Sunday, April 3, 2011

Quiche vs. Tart: Part Tart

Dearest Readers,

Hello! How have you all been? I hope everyone had a lovely winter! Personally, I took a bit of a hiatus, enjoying some time in the Maldives. It was rather boring, as I’m sure you can imagine: Get up in the morning, have some fresh fruit, put on a bathing suit, lounge in the sun, read the paper, take a nap, go shopping, pick a place for dinner, go for a late night swim, and then get plenty of sleep in order to start fresh again the next day. I know it sounds tiresome, but what can you do when you live a life of leisure. Oh wait. I actually haven’t won the lotto yet. A girl can dream though, right?

I too have been struggling through this seemingly endless winter, and there was a time in early January when I had been suffering a fair amount of food malaise. I sunk into a bit of a food funk- not cooking anything fun, going through the motions at the grocery store, turning to my freezer for Ling Ling's potstickers in my time of need. The situation was verging on dire.

I took a trip to Fairway in the midst of a bad head cold which only perpetuated my food doldrums- I decided to partake in some prepared foods. As I don't usually spend much time in the prepared food section, I am always impressed by the selection. I was, that cold winter evening, sniffling into my crumpled tissue, totally taken in by a small broccoli-cheddar tart. It looked delicious, like the perfect little treat to take to work the next day for lunch, so I bought it. Dear readers, it was, simply put, really disappointing. While I'm not sure that anything could have lived up to my expectations, it fell short on texture and taste, and suddenly, this slight let down of a mid-week office lunch sparked some inspiration in my lazy food bones. I would make a broccoli cheddar tart! I would make a tart and it would be good! Wait when was the last time I made a tiche (tart/quiche)?

So I went online, found some recipes, and was initially a bit confused- what's the difference between a tart and a quiche? Let me answer that for you- Nothing. Seriously, I know that a tart can be sweet or savory, while a quiche is savory, and there is some talk about the difference in ratio of eggs to liquid, but really? I liked Kitty's explanation best- When that whole "Real men eat quiche" fad started, the backlash probably drove the "tart" designation. You know. Quiche is scary.

The recipes I found online were varied, some were easy, "beat some eggs, throw in some grated cheddar and broccoli, pour it in a pie shell and bake". Some were more complicated. I decided that (since I am a relative novice at tiche making) I would try a couple of recipes and see what worked. First I found a very simple recipe and then went to for a more intricate "quiche" recipe. I decided that I would follow both recipes exactly so that I could give a good break down of what I think works versus what I would change, or combine between the two recipes. I tried to follow the recipes exactly, really I did. It just didn't happen that way.

The first recipe I used was from the Cooking Village site online. I hadn't used a recipe from that site before, but it was such a simple take, I wanted something basic and straightforward: Broccoli Cheddar Tart

The recipe calls for little "tartlets", instead I was excited to use a pie shell I had in the freezer. No I won't tell you how long it had been in my freezer.

Other than the shell, the recipe called for 3 eggs, 1 cup of half and half, 1/4 cup of chopped green onions, 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cup of chopped broccoli florets. I didn't have any green onions, just regular old yellow onions, so I decided to caramelize a couple of onions. I also thought that 1 cup of half and half was too much, and 1/4 cup of shredded cheese was too little, so I used less half and half (about 3/4 of a cup) and more shredded cheddar (closer to a full cup, I shredded it finely so it would blend). I also added about 2 cups of broccoli instead of 1.5.

So, with onions caramelized, i beat the eggs, added the half and half, the cheese, the broccoli and the onions, and mixed it all up so that everything was nicely coated. I poured it into the pie shell, and cooked it for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. As the 30 minute cooking designation was for the smaller tartlets, so i ended up turning the heat up to 370 and cooking it for an additional 15 minutes.

The results were... kind of bland. I loved how easy the recipe was, but it was lacking any umph. In an effort to ratchet up the finished product, I sprinkled left over cheese from "Quiche vs. Tart: Part Quiche":Tell me that topping with shredded cheese doesn't always make everything better.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. Bland-ness prevailed. But tune in for the second part of this battle for Part Quiche, coming soon, and hear my suggestions for future "Tiche" making!

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