Filed under: challenge, dinner, local, phoenix, recipe | Tags: bacon, eggs, flour, France, pork loin, quiche, recipe, vodka
The inspiration for this week’s all local meal came from the cyclic problem of scarcity and abundance. Though this problem is, apparently, deeply rooted in the human condition – mine was not-so-deeply rooted in my refrigerator.
You see, I had 10 beautiful eggs left over from the neighbor’s chickens. And, the best recipe I know for a large quantity of eggs is, hands down, a quiche (which, by the way, real men do eat). My egg heavy recipe uses 8 – 10 eggs for a 10 inch quiche. Perfect, recipe problem solved.
The trip to the market this week was significantly less chaotic than last week’s frantic mad dash and was, by all accounts, very enjoyable. The only hold up was in the bacon department. I originally learned how to make quiche during the eight months that I lived in Orléans, France and relied on lardons to fill the meat requirement. Unfortunately, lardons aren’t widely available in the U.S. however, bacon serves as an acceptable substitute. Except, the bacon at the market this week was processed in New Jersey. Luckily for me, they had some beautiful sliced, smoked, cured pork loin from the Meat Shop which uses all local meat in its products. As it turns out, the pork loin was absolutely perfect and far superior to bacon (I know what you’re thinking – nothing can be better than bacon, but I assure you, this pork loin was better than bacon).
The major challenge this week was the issue of the crust. In France, quiche crust, typically Pâte Brisée, is sold in a pre-made roll that is the exact size and shape of a quiche or pie pan. While this fabulous product is not only unavailable in the U.S., were it available, I can guarantee it wouldn’t be made of local ingredients. Which lead me on, what will now be referred to as, the Great Arizona Search for Local Flour– where was I going to find the local flour necessary for my quiche crust? After 2 hours of research I had yet to discover a working flour mill in Arizona. I did, however, discover that mesquite flour is made in Tucson, which as lovely as it sounds, wouldn’t be quite right for a quiche crust. The closest, widely available flour that I was able to find came from the Lehi Roller Mill in Lehi, Utah. In the end I ended up using organic spelt flour from Texas. Not exactly local, but organic and in the same general region as Arizona.
The total cost of ingredients this week was $12.75 and included bell peppers, a tomato, a bunch of green onions, a regular onion, two pears, goat cheese, the aforementioned pork loin, sour cream and butter (not pictured). Quiche is a very affordable dish to make and can be filled with any ingredient. I like to choose my filling based on color and texture and fill them as full as possible.
For the quiche, you will need a quiche pan. If you don’t have one of the fluted ones, you can substitute a flan ring, false-bottomed cake pan, or straight-sided cake pan. This quiche recipe is highly forgiving and will even bake in miniature form in ramekins.
This recipe may look complicated, but in reality it is very simple and, with the exception of the crust, can be made from start to finish in about 45 minutes.
Garden Quiche with Pear Side Salad
Inspired by Julia Child and Jennifer Smith
Serves 4 – 6
1 pre-cooked Pâte Brisée crust (instructions below)
4 ounces goat cheese
6 slices fully cooked pork loin (or bacon)
1 small tomato, diced
2 small bell peppers, diced
1 medium onion, diced
8 – 10 small to medium eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
5 leaves Fresh basil (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
For the Pâte Brisée crust (modified from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) chilled butter cut into 3/8 inch pieces
4 tbsp chilled shortening
1/2 cup iced vodka, plus droplets more as needed
In a food processor, combine all ingredients except vodka. Pulse the machine four or five times to blend the ingredients. Then, with the machine on, pour in the vodka. Immediately pulse the mixture several times – the dough should begin to mass on the blade. If not add droplets more water and pulse until the dough masses on itself.
Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and, with the heel of one hand rapidly press the pastry by two spoonful bits down the board and away from you in a firm, quick smear of about 6 inches. Gently gather the dough into a mass, knead briefly into a fairly smooth round ball. Sprinkle lightly with flour, wrap it and refrigerate for 1 hour until firm.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the dough on a lightly floured board. If too hard, beat it with a rolling pin to soften. Knead briefly into a fairly flat circle. Lightly flour the top of the dough and roll it out into a 1/8 inch thick circle that is 2 inches larger than the quiche pan. Gently transfer the dough to a buttered quiche pan, either by reversing it onto the rolling pin or by folding it into quarters, laying it in the pan and unfolding it. Press the dough into the pan and trim off the excess.
Line the inside of the crust with tin foil and fill with pie weights, beans or rice. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork and return to the oven for 2 – 3 minutes.
For the quiche:
While the crust is baking, dice the bell peppers, tomato, onion and pork loin, mix the ingredients together and set aside. I like to flavor the goat cheese with the basil, to do so chiffonade the basil (which means to slice it into thin, long strips) and mix it along with salt and pepper into the goat cheese. Once the ingredients are ready, make the egg mixture.
Crack 8 eggs into a metal bowl, add the sour cream and whisk. The mixture should change color and thicken. If you think you’ll need more egg filling add in the additional two eggs and a spoonful of sour cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Once the crust is done, lower the temperature of the oven to 375, add the mixture of diced ingredients to the crust and dot the goat cheese on top. Gently pour the egg mixture over the ingredients, being careful not to let the mixture run over the crust edge (if your crust is like mine, it always seems to shrink). Place the quiche into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. The quiche is done when the middle no longer wiggles.
Pear Side Salad
1 serving basic vinaigrette (instructions on recipes page)
1 head lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
3 sprigs green onion, diced
1 pear, thinly sliced
Toss the lettuce, green onions and sliced pears together. Top with vinaigrette dressing just before serving.
The quiche is best served warm although is delicious cold or reheated.
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