For our weekly Studio Lunch, my son Zach prepared a savory Grilled Vegetable + White Cheddar Quiche with cherry tomatoes. In a move that delighted me, he delivered it to the studio and included a heaping salad of fresh greens- Butterhead lettuce, Red Oakleaf, and arugula- all from Jack-o-Lantern Farms, one of our local farmers’ markets. For the salad, he also made strawberry-balsamic vinaigrette, with which I (for certain) over saturated my greens.
Quiche is one of my all-time favorite dishes. It can be eaten for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner depending on your choice of ingredients.
When I lived in Vienna, I visited Switzerland often where I discovered one of my favorite dishes: Swiss Cheese Pie – which was really just quiche without crust. The Spaniards have a fluffier version called a frittata (think beating your eggs a bit longer).
My personal favorite time for quiche is brunch: a fun, casual weekend gathering with friends. Though for the sake of time, I sometimes make it for dinner. It allows me to multi-task: it bakes while I help Maggie with homework or spend time in my garden.
Many recipes and adaptations produce the perfect baked “eggy” custard, which you can adapt to your own taste. A sweet rendition is the classic Southern Egg Custard Pie, but I often choose a savory version as my brunch centerpiece. Conveniently, quiche additions are mostly fail-proof. Once you perfect the correct egg + dairy ratio, you simply chop and toss in whatever vegetables or meats you have on hand- quantity to your liking.
Janice Cole’s book, Chicken and Egg, has enough egg-inspired brunch ideas- sans the pastry crust- to last me through the year: Bacon and Egg Breakfast Tarts (page 201), Egg-Stuffed Baguette with Fresh Lemon Mayo (page 90), and Deep-Dish Mushroom Egg Bake with Applewood-Smoked Bacon (page 172). I’ve made the Baked Eggs with Basil-Mint Pesto with delightful results (page 83), and I have decided to make the Sage Frittata with Charred Tomatoes and Curly Parmesan (page 143) for my next weekend get-together. The book is filled with wonderful stories and recipes – plus, you get to learn just why it is that chickens walk so funny.
For those interested in making our studio lunch quiche, here’s a tip for preparation: Make your dough in advance and refrigerate overnight. This allows you ample time to enjoy good conversation (+ an Alabama Bloody Mary- or two) with friends.
ZACH’S GRILLED VEGETABLE QUICHE
1/4 cups cream
1 tablespoon sour cream (or homemade crème fraiche)
1/2 cup Wright Dairy white cheddar cheese
1 grilled onion, cut into 1/4″ thick slices
1 grilled zucchini, cut into 1/4″ thick slices
1 grilled squash, cut into 1/4″ thick slices
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced half-wise
Pinch of dill
Salt and pepper
Prepare your crust, as instructed below in our PIE CRUST RECIPE from Alabama Studio Style.
Slice the onion, zucchini, and squash into 1/4″ pieces. Grill until cooked thoroughly, slightly charred.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together all of the eggs until smooth. Gradually add the sour cream (or crème fraiche) + cream. Add 1 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon pepper; mix until well combined.
Pour most of the egg mixture into the baked pie crust, reserving a few ounces of egg mix for the end.
Arrange the grilled vegetables and top with cherry tomatoes, remaining cheddar, and a light sprinkle of dill over the top.
Add remaining egg mixture, if there is room. Bake at 350F for approximately 20 minutes, or until center of quiche is firm.
Transfer quiche to a wire rack to cool until set. Serve warm or at room temperature. To reheat, cover quiche with aluminum foil and bake in an oven heated to 325F for about 15 minutes.
PIE CRUST RECIPE (from page 89 of Alabama Studio Style)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup salted butter
Up to 1/4 cup cold water
Preheat oven to 425F.
Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl or a food processor bowl. Add butter and, blend until the dough resembles a course oatmeal. If you are using a food processor, pulse the blade until combined; if blending by hand, use a pastry cutter or two knife blades. Slowly add the cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. Remove the dough ball, flatten slightly to form a thick disk, and cover completely in an airtight container or in a plastic wrap so that dough does not dry out while chilling. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
Roll the chilled dough to about 1/8” thickness in one round shape to fit a 9” pie pan or in twelve round shapes to fit a standard muffin pan. Gently press the dough into the pie pan or muffin pan, being careful not to make a hole. Trim any excess from around the edges and fold the edges under. If desired, make a decorative fluted edge or press all around with the tines of a fork toallow trapped air to escape during the baking process and to keep the dough from bubbling up. Bake for about 8 minutes or until the crust is a light, golden brown.
Bake for about 8 minutes, or until the crust is a light, golden brown.
*Our quiche is plated on HEATH Ceramics Etched Dinner plate in Red Clay/Rosebud on one of our Alabama Chanin Spiral Embroidered Placemats. To make the placemat for yourself, create a base by following the instructions from Alabama Studio Style and add our Spiral embroidery from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.