Wednesday, April 07, 2010


You should be sitting down.

Sit down now, if you're not already. Sitting? Okay, you can go on.

I'm not much of a cook. I can follow a basic recipe, and I make a pretty good oatmeal raisin cookie, but day to day dinner type cooking, I just get by. I don't much enjoy cooking, so that's part of it.

But, about a year and a half ago, I decided to try to learn to cook a bit, so I asked my Mom for a Joy of Cooking book, because it's basic and stuff.

I'm still not much of a cook, but since winter, I've decided to try to eat more veggies. Now, I like veggies okay. If someone cooks for me, I'll eat pretty much anything (with two exceptions, which almost disqualify me from ever returning to my home state, alas). But cooking them, blah. It takes forever, and they're boring. But still, I've been trying.

So, I took my cookbook and tried making a basic quiche, and it was basic, and okay. And it's easy to take to school for lunch, and to heat up a bit and have for dinner. I got a bit creative; I tried adding some veggies from a frozen mixed veggie bag. That was okay, too. I've done that several times this semester, almost once a week.

And then I got an idea. As I've said before I think, my favorite vegetable is artichokes. But artichokes don't thrive up here in the Northwoods, so when you get them at the store, they're not great. They're sort of like cardboard with a slight flavor. But, I thought, what if I got canned artichokes and put them in a quiche!

Last week I tried that for the first time. I made a basic quiche with bacon, cheddar cheese, baby artichoke parts, and sauteed mushrooms. And it was pretty good. But the cheese wasn't quite right and sort of overpowered things in terms of consistency. It wasn't sharp enough for the artichokes, if that makes sense. And the bacon, surprisingly, didn't really work with the artichokes.

I finished that at lunch today, so tonight I made another.

I got some grated asiago cheese and some grated parmesan cheese at the store, and some more cut up mushrooms.

I sauteed the mushrooms and added a little frozen spinach. And then I added nutmeg. I know, you're thinking, NUTMEG???? But the book had me adding nutmeg to the basic quiche, and I'd done it once but then not. But somehow, I thought I'd give it a try, so I sprinkled some in. Then I added the artichokes so the veggie stuff was all mixed up well.

I made a basic custard mix.

When the pie shell was cooked, I put in a bit of both sorts of cheese, then some veggies, and more cheese, and more veggies and cheese, and then I poured the custard mix in. And baked. I could smell the nutmeg, and that worried me. It smelled just a bit too strong.

Once it was out and had cooled a tad, I cut a piece. And then, OMG, this is about the best non-sweet thing I have EVER cooked. Look:

The cheese is sharp, and sets off the artichokes beautifully, and the nutmeg adds just something, and it's sooo good.

Now I'm going to cut myself another piece and enjoy the foodgasm.


  1. Yumm!!!!! I think I'm going to have to try it!

    I do quiche for lunches all the time. We like to have wild rice in ours -- it makes it more substantial.

  2. I use the same basic Joy of Cooking recipe for our family quiche. The nutmeg is a key ingredient (you'll find it in many egg dishes) that works wonders, yes.

    I'm itching to try some different cheeses for the quiche the next time I get to the market hereabouts. We may not have any fresh veggies hereabouts (yet!), but there are some good cheeses to work with, at least!

  3. What Janice said. I think nutmeg in white sauce is one of the Joy's great contributions to my culinary repertoire. A little nutmeg (esp. freshly grated) goes a long way, but it is good.

    Great addition to oatmeal, by the way!

  4. Looks good! (except for those pesky artichokes.)

    Have you tried chopping up potatoes and making a fritatta? I just had a lovely one on Easter.

  5. that looks gorgeous! and i need one. also, i probably need the joy of cooking, because i did not get the basics in my household of origin, and have gone all these years without knowing about nutmeg in quiche.

  6. Mmmmm! Nutmeg is a good addition to anything based on a cheesy-creamy-custardy sauce or substrate. My culinarily-talented French friend from grad school says this is one of the rules she was raised with. I always use a pinch in my bechamel-based mac-and-cheese (based on the Silver Palate recipe).

    Additional nutmeg tip: If you make oatmeal with milk, a tiny smidge of nutmeg makes it taste like rice pudding :-)

    Additional additional nutmeg tip: Nutmeg is poisonous to dogs, so don't let the dog lick the bowl if you've used nutmeg in cooking.

  7. Congrats! It looks like a great quiche. I made a broccoli quiche last night thinking that Yo eats quiche so he'd eat it, but he threw the plate away. Oh well.

    You probably don't want my unsolicited advice, but if you want a good, modern, basic cookbook, get Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" or "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian". Paradoxically, it's perfect for beginners and experts alike.

  8. Anonymous1:22 PM

    Looks delicious!

    Nutmeg is the spice always to be used with spinach.

  9. I was about to say *exactly* what Ianqui did about Mark Bittman's books! Best cookbooks ever.

    Mmmmm, quiche!

  10. I never used to like quiche much, until I one day tried a recipe that involves beating Greek yoghurt with the eggs, instead of the cream, sour cream or milk that other recipes have, and also adding a little lemon zest. It made my OMG-NOM sensors go all quivery, it was that good.

    Usually my quiches now use that base, and include leeks, spinach and/or mushrooms. I love the idea of artichoke quiche, though: I'll have to try it.

  11. Also, extra additional nutmeg tip: goes great on fried potatoes. (Or baked sliced potatoes, esp in a creamy sauce). And also on pancakey things. And (weirdly) plainish noodles, with butter, salt and nutmeg. The latter was something I tried for the first time in Germany.

    Actually anything buttery and salty goes well with a dash of nutmeg.

  12. i finally made it -- or a crustless version, anyway, using olive oil to generously grease the pan plus fine-ground buhlgar wheat sprinkled in and distributed. and i cheated with some brie dabbed around the top, but i think that's a pretty good use of brie. num num num.