Spinach, Onion, and Cheese Quiche

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This past 4th of July, my boyfriend and I drove upstate to visit his mother’s side of the family. The countryside was beautiful, the people were lovely, I shot a gun for the first time in my life (!!!) but of course the real star of the weekend was the food!

Quiche probably isn’t the most patriotic meal, but my boyfriend’s Aunt W made us a great breakfast the morning of July 5th with quiche as a centerpiece and it was delicious.

I’ve made quiche several times before (and blogged about it here as well, once) but I’ve never been able to truly wow myself with my own efforts. Either I didn’t have the right recipe, the right crust, or the right baking time/temp–in any case, my quiches were underwhelming and occasionally watery??? I’m not sure if I didn’t cook the vegetables enough or what, but sometimes my quiche came out watery. It sounds gross and it was not the most appetizing. Boyfriend ate it without a complaint because he is contractually obligated to do so.

ANYWAY, it didn’t happen this time! I also deviated from the recipe which called for using a pie pan. I usually use a regular glass pie pan as well, but this time I used a cast-iron skillet which was a wonderful housewarming gift from a good college friend who recently visited us in NY. I don’t know what it is about cast-iron but it makes everything seem more authentic and I can pretend like I’m a real professional cook. It also looks better in pictures.

Aunt W says: “This recipe is very forgiving. I often substitute if I do not have exact ingredients. I really like to use this pastry shell for quiche. I like the flavor and the flakiness the the oil gives.”

My thoughts: The pastry shell is indeed super flaky, no doubt about it. A great oil crust. I’ll use this oil crust recipe again, maybe for other items as well. And the recipe was quite forgiving. Instead of 1 cup milk and 1 cup cream, I just used 1.5 cups milk (didn’t have any cream). I also quickly cooked up spinach and onions instead of broccoli, and used a mix of mozzarella and parmesan cheese. I didn’t put in any meat.

Pastry Shell (can mix in the pan, but I mixed in a bowl then pressed into the pan with fingers)
1.5 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
2 Tablespoon milk

Measure all ingredients into 9” pie pan (I used a 10″ cast-iron skillet) and toss together with a fork. Press into shape and flute edges.

Quiche egg filling
3 eggs
1 cup light cream
1 cup milk (I omitted cream and used 1.5 cups milk)
1/2 tsp salt
dash of pepper
about 1 cup of whatever cheese (Aunt W had used grated swiss, I used shredded mozz and grated parmesan)

Mix the eggs, cream, salt, pepper together. Hold cheese.

Veggies
1 clove garlic
1/4 of a large onion
2 cups of loosely packed spinach

Pour 1 tbsp olive oil into a pan; saute garlic and onion until slightly translucent. Add in spinach, cook until just wilted, do not overcook.

Put it together:
Scoop veggie mix into the bottom of the pastry shell. Sprinkle cheese. Pour in egg/cream quiche filling mix.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.

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Butternut Squash Soup

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I’ve been making a lot of soup lately due to 1) the colder weather and 2) my desire to use my previously talked about new immersion blender as often as possible. It’s magical.

This is a very easy butternut squash soup that is filling and tasty and very flexible. I kept it very simple in terms of spices and the cream content, but you can add a ton of different things to a basic squash soup–I saw many variants of this online and in the reviews for the recipe.

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Depending on how smooth or chunky you like your soup to be, you can either blend it for a long time or just in short bursts. I didn’t leave any chunks in mine but it wasn’t liquid-smooth either.

Recipe (from here)
1 Butternut squash, about 2 pounds
2 tablespoons oil (I used grapeseed)
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrot
1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon finely minced jalapeno pepper (I actually didn’t include this)
2 cups chicken stock (if you’re vegetarian you could switch to vegetable stock)
1/4 cup heavy cream

Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Peel the squash and cut into 1 inch pieces. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes.

Add the carrot, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, and then add squash, jalapeno pepper, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15- 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat and puree the soup using an immersion blender, or transfer to a blender or food processor. Return to the heat, add the cream and adjust the seasonings.

Seen in the upper left quarter of this photo is an uber fancy cheese plate that my friends gave me for my birthday! To the right is an apple and brussel sprouts dish that turned out badly and that I won't be writing about
Seen in the upper left quarter of this photo is an uber fancy cheese plate that my friends gave me for my birthday! To the right is an apple and brussel sprouts dish that turned out badly and that I won’t be writing about

Broccoli and Mushroom Quiche

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Quiche! My first time having truly great quiche was when my (half-French) college roommate’s mother visited and made us all a delicious quiche for dinner, which was very kind of her. It was through this same roommate’s family that first I experienced some really awesome homemade French cooking. I’ve attempted to replicate some of that awesomeness here with my broccoli and mushroom quiche.

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This recipe is nice because you can really add whatever you want to it–my main “filling” ingredients were broccoli, mushroom, onion, a bit of garlic, and mozzarella cheese. But you could honestly add whatever you want: spinach, goat cheese, bacon, chicken, etc. the options are limitless.

The crust is also open to interpretation. I stuck with a really easy, really quick olive oil crust this time around. Butter would have made a much flakier crust, but for some reason that’s not as essential to my quiche tastes as it is for sweet fruit pies.

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Olive Oil Quiche Crust Recipe
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup cold water

Sift together flour and salt. Using a whisk, beat oil and water to combine and thicken. Pour the oil and water combo into the flour/salt, and mix thoroughly. The original recipe says to just press this mixture into the pie plate, but I chose to roll it out with a rolling pin and that worked better for me.

Quiche Recipe (from here)
1 onion, minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
4 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Add olive oil a large saucepan at medium heat. Add onions, garlic and broccoli. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally, then add in mushrooms when the broccoli looks almost ready. Spoon vegetables into crust and sprinkle with cheese.

Combine eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in melted butter. Pour egg mixture over vegetables and cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until center has set.

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