Ever have one of those days when you’re just like “Screw it! I’m not doing any more work today”? The kind of day when you realize that you’re so stressed and overworked, that merely attempting to do more work will be counter-productive (and/or cause you to jump out the window)? Yeah, I had that kind of day this past Sunday.
I was dutifully reading a dry (as heck) academic article for school that day, and my mind kept drifting. I had woken up at 10:40 am, just in time for 11 am Sunday brunch in the dorm common room. When I came back to my room, I did quite a bit of reading. The original plan was to spend at least 3 hours reading in the afternoon, and then make flashcards for an oral presentation I had on Tuesday. But I kept getting distracted by all the beautiful little snowflakes dancing down from the sky; watching and laughing at kids snowbombing passersby; and, staring (in shock) at crazy joggers in the street. After a while, I was like “Eff this reading, I’m making a quiche!”
I normally don’t drink cow’s milk (unless, of course, I’m in France…it’s just too rich and delicious to resist there), so I searched for milk-free quiches. Normally I’m okay with using milk in baking- to make cookies and whatnot- but this year, I’ve been trying to cut back on it even more so I don’t even have it in my fridge nowadays. I found this dairy-free quiche recipe on a blog called Gimme Some Oven, and decided to try my hand at it.
I modified Ali’s recipe, as I only had spinach, tomatoes, and a red onion on hand. Also, I made a different crust, modifying the crust that I usually make for blueberry pies. I scaled down the amount of sugar and added more salt instead. In retrospect, I wouldn’t have added more salt to compensate, but instead would have added a bit more flour. The crust came out a tad more salty than I would have liked, but I’ll post how I made it here.
Here’s what you will need:
1 cup flour
2 tbsp salt (in retrospect, I would have added half the salt and more flour to compensate)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup butter, cold
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 handfuls fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 small red onion, sliced
about 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
3/4 cup water
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4-1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. rosemary
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. basil
1/8 tsp. black pepper
(Don’t feel like you have to use the exact proportions for the spices- add however much rosemary, thyme, or whatever you like! Feel free to switch out a spice for another, as well.)
Preheat the oven to 190ºC (about 350ºF). First, prepare the crust. Add the flour, salt, and sugar. Mix well. Cut the butter into slices, and press it into the dry mixture. Work it together with your fingers, coaxing it into a dusty, but cohesive ball. Add the vinegar. The dough should be smooth, though it may still have some lumps. Press it down into a pan. It can be greased or ungreased. I forgot to coat my pie pan with butter, but it still turned out alright. Pop the crust in the oven, and let it sit for about 15 minutes, so the crust can cook a bit before you add in the filling.
Now, prepare the filling! Add the olive oil to the pan and heat it up. Then, add in the red onion slices. I lightly caramelized them- they probably were in the pan for a good 20 minutes. While the onions cook, I chopped the spinach and cut the baby tomatoes in half. Then, I added the chopped spinach to the pan and sautéed for around 5-10 minutes. I tipped in the tomatoes, and let them heat up to wrinkle the skins for a bit so they weren’t so “raw.” (If it’s been 15 minutes already, don’t forget to take your crust out the oven!)
Lower the heat to low so that the vegetables can stay warm. Then in a mixing bowl, mix together the eggs, flour, baking powder, water, and all your spices. Add in the sauteed vegetables and stir until well combined.
Take your crust out the oven (if you haven’t already) and add the filling into the pie. The filling I made nearly spilled over the edges. If it all didn’t fit in, I probably would have fried it up and eaten it like a sort of frittata on the side hehe.
Put it in the oven and let it bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. When I took my quiche out the oven, it was HUGE. I wish I had taken a picture of it. By the time I went to my room and came back with my phone, it had already fallen. But it was sooo delicious. I thought it would taste “empty” without the milk, but I have to say, this quiche was quite rich.
All in all, I think it was a Sunday evening well-spent. The work that I planned to do then was instead finished on Tuesday morning- I worked on Monday and had a lecture then as well, so by the end of that day, I was exhausted. But I woke up extra early on Tuesday, and got all my work done. I had a oral presentation on Tuesday, and it went fantastically well. I even rode my bike in the city to school that day, for the very first time!
Sometimes you need to release yourself from the computer screen and the pages of bone-dry reading, and just live. It took me an hour– from the moment I stepped in the kitchen, to the moment I popped the quiche+filling in the oven–to finish. There are endless “scholarly” articles filled with senseless academic drivel describing the obvious. And there are endless assignments on graduate coursework syllabi prescribing us students to read said drivel. Sometimes you need to close the pdf file and take a break. Because Lord knows that two hours later, after you’ve made your quiche–and eaten it too–that that article will still be right there where you left it. And you will be in a much, much better state of mind to read it.