Did you know that I used to be informally known as the Queen of Quiche? Feeling extra hungry? There was a quiche for that. Slightly under the weather? There was a quiche for that! Quiche was obviously one of the first things I learned to bake as QoQ, you know, when I finally got tired of trying to turn soup mixes into pasta sauces at uni. Quiche quickly became one of my staples alongside lasagne to the point where I would get nervous if a friend wanted to come over for dinner a third time. What would I serve them?
Over the years, my QoQ ego took several hard hits. I of course made one for Tall Mountain when he first stepped foot in France. Unfortunately, this cute guy I wanted to impress wasn’t a huge fan of my smoked salmon and broccoli quiche. *Whaaat!?! But that was my favorite combo! Could I ever marry him?* It took a while, but we recovered from that incident. Later, we moved to China, where I had to make my own dough. It took longer to make quiches without cheap pre-made crusts, not to mention the fact that it had to fit into a toaster-sized oven. We couldn’t complain, we were some of the lucky few to own an oven! It was in Shanghai that we slowly branched out to new culinary horizons, with one essential criterion: each new dish would have to fit inside this pencil case of an oven. (I still can’t believe that we managed to feed 18 people a Christmas dinner with that toaster-oven.) With our new creations, we took a break from the quiche. So, it felt appropriate when moving to the States, to revive the quiche as an easy meal for guests who came over one night with their young kids. How wrong could I be! To my surprise, I could only find one brand that sells ready made crust (in a square shape – boo!) and it made my dish cost at least twice as much. So, I continued to make my own crust. Next, the altitude killed my crust. It also melted miserably into the center of the dish. No problem for the quiche queen, right? I whipped together another dough as the kids ran around our small apartment. That too, failed miserably, as did my third attempt. Three strikes, and even the Queen of Quiche was struck down. Our guests went out to order a pizza instead that evening and QoQ sobbed herself off the quiche throne. That was it for almost a whole year and a half. I was done with quiche. My easy, delightful, tasty meal was history.
Since then, I have regained quiche confidence and also discovered pie weights. I don’t actually own any pie weights, but I use dried lentils and ramekins on top of parchment paper to cook the crust for an initial eight minutes. That seems to work well to set the crust edges at altitude. Then, I bake it for another few minutes until the golden crust is achieved. Oh, how the queen of quiche loved her gold! Simultaneously, I discovered a recipe that would change my quiche reign forever. It was this leek and mushroom quiche. The crust is by Julia Child and the filling her own. The best combo ever. Thanks to Smitten Kitchen and her leek & mushrooms-soaked-in-Porto quiche (heavenly), all the people in the land regained confidence in the Queen of Quiche.
Last night, trembling in my queenly boots, I mustered up the courage to deviate from the genius alcoholic mushrooms and buttery leeks. I even found frozen dough I had made in one of my more organized moments – whaa?! I used Smitten Kitchen’s base of 3 eggs and 1cup of whipping cream and 1/2 cup of whole milk and created my filling based on what I had on hand: spinach, mushrooms, onion, parmigiano reggiano and lardons (actually just bacon sliced into juliennes). So simple and yet so good.
So, there you have it. That is the story of how the Queen of Quiche came back to her throne and how all is now well in the Land of Quiche. Bon appétit!
Photo cred: The cool photo is by Smitten Kitchen and the ugly yellow one is what my pix look like when my brother isn’t over for dinner.