Mary blogs over at Farm Girl Cook’n where you can find her sharing some incredible and fresh recipes that you won’t want to miss.
What a luxury it is to have fresh, farm eggs every day. Last spring, after much thought and planning, my husband, Eric decided we were ready to start our chicken adventure. Our local farm/hardware store has live chicks in the spring. You just reach into the cow tank and try to grab the ones you like the best, a little like carnival night in grade school, then you put them in the cardboard box you put together yourself. Then you bring the chicks home and you’re good to go.
All was well for about two days. Then we had a sad incident with our dog, Ernie. Ernie’s a scruffy Jack Russell Terrier. Thinking he was saving us from pests, he killed two of the four chicks. My husband was heartbroken. To save the day my daughter and I went to the hardware store to get two replacement chicks. Fortunately Ernie has now adopted them as his own. Even so, we still don’t trust him to play nice, so we don’t let Hyacinth, Daisy, Violet or Rose wander on the farm. But they do have what we refer to as semi-free range lifestyle. It’s for their own good!
This last fall after a week of collecting our first eggs, I made a $500 quiche using almost all of them.
The chicks aren’t expensive, it’s all of their accessories. After all of his hard work, Eric, was a little leery to eat any of the eggs, however, they were beautiful when cracked and made a lovely quiche. The first eggs of a chicken can be small, but with the help of this equivalent size chart on the egg council site, figuring out how many to use was easy.
One of the things I like about making a quiche, is that is very flexible. You can use the ingredients you have on-hand and be creative. So, rather than give you a specific recipe, I’m breaking it down for you so you can make a customized quiche.
The Egg Base
- 6 large eggs (8 to 10 small eggs)
- 1 1/2 cups cream, Half & Half or milk
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups your choice of shredded cheese — I prefer Swiss or Cheddar
- Nutmeg is a traditional addition to a quiche — I use it optionally and lightly
- Salt and Pepper — I like Kosher or sea salt and fresh ground pepper
This is when you can get creative. I offer up a few of my favorite combinations, but you can work with whatever goodies you love to make this perfect for your tastes.
- Bacon, 4 to 12 slices depending on your tastes
- 1/4 cup chopped onion — sauté it lightly in butter or oil until translucent
- 1/4 cup green & red peppers
- My favorite cheeses with this combination are Cheddar or Swiss, or be daring and use both!
- 2 cups Baby Spinach fresh or 1 pkg frozen. If you use frozen be sure to defrost and then squeeze all of the water out.
- Bacon, 6 to 12 slices depending on your tastes
- Swiss cheese is traditional with Spinach Quiche
- 1 to 2 cups cubed ham depending on your tastes
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- Try something different, like a Provolone, Gruyere, Pepper Jack or Romano
You will need one 9 inch crust — you can make it from scratch (see recipe below) or use a pre-made one, which I do often — not cheating at all! There is a package or two in my fridge and/or freezer at all times.
- 1 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup shortening (cold)
- 3 TBS ice water
Cut shortening into flour and salt mixture with a pastry blender, a fork or if you prefer to use a food processor just a few pulses until you have course crumbs, pea sized or smaller. Make sure your shortening (or butter if you prefer) is very cold. Putting it in the freezer will make it very cold and easier to cut into little chunks prior to blending.
Sprinkle 2 to 3 Tablespoons of the ice water a few drops at a time and mix until it comes together. Gently pull mixture into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes. Roll out crust and put into your pie plate or quiche pan.
Bake at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Ovens can be very different so test for doneness. A toothpick in the middle of the quiche coming clean would be one good way. You can also often easily see that the middle has not yet set. If it wiggles don’t take it out. Let your quiche rest 10 to 15 minutes prior to serving.
Quiche isn’t just a brunch food, it makes an elegant lunch entree served with a fresh salad, a glass of wine and good friends.
Keep it simple and enjoy!