Monday, November 10, 2014

Not quite a Recipe: Crustless Cauliflower-Bacon Quiche

Dont'cha just hate it when you start throwing sh*t together - with absolutely no regard for "measuring" (or paying attention) - only to discover that you just made The World's Greatest Quiche and now you have no clue how to replicate it?!

World's Greatest Quiche!

Well, it's a problem around here!

Yesterday I set-off on a culinary adventure, hoping to eliminate my excess-stock of eggs (from the Farmer's Market - no, the Vegas Showgirls are NOT laying yet!) and cauliflower (also from the FM, but I believe I did plant some cauliflower this year).

As noted above, I really didn't pay attention to quantities, but I want to type-out my best recollection of what I did so that - in the future - I can replicate it (and maybe even keep better track of what I did!).

First, I pulled down my glass quiche pan.  I wasn't sure what it was really called, but Google tells me it's a 9.5" Pyrex Scalloped Pie Plate, and you can order one here, if you're so inclined.

Then I ransacked the fridge.  I pulled out an organic cauliflower (medium-sized head); a handful of fresh baby spinach; 4 large-ish mushrooms (sliced); 6 slices of thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon (YUM!); the remains of a chunk o' Jarlsberg* cheese; the remains of a chunk o' Mozzarella cheese, and a tub of shredded parmesan.  Oh, and heavy whipping cream and half-a-dozen eggs.

Non-refrigerated items:  Half a small red onion (finely chopped), some Lawry's Seasoned Salt and some smoked paprika (for sprinkling the top).  Oh, and garlic-infused olive oil (to schmear on the pie-plate to minimize stickage).

Now's the part where it gets tricky:  Trying to remember what the hell I did!

I only used about 1/4 of the head of cauliflower (1 cup?  2?!  No idea!) and chopped it into bite-sized chunks.  I put the cauliflower chunks in a steamer basket on the stove; sprinkled with garlic sea-salt and let 'em steam until tender.  Set aside to drain and cool (I think I may have put 'em on paper-towels to make sure they got good and dry!).

Next I fried-up the bacon 'til almost-crisp (well, mostly crisp - but not super-dry).  Set that aside - definitely on a paper-towel - to drain all of the grease.

I poured off most of the grease, but used a little bit of bacon grease to lightly saute the spinach and sliced mushrooms and chopped onions.  Just 'til they're limp.

Dump the shroom/spinach/onions into the oiled pie-plate.  Double-check the cauliflower to make sure it's plenty dry - then dump that in, too.  Chop the (now cooled and not-greasy) bacon into tiny chunks and dump those in, as well (okay, I admit it may have only been FIVE slices that made it into the quiche).  Now give it a good shake or three of Lawry's Season Salt and stir it around in the pie plate 'til everything is mixed well.

Grate your cheese (again - no clue how much of each.  I'm guessing about a cup of Jarlsberg; 1/3 cup of Mozzarella and - maybe 1/4 cup of shredded Parm).  Dump about 2/3 - 3/4 of the cheese into the plate of veggie/bacon chunks and stir it again.  Keep the last 1/4 - 1/3 of grated cheese for the top of the quiche.

Whisk your eggs and cream together 'til well blended.  I'd started out with 4 eggs and ??? cream - but quickly determined that wasn't enough.  This is where "tweakage" is necessary (and measuring would have been helpful!).  Pour the egg/cream mixture over the veggie/bacon/cheese pile and smudge-it-around - as needed - to ensure even coverage.  If you come-up short (too much dry veggie matter sticking up on top), whisk some more eggs/cream.

You don't want the pan overflowing with gooze, but you don't want a quiche that's only 1/4" thick!  And, of course, you want the "innards" to be covered - otherwise you'll end up with burnt, dry chunks of cauliflower - ick!

Top the whole thing with the rest of your grated cheese (it'll give it a nice cheesy-chewy "crust!"), and a few shakes of paprika for added color.  Pop it in a pre-heated 350-375* oven for... 45 mins, maybe? (mine was 375* in a convection oven and it took 45 mins).  Cook 'til golden brown on the top (and maybe a little darker around the edges).  Test for done-ness by inserting a knife or toothpick in the center.  If it comes up clean, you'r'e good-to-go!  If it's gooey, then give it a few more minutes.

Prepare to be impressed!

Al fresco dining at the TiKi BaR!
*Notes on cheese selection.  Gruyere is generally the "accepted" cheese for quiche-making, but I find the aroma to be less-than-pleasing ("Smells like Old Peoples' Feet" - as my dear old dad would say!).  Swiss is a good alternative, but I (personally) find the sharpness to be a bit overpowering.  Jarlsberg is a semi-soft cheese that is similar to swiss (IMHO) without the "bite."  So I went with Jarlsberg and "toned-it-down" with Mozzarella. Whatever I did - the balance was *perfect* for this particular quiche, so I really hope I can do it again!!!

One final note on quiches, in general.  They freeze and re-heat quite nicely!  Dear Hubs has made it clear that he is a non-quiche-eater.  Leaves more for me - :-D!  I find if I slice it up, cold, then wrap carefully in aluminum foil, then pop it into a ziplock baggie, it freezes quite nicely.  The key is to "seal" it with foil, but not let the foil get folded *into* the quiche - you want easy removal!

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