Sunday, March 3, 2013

Everybody Loves Eggs

Better than believing some random groundhog, I know spring is getting here early because my chickens are already laying in full swing again. I'm getting between three and four eggs a day from my little flock. While this is great, I love fresh eggs, I eat between zero and one eggs per day. Even those of you who don't like math can see there will be inevitably be a problem here. As I collected the eggs this morning, I exceeded a dozen in the fridge.

A couple other signs of spring:

 Crocus are going crazy. Bees are out. 

Indoor garlic is growing; I have the urge to put it in the ground...

Anyway, when I had six chickens and a dozen eggs every two days, I learned how to use eggs as fast as I could. It all boiled down to a single recipe.

The Double Cast Iron Quiche!

It uses up to nine eggs, and you can customize the shit out of it.
It's one of my staple recipes and it makes use of two of my cast iron pans.

1 1/3 cups flour (I used about 1/2 spelt, 1/2 white)
1 stick cold butter
1 egg yolk
Chilled water

About 1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small broccoli head
1/2 a large red bell pepper
1 green onion
1/2 medium yellow onion
Two big handfuls of spinach
4 cloves of garlic
Monterey Jack cheese
8 eggs (and the white of the egg from the crust)
Granulated garlic
Cayenne pepper
Old Bay seasoning

Put flour in a small mixing bowl. Cube butter and rub between fingers until the mix looks like sand. Carpal tunnel. Add the egg yolk and about three tablespoons of cold water. Mix until it's uniform and forms a ball. Knead this a couple times in the bowl. Make a ball and wrap with plastic wrap, let it chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Chop all the vegetables while the dough chills. I separated the onions and garlic so I can brown it first. Seriously though, it's a quiche. Put whatever you have in it. Tomatoes are great. Hence all the 1/2s of things in mine, they're all leftover vegetables. My only quiche I didn't like was when I used some purple cabbage, it turned the whole thing a very unappetizing blue color. I love zucchini in quiches, but I used all of them yesterday for zucchini bread (next recipe...?). Pancetta and bacon are great too, but I'm poor and I don't really miss them when they're not there.

When the time is up for the dough chillaxin', roll it out to about 1/4" thick, or thin enough to cover the whole pan you're using. While most people have pie pans that do the trick, I have been without one for years now. I've adapted to using one of my cast iron pans, the really old one with the slick bottom. It works so well, I'll never go back. Spray that puppy with some canola oil and you're golden, and you've got a handle.

Fancy fold the overhanging crust and stab it with a fork a bunch of times, because it looks pretty. Tee-hee!

Being a poor college student, I don't have any baking beans either. This method works great though- spray canola oil on aluminum foil and put that face down on the dough. Then pour a layer about 1/4" thick of uncooked rice on the foil.

Bake the crust at 350° F for about 10-15 minutes, then remove the foil (it's cool directly out of the oven, love) and bake another 10 minutes. The rice is fine to eat later, I just put it back in the jar and no one knows any different. Well, they didn't, until now...

My edges fall a little bit, so I use a fork and smush them up to the sides again.

While this browning, crisping, and deliciousnessing is happening in the oven, in another cast iron pan, brown the onions and garlic in olive oil with some fresh ground pepper.

Then add the broccoli and cook until it turns bright green. Add the bell peppers and pile on spinach (I added about a tablespoon of water to help wilt the spinach).

When the spinach has reduced itself nicely, remove from heat and forget it for now.

When the crust is done in the oven, take it out. Don't be dumb.

In a bowl, beat the eggs. I always add back the white from the egg used in the crust. Because, why not? Waste not! This recipe originally used six eggs, but I needed to get rid of more than that. It'll probably work with anywhere between six and nine in the filling.

I usually put about 1/4 of a cup of milk in with the eggs, but honestly, I forgot this time. It turned out fine, so apparently it doesn't really matter. Also we only have almond milk right now and that could've turned out really weird.

Add spices to your liking. Our house is full of garlic lovers, so I add granulated garlic (despite it already being with the veggies), salt, and Old Bay seasoning here. Cayenne pepper, more ground black pepper, whatever you want. Seriously dude.

Grate the cheese. How much? At least enough to lightly cover the surface of the pan you're baking in. More than that is great too.
I use Monterey Jack.
Cheddar is good.
A mix of both is best.
Mozzarella isn't bueno. (It gets weird and rubbery after you bake it. At least mine have.)

Turn the oven up to 425° F. Pile the veggies into the crust and spread evenly. Sprinkle cheese on top, then pour the eggs over everything.

Pop that back in the oven for about 20 minutes or so. My test is when the eggs stop jiggling then it's done. By then it's getting a nice brown to the top too, and the cheese makes some crunchy little bubbles of salty goodness.

That's it. Now the only hard part is waiting for it to cool down until you dig in. We don't. It's pulled out of the oven with knife in hand. There's only two roommates in the house right now and already a 1/4 of it is gone.

I've made this recipe before with no crust, it's fine. I prefer the crust though. You can make these in muffin tins too for personal quiches, just cut down on the baking times.

On another note:
To aid in recreating the perfect quiche, here's what my computer selected for me to listen to from my entire iTunes library. Shuffle can be a scary place, but this time it worked out really well. I went an hour and thirty minutes without skipping any songs, (sans a music video by James Blunt, thanks, but no thanks).

Quiche-ing Playlist:
There She Goes- The La's
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous- Good Charlotte
Andar Conmigo- Julietta Venegas
Swing Swing- All-American Rejects
It's Only Love (feat. Bryan Adams)- Tina Turner
Second Hand News- Fleetwood Mac
Lucille- B.B. King
The Other Night Blues- B.B. King
Here Comes the Night- Van Morrison
Tumbling Down- Paolo Nutini
King of the Road (feat. Randy Travis)- Josh Turner
Super Bass- Nicki Minaj
Acoustic Medley- Bob Marley
It's Got to Be Monday- Doug & The Slugs
Pain- Finger Eleven
Pursuit of Happiness (feat. MGMT & Ratatat)- Kid Cudi
No Signs of Life- OK Go
Forever Blue- Chris Isaak
Shake it Out- Florence + The Machine
Shock Box- Dragonette
Geek Gets the Girl- American Hi-Fi
Alma Latina (Latin Soul)(Main Theme)- Sergio Mendes

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