Gardeners, plant and nature lovers can join in Green Thumb Sunday every week. Visit As the Garden Grows for more information.
My to do list on Saturday included this item: Make a batch of garlic confit.
I had added this, on this specific day, for some really good reason. This is how I plan the meals for the week—I put together my list of what we’re going to eat on each day, and then I add things to the to do list that are critical to executing the official meal plan. Some might call this OCD or anal or what have you, but I call it the only way I can ensure we actually eat before 10:30 or 11 pm every night.
So, when The Pickle went down for his Saturday morning nap, I got to the business of peeling garlic cloves. I poured in some oil. I got the pan simmering on the stove and cranked it down to low and slow. I mulled over the menu plan in my mind. Perhaps I meant for the garlic confit to replace the chopped garlic in the chard and gnocchi I planned for Monday?
Perhaps I meant to use it in a salad dressing? Perhaps added to a soup I planned to serve on Wednesday? I pondered this while I peeled clove after clove of garlic and popped them in a tiny pan, ready to cover with oil and simmer.
This, folks, is what sleep deprivation does to me. And this is why I have to write everything down, because otherwise, I probably wouldn’t remember who I was half the time. Or all of the time. It really depends on how many times I got up with the boy on a given night.
Regardless, the confit bubbled on the stove, and I gave up trying to figure out why I wanted it in the first place. Whatever I’d meant to use it for would reveal itself in due time, or it wouldn’t, and worst case scenario, we’d have a batch of confit and delicious, garlic-infused oil to use up over the next two to three weeks. I can think of far, far more irritating problems.
Looking to make some delicious garlic confit yourself? Here are some great resources:
- Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen has a great tutorial for making garlic confit using your dutch oven.
- Like me, Nick Evans of Macheesmo uses the stovetop method, though he’s way more accurate than I am, with the whole thermometer thing and all.
- If you want a garlic confit with pedigree, here’s Thomas Keller’s recipe for you, courtesy of The Delicious Life.
- If you have access to sous vide equipment, here’s a great way to prepare not just garlic confit, but confit pearl onions and mini peppers, as well.
There are lots of things I’ve never cooked, and in my head, I divide them into two categories:
- This Food Sounds Hard and/or Tedious: This includes soup dumplings (any dumplings, really), latkes, and from-scratch puff pastry.
- Everyone Says This Is So Easy But I Have Some Weird Mental Block So I Don’t Try It: This includes carbonara, homemade biscuits, and molten chocolate cake.
Until this past weekend, quiche was in the second category.
I love quiche. Who doesn’t love buttery pastry filled with puffy, cheesy, custardy goodness? If you are one of those people, I probably shouldn’t be your friend. (Exceptions will be made for my lactose-intolerant, egg-intolerant, or vegan friends. You can stay, though I will always feel a little sad that you can’t have quiche.)
But for some reason, the idea of actually making a quiche myself never seemed appealing. I make plenty of frittatas and other custardy dishes, so it’s not like a puffy casserole scares me, and I have no trouble making a perfectly tasty tart dough, so that’s not a problem, either. But in the past, I would have rather just waited for someone else to cook one for me.
Last week, though, I was having a powerful quiche craving while making up our menu plan for the week, and since The Pickle’s daycare expenses have eaten away (see what I did there?) almost all our discretionary dining out budget, the only way to solve this problem was to suck it up and make a quiche myself.
I turned to Nick Malgieri’s How To Bake for guidance—that book has been my baking Bible since it came out in 1995—and whipped up an easy, buttery tart dough in the food processor on Thursday night, then wrapped it in plastic wrap and stashed it in the fridge. I thought I might make the quiche for Friday night dinner, but I was exhausted from the week, so held the dough another day before rolling it out.
Saturday morning, as soon as The Pickle went down for his morning nap, I got to work. I rolled out the dough, smoothed it into my pie pan, and pre-baked it for about seven minutes so it had a head start on the custard. (Malgieri doesn’t call for this, but I’d seen other recipes that did, and it seemed like a good idea.)
For the filling, I sautéed some spinach in bacon grease (all the flavor, but none of the expense of making actual bacon), grated a hunk of Gruyere, and beat together a custard of milk, eggs, salt, pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg.
Into the blind-baked crust went the spinach and the cheese, then I poured the custard over it all and popped it in the oven just as The Pickle woke up 32 minutes later.
The quiche spent 40 minutes in the oven, which gave me plenty of time to feed The Pickle while it baked. The boy seemed particularly distracted, perhaps because there was a redonkerous buttery, cheesy smell wafting up to his room from the kitchen. Soon, little buddy, you, too, will be allowed to eat quiche.
The quiche emerged from the oven browned and golden, then rested while The Unicorn and I dealt with a minor Pickle emergency post-feeding (we won’t go into what happened…we are talking about food, after all…but suffice it to say it required an unplanned trip to the bathtub), and then we headed to the kitchen for brunch.
The verdict? The spinach introduced a little more moisture than I might have liked, but otherwise, the quiche was everything I’d hoped for. The crust was crispy and buttery, the filling cheesy and creamy. And there were leftovers for us to snack on later in the weekend. It was dead simple, and I will not wait 41 more years to make another one.
Looking for quiche ideas? Here are a few I found while trying to decide what recipe to use:
- Here’s a quiche crust tutorial from The New York Times.
- Taste and Tell has a butternut squash, kale, and Gruyere version that’s perfect for winter.
- Simply Recipes’ Smoked Salmon, Dill, and Goat Cheese Quiche was Elise’s choice for a Mother’s Day brunch.
- This Over-The-Top Mushroom Quiche from Smitten Kitchen sounds just right for the advanced quiche maker.