So I realized that I was building up a karmic debt to several of my neighbors who babysit for me for free. And since most of them don’t have young kids for whom I could provide some child care, having them over for brunch seemed the next best thing.
Do you agree that brunch is the best meal for entertaining? I even felt this way before I had children who would be in full melt-down by dinner time. I love how brunch can just sort of go on without everyone getting bleary-eyed and start mumbling about all they have to do the next day. How it comes with mimosas or coffee or dumplings or eggs or fruit or baked goods and fresh flowers.
This particular brunch gave me an opportunity to try a few new things. I’ve been in the market for a new go-to pie crust recipe. I love and rely on the Joy of Cooking’s Cream Cheese Crust (this recipe is very close – you’ll have to look into your heart and make the butter vs. shortening decision), but it’s not right for everything. And especially not suited to the quiche I wanted to make. I found the Cook’s Illustrated recipe for Foolproof Pie Crust on Serious Eats, and gave it a whirl. The recipe’s hallmarks are
- Using vodka for the liquid, which has much less water than, well, water, and so develops the gluten to a lesser degree, which keeps the crust more flaky and delicate.
- Adding the flour in stages, which also limits gluten formation.
I made myself follow the recipe carefully, monitoring crumb size and shape and consistency. The only substitution I made was using the local Vermont Gleason Grains whole wheat pastry flour instead of white.
As I was moving on to turn crust into quiche, I discovered that I had just a smidgen of cream in the refrigerator. I was determined to make this a truly delectable one, and so didn’t want to skimp on the fat. As I was contemplating a mad dash to the store, I spied the ranch dressing in the refrigerator door. Hmm. It seemed plausible.
Also on the menu were some pumpkin-banana mini muffins, fresh fruit, and the crazily delicious Blueberry Bars from Farmgirl Fare. Seriously friends, I’m trying to find another reason to host a brunch so I have a reason to make these again so I can eat them fresh since they don’t store so well. Yum.
Classic & Comforting Roasted Mushroom & Cheddar Quiche
Adapted from Joy of Cooking, 1997
- 1 10″ pie crust, pre-baked
- 1/2 lb. mushrooms (your choice), sliced thickly, tossed with olive oil and then roasted at 400 for 20 min., cooled
- 3/4 c. grated cheddar cheese
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 c. milk (use what you’ve got – but don’t skimp on the fat content overall)
- 1/4 c. cream
- 1/4 c. ranch salad dressing
- 1/4 t. salt
- pinch freshly ground black or white pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375. Place mushrooms and cheese on bottom of pie crust. Beat together remaining ingredients and pour into shell. Bake until filling is browned and set – 20 to 25 minutes. Let sit for 10 – 15 minutes before slicing and serving.