Dec 31 2014
I have been ignoring you. All of you. That’s what it must look like, from the other side of the screen where you are seated, reading this blog post. I wish it were that simple.
It’s not that I haven’t been busy cooking (I have), or that I don’t love my readers (I do!); it’s just that I’ve been preoccupied with a lot of other things (a.k.a. “life”) that somehow got in the way of my writing about food. And then, Christmas came, and just like that, another year has gone by. Seriously? I wish someone would do something about this 24-hours-in-a-day thing. It’s just not working for me.
So, where were we? Last time I checked in was also in the winter; a time for comfort foods and warm, lovely things. Our annual Christmas Eve dinner this past week was filled with such: potato latkes; spinach and mushroom bread puddings; classic ratatouille; rib-eye roast with horseradish cream; roasted broccoli; sautéed kale with butternut squash; chocolate Kahlua cake; and a flan, made by one of our guests, that was just ridiculously good.
And then, there was the roasted-tomato and -zucchini quiche with a cheddar crust. From the reviews given by the twenty or so attendees at the dinner, it seems that particular dish was the clear winner for the night – outside of that flan I just mentioned, because sugar, let’s face it. I can’t imagine why this deep-dish, custardy, savory, creamy, extremely and deliciously cheesy quiche was such a crowd-pleaser. No siree, I have no idea.
The foundation for this recipe is a basic buttery pie crust enriched with cheddar and a little bit of rosemary. Tomatoes and zucchini are a natural pairing and work particularly well with eggs and cheese, but (BUT!) they must be oven-roasted before finding their way in the custard, unless you want to end up with a soggy, watery mess. Last, but not least, make sure you use generous amounts of goat cheese in the filling, and whole milk or cream instead of a low-fat variety. Trust me, it’s worth the extra bit of exercise you swore you’d be doing this year.
With this, I bid 2014 farewell, and welcome 2015; with any luck, I’ll be back before another year has gone by!
In the interim, carry on, y’all.
Cheddar-Crusted Quiche with Roasted Vegetables
For the crust:
1.5 cups flour
1 stick very cold butter, cut in 10 to 12 pieces
1/2 cup grated cheddar
1 pinch rosemary (fresh or dried)
1 pinch salt
about 1/2 cup half cold water and half ice cold vodka; note: the alcohol will evaporate during baking.
In food processor, pulse together the dry ingredients until mixed. Add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal. While the machine is turned on, add liquid mix, a little bit at a time, until the dough comes together in one mass. This will take more or less liquid depending on the ambient humidity in your kitchen. Gather the dough, pat in a thick, flat disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for about 30 min.
For the filling:
4 plum tomatoes, cut in 1″ slices
2 medium zucchini, also cut in 1″ slices
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Toss the vegetables in olive oil, and spread in a single layer on a couple of cookie sheets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake at 350 until they begin to caramelize a bit. This might take 30 min or less. You want to make sure your vegetables are quite dry, but not crispy. There may be a few spots that look really dark, but that’s fine. Let cool.
Next, beat together:
1 cup milk or cream
Add this to the vegetables along with 1 cup crumbled goat cheese and pour in the crust, which you have by now rolled out, placed in a greased, deep-dish pie pan (mine has fluted sides and a removable bottom; makes for a nice presentation), and pricked a few times with a fork to prevent bubbling while it bakes.
Bake at 350 for about 40 min., or until the top is golden, the crust looks flaky, and the custard is set – you will know it is by inserting a knife down the center of the quiche: if it come out cheesy but otherwise clean, you’re done.