Yes. You read that title right. I said how to raise a quiche, not make one.
Making a quiche is simple. Excluding baking time, a good home cook can whip one up – including making crust – in about 20 minutes. It just requires cutting and sauteing your savory ingredients, whipping your eggs with whole milk or cream, combining those ingredients with cheese, seasoning the mix, and pouring it all into your home made pie crust. For more details on making crust see my Mother Earth News, K is for Kitchen Skills blog under “Pie Crusts”. Also note that you can substitute refrigerated lard for butter for savory recipes like quiche.
If you are creating your own quiche recipe based on the ingredients you have on hand, as I usually am, then you may want to cook up a tablespoon of your mix on the stove top to make sure you’ve got your seasoning right before you bake. Once your quiche is cooked, if your mix is less tasty than you expected, you can sprinkle on toppings (salt, cracked pepper, crumbled bacon…), serve it with a sauce, or put it on a bed of very tasty salad to correct for deficiencies.
Whipping technique, an understanding of batter ratios, and a knowledge of how the flavors of ingredients work together is also important. And those skills do take time to develop. For those of you who are new to cooking, make a quiche a week starting with tried-and-true recipes and then advance to trying your own mixes. After a year of practice, you’ll be an expert quiche maker. (Don’t worry, there are thousands of variations so quiche never gets boring!) In fact, that’s a good rule of thumb for just about anything you want to get better at in the kitchen or otherwise.
The nuances of expert quiche-making techniques aside, there’s a whole lot more that goes into raising a great quiche than cooking it. It took us awhile to get here, but we are now at the point where we not only make homemade quiche, but we home grow and raise all of the ingredients (except salt and pepper). And this is no accident.
Once we decided to start our own homestead and aim for self-sufficiency, one of the first things I did was an inventory of my favorite things. You know… all that stuff I wouldn’t want to give up. Besides a few modern comforts (toilet paper, running water, heat, a stellar mattress and sheets, and a washing machine) most of my list revolved around food items and kitchen utensils. (I can’t cook without a ready supply of tongs and wooden spoons!).
When you sit down and make a plan for how to raise or grow all your favorite foods on your own homestead, you also start to understand just how much work actually goes into basic ingredients. You also begin to comprehend how unraveling this complexity and bringing ingredients back to the local or homestead level can have a huge impact on our environmental, social, and infrastructure challenges around the world. (Yes, I just dropped a bomb – and I won’t be elaborating here due to time constraints, but you can see my articlse on Are you Prepared for Peak Chicken and Extreme Weather and Food Resilience, for Home Growers if you want to find out more about why I believe this.)
The quiche I made for breakfast this morning had shiitake and oyster mushrooms, onions, duck and chicken eggs, goats milk, lard, bacon, cheese, flour, and salt and pepper. From a DIY homesteading perspective, this seemingly simple meal required the following:
- Making and maintaining a vegetable garden. (See Extreme Weather and Food Resilience and The ABCs of Homesteading: E is for ‘Edible Landscaping’ for more details)
- Curing and storing onions.
- Growing and harvesting wheat, separating wheat from chaff, grinding wheat kernels into flour.
- Cutting right-sized shiitake mushroom logs, inoculating with specific seasonal strains of shiitake spawn, watering logs in periods of insufficient rain, waiting up to a year for first fruiting, and then keeping fruitings moist and harvesting at just the right time. Also, transferring fruiting logs to our greenhouse if conditions become too cold during fruiting.
- Pasteurizing straw and inoculating with oyster spawn in grow bags, allowing straw to myceliate, and then monitoring for pinning and watering as necessary to induce growth, resting the bags after fruiting, and repeating the cycle. (Our friends at Gnomestead Hollow gave us our grow bags as a gift, so we didn’t actually have to do that part).
- Raising dairy goats, including breeding them at least once annually, selling extra kids, daily milking, general care and feeding, fence building, pasture management, barn cleaning, etc. (See The ABCs of Homesteading: G is for ‘Goats’ for more details).
- Making cheese.
- Raising and keeping layer poultry – building shelter, predator prevention, general care and feeding, incubating, brooding, hatching, dispatching unneeded roosters and drakes, etc. (See The ABCs of Homesteading: D is for Ducks and re-Visions at the reLuxe Ranch for more details).
- Raising pigs for 5-6 months, rotating pasture, providing huge quantities of feed and water, providing wallows, slaughtering, butchering, curing bacon (see Making Bacon), rendering lard. (See Have You Ever Been to a Hog Killin’? Part 1 Raising Hogs and parts 2 and 3 for more details).
- Building and using a cold smoker to smoke bacon. (See Matt’s posts Smoke It – Part 1 and Smoke it – Part 2 for more details).
Of course, not all of it happened at once. The culmination of being able to make this quiche from home grown and raised ingredients was an almost three year process. This not only netted us a great breakfast, but a deep sense of well-being at knowing how to do these things for ourselves, peace with the ways in which our food came to be food, and not participating in a global food system that is detrimental to our world on so many levels.
To those of you already raising your own quiche – Thank You! To those willing to support others in this task by locally sourcing responsibly raised quiche ingredients – Thank You, too! For those not quite ready or able yet, I understand it’s not so easy to make the commitment for any number of reasons. Thank you for reading this and I wish you well-raised quiche soon because we all deserve to eat high quality, locally grown food.