Alone = Quiche.

Quiche. That misunderstood brunch or dinner delicacy that is wrongly accused of being girlie, chic (or chick?) food. Whenever I have the opportunity to make dinner solely for myself, I like to use it to my advantage by making quiche. It's filling, versatile, and uses up whatever needs using up - and it requires just enough work to make me feel like I'm worth the fussing over. Besides, I like eating it straight from the fridge for lunches too.

Most people would serve quiche alongside some kind of green salad, but not me. Since I usually partake alone, I fortify it with whatever veg I can, and chalk it up to a one dish meal - a casserole that is so much more attractive seeing as it comes at me baked into a pie. This leads me to believe I know why quiche has the bad-rap of being girlie food: usually it contains no meat. When my Husband (who was on his way out to a basketball game) saw, and likely smelled, the results of my casual labors coming out of the oven, he said "what! I like quiche" to which I responded "since when?" (that was code for "keep away from my leftovers"). My filling was really of no matter to me tonight. What I was really after was a trial run of Sally Fallon's yogurt dough, made from 100% whole wheat that ferments with yogurt and butter prior to baking.

As with most of these new-to-me nourishments, this yogurt dough did not disappoint. It was actually light and flaky, and as complementary to a savory pie as I could see it being to a sweet one. Most whole wheat baked goods seem dense, but not this pie crust. It held up to the filling without sogginess and the edges browned and crisped up nicely. The flavor had just a nuance of graham cracker, which made me immediately think that the next time I get a taste for chocolate pudding pie, I will most certainly use this crust - though likely I'll add a tablespoon or two of honey to enhance it's nutty sweetness.

Sally Fallon's Yogurt Dough (Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions)

I used half amounts to yield 1 pie crust - otherwise, it will make two. (Sally says that the recipe will allow enough for two 10 inch, French style, tart shells - and that it cooks more slowly than doughs made with white flour.)
  • 1 c. plain whole yogurt (I used my homemade, which is made with 2% milk)
  • 1 c. butter (1/2 lb. or 2 sticks), softened
  • 3 1/2 c. whole wheat flour (or she recommends spelt flour)
  • 2 t. sea salt
  • unbleached white flour for rolling out
Cream yogurt and butter together. Blend in flour and salt. Cover and leave in a warmish place for 12-24 hours (I left mine only about 8 since I didn't plan too far in advance).

Sally recommends rolling out on a pastry cloth lightly dusted with flour, but I used a lightly floured wooden board, and had no problem with sticking whatsoever.

She also says that if you are baking for a pre-baked shell, prick the bottom well with a fork and place in a cold oven. Turn heat on to 350, and bake for 20-30 minutes. For the quiche, I filled it and baked in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, and it worked perfectly.

UPDATE:  For using this as a quiche crust, I find that it works best to pop the formed crust into the freezer for 30 minutes to firm it up nicely prior to filling and baking.  It's a soft dough at room temperature, so if blind baking, be sure to line with parchment and fill with weights.

I always use Mollie Katzen's approach to quiche, the dog-eared page 131 of The Enchanted Broccoli Forest guiding me on my way to chic (or chick) dining. Tonight, I only had a bit of Wisconsin Colby cheese, a half pound of mushrooms and an onion. I used garlic, Aleppo and thyme to season, and along to my egg and milk custard, I added about 1/4 c. of the cultured "sour cream" I kind of made by adding my villi yogurt culture to heavy cream. I'm always surprised at the complexity in the flavors of something that has so few ingredients. Of course, that wheaty yogurt dough crust helped quite a bit, too. (I used the same basic Mollie Katzen formula to make another memorable pie, the Wisconsin (Ramp) Pie I made last spring.)

I often wonder what it would be like to cook only for myself again, not worrying about the other members of my family and what their picky palates would prefer. I'd likely eat quiche more than twice a year, I'm sure. When my son saw that there was a pie cooling on the stove, he wanted to try some, until he got right up next to a bite I held out for him - dashing all my sincere hopes that he would enjoy the eggy, mushroomy goodness that I was unable to share with anyone. I'm not giving up, I will offer until there is nothing left for me to offer. Instead, he ate leftover sourdough pancakes that I popped into the toaster to warm.

So, to each of us, our own fermented grains, I suppose. I feel happier eating these soaked and fermented things, still as excited and wide-eyed at the flavors and as eager as ever to share them with others. Convinced my own food revolution will transform at least my household if it goes no further than that. That, or just annoy my fellow family members... But, this pie was great and smelled great. I'm going to get them, if it's the last thing I do!