The Queen of Quiche

November 23, 2009

When you eat low carb, your breakfast options are largely egg-based.  Of course, you can eat anything, but for a girl who ate oatmeal, unsweetened cold cereal or museli every day for like 15 years this has been a big shock to me — and one I’ve not particularly enjoyed.  For a few weeks eating omelettes & fried eggs was fun, but the grab-and-go side was severly lacking, and sometimes eggs just smell too strong for mornings.  I sometimes eat non-egg things for breakfasts, but needed some faster options, so I started experimenting with egg casseroles & quiches a few months ago.

I am now the Queen of Quiche.

I have made the basic recipe so many times I don’t even measure anything anymore & I know tons of substitutions if I’m short on an ingredient.  My quiche Lorraine is now a refined recipe from trial & error that my (very French) husband says is among the best he’s ever had.  I’ve made many other kinds of quiche, and I’m now able to improvise with whatever veggies, meats & cheeses are in the fridge.  Currently in the fridge is sausage, leek & feta.  Before that it was ground beef, ricotta & arugula.  A few days before it was ham, sheep’s milk cheese & broccoli.  We had a brunch the Sunday before my surgery where I made one quiche Lorraine & another which was mushroooms, chicken & goat cheese.

For all of these quiches, I make them crustless.  I use a silicone pie pan (American depth, not the thin French tart pan depth).  None of the recipes are low fat or particularly low calorie, but without the crust they are approachable for those of you counting calories, and with a few changes you could make them lower cal & lower fat.

What’s really nice is that they always turn out well, always can be a quick supper or lunch (served with a salad) or zapped for a minute in the microwave are a quick breakfast option, full of protein.  I freeze what I don’t eat in a day or two into individual slices (in ziplock bags) then zap in the microwave to eat.  Unless the cheese is very strong it’s a much less invasive smell than cooking eggs in the mornings…

My basic recipe is the following :

– preheat oven to 200° C / about 400° F

– butter a silicone pie dish (could use Pam for example, or skip this)

Prepare the fillings for the quiche :

  • I use about 1 cup of veggies (cooked, unless tomatoes), about 3/4 cup meat, and about 3/4 cup cheese.
  • Ideas for veggies : carmelized onions, zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms, spinach (don’t need to pre cook leafy veggies)
  • Ideas for meat : crumbled bacon (or in France, lardons), sausage, ground beef, ham, leftover chicken.  Can also easily leave out the meat & just do more veggies
  • Ideas for cheese : I tend to use mainly grated swiss cheese (gruyère) because it’s the most traditional & has a very mild flavor so the other flavors come out (it’s also easier for me to find in Paris than other grated cheeses).  You can use anything but be careful with stronger cheeses as they can intensify in cooking.  When I did goat cheese I did about 1/2 swiss & 1/2 dots of goat cheese.  I recently did ricotta (dropped in small spoonfulls all over the quiche) but again added some swiss because it melts so well.

Egg mixture :

  • It’s basically a flan mixture, but I’m eating low carb (& higher fat) so I have a fattier mix that most of you reading probably would.
  • My mix : 4-6 eggs (depending on what’s in my fridge & their sizes), 1 cup or so of cream or a few spoonfuls of crème fraîche and some milk.
  • Likely mix for you : 2 eggs (maybe an extra yolk or two) and 1-2 cups of milk.  No need for the cream really except it’s lower carb than milk (well, and it makes it really creamy, but it’ll still be good without).
  • Mix the egg mixture & add in a good amount of black pepper & about a 1/4 tsp of nutmeg.   I haven’t salted any of my quiches because cheese itself is salty (and gives the salt to the rest of the dish) but there is room to play – I am now making sure the veggies are seasoned before I put them in, because my mushroom/chicken/goat cheese quiche was a bit flat – lacked salt – because nothing had been seasoned.
  • Add other spices if you are pretty sure they’ll work, but go gently so as not to overpower.  A pinch of basil, thyme or oregano.  One of my upcoming quiches will use a can of green chiles (imported from the US) and cheddar (imported from UK).  The spices should be mixed into the egg mixture (I use a stick mixer to mix up the egg/cream/milk/spices, but it’s not necessary, I’m just lazy.

Assemble the quiche :

  • If using a silicone pie pan, put it on a baking sheet to avoid it spilling when you transfer it to the oven (baking sheet + pie pan will go into the oven so you have a solid base, otherwise you risk a big slop of eggs on the bottom of your oven which is NOT FUN)
  • Put the veggie & meat ingredients into the pie pan in an even layer
  • Sprinkle the cheese on top (if using 2 kinds of cheese, start with the shredded one & then put the drops of the other one)
  • Pour the egg mixture gently over the top (trying to keep it even & keep a layer of everything all over the quiche)

Put the quiche in the oven, drop the temperature to about 170°C / 375° F and bake for about 30 minutes (start checking at 20-25 minutes, cooking may need up to 40, depending on your oven & your bakeware).

Can be served hot from the oven or warm (room temp).  Cool it completely before putting it in the fridge (I take it out of the pie pan after about an hour then cool on a plate.  Put a clean shower cap over it (or plastic wrap) and it goes in the fridge.   To re-heat for one slice it’s about 1 minute in the microwave.   Keeps well for at least 4 days.

———————

Thank you all so much for the outpouring of support and virtual hugs.  The shock of the news is now passed, and I’m past my short-lived pity party & into action mode of making the appointments for the second opinion & the re-reading of the pathology.  I feel like it’s quite manageable now, and while I’m still more scared about future health than I had been, in some ways I think it’s a good thing because it makes me remain more vigilant about guarding & appreciating my good health.

The scale showed another pound loss this week, reinforcing the steady consistent & almost effortless weight loss that I’ve been having since March — I’m in m 34th week and have lost 32 pounds (and during that time had a jump up in weight from our summer vacation & then another several pounds from IVF drugs).

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