I have been making quiche a lot lately since we added a coop, AKA Hen Hilton, complete with a half-dozen hens, to our house.
Fresh eggs should be on any list of proofs that there is a god, along with the complexity of DNA, the vastness of our universe, the color of autumn and crisp bacon.
Think about it.
Out of this animal, which is really no more than a lizard with feathers, comes a perfectly wrapped package of pure protein. Because chickens roost by nature when laying, the egg is served up off the ground and easier to pick than low-hanging fruit. Set at an optimum angle, the shell can withstand up to about 45 pounds of pressure, yet be cracked open with the slightest tap on the edge of a frying pan sizzling with butter. And, although practices vary, an egg stays safe to eat– even without refrigeration– for weeks.
The egg is a naturally good source of vitamin D, one providing 10 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Also, included with the 70 calories of one egg is 6 grams of protein, 12 percent of RDA. This and other nutrients in eggs play a role in weight management, muscle strength, pregnancy, brain function, eye health and more.
At the going rate of about a buck-eighty for a dozen, stores sell eggs for about 15 cents each. Ours cost a little more as they dine on the best feed available including dried gourmet mealworms that we use as a treat. Granted, the chickens go gaga over the crispy morsels, but then they go gaga over about anything tossed their way.
While store-bought eggs cook up really well, there’s nothing like an hours-old one fried sunny-side up or, as I like them best, over easy. The yolk is brighter, the taste richer.
It’s just too completely sublime to be an accident, there must be some intelligent design behind it. I know, I know. A goldfish might think there’s a god because its bowl is so absolutely simple but then it has never eaten a BLT on a picnic in the fall.
And, getting back to the topic of this column, fresh eggs also make delicious quiche.
One thing that makes the dish a little difficult to prepare is the piecrust. Making one from scratch messes up the kitchen, and getting it right ain’t easy. I opt for the rolled-up and refrigerated ones over the preformed ready to be dropped into dish variety. With either, I skip any directions to bake the shell before adding filling. It just shrivels up.
The other difficulty about quiche is picking a recipe. My 30-year-old version of the “New Cook Book,” published by Better Homes, is generally my first reference. It calls for three eggs and a cup-and-a-half each of milk and shredded cheese. Those amounts, to my estimation, put it between the numbers of one and two for how many servings it makes. I can put away a three-egg omelet with toast, potatoes and cup of ketchup. No way is a three-egg quiche going to work for Sabra and me.
Luckily, there is no shortage of recipes if you can get onto the Internet. For sure there’s one that calls for eight eggs and a like amount of milk and cheese, and one that calls for two eggs.
Using liberal interpolation and rounding, I’ve settled on a half-dozen eggs, a cup each of milk, cheese and vegetable. The veggies can be just about anything, but subtract a little milk if it’s watery like fresh tomatoes. Add about a teaspoon of seasoning, beat eggs with milk and then mix in cheese. Place veggies on crust and pour mixture over the top. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven. Start checking for doneness at about a half-hour but don’t be surprised if it takes an hour. Let stand for a few minutes before eating.
Serve with Heinz ketchup, hot sauce and remember: real men make quiche.