Quiche rocks (no, I’m not gay.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that).  It’s cheap, instructive, delicious, flexible, and pretty much idiot-proof.  Once you have a Quiche Base Formula under your belt, you can make any damned kind of quiche you want.  Got some left-over vegetables?  Make a quiche.  Stray bits of ham?  Quiche.  Odd chunks of a dozen different cheeses?  Beautiful quiche.  All of the above?  Blockbuster quiche (although there’s definitely nothing wrong with a very plain quiche.  Actually, I prefer simple quiche over the kitchen-sink variety, but that’s just me).

My go-to quiche recipe begins thus:  “Crack 46 whole eggs into a huge bowl.”  That’s fine if you plan on feeding dozens of people, but do you plan on feeding dozens of people?  Probably not.  Here, instead, is a more manageable recipe, designed to fill an eight- or nine-inch pie shell.  This is your:

Basic Quiche Formula

3 eggs*, broken into a 1 quart measuring cup thingy (you’ll see why momentarily)

1/4 tsp salt

a pinch of finely ground white pepper (black pepper doesn’t look right; white is relatively invisible)

a good pinch of ground nutmeg

Here’s where it gets slightly tricky–but only very slightly.  If your plan is making a liquidy quiche–like with just a cheese filling, or some bits of bacon–you’ll want a 1/2 cup of cream (enough to bring your measuring thingy up to 1 1/4 cups).  If you’re shooting for a more substantial quiche–one with ham, vegetables, shellfish, for instance–go for 1/2 to 3/4 cup of that (whether it’s spinach, chicken livers, crab meat, whatever) and 1/4 cup dairy.  Milk is fine, cream is always fine, and so is half-and-half.  It should be enough to bring your 1 quart measuring thingy (why can’t I think of the word?) up to around the 1 1/2-1 3/4 cup level.

*–When I say “eggs,” I invariably refer to those labeled “large.”

Right!  Whap everything together within the thingy, using a fork or a whisk or a cat o’ nine tails–whatever’s handy.  Taste it.  Trust me, you will not die from tasting a bit of raw egg.  People eat raw eggs all the time (ever heard of “over easy?”).  When’s the last time you heard of somebody dropping dead on the way home from Denny’s because he had his Grand Slam sunny-side up?

If you are very young, very old, or if you have a compromised immune system, that’s a different story.  Have somebody else taste it,

Upon having tasted, tweak the seasoning to your pleasure.  It’s not a part of the Basic Quiche Formula, but I happen to like a good squirt of mustard in mine.

Cover it and stash it in your icebox until you’re ready to bake your quiche.  When that time comes, bang it around again with your cat o’ nine tails to make sure everything’s reblended.

If you find that you need a bit more to nicely fill your pie shell, feel free to add more cream and/or egg.  Trust me–it ain’t rocket surgery.  If you’ve made it this far, you’ll be just ducky.

“But hey,” you ask,” what the heck’s the deal with the pie shells of which you speak?”

Yeah, I knew that would come up eventually.  For now, my advice is that you buy frozen pie shells and follow the manufacturer’s directions for “blind baking.”  Nine inches is a standard size, so you should have no difficulty there.

Remind me, and some day we’ll get into more detail about pie shells and crusts.  There’s a lot to cover there, and I don’t think now’s the right time.

Any quiche made with this recipe takes half an hour in a 375ºF oven, and you’re done (assuming your oven is calibrated–domestic ovens tend to be wildly inaccurate).  Isn’t that nice?

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Quiche Lorraine

Aside from being a hit single for the B-52s, quiche Lorraine itself is a delight to behold.  All you do is cook up five or six slices of thick-cut bacon, nice and crispy, and then crumble it up and put it into the pie shell before you add the egg mix (it’s a good idea to put your solids into the shell before adding the egg stuff).  After you’ve added the egg mix, take 1 1/4 Tbsp or so (again, it ain’t brain science) butter, cut up into little bits, and scatter it over the top.  Stick the quiche into your 375ºF oven for half an hour, et voila.

I have suddenly run out of steam.  I guess next time will be Quiche me again! or maybe Skinhead, part five. We’ll see which way the winds blow.

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