2014-01-24 / Columns

Cooking on Purpose

Quiche is a meal for all reasons
By Connie Wendell
Special contributor

I love quiche. You can have it for breakfast, or for lunch with a side salad and for dinner with a side vegetable and crusty bread.

Quiche recipes are very versatile and flexible. If you don’t have an ingredient on hand, substitute it with another that is similar. Quiche is great for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Quiche really is for all reasons.

Italian quiche cups

One recipe of pastry dough (recipe follows); ½ cup shredded Italian-style cheese blend; ¼ cup finely chopped marinated artichoke hearts, well drained; ¼ cup finely chopped pepperoni; 1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley; 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour; ¼ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed; 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper; 2 eggs; ¾ cup of half and half, light cream, or whole milk; and snipped fresh parsley.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Shaped chilled pastry dough into twelve 1 ½ inch balls. Press each ball into the bottoms and up the sides of twelve 2 ½ inch muffin cups; set aside.

For filling, in a medium bowl stir together cheese, artichoke hearts, pepperoni, the 1 tablespoon parsley, flour, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper. Spoon the mixture evenly into pastry-lined cups. In the same bowl whisk together eggs and half-and-half. Spoon egg mixture evenly over filling in cups.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until filling is set and edges of pastry are golden. Cool quiche cups in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Run the tip of a thin knife around the edge of each quiche cup and carefully remove from the muffin cup. Cool slightly. Serve warm or cool completely. If desired, garnish with additional parsley.

Place cooled quiche cups in a single layer in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours or freeze for up to 1 month. If frozen, thaw at room temperature for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place quiche cups in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until heated thoroughly.

Pastry dough

1 ½ cups flour; ¼ teaspoon salt; ½ cup cold butter, cut up; and 3 tablespoons water.

In a medium bowl stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until pieces are pea size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon water over part of the flour mixture; toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to side of bowl. Repeat moistening flour mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, until flour mixture is moistened. Gather flour mixture into a ball, kneading gently until it holds together. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.

Bacon-tomato quiche with gruyere and thyme

Pastry for one crust; 4 slices bacon; ¾ cup shredded Gruyere cheese (3 ounces); ¼ cup chopped scallions; 1 cup chopped tomato; 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves; 2 eggs, lightly beaten; and 1 ounce sour cream.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Ease pie crust into a 9-inch tart pan that has a removable bottom. Press pastry into fluted sides of pan; trim edge. Do not prick pastry. Line pastry with a double thick ness of foil. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 4 to 5 minutes more or until pastry is set and dry. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

In a large skillet cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon; set aside.

Stir in tomatoes, crumbled bacon, scallions and thyme. In a medium bowl combine eggs and sour cream. Stir in bacon mixture and cheese. Pour into crust.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until light brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and serve. Or, cool for 2 hours. Place quiche in an airtight container; cover. Chill for 2 to 24 hours. When ready to serve, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place quiche on a baking sheet. Bake about 10 minutes or until warm in the center. Cut into thin wedges.

Hearty vegetable, bacon and quinoa quiche

Nonstick cooking spray; ½ cup quinoa; 8 ounces of sliced fresh mushrooms; 1 cup loosely packed, coarsely chopped fresh spinach; ½ cup sliced, halved leeks; 4 ½-ounce slices smoked bacon, crisp cooked and coarsely crumbled; 4 eggs, lightly beaten; 1 cup of frozen egg product, thawed; 1 ounce evaporated fat-free milk; 2 ounces Gruyere or Havarti cheese, shredded (1/2 cup); ½ teaspoon salt; and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a deep 10-inch pie plate with cooking spray.

Rinse quinoa. Using a rubber spatula, spread quinoa as evenly as possible over the bottom of the prepared pie plate.

In a medium bowl stir together mushrooms, spinach, leeks and bacon. Spread mushroom mixture evenly over the quinoa.

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, egg product, evaporated milk, shredded cheese, salt and pepper. Pour into pie plate (it will be very full).

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until set in the center and browned on top.

Have fun making a quiche, get creative, make substitutions and make it your own. Until next time keep Cooking on Purpose.

Connie Wendell can be reached at conniewendell27@gmail.com.

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