I made quiche to prove a point. A point that has nothing to do with real men. It has to do with cooks and bakers– whatever their gender.
Read as many blogs as I do and you’ll quickly begin to see that kitchen folk tend to fall into two categories: those who cook and those who bake. Which isn’t to say that you won’t find cooks who bake or bakers who cook. You’ll just notice that they seem to go through the same motions in totally different ways. Bakers tend to follow directions. They carefully measure ingredients. The best of the bakers even insist upon weighing everything. Volume can be so darn fickle, you know. Cooks, on the other hand, improvise. These are the folks who use the phrase “season to taste” because seasoning is widely interpretable according to taste. See what I mean?
I tend to carry traits from both cooks and bakers. I think it’s because I’ve been writing a blog since the stone age. Writing recipes causes you to develop some odd behavior. Starting with muttering. I mutter as I cook in an attempt to find the recipe’s “voice” (I know, I know). I pull out my chefs knife much as I ever did, but now it’s often accompanied by an iPad (which sits next to my cutting board so I can notate everything I do). The cook in me would have to admit that this process has taken a bit of the joy out of cooking. But overall it’s made me a better baker because I want my recipes to work, no matter which camp of kitchen folk is using one.
Quiche, however, is an exception. Once the issue of crust has been settled (bakers go ahead and make your own, cooks may use store bought) it’s easy to see that quiche is for bakers who love to cook and cooks who love to bake. The process is so straightforward cooks don’t even need a recipe. Though if the bakers among us prefer, there are plenty of good recipes out there. Including the following party perfect Kale and Shallot Mini-Quiche.
Quiche works for all manner of folk because it’s wildly adaptable and practically foolproof. Though like kitchen folk, quiche falls into two camps. I like French style quiche, which tends to be a bit looser. A good French style quiche should barely hold its shape when sliced. French quiche is for cooks who aren’t afraid of baking, because the ratio of dairy to egg is pretty specific. If you are a cook with a capital C then I suggest you try your hand at American style quiche, it’s much eggier and generally more forgiving. It’s sorta like a frittata in a pie shell. It’s very hard to screw up because you can use as many eggs as you do or don’t have.
The mini-quiche in my kale and shallot recipe straddle both sides of my cook/baker personality. The baker in me made my own crust, while my inner cook filled it with kale and shallots because they were handy. The texture of the custard falls somewhere between the French and the American, because frankly I’m more fickle than volume measurements will ever be. GREG