Josh’s office held a potluck this week, which his coworker Sophia was kind enough to tell me about in advance (Josh is not very good about giving me advance notice of such things…it’s often a, “Oh, honey, I need a dish that feeds 20-30 people for a potluck…this afternoon” kind of thing. But anyway…potluck! Apparently this one had an international theme, in honor of the Winter Olympics. Ooh là là.
Immediately I thought, “I’ll do something French.” It’s my usual fallback. I credit this to five years of French class and billions of hours spent watching Pepe LePew cartoons in my youth. That crazy Pepe. Doesn’t he realize that’s a kitty?
I had the perfect recipe in mind, too, something I saw recently on FoodTV: balsamic chocolate truffles. While technically a recipe from Everyday Italian, I consider truffles French. And even if they were Italian….still fits the international theme. Also: chocolate. Win-win. But then I actually read the recipe and realized it would take like 4 hours to make those things and there was no guarantee they’d come out right the first time, and it’s a weeknight and well—maybe those were better left for a weekend project. C’est la vie.
So now I had to think of a real dish. Go go gadget brain! So to speak. I scrolled through the 15 or so recipes in my Evernote cookbook that are tagged “French” until I found one for a Roquefort quiche.
Hmm. Quiche, you say?
According to the omniscient Wikipedia, quiche is a:
baked dish that is based on a custard made from eggs and milk or cream in a pastry crust. Usually, the pastry shell is blind baked before the other ingredients are added for a secondary baking period. Other ingredients such as cooked chopped meat, vegetables, or cheese are often added to the egg mixture before the quiche is baked. Quiche is generally an open pie (i.e. does not contain a pastry covering), but may include an arrangement of tomato slices or pastry off-cuts for a decorative finish. Quiche can be eaten warm but is more commonly eaten cold, making it a suitable component of the food served in a typical summer picnic.
Commonly eaten cold, or room temperature…perfect for an office party. Also, easy to make, efficient and provides a nice platter for toppings an ingredients. Ching ching, all aboard for the Idea Express.
I ended up not making the Roquefort one, nor any of the other quiche recipes I looked up because I’m a rebel and I don’t need the claustrophobic and rigid rules imposed by imperialist recipes. Ok, that’s not true, but I do still consider recipes to be much like the Pirate Code: “really more like guidelines, anyway.” I knew that I wanted the quiche to be vegetarian, light, pretty and flavorful, so I opted to go with some standard Mediterranean ingredients: tomatoes, spinach, herbs and goat cheese.
Oh and not just any goat cheese. Drunken goat cheese.
I know what you’re thinking. “Wow, the people in the Mediterranean love their wine so much they even give it to their goats!” No. Well, maybe. Someone might. I’m not one to judge the farmer-goat relationship; that seems kind of private. But no, “drunken goat cheese” is actually soaked in wine for a couple of days, hence the “drunken” and made from goats milk, hence the “goat” and is cheese….hence the uh, “cheese.”
Quiche is actually extremely easy to make, especially if you do what I did and use a pre-made pie crust (it’s not cheating, it’s efficient). It’s also extremely versatile and scales very nicely. I noticed that most of the recipes I looked at used 3-4 eggs for a 9″ pie crust and some cream and went from there. I used my food processor to mix the ingredients thoroughly and grate the cheese, but all that can be done by hand. I just happened to be gadgetically oriented. (If “gadgetically” wasn’t a real word before, it still isn’t, but I’m going to continue using it anyway. Gadgetically.)
Now for a confession: I didn’t taste the quiche before I sent it off with Josh. No, I didn’t. How do I know it was any good? I don’t. I relied on my gastronomical inner voice and my sense of smell. And whew, thank goodness they were working because the reports that rolled in after the potluck yesterday were all extremely positive. Whew.
The Drunken Goat Quiche
Makes 1 9″ quiche, serves however many you want depending on how small you slice it
1 9″pie crust, baked according to package directions
4 large eggs
1/2 c. (or so) heavy cream
5oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained well*
3/4 a pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 tbsp herbs de Provence (or just dried Thyme if that’s all you have)
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2oz drunken goat cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine the eggs, heavy cream, herbs, salt, pepper and goat cheese in a blender, food processor, or mix thoroughly by hand. Add in the spinach and tomatoes and gently fold in by hand.
Set pie crust (still in pan) on a baking sheet that’s been lined with tin foil. Pour egg mixture into the crust, smoothing out the top with a spoon.
Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes or until the egg mixture is set. If you find that the pie crust is getting too dark while baking, wrap foil around the edges before putting it back in the oven.
*If you’ve never used frozen spinach before, you’ll want to run it under hot water until it begins to thaw out (it will get everywhere so be careful) and then wring the water out of it by placing it in a clean dish towel and squeezing for a good minute or two. A lot of water will come out, which is good, but surprising. However, you want to get as much of the liquid out as you can or it’ll interfere with your eggs baking.