Monday, January 24, 2011

For the love of quiche

The weather has been horrendous here in New England. It doesn't make dinner planning easy at home. It is like a battle between comfort food and trying to eat healthy all the time. I mean, there is only so many times you can make meatloaf, chicken pot pie, chicken noodle soup and etc. And it is not easy at all to try to incorporate the limited selection of vegetables I can cook. Mom is really picky when it comes to vegetables.

And than it strikes me. Quiche. I remember my first bite of quiche in a French cafe. It was like a food revelation. I know it is just pastry, cream and egg. But it is pastry, cream and egg. I try to make supper as healthy as possible and honestly, I am almost out of idea on what else to make. It is like a vicious cycle trying to come up with new dinner ideas everyday. Browsing blogs and food website day and night, reading cookbooks for new ideas and worse yet, the process repeats itself every single day.

The best moment is always when Eureka strikes. Quiche tonight it is. Starch, protein and vegetables all in one. How cool is that!

So it all begin with a crazy idea at 2 in the afternoon. Must bake quiche for supper tonight. First thing first, hunt down a good quiche pastry recipe. For supper, it is only appropriate that the quiche comes in a deep dish form. A hearty serving of eggs, vegetables and cheese, covered with a flaky buttery crust in a cold winter night. Bliss!

Back to the crazy idea's thought, yes, it is crazy to plan making a quiche in such short time. What does a girl do? Check out the food network website, that is. I browsed through a number of quiche recipes on the website and finally settled with Tyler Florence's recipe. He is one of my favorite cook show host. I find most of his recipe simple yet flavorful.

Referring to his pie crust recipe, I made alterations here and there using innovative yet scientific techniques a.k.a. whatever I have in the fridge, and come up with my own pie crust and quiche filing recipe. I am very satisfy with the end result.

Since I have just posted my mom's pie crust recipe, one must wonder why I do not use the same recipe for the quiche. See, quiche is different. I know the premise is similar, however, pastry for quiche needs to have that body, while retaining its flakiness. You will know what I mean if you have made over 10 quiches so far. This new hybrid of pastry crust for the quiche is really good. I especially love the fact that it can hold everything together without being too heavy. With thee, I am very pleased.

Wonderful Quiche with Chorizo, Onion, Mushrooms and Bell Pepper

For the Crust
2 cup of all purpose King Arthur's flour (remember what I say about King Arthur's)
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 stick of cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup of shortening, put in the fridge for 30 minutes before using
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoon of ice water, or more if needed

1. In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and sugar. Using a pastry knife, cut in butter and shortening till mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
2. In a small bowl, combine egg yolk with 3 tablespoon of ice water. Beat till well combined.
3. Pour into flour and fat mix. Test if more water is needed by taking a small chunk of dough and squeeze. If it is crumbly, add another tablespoon of water to the mix till dough holds together when tested.
4. Gather dough into a bowl. Squeeze tight like how you will make a snow ball.
5. Flatten into a disk and wrap in cling wrap. Place in the refrigerator for 30 mins before using.
6. When ready to roll the dough, place dough in between two wax paper.
7. Roll dough into 14-inches diameter. Unroll dough into a 9-inch spring form pan. This step will take some practice. Press snugly onto the bottom of the pan. Trim off excess dough.

For the Filling

1/2 lb of chorizo, Portuguese hot sausage, diced
1 large onion, sliced thinly
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
8 large eggs
1 1/2 cup of milk
1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese or Monterey jack
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large pan, turn heat up to medium and saute chorizo till most fat is rendered. Remove chorizo with slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Turn heat down to medium low. With the remaining grease on the pan, saute onion till it caramelizes. About 20 minutes. Remove and set aside.
3. Add a little oil onto pan, if necessary. Saute mushrooms till golden. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Remove and set aside.
4. Preheat oven to 375F (190C).
5. Break eggs in a large bowl. Whisk like you would when making scramble egg. Add in milk, salt and pepper. Whisk till combined.
6. Begin to assemble by placing the spring form pan on a baking sheet. First, place prepared filling onto bottom of crust. Spread it evenly. Add in chopped red bell pepper. Pour egg mixture into crust.
7. Cover pan loosely with foil. Bake for 1 hour. Remove pan from oven.
8. Remove foil and sprinkle on cheese to cover.
9. Place pan back into oven and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove onto a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes.
10. Using a spatula, loosen the quiche from side of pan. Un-mold the ring and transfer carefully onto serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature, either on its own or with a salad.

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