Quiche and Cocoa Channel

Paula Deen (in any iteration) has never been in my kitchen, but I do have help this week from Oprah. That’s right–Oprah. And Coco Chanel, too. These two ladies are helping me make one stylin’, yummy vegetable quiche this week (see recipe below). In fact, they’re helping me get dinner on the table without hardly a feather ruffled. For reals.

You see, Oprah and Coco Chanel are hens who have the pleasure of residing with Eric and Lisa Forehand of Water Oaks Farm in Durham (www.wateroaksfarm.org). In addition to heritage breed chickens, Lisa and Eric also love their miniature donkeys and Eric makes a wicked variety of homebrew. I don’t think I have ever seen chickens get so much love and care (I’m pretty sure Eric puts that much love into his beer, as well).

When the big ol’ reincarnation happens for me, I want to come back as a chicken or donkey at Water Oaks Farm. Except I want my name to be Angelina Jolie.

Happy chickens laying happy eggs. If you’re not all about “happy,” but you are all about health, consider buying locally produced cage free eggs because:

  • They taste better. WAAAAAAY better.
  • They have more protein than mass-produced eggs because the hen’s diet is richer.
  • You will support your local economy, not an agribusiness.
  • You may help perpetuate heritage breed fowl, which keeps our genetic population of chickens healthier and more diverse.

Here is my “go-to” recipe for quiche. It is by far and away the best quiche recipe I have ever made and is much more like a traditional French quiche (light and custardy) than most dense restaurant quiches. The trick is to use vegetables that are dry, so cook veggies ahead and squeeze the dickens out of them before adding to the quiche. Bon Appetite!

Spinach Quiche

  • Pastry dough or 1 frozen deep dish pie crust
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 oz. swiss and Gruy√®re cheese mix (check Trader Joes on this)
  • 1 bag spinach or other greens cooked and squeezed of all excess water
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  1. Prepare pastry and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Heat olive oil in a pan and cook onions over medium heat until soft and slightly browned (about 5 min.). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
  4. Add spinach to pan and cook until very wilted. Toss spinach frequently to keep from scorching. When greens have collapsed and are fully cooked, remove from pan and put onto a towel or paper towel. Roll the towel up and squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the greens (if you use frozen greens, you will need to do this as well once the greens are defrosted). Do NOT skip this step.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, cream and milk until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add cheese and stir until combined.
  6. Take the pastry crust from the refrigerator and arrange the onions and spinach on the pastry.
  7. Pour the egg mixture into the pastry.
  8. Sprinkle nutmeg across the top of the quiche.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees about 30-40 minutes–until top is golden and puffy and the quiche does not “wobble” in the center when gently moved.
  10. Serve immediately. Bow and accept the culinary accolades from your family. Make sure to thank Oprah and Coco Chanel.

Creamy, Deviled Eggs

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Pretty eggs on a bed of carrot greens and sprinkled with chopped chives. Happy spring!

There is nothing quite like deviled eggs in the springtime. I absolutely love them. Their light, fresh taste is a wonderful antidote to all the heavy, warming foods of winter. And as far as recipes go, you can’t get much easier–just simmer, peel, mix and stuff. And if you have leftovers (you won’t)? Mash ’em all together and voila! Egg salad.

I’m on the lookout for a vintage deviled egg plate– they go against all my rules of the kitchen (no fussy equipment, no single purpose dish ware), but they are so cute that I have trouble resisting them. Usually the price acts as a deterrent all by itself!

I made these eggs for Easter supper. Sans a cute egg plate, I used carrot greens from fresh carrots to create a bed for my eggs so they wouldn’t slide off the tray. It would be a sad, sad Easter indeed to spend my morning cleaning up splattered egg remains. My solution turned out well and the greens looked pretty with the eggs, so maybe that will become a thing now. Or maybe I’ll just get a deviled egg plate.

Now, here’s the thing about deviled eggs, especially in the South. Everyone and their mama has a special way to make them. Paprika or without, pickles or without, celery or without, and don’t get me started on mayonnaise (I’m a Duke’s girl myself). So, with that in mind, this is MY recipe for deviled eggs, but if your mama or memaw has a cherished recipe, use that. Hers will always be better than anything you read on a blog.

I like my eggs simple and very creamy. I don’t add veggies for crunch, I don’t like pickle juice and I go light on the salt. I do, however, make an occasional exception for a bit of curry and a sprinkle of chives works, too. I like to pipe my filling into the shells, because I think it looks pretty, but spooning it in works just as well and tastes the same.

This is a recipe where eggs are the star, so now is the time to pay up and buy fresh, farm eggs from pasture raised chickens.

Creamy, Deviled Eggs (makes 24 egg halves)

  • 1 dozen eggs, preferably from a known farmer who lets chickens be chickens
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of good quality mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Garnish: paprika, chopped chives, crumbled bacon
  1. Put eggs in a large stock pot. Very carefully fill the pot with cold water to cover the eggs plus 1″.
  2. Heat the pot over medium high heat until water comes almost to a boil (do not boil!).
  3. Reduce heat to medium and simmer eggs for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Use a slotted spoon or spider to remove eggs from hot water to a colander. Put colander in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  5. To peel eggs: place the colander in a clean sink and let cold water run over eggs. One at a time, take an egg and gently tap it on the counter all around the surface of the egg. Holding the egg under the running water, gently peel the shell away from the egg white. The goal is to have a pretty egg white, but they will still taste good if some of the white peels away.
  6. Reserve peeled eggs in a large bowl.
  7. When all eggs are peeled, use a sharp paring knife to cut each egg in half lengthwise. Pop the yolks out and add them to a medium mixing bowl. Carefully put the egg whites on a prepared serving plate or deviled egg plate and set aside.
  8. To the yolks in the bowl, add 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, the mustard, vinegar and salt. Mix well, breaking up any large pieces of yolk. If the mixture is too dry, add mayonnaise until you have the desired consistency. Taste and correct for seasoning.
  9. Spoon filling into egg white halves or put filling in a piping bag and use a large star tip to pipe filling into egg halves.
  10. Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika, chopped chives, crumbled bacon or whatever makes you happy.
  11. Keep chilled until ready to eat. Serve cold.
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