Corn Star

Corn & Pepper Tortilla Pie (a.k.a. Man Quiche)

Tom thinks he hates quiche.  He’s not normally a picky eater, but he does have certain food prejudices that even my most herculean efforts cannot surmount.   The main offenders are kale, tofu, canned tuna, and quiche.  So, when I found myself with a fridge containing eggs, heavy cream, and cheddar cheese, I knew I’d have to work some culinary magic to disguise the true identity of the dinner I made.  But really guys, this is a quiche.

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I think the real culprit here is those old Hungry Man frozen dinner commercials where they show a guy being blown away by a light breeze because all he had for dinner was quiche.  Such a harmful stereotype of a truly delicious foodstuff that really isn’t exactly what one would call a “diet food.”  Have you ever heard of a Quiche Cleanse?!? Me neither.  It’s made with freaking half-and-half!
Still, I wanted Tom to try a quiche and embrace it for it’s elegant deliciousness, not for its snooty French name or its fat content.  In order to get to this stage though, he couldn’t know that he was eating a quiche.  Blissful ignorance was needed for an unbiased tasting experiment.
I knew that if I used a regular pie crust, Tom would spot my bluff a mile away.  I decided to, instead, make the crust from crushed tortilla chips and melted butter (graham-cracker-crust-style).  First hurdle crossed.
I still planned to use the standard egg-cream quiche mixture, so I knew I’d need enough other distractors swimming in that custard to keep the true identity of this dish on the DL.  I figured I should just jam the crust full of Tom-friendly ingredients — namely, bacon, Cracker Barrel cheese, and innocuous vegetables — to hide the quichey custard.  A layer of cheese on top of anything hides many sins.
I don’t want to paint a bad image of myself here — I’m really a very honest and moral person!  My intent is not to trick Tom into eating “scary foods” for my own enjoyment, rather, I just want him to not limit himself in this delicious world by baseless phobias.  As Dumbledore so wisely said, “Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” Amen Albus.  Let no man fear quiche!

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Corn & Pepper Tortilla Pie (a.k.a. Man Quiche)

2 cups crushed tortilla cups (either food-processed or thoroughly hand crunched, your call!)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 strips bacon
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 medium bell pepper (red or orange), finely diced
1 bag frozen corn, thawed and drained on a clean dish towel
8 ounces good cheddar cheese (we’re a Cracker Barrel household), grated
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Sour cream and salsa for topping, if desired
Preheat oven to 400 degrees farenheit.  Combine tortilla chip crumbs with melted butter until crumbs are uniformly coated and mixture starts to get clumpy.  Spray a deep 9″ pie dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Press crumb mixture into pan, and bake 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, fry bacon and remove to a paper towel to drain/cool.  Reserve 2 tablespoons of your bacon drippings,and use them to saute the onion, pepper, and corn, until most of the moisture has evaporated, ~10 minutes.
In a mixing bowl or a large measuring cup (measuring cup is preferable for the pour-spout), whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, and spices.
Sprinkle half of the grated cheese over the bottom of the pie crust.  Crumble bacon over the cheese, and top with the sauteed vegetables [Note:  if there is any liquid in the skillet with the veg, try not to pour it into the pie].  Carefully pour the custard mixture over the vegetables — pour slowly, and only use as much as you can safely put in the pie shell without overflowing.  If you have any extra custard, you can bake it in a separate ramekin or keep it in the jar in a fridge to use in your next omelet.  Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top of the custard.
Place a foil-lined cookie sheet on the bottom oven rack (to catch any accidents).  Carefully transfer pie to oven, and bake 50-60 minutes, until golden brown on top, with minimal jiggling when you lightly jostle the oven rack.  Remove from oven, and let cool for 30-40 minutes before attempting to slice.  Cut into wedges, and serve topped with a healthy dollop of sour cream and a dribble of salsa.

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