Oh, man. Can you say hiatus? It’s been a busy month and admittedly diligence in both work and play have interfered with my blogging. But I’m back. And like a heart attack, so is that leftover bacon I promised.
Now, I’m behind, I know, I know. I made the following one-dish meal a month ago, and while the sharing may have come to you belatedly, the experience was one of my best substitution, fridge-clean-out successes to date. There were moments I thought I’d met my match, but I’m pleased to tell you the adventure has a delicious, eggy end.
I never buy bacon. As a card-carrying gym member who has yet to step one sneakered foot inside my apartment complex’s rec center, I figure it’s just one of those ingredients I can benefit from leaving off the grocery list. However, exceptions are sometimes made. (Double Stuf Oreos are sometimes bought.) Hating to let potentially delicious things go to waste, I figured having America’s favorite breakfast-time artery clogger in the fridge was a great excuse to finally try my hand at one of my faves: QUICHE.
I love eggs. (When I was a kid, I wasn’t much of a fan, but that’s another story for another post.) Anyway, I love ’em in nearly every form and fashion that I’ve crossed forks with, and a dish that places eggs at the forefront is okay in my book any day.
As usual, I hit up AllRecipes.com for some quick, kitchen-tested recipes and soon realized I was short on a rather vital definer of the classic quiche: a pie crust. Maybe I could have made one but as I never have and there were rumbly tummies involved, that seemed like a project for another day. Alas, I pondered the situation and realized that quiche needs not a crust! I had definitely heard of crustless quiches, so bring it on… or off, rather. Off with the crust! Augh, let’s get on with it.
I managed to find a good-looking recipe for a crustless spinach quiche and a more classic spinach bacon version that included most of the ingredients that remained from the birthday salad, including spinach, mushrooms and onions. The next dilemma was not knowing which recipe to make my foundation, as there seemed to be some pretty basic differences: the crustless called for 1 cup egg substitute and cream cheese while the classic called for 4 eggs and shredded cheddar. Oh geez. What to do? Mix and match and hope for the best.
Since I was working with the real deal, I cracked 4 jumbo eggs into a medium bowl, beating them with kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste. To the eggs, I added a 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion, four or five diced cremini mushrooms and about a cup of coursely shredded baby spinach leaves, stems torn off. (Both recipes called for a thawed and drained 10 oz package of frozen spinach, but I’m partial to the fresh stuff.) I shredded a generous cup or so of cheddar and mixed everything together until the ingredients were blended evenly.
Ready to transfer the liquid quiche into a baking container, I realized I was also without another key piece to the quichey puzzle: a pie tin. Whoops. No turning back now. I dug through the cabinet and resurfaced with a tin with dimensions more suited for a meatloaf or banana bread. Who said quiche has to be round anyway? (Probably someone with a pie crust to his name.)
I was still, however, a little worried that the crustless, rectangle wannabe-quiche wouldn’t cook evenly in this substitute tin, and after cunningly traversing obstacles with the oven in sight, there was no way I was letting this baby overcook. A brief moment of panic passed before I recalled a college roomie’s rendition of a mother’s legendary breakfast casserole, which called for layering bread rolls under a similar egg mixture. With that, I swiftly grabbed two slices of wheat and made a makeshift crust for built-in, anti-burn protection.
(By this time, I was feeling like Food Network’s version of Macgyver, so I one-up’d myself and used the bread to grease the bottom and sides of the pan. We’re talking next-level kitchen magic. Rachel Ray would be asking me for an autograph any day now, I could feel it.)
The trouble was, with so many adjustments to accommodate my sad excuse for kitchen supplies, I had no idea how long to cook it. Crustless said to cook at 350° for 45-50 minutes. Classic called for 40 minutes at 400°. Both advised that fully cooked meant a knife would slide into the center and come out clean. To be honest, I think I threw it in at 350° for 40 minutes and checked it every five to ten minutes until I was satisfied the middle wasn’t complete goo.
Once I convinced myself we were probably safe from salmonella, I let the concoction cool as I ooh’d and aah’d at how pretty my first “quiche” looked, despite its unconventional appearance. I snapped photos that only a quiche’s mother could love.
And then, we dug in.
Hells yeah is all I’ve got to say. Maybe it was the anticipation, but Josh will attest to its tastiness. I don’t bake much and ovens are kind of a new tool to me, so it’s still fascinating how nicely everything cooks without you watching it like a hawk.
Can’t wait ’til next time. Although I love the adrenaline rush of pushing recipes to the limit, it’s nice to feel like you know what the heck you’re doing the next go-around.
Speaking of the next time, to make up for my temporary abandonment, the next dish will be soon to follow.