I bought a new purse last week, for the first time since 2006, all because I asked a stranger in a bathroom where she got hers, and she said Target. I enjoy mushrooms now, after 27 years of hating them, because reading this blog post made me want to. I like reading Bon Appetit because I like reading how this girl writes. I’ve taken a photo almost every day this year because I’ve watched other people do it and been motivated.
In cooking as in life, inspiration to try new things can come from almost anywhere. It can be a conversation with a stranger, an article you notice, something quick you look at, maybe sometimes something you read on a blog like this one. For me, with this quiche, it was even simpler: a solid white pan.
The white dish I’m referencing is not mine, but it’s my brother’s, one he set on the counter the other day, and every time I’ve walked into the kitchen and seen it, I’ve thought, Quiche! That pan needs a quiche! So although making homemade pie crusts is not high on my life’s to-do list, I saw no way around it: a store-bought crust could make a quiche, but a store-bought crust could not use that pan. I knew what I had to do.
Turns out the process couldn’t have been simpler. Tuesday night, I mixed flour and salt, cut in butter, added water, and formed the dough into a ball, wrapping it in plastic and sticking it in the fridge. I think it took 15 minutes. Wednesday, I pulled out the dough, rolled it out on parchment (with the confidence that only making perfect homemade apple strudel could have given me) and pressed it into the quiche pan, cutting the edges off the sides.
Choosing the type of quiche was even easier. I looked at what I already had in the kitchen—a red pepper, a red onion, gruyere, some random greens—and found a recipe that made the most of those things. Inspiration by necessity! It begins with caramelizing the vegetables, a step that fills your kitchen with the most incredible aroma of browning peppers and onions mixed with coconut oil. Then you saute the greens, mix all those things with eggs, milk, and cheese, and bam: a golden, flaky quiche with the colors of Christmastime.
The only change I’d make next time is extra salt—the original recipe said to add to taste, but you add the salt to the cooking peppers and onions, so it’s hard to judge at that point, so now I’d just say to be generous—because when I pulled this out of the oven, it was not only delicious but utterly beautiful, the kind of beautiful that makes you want to take a picture when you don’t have a food blog or have someone over for brunch although it’s not Saturday morning or, you know, make a quiche even without this pretty white pan to put it in.
Gruyère Quiche with Caramelized Red Pepper, Red Onion and Greens
Lighted adapted from Whole Foods
1.5 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
1 red onion, sliced or diced
Dashes of salt and pepper
1/4 pound greens (spinach, chard, romaine, whatever you’d like)
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup grated Gruyère, divided
1 (9-inch) pie crust, set in pie plate (*recipe for the version I used below)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add red pepper slices, diced onion, dashes of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown and caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes; transfer to a large bowl. Return skillet to heat, add remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil and the greens and cook, tossing often, until completely wilted and liquid is evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes; transfer to bowl with onions and peppers and set aside until warm.
Add eggs, milk, 1/2 cup of the Gruyère, salt and pepper to bowl with onion mixture and mix well. Transfer to your pie crust, top with remaining 1/4 cup Gruyère and bake until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 45 minutes. Set aside to let cool until just warm then cut into slices and serve.
Spelt Pie Crust
Makes one pie crust.
For those of you who asked about the frozen spelt crust we used with the pear pie: it was fine and had good ingredients, but the flavor was just average. This homemade crust was super easy to work with—I mean, crazy easy—and I liked it better than the frozen one we bought. However, I have a feeling this recipe is going to be just one in a huge sea of pie crusts I try.
1 cup white spelt flour (I’d like to try using half whole-grain spelt next time)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup cold water
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or a fork until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in water. Using your clean hands, shape the dough into a ball and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate for four hours or overnight.
When ready to use dough, set it on the counter for about 20 minutes or so to thaw. Roll out on floured parchment paper, making it larger than the pie pan you want to set it in. Using the parchment to help you move it, turn the crust onto the pie pan, pressing it down and up the sides.
I had a small ball of leftover dough, which I buttered and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, rolling it like cinnamon rolls and baking in a separate dish.