Quick Quiche

November 21, 2010

A quiche is a great menu item when hosting a brunch. You can put anything you want into a quiche. It takes 45 minutes to bake giving you time to set out flowers and booze.

The first choice is between going the super simple route or the more challenging route. The super simple route is to use a store bought pie crust. For a quiche, the crust is important, people expect a nice buttery, flaky crust. But when you are hosting a brunch and have a long list of things to do it is easy to choose a frozen crust. Knowing I was using a frozen crust I decided to make a decadent quiche filled with Fontina cheese and a variety of mushrooms. Once you’ve decided which side to take on the crust debate, the easy part begins.

When all I ate were button mushrooms, I used to think that they were boring. I would add them last minute to a dish just for an additional vegetable but not for flavor. Then I had a dish containing something totally different. I don’t even know what mushrooms they were but since then I’ve been experimenting with different varieties. For this quiche I chose cremini and shiitake mushrooms.

Here is your grocery list:

2 Tablespoons butter

2/3 Cup chopped shallots (about 3)

5 Cups sliced mushrooms

4 Eggs

2/3 Cup Half and Half

1/3 Cup Whole Milk

1/2 Teaspoon ground pepper

1/2 Teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/2 Cups grated Fontina (7ounces)

The first thing you need to do is put your pie crust in a 450 degree oven and stick it in there until it browns. Then remove and let cool.

Now, grab your ingredients and start by chopping the shallots. Add the butter to a heated saucepan large enough to hold the onions and mushrooms. Add the shallots and let them cook. Savor the scent. Nothing smells better than onions in butter. Such a sweet, delicious smell.

Now you can grab your washed mushrooms and slice them up. The mushrooms will be added to the shallots and cooked down so don’t worry about the size too much. Once the shallots are cooked through add the mushrooms and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Saute the mushrooms until they are soft and browning, about eight minutes. Remove from heat and let cool on a plate.

Whisk eggs, hald and half, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in bowl to blend. Stir in one cup of Fontina cheese and the mushroom shallot mix. Pour the filling into the crust and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Pop into a 325 degree oven. About 45 minutes later, once the quiche is golden brown and set in the center, remove from the oven and let cool for about 30 minutes.

Cut into slices to serve.

You are done. So easy!


Roasting a chicken.

November 14, 2010

Roasted chicken is one of the easiest things you can make. It’s an entire meal thrown into a pan and left to cook for a few hours while you do nothing on a lazy Sunday (maybe a little wine time?). All supermarkets sell roasted chickens but if you have ever bought one you know they are loaded with salt, a shit ton of tasty salt. If high blood pressure is your goal, follow these simple steps but don’t forget to add a shit ton of salt sporadically when preparing. By making your own you not only save money but you can experiment with the flavors. Below is a simple first time try at roasting a chicken. I hope to try out different types of seasonings and rubs in the future.  The resulting chicken was moist and delicious and lasted a whole week of snacking and sandwiches. We threw it into quesadillas and on rye bread for some variety but grabbing a cold piece from the fridge was just as satisfying.

To start, buy your favorite vegetables. Most people go with celery, potatoes and carrots but don’t limit yourself. You can go with tomatoes, squash,  anything! It doesn’t matter. the chicken juices will get into your vegetables and make them the most decadent roasted vegetables ever. Now choose your chicken. The most important consideration is how much time you’re willing to commit. A four pound chicken takes about an hour and a half, maybe two  hours in my drafty, unbalanced rental apartment’s kitchen. If you have all day,on a nice quiet Sunday, go big! You can do a lot with the leftovers, so why  not? The next consideration is quality. Do you want an antibiotic free, grain fed vegetarian chicken for a few extra bucks?  Or maybe the cheaper chicken without a label? Does it matter? I think it does but that is up to you.

The easy part is prepping the veggies. Cut them into nice rustic chunks, don’t be too neat about it, and throw them in a pan. I prefer a cast iron skillet but you can use a roasting dish or a large pan . It has to be deep enough to hold all the juices and veggies. 

Now take your lovely chicken and open the package over the sink to catch those even lovelier juices.There will be some parts stuck inside the cavity. Take these out. Do not feed them to your dog. I thought about it but after a quick Google search popped up warnings of making him sick, I tossed them. I reside on the side of caution with this. You could save them to add to chicken stock if you are so inclined.

Try not to look too closely at the chicken. There are little hairs on it that kinda make me queasy but we can all pull it together through this. Take the chicken and put it on a cutting board or clean surface.  Take a few sprigs of rosemary and garlic cloves and stick them under the skin of the chicken on both sides. I used a knife to pull the skin up gently and stuffed the herbs underneath. You can use other herbs if you like. Use a brush and cover the chicken in olive oil or butter, your choice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper all over.  Now get your hands dirty! Massage the oil and spices into the bird. flip and do this to both sides. It doesn’t have to be a deep tissue massage, just make sure the oil gets into every part of the chicken, including under the wings and legs. It’s okay to make an icky face, this part isn’t fun but necessary.

Now take some cut up lemon, more rosemary and garlic and stuff it into the cavity.  This part is also gross but the lemon adds great flavor to the chicken and vegetables. Congratulations! You did it, now stick it on top of the veggies and right in the 450 degree oven.

The best investment to make is with an electric thermometer. With this you set it to 165, the temp for a safely cooked chicken, and wait for it to beep. Otherwise you can wait until it is browned and the juices are running clear in the pan to take it out and inspect the overall doneness of the chicken.

What you need:

Vegetables of your choice

One whole chicken, notice the weight to determine cooking time

Olive oil or butter

Rosemary, Garlic, Lemon or any herbs of your choice.

Salt and pepper