Last week, I made a quiche, which was a big step for me recovery-wise. I haven’t expended that much energy since June. Of 2006.
I found some lard pie dough in the freezer left over from the cherry pie debacle so, having only sporadic interest in sweets since treatment began, a quiche seemed imminent. Also, there was a lot of summer squash piling up, which, after a quick survey of the fridge, I planned to combine with leeks, crumbled queso fresco, and some fresh oregano from out back. Truth be told, I probably wouldn’t have attempted a quiche on a weeknight if I had remembered about the blind-baking part, where you have to pre-bake the empty crust before filling it. And so I stood over that raw crust, bowl of filling hovering just above it, trying to figure out what was wrong with this picture. It finally clicked after about 10 minutes.
(Did I mention that chemo can adversely affect your mental abilities? They call it “chemo brain.” Judging by the fact that one of the beds in the house ended up with a fitted sheet and two top sheets on it, I think it’s safe to say I won that lottery, too. But at least now I have an excuse for the dumb things I do.)
Anyway, the quiche came out great. Squash has no business tasting that good. Then again, what doesn’t taste good swaddled in two cups of cream? Speaking of which, I had a little extra egg/cream mixture left over, so I added to it some sliced salami and cubes of stale bread I’d put aside for croutons. I let the bread soak until softened and added some Romano cheese. Then I poured it into a small casserole dish, sans crust, and baked it into a sort of strata. Also scrumptious. (Again, cream.)
By the way, to answer a question from comments, what you saw a couple of posts ago wasn’t a quiche, but a frittata. Eggs, sweet corn shaved from the cob, sungold tomatoes, basil, and goat cheese cooked together like a giant omelet. No crust. It’s what you make when quiche is on your mind, but you only have a half an hour. If, however, you’re trying to make up for lost time in the kitchen, I offer you this quiche recipe.
Leek and Summer Squash Quiche
Feel free to substitute feta for queso fresco, or fresh basil or marjoram for the oregano. However, be sure to always reheat leftovers in the oven rather than a microwave to keep crust crispy and delicious instead of rubbery and disgusting.
For lard crust recipe, go here (makes two so you can have one in the freezer for later).
3 pattypan squash (or 1 medium summer squash or zucchini), chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 leeks, white and light green parts only), chopped
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 oz. queso fresco, crumbled
½ tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
2 cups cream
3-4 cherry tomatoes, sliced
Salt and pepper
Make your pie dough and chill for at least a half hour. Set chopped squash in a colander over a plate and sprinkle with salt. Let drain for at least a half hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out dough on floured surface and transfer to pie plate. (For tips on rolling out pie dough, go here.) Set a sheet of aluminum foil on top of dough and fill with dried beans, rice, or other pie weights to prevent shrinkage and bubbling. Bake about 30 minutes, until golden and dry. Let cool a bit before adding filling.
Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Sauté leeks until soft but not brown, about five minutes. Set aside in a medium bowl and wipe out skillet. Blot moisture from squash with paper towels. Heat olive oil in skillet over high heat. Cook squash until tender and browning. Add squash to bowl of leeks.
When crust has cooled, add leeks, squash, cheese, and most of the oregano. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, and salt and pepper. Pour filling over vegetables. You may not use it all, depending on the amount of vegetables in the crust. Place tomato slices on top and sprinkle with remaining oregano. Bake 45-55 minutes depending on your oven. Filling should be set and starting to brown. Let cool and serve with a big salad.
Squash, leeks: Waltham Fields, Waltham, MA
Butter: Cabot, Cabot, VT
Eggs: Chip-In Farm, Bedford, MA
Cream: High Lawn Farm, Lee, MA