Earlier this year while browsing the fresh vegetable selection at our local Valencia Farmers Market I got inspired to try to make a homemade quiche. Really it was the seasonally fresh squash blossoms, carried by one of the local vendors, that got me thinking about it. At first I wasn’t thinking so much about quiche, but how to use and prepare squash blossoms. Jenny and I have had some great squash blossom dishes that are usually stuffed with some good cheese and herb filling and then lightly fried, usually very delicious.
However I wanted to find another way to prepare them without frying them. This is where the quiche idea came to mind, I thought they would be good baked into the top. On the next visit to our Farmers Market I decided I was going to come home with most of the ingredients needed to make a quiche. Blossoms, baby zucchini, fresh picked oyster mushrooms, onion, herbs, good cheese and a dozen eggs.
The first batch turned out pretty good and since then I’ve made quiche 4 or 5 times and they seem to be getting better and better.
Each time I’ve experimented with the ingredients to find a good balance that makes for a yummy quiche. Often based on what I find to look really good and fresh at the Farmers Market. So far I’ve used a combination of the following ingredients, not all at once but a mix of usually 3 or 4 items. When you make your own quiche, use your imagination, the best thing about a quiche is that it will work with almost anything as long as your ingredients are good and fresh.
- Squash Blossoms
- Zucchini or Yellow Squash
- Mushrooms, oyster and shiitake seem to work well.*
- Corn, cut fresh off the cob.*
- Swiss or Rainbow Chard*
- Beet Greens
- Vegetarian sausage, crumbled, Field Roast’s Italian* or Smoked Apple Sage is fantastic, can’t even tell its vegan!
- Fresh herbs, thyme*, tarragon, Italian parsley*, rosemary, chives, or green onions. Any one or a combination is good. I usually use 2 to 3 herbs.
- Good cheese, Gruyère*, swiss*, jack cheese work well, I usually mix two different cheeses.
- Half and Half*
- Dried spices such as mustard*, cumin, paprika*, and cayenne pepper.
- Salt and fresh cracked pepper*
- Pie Crust
* Indicates ingredients used in quiche shown in photos posted on this article.
I’m sure over time I’ll experiment with other seasonally fresh ingredients. I’ve thought about trying butternut squash, fresh and sun-dried tomatoes, olives, capers, and chili peppers for a spicy version.
I’ve tried various types of quiches and some have little ingredients and are mostly egg, I like to have a lot of ingredients and less of the egg filling, even with a lot of ingredients, you get a plenty of egg filling.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
I have yet to be ready to tackle the challenge of making a crust from scratch, so I head over to our local Whole Foods to see what I could find. Sure enough, in their frozen section, they have pie shells ready to use, Wholly Wholesome Organic Pie Crusts, wheat and sprouted spelt crusts, good and healthy. They come in packs of two that defrost in about 15 minutes. Add foil to a baking pan and set both pie crusts on the pan. I give them a light pre-bake for about 3 to 5 minutes so they were a little warm when I added my filling. Eventually I’ll take on the challenge of making my own crust from scratch, but for now, these work perfectly and they taste good too.
Grate the cheese using the large holes on an upright 4 sided cheese grater until you have about 2 cups or more, I like more. To keep the grated cheese from clumping and sticking, add a little bit of flour and hand toss around in a bowl. Set aside until ready to put quiches together.
I find it easier to make two quiches at a time, so this is for two. Take a dozen large or regular eggs (if you’re using jumbo, then start with 8 to 10 eggs and add more if needed), crack them all into a bowl and add about a cup of half and half. Mix thoroughly. You can add some additional fresh herbs, spices, salt and pepper to your egg mixture, just make sure you don’t add too much salt if you add it to your filling too. Set aside.
Most of the filling I pre-cook before adding it to the pie dishes. For the one in the photographs, I crumbled two links of vegan Italian sausage into a big pan with olive oil, added chopped shiitake and oyster mushrooms, red onion, and garlic. Let that sauté for about 8 to 10 minutes over a medium-high heat, then I added fresh corn, herbs, spices, salt, and pepper. Mix it all together and let it all cook for a few more minutes until everything is nice and golden. Then I set it aside in a bowl.
While all that is cooking I’m washing my rainbow chard, and drying it out. I dice up all the stems and start cooking them in the same pan with some garlic (don’t clean the pan, the stems will pickup the flavors from the previous cooking). I let the stems cook for about 3 to 5 minutes in olive oil, then I add some red wine (you can use white wine) and let that simmer for about a minute and then I add about a third to half a cup of water and toss in my chopped rainbow chard, it’ll steam up and start cooking down. With tongs, I turn over the chard constantly until it is lightly wilted while still being bright green, but not over cooked. Chard, like spinach, cooks fast. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Quiche Assembly and Baking
I like to start with a small layer of cheese on the bottom, then I add the main filling of vegan sausage, mushrooms, and corn. After that, I add a heavy layer of cheese and then add the chard on top of it spreading it all over to pretty much cover the cheese.
Next take the egg mixture and slowly pour it over the filling, slowly as it takes time for the mixture to fill in the cracks and get to the bottom. It’s good to use a fork or chop sticks to move the ingredients around a bit so the egg mixture can get to the bottom. Once you’ve filled both with all the mixture then I top it off with the final layer of cheese. If I had fresh squash blossoms, I would add them before adding the final layer of cheese, see photos here. This time I tried something new by adding a very light layer of bread crumbs to the top and it seemed to add a good texture to the top crust.
Now carefully take the baking pan with your quiches and place it in the middle of your oven and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes until the top is golden brown and middle looks done. The time might vary depending on your oven. Once they are done, take them out and let them cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting into them. That’s it, enjoy!
Homemade Quiche Resources
- Home cooking photos on Flickr with quiche photos
- Quiche on Wikipedia
- Quiche on TasteSpotting
- Field Roast Vegan Sausages
- Wholly Wholesome Organic Pie Crusts
Have you had a great quiche? Or maybe made your own homemade quiche? What is your favorite way to prepare it? Please feel free to share your thoughts below and thanks for reading.