degrees seems to work best.

This recipe is a starting point; substitute whatever vegetables and cheese you have on hand. A little salt is good, but be careful not to over-salt, especially if you’re using a salty cheese such as Parmesan.

Many cooks prefer to make quiche in a tart pan, and remove the sides when cooling. I don’t own a tart pan, so I just use a pie plate. This may be too much filling for a tart pan; start with 2 eggs and 2/3 c cream.

Bacon Spinach Quiche

4 slices thick-cut bacon (I used Trader Joe’s applewood-smoked bacon)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced, if desired
4 c baby spinach (half a package)
3 eggs
1 c cream
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4 c shredded Parmesan (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large skillet, cook bacon. Remove bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain the fat; crumble. Remove all but one tablespoon of grease from the pan. Reduce heat to low. Add onions and saute for several minutes. Add garlic and continue sauteeing until onions begin to get translucent. Add spinach. Cook for an additional two minutes until spinach has cooked down. Transfer mixture to a cutting board to cool slightly. Run a knife through the mixture several times. Blot excess moisture from the vegetables with paper towels.

Lightly coat a pie plate with cooking spray. Spread bacon crumbles and spinach over the plate. Whisk together eggs, cream, salt and pepper; pour into pie plate. Sprinkle with cheese.

Place pie plate on a baking sheet and carefully slide into the oven. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, until the filling has uniformly puffed (wait for the center to puff), browned and set. Transfer to a cooling rack. Let set for at least 5 minutes before serving.