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Cape Flavors

Resolve to eat a healthier diet

By Denise Clemons | Jan 06, 2014
Photo by: Jack Clemons Ham and cheese quiche

As the holiday season comes to a close and some of our waistbands refuse to do the same, it might be time for new year’s resolutions. Typically found at the top of the list are plans to eat a healthier diet or lose a few pounds. Or, you can do both at the same time - paying careful attention to the ingredients and techniques that go into our food is one way to avoid absently consuming extra calories.


As an example, consider the quiche in the photograph. Technically, quiches are a form of savory custard made from eggs, dairy liquid and bits of vegetable, meat, fish or cheese baked in a pastry shell. The classic feature of a quiche is its silky-smooth texture, created as the egg proteins are slowly cooked. Varying the ratio of egg to liquid will affect this quality: more eggs will increase the firmness, and extra liquid increases creaminess.


With a flexible recipe, quiches can be made to order - from a slightly lighter formula to the full-fat version. This is accomplished by varying the liquid (heavy cream versus milk) as well as the number of eggs and whether or not to stir in a few extra yolks. The ultra-dense dish seen here was made with two whole eggs, two yolks, heavy cream, diced ham and cheddar cheese, all poured into a buttery pastry shell.


A few simple tweaks allow you to retain flavor interest while removing some of the fat calories. Replace the eggs with a mixture of egg whites and fewer whole eggs. Instead of cream, use a combination of half-and-half and low-fat milk. Alternatively, use mostly milk with just a quarter cup of cream. Another option is to use evaporated milk, which is as thick as cream, without all the fat. The standard ratio is four eggs to two cups of liquid.


Cheese is the trickiest ingredient to safely substitute. Full-fat cheeses that have been shredded or grated will give your quiche the creamiest consistency and richest flavor. Some varieties of lower-fat grated cheeses sold in plastic packages have the tendency not to melt properly and deliver very little flavor. We’ve found both Cabot and Cracker Barrel offer reduced-fat blocks of cheddar that will work well enough for a quiche.


If you elect to forgo the cheese completely, select ingredients with aggressive flavors and some interesting mouthfeel. Consider blanched broccoli florets, caramelized onion or roasted leeks. Although many recipes for quiche Lorraine call for gruye re cheese, the traditional dish from northeastern France is a bacon-studded custard seasoned with a pinch of nutmeg - and no cheese.


One final change to transform your quiche into a low-guilt, low-carb dish is to bake it without a crust. For this type of quiche, the added ingredients are whisked into the custard, not scattered in the bottom of the pie pan before baking. Always give your quiche a few minutes to rest and cool just a bit before slicing; otherwise it will crumble into a pile of scrambled eggs.


I’ve included several different recipes for quiche, from the familiar Lorraine to one with sundried tomatoes and goat cheese. Like an omelet, almost any ingredients can be combined to create your favorite savory custard.

Good luck with your new year’s resolutions!

 

Quiche Lorraine

1 pastry shell

1 egg

1 T water

4 oz bacon

3 eggs

1 1/2 C heavy cream

1/2 t salt

1/8 t pepper

1/8 t nutmeg


Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a pie pan with the pastry shell. Crimp the edges in a decorative pattern and pierce the bottom in a few places with a fork. Whisk together the egg and water; coat the crust with the egg wash using a pastry brush. Bake until set, about 15 minutes; set aside. Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces. Cook in a large skillet until fat has rendered and bacon is lightly browned but not crisp. Sprinkle bacon in the bottom of the prebaked pie shell. Whisk together the remaining ingredients until blended. Pour custard into the pastry shell and place the pan on a baking sheet. Bake until puffed and golden, about 30 minutes. Allow to rest briefly before slicing. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

 

Sundried Tomato & Goat Cheese Quiche

9-inch pastry shell

1 C sliced sundried tomatoes

4 oz goat cheese

1/2 C milk

3/4 C cream

3 eggs

1 T chopped parsley

1 1/2 t chopped thyme

1/4 t salt

1/2 t pepper


Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a pie pan with the pastry shell; crimp the edges in a decorative pattern. Arrange the tomato pieces evenly around the bottom of the pan; set aside. Crumble the goat cheese into a large mixing bowl. Add the milk and cream; whisk briskly until cheese is incorporated and mixture is smooth. Stir in eggs and seasonings; mixing thoroughly to combine. Pour custard over tomatoes into pie shell. Bake until golden, about 40 to 45 minutes. Rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

 

Crustless Crab Quiche

2 minced shallots

1 T butter

1 T sherry

1/4 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1 C crabmeat

3 eggs

1 T tomato paste

1 C cream

1/4 C grated gruyere cheese


Preheat oven to 400 F. Coat the inside of a 9-inch pie pan or quiche pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Sauté the shallots in butter in a skillet until wilted. Add sherry, salt and pepper; simmer briefly. Gently stir in crabmeat until combined; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, tomato paste and cream until smooth. Fold in the crabmeat and pour mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Bake until puffy and golden, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly before serving. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

 

Lower Fat Broccoli Quiche

2/3 C broccoli florets

1 t olive oil

1/2 C minced red onion

1 pressed garlic clove

2 egg whites

2 eggs

1 1/4 C milk

1/4 C light cream

3/4 C grated reduced-fat cheddar cheese

salt & pepper, to taste

1 t savory


Preheat oven to 325 F. Coat the inside of a 9-inch pie pan or quiche pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Blanch the broccoli florets in boiling water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain thoroughly and set aside. Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until wilted and fragrant; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together egg whites, eggs, milk and cream until blended. Add seasonings, broccoli, onion, garlic and cheese; stir to combine. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake until set, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly before serving. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

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