Cleaning’ The Fridge: Dinosaur Quiche

This entry is the first in a series of blogs that I’ve been contemplating for a while, to wit: what recipes come from ingredients that are just lying around? Some of the most innovative meals around CU come from a rummage through the fridge or from ingredients culled from the weekly clean-out. Our students always tell us that they want to cook with what’s on hand, and we’re no exception. And throwing away food makes my blood pressure rise dangerously. Playing the game of “what if” always yields surprisingly great results. Frugality and Creativity are my muses! Why not invoke them yourself?

Anyway, this week’s forage found the following:

Pie crust (pre-made frozen; don’t know why these were in the freezer, but they’re from Whole Foods, so maybe we were just doing some product testing)
Heavy cream dregs (of course!)
Lacinato kale (aka dinosaur kale)
Odds and ends of feta and Parmesan cheese
Too many eggs

Do you see a pattern developing? It really wasn’t much of a creative leap to quiche; without the pre-made crust, a frittata would probably have been in the works. But I hadn’t made a quiche in a while and thought it would be a nice veggie lunch.

The kale is one of my favorites and it’s very abundant in the market right now. This Italian variety of kale is typical in minestrone; in fact, it’s what makes a true minestrone so great. While the oven preheated, I simply tore the leaves off the stems and steam-sauteed it in a little olive oil and garlic until limp. Very limp. It only took a few seconds to whisk up the milk and eggs with some seasonings. One trick I do use to avoid disgusting soggy crust goo is to scatter some dry breadcrumbs in the bottom of the pie crust. The kale is spread on the bottom and topped with crumbled feta and grated Parm. The egg mixture is poured over and the whole thing popped in the oven for about a half hour.

The result? With a side salad, a pretty sexy use of leftovers. My only gripe: the pie crust was a little too sweet. Okay, it was organic, blah, blah, but for some reason, Whole Foods sweetens their frozen crusts. Well, that’s why we test these things; it is usually just a way of reinforcing what we already know: that our homemade stuff is just that much better.

Dinosaur Quiche
(6-8 servings)

9″ pre-made pie crust
1 small head lacinato kale, trimmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
Olive oil and a smashed clove of garlic
A little water, salt, and pepper
4 large eggs
1/2 Cup milk
1/4 Cup heavy cream
4 ounces crumbled/grated cheese
1 teaspoon each dried mint and oregano
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Sprinkle the bottom of the pie crust with a couple of tablespoons of breadcrumbs. Set the crust on a baking sheet. Set aside.

In a 12″ skillet, heat a couple of dollops of olive oil and the clove of garlic over MEDIUM heat. Throw in a big fistful of kale, and begin stirring. As the kale wilts, add another handful. Keep stirring and adding kale until it’s all in the pan and wilted nicely. Add about 3 Tablespoons water, cover, and steam until the water is gone and the kale is very soft and wilted. Remove the garlic and throw it away. Season with kale with salt and pepper and cool a little.

Spread the kale in the pie crust; top with the cheese.

Whisk the eggs, milk, cream, and seasonings in a bowl. Carefully pour into the crust, filling to just below the rim. Transfer the quiche on its baking sheet to the lower rack of the oven. Bake for 3-40 minutes. Test with a kinfe: it should come out clean. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

One thought on “Cleaning’ The Fridge: Dinosaur Quiche

  1. Dinosaur quiche sounds great! That kale variety is fun to grow, and looks simply fab in the garden . . . definitely a little prehistoric. What’s best is that it lasts well into the fall, and if protected and left alone (aka not pulled out and tossed on the compost pile), might even come back the following spring, early, and be among the first of your long awaited green growing things.

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