Hot Damn! I’ve got a surprise day off, and my body is thankful! You know, I’m not as young as I used to be, and cooking multiple meals for several families on the same day is a pretty intense workout. Sometimes, I create three soups in one cooking spree, and I’m at a point where I consistently make about 3 quarts of chicken or veggie stock every morning or two. Hauling giant pots, scraping the bottoms of big ole’ bowls of salad, and shlepping bags full of love-drenched food causes my triceps to burn and sometimes, my back to ache. Cooking is not for sissies. I am glad for the opportunity to push my body to be strong on a daily basis, especially since I haven’t set foot inside of a gym in longer than I can remember, but a moment of rest is appreciated as well.
So, I’ve got myself a cup of hot tea, the laundry train is working, French Food at Home is on the telly (I heart Laura Calder!), my dog is snoozing on the bed, and I can share this scrumptious quiche with you.
I find myself getting home after delivering meals to clients feeling exhilarated from the bringing-joy-through-food part, but wiped out from the physical exertion part. And some nights, I just can’t take the thought of washing another dish. If Adam and I can “Plan to Plate” ourselves on Sundays, setting ourselves up for success with soups, salads, and dishes that we can dive straight into, we do a much better job of feeding our bodies throughout the week. Quiche is an excellent choice for a prepare-ahead dish. You can cram loads of vegetables into it. Plus- you get protein from the eggs, all kinds of essential vitamins and minerals from the cheese and milk, and it’s held together by a whole wheat crust. Downing a slice of quiche for breakfast or lunch trumps the alternative of a bowl of cereal or a sandwich in the vegetable department any day of the week.
My mom used to make a kielbasa quiche topped with sesame seeds frequently when I was a kid, so I associate happy food memories with quiche too. This time we opted to use a Conecuh sausage,
straight from Alabama. It’s a favorite of many of our Alabama native friends, and something that both ‘Bama and Auburn fans can agree on, if you can imagine that! It’s salty, a little smoky, and oozingly juicy. A bit of indulgence, for sure.
You can spin a quiche any way you like, especially in terms of vegetables, so we found inspiration for this one at our local Decatur Farmers Market.
These carrots from Steve Miller’s farm were too pretty to pass up.
And I happen to think that kohlrabi is one of the most versatile vegetables available. These, from Le Tre Lune, were calling my name.
When I noticed those big, beautiful leaves on top, I entertained the possibility of a kohlrabi green pesto. I’m sure I’ll be trying that out in the future.
I grabbed some radishes too, knowing that they would find their way to top a salad. But Luca told me that the Green Luobos really do well when cooked until tender, so I thought they’d be a great addition to our quiche.
Greg Brown from Greenleaf Farms had these giant rutabagas. I have to be honest and tell you that I’ve never cooked rutabaga before, but I’m going to cross that line tonight! I figure I’ll treat them as I would a big turnip. I’m always up for trying something new!
He also had these lovely blossoming heads of radicchio, so I snagged one of them as well.
Back in the kitchen we were ready to put the wheels in motion. So, we preheated our oven to 375° and grabbed a fork.
You need to poke the crust (which I set out about 20 minutes ahead of time to defrost) to prevent it from ballooning up during the cooking process. So, stab her all over, and then place the crust in the oven for about 12 – 15 minutes, until it’s not doughy anymore, but a nice golden color.
Then, we browned our sausage. You can use bacon instead, or skip the meat all together. It’s your prerogative!
While the sausage was cooking, I had time to dice up my veggies. We used
1 shallot, diced small
1 bunch fresh carrots, peeled and diced
1 kohlrabi, peeled and diced and the leaves chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 green luobo radish, diced
With the sausage out of the pan,
it was time to add the veggies.
Start with the shallots and a pinch of salt, and cook them for about 2 – 3 minutes over medium heat. Scrape up those brown bits on the bottom of the pan. That’s the good stuff!
Then, add the veggies to the pan along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute them for about 3 minutes, until they are just becoming tender.
While that is happening, go ahead and grate your cheese
That’s oh, about a Cup of shredded Colby. You can use the cheese of your choice.
And mix up the eggs.
I typically use:
1/2 Cup milk
3 cloves garlic, pressed
and this time we added
3 – 4 roasted red peppers, diced
salt and pepper- season as you would if you were cooking five eggs in a pan.
You can taste a tad of the egg mixture to be sure it’s salty enough. I wouldn’t drink that raw egg mix, but a little taste ain’t gonna kill you. Well, it didn’t kill me anyway.
We chopped up a few links of sausage and cut our kohlrabi greens into bite-sized chunks. We added them to the pan.
You could use another kind of leafy green here too. I really love the texture that it offers in the final product. So, incorporate the greens and sausage into the other veggies. Allow the heat to wilt the leaves. Then, remove the pan from the stove. You want to give that filling time to cool down, so you don’t scramble the eggs with super hot vegetables.
Next, I sprinkled some cheese across the bottom of the pie crust and scooped as much of my sausage and veggies into the crust as I could fit. I had some leftovers, which later were served over grits and in a spinach wrap with avocado and sprouts. Yay for multi-purpose cooking!
We poured the eggs over the sausage and vegetables and topped the whole shebang with cheese. Isn’t she lovely?
We cooked the quiche for about 35 or 40 minutes, until the eggs had set and the cheese had tightened up nicely. It may take 45 minutes or so…you can use a toothpick like you would with a cake to test it. Once a toothpick or a knife comes out of the center clean, you are good to go.
Allow the quiche to set for about 10 minutes before you slice it up. I sprinkled mine with a little bit of fresh parsley for a bright green finish.
Mmm. You can even see from this picture that our eggs were still creamy, rather than dried out. The flavor of each bite was kinda dreamy. I mean, you start with a whole wheat pie crust (that someone else made!), add fresh, local vegetables, tasty sausage, and award winning cheese- you can’t really go wrong. The veggies were tender, but not mushy at all. They maintained their textural integrity through the process. And, as I mentioned before, I really appreciated the chew and slight bitterness provided by the leaves from the kohlrabi. Kale would work perfectly to that end as well. The carrots and kohlrabi were sweet, and I loved the radish in there. Again, it brought a touch of bitterness that paired beautifully with the sweet flourishes and creaminess throughout the pie. Surprisingly, the quiche reheats amazingly well, and it made my mouth and my belly happy several times over the next few days.
I always have a better week when I feel like I am giving my body what it needs. For me, getting 5 servings of fruits and vegetables is difficult to do when I am so busy. Standing over a stove doesn’t offer a lot of opportunity for a luxurious lunch! But I love my veggies and I crave my veggies! Quiche is a perfectly delicious vehicle for vegetable delivery. So, they’re snuggled up with eggs, cheese, and sausage…all the better to eat them with, she said.
I hope that you’ll be inspired to create your own quiche sometime soon. Play with the mix of vegetables, meats, and cheeses. Make it Italian in nature. Or choose to Mexican-y with it. French it up if you want! (That sounds sassy!) Get down with your bad self and your quiche. Serve a slice with fruit and call it breakfast. Saddle a piece up next to a little fresh green salad and call it lunch or dinner. Or, enjoy a slice all by itself. I might even suggest having a second slice for dessert. Feed your body the vegetables it wants, even when you don’t have time on your side.
Happy cooking and eating to you, my friends.