A true quiche is made from a combination of eggs, liquid, and cheese baked in a pastry shell. A “crustless” version, however, will of course alter the physical structure of this dish. It becomes something other than quiche; it becomes a cheesy custard. Are we OK with that? I made the “Crustless Dill Spinach Quiche with Mushrooms and Cheese,” from The Best Diabetes Cookbook, by Katherine Younker, and enjoyed the decent combination of dill, spinach, onion, and mushrooms. It was definitely a cheese celebration, incorporating ricotta, cottage cheese, cheddar, and parmesan.

I wilted my fresh spinach in 2 minutes 30 seconds. I used 1 clove garlic, 1/2 onion, 6 button mushrooms, and fresh dill. Notice that only one egg and a half are used in this recipe; this dish does not become a frittata. I baked this for 50 minutes.

Attracted to the notion of quickly cooking potatoes in the microwave, I doubled the recipe for “Pesto Potatoes,” from the April 2006 issue of Vegetarian Times, and did enjoy two nice potatoes, creatively stuffed with canned artichoke hearts, soft silken tofu, prepared pesto, and pine nuts. All of this screams of “convenience” and tasted fine.

I microwaved my potatoes for 5 minutes. To the stuffing I added 1 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper.

Instead of crushing croutons on top of my potatoes, I reached for another convenient item: crackers. These crunchy crumbs were a fun addition.

Spinach (10 oz.) = $5.94
White Button Mushrooms (6) = .58¢
Russet Potatoes (2) = $1.40

RECIPES: don’t think “quiche,” think “cheesy custard,” and impress yourself with a thoughtfully stuffed, microwaved potato
PREP TIMES: “custard” will need an hour or so; microwaved potatoes need less than 15 minutes
TASTES: dill, spinach, onion, and mushrooms enveloped by cheesiness; shouldn’t we stuff and microwave a potato every day?

To continue along the vegetarian path, next time I will cook “Gruyère-Walnut Crisps,” from the November 2009 issue of Bön Appetit (recipe below), along with a “Nutty Vegetable Rice Casserole,” from Food.com. Witness my great discoveries when you come back to my site on Monday, April 19.

Gruyère-Walnut Crisps
Bön Appetit, November 2009

3/4 cup (1 1/12 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 oz. finely grated Gruyère cheese
1 tsp. salt
2 cups (plus 2 Tbsp.) all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Using electric mixer, beat butter in medium bowl until smooth. Beat in cheese and salt. Add flour and walnuts; beat just until dough comes together, adding water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Divide in half. Roll each half into 14-inch log. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, at least four hours. Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut logs crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange on prepared sheets, spacing 1/2 inch apart.

Bake crisps until deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool completely.

For a pretty presentation, before slicing the dough, brush the logs with lightly beaten egg white, then roll in poppy seeds, sesame seeds or caraway seeds. Slice; bake as directed.