Brilliant Idea: Tortilla-Crusted Quiche!

It was one of those slap-me-upside-the-head moments. I was browsing through my Instagram feed and—what what what?—saw a quiche made, not with the usual pie crust, but…tortillas?


Questions started running across my brain-pan, like: How does that work? Won't it leak and make a huge mess? This is brilliant, but…what?

Three Sisters Nixtamal
organic corn tortillas.

Then it was: Oh, man, if this works I can make quiche every week! (Most of the time I'm more or less a last-minute meal-maker, so the idea of making up dough, putting it in the fridge for AN HOUR, then rolling it out, putting it in the freezer for ten minutes then blind-baking it…that's work!)

But since this particular Instagram feed was from my friend Susana at Portland's Culinary Workshop, I knew it was not to be dismissed lightly. And because I'm a huge fan of Three Sisters Nixtamal's amazing organic tortillas, we always have a pack or two in the freezer for a throw-together taco night.

So guess what we had for dinner that night?

Eggs? Check. Veg? Yep. Cheese? Duh! I even threw in some leftover sour cream that had been sitting since our last taco night. And for you doubters, the tortillas held the mixture like champs, the bottom crusty and the edges crispy.

The corn tortillas, of course, make it ideal for a south-of-the-border treatment with a mix of lightly sautéed onion and chopped poblano and serrano peppers, but they also complement a primavera treatment with purple sprouting broccoli or broccolini, green onions, green garlic, chives and other spring lovelies thrown in. Some chopped avocados and salsa on the side with a dollop of sour cream? Never a bad idea.

As the old commercial used to say: "Try it. You'll like it!"

Tortilla-Crusted Quiche

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 c. chopped vegetables
6 eggs
Chopped fresh herbs like chives, tarragon, parsley, etc. (optional)
1/2 c. sour cream
1 tsp. salt
6-8 corn tortillas, warmed
2 1/2 c. grated cheddar

Preheat oven to 350°.

Heat oil in medium-sized skillet. When it shimmers, add chopped onion and sauté until tender. Add garlic and remaining chopped vegetables—can be anything from your veg bin such as kale, broccoli, raab, leeks, peppers, green onions, whatever—and sauté briefly until slightly tender but still a little crunchy. Remove from heat and set aside.

Break eggs into medium-sized mixing bowl and beat them to combine. Whisk in herbs, sour cream and salt. Set aside.

In a large skillet, pie pan or baking dish, place one warmed tortilla in the center of the dish and then fan out the remaining tortillas around the edges, making sure they overlap with no breaks between them (don't worry about the very top edges that'll stick up above the egg mixture). The number of tortillas can vary depending on the size of your baking dish.

Take 2 cups of cheddar and scatter it evenly on the bottom of the quiche. Top with sautéed vegetables. Pour egg mixture over the top, making sure it covers the bottom of the pan. Scatter remaining half cup of cheddar over the top.

Place in oven for 25 minutes or until set. If you want the top browned, take the quiche out of the oven, set the broiler on high and put the quiche under the broiler very briefly (watch it closely!) until lightly browned.

Allow to cool slightly, slice into wedges and serve.

Craving Carnitas

I'd been jonesing for tacos for days, and just hadn't got around to making them. Then, fortuitously, some friends said they were going to be in the 'hood one evening, which gave me the perfect excuse to try a new method for making carnitas. (And yes, I'm one of those people who tries out new recipes on guests, much to the chagrin of my mother who considered it much too risky.)

I'd already pulled a four-pound pork shoulder out of the freezer, it being a weekend and the perfect time for a nice slow braise on the stove. So I picked up some cotija cheese made by Albany's Ochoa's Queseria, cabbage for slaw, plus an avocado, salsa and tortillas. (I'm a huge fan of the organic tortillas from Three Sisters Nixtamal. It's a local company that makes masa using a traditional process called nixtamalization, where dried corn kernels are soaked in slaked lime, then ground and made into dough.)

Carnitas, which means "little meats," is made by simmering chunks of pork with citrus and spices for several hours until it's tender and on the verge of falling apart. I had some whey left over from making ricotta, so I decided to use it for the braising liquid, since the acids in the whey would help to break down and tenderize the meat. The method I used then calls for shredding the meat, roasting it in the oven (or in a cast iron pan on the grill) until any remaining liquid evaporates and the meat is crispy.

Warming the tortillas on a griddle is quick and easy, though I'm always tempted to pile them with heaps of fixin's, but exercising a teensy bit of restraint is worth the reward of the perfect bite, instead of bursting the taco or losing too much on your plate. Plus it means I can enjoy a few more of those longed-for tacos!


4 lbs. boneless pork shoulder
1 qt. whey, water or stock
1 onion, sliced in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/8” slices
8 cloves garlic
2 tsp. oregano
4 bay leaves
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 orange, quartered
1 Tbsp. kosher salt

Put all ingredients into large Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer for 2-3 hours until meat is starting to fall apart and liquid is almost gone. If there is quite a bit of liquid left, remove the meat to a roasting pan, disposing of the orange peel and bay leaves. Bring the liquid in the pot to a boil and reduce until there is less than 1 cup remaining.

While liquid reduces, heat oven to 450°. When liquid has reduced, pour over meat in roasting pan and place in oven for 20-30 minutes or until it starts to brown. Shred any remaining large pieces.