Bacon and Leek Quiche

Bacon and Leek Quiche

Bacon and Leek Quiche

What food comes to mind most often when planning a menu for brunch?  Is it quiche?  I’m not surprised.  Quiche may well be the most versatile brunch dish.  A rich eggy custard encased in a flaky crust, it can be made with an almost endless variety of herbs, meats, cheeses and vegetables.  It can also be served hot or at room temperature, making it an ideal choice it you have other dishes on the menu.

We know that bacon can never go wrong, it seems, in any dish; so that’s beyond question in this quiche.  But leeks?  Probably not high on the list of favored ingredients.   If you are not familiar with leeks, they are a member of the onion family and have a mild oniony taste.  In most dishes where they are used they sort of blend in and their flavor is hard to identify, but not in this dish.  Their mild distinct flavor is noticeable and goes especially well with Gruyère cheese.

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My best description for the filling in this quiche is that it is “silky”.  The leeks are sautéed in a little butter until tender before adding to the crust with the bacon.  Once the egg, milk, cheese mixture is added everything melds together and bakes into a fabulous, silky, smooth custard, with bits of salty bacon throughout.

I made this dish one evening for our dinner and served it with a large mixed vegetable salad.  It seemed like the perfect meal.  The portion that was left over I rewarmed for lunch, and once again we enjoyed it immensely.

If you are someone who really like leeks, bacon and Gruyère cheese, (or even if you don’t) I encourage you to try this quiche.  I think you will be really glad you did.

BACON AND LEEK QUICHE

Yield:   makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • single-crust flaky pastry doughIMG_9505
  • Smoked bacon, 4 slices, coarsely chopped
  • unsalted butter, 1 Tbsp.
  • leeks, 2 small, white and pale green parts, chopped
  • half and half, 1 cup
  • large eggs, 2
  • kosher salt, 1/2 tsp.
  • ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp.
  • freshly grated nutmeg, 1/8 tsp.
  • Gruyère cheese, 1 cup shredded

Directions:

1.  Use your favorite recipe for pie dough, or use refrigerated store-bought pie dough.  Roll the dough out into a round about 12 inches in diameter.  Transfer to a 9-inch pie dish or tart pan.  Trim the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang.  Fold the overhanging dough over and into the pan, pressing it firmly against the dough on the sides of the pan; the dough should be doubly thick at the sides and rise about 1/8 inch above the pan rim.  Line the dough with a piece of parchment paper, and chill for 30 minutes.

Make the pie shell and chill for 30 minutes.

Make the pie shell and chill for 30 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375*F.  Place the dough-lined pan on a baking sheet and fill the parchment paper with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake until the dough is set and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.

Fill pie shell with pie weights and bake till set.

Fill pie shell with pie weights and bake till set, about 20 minutes.

3.  While the crust is baking, make the filling.  In a fry pan, fry the bacon over medium heat, stirring until crisp and golden, about 6 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain.

Fry bacon till crisp, remove and drain on toweling.

Fry bacon till crisp, remove and drain on toweling.

Pour out the fat, wipe out the pan with clean paper towels, and add the butter.  Melt over low heat.  Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes.

Saute leeks in butter till tender.

Saute leeks in butter till tender.

Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.

4.  Remove the baking sheet with the tart pan from the oven.  Remove the parchment and the weights/beans.  In a bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg until combined.

Whisk together eggs, half-and-half and seasonings.

Whisk together eggs, half-and-half and seasonings.

Scatter the bacon, leeks, and cheese evenly in the pastry shell.

Layer in bacon.

Layer in bacon.

Cover bacon with leeks, then cheese.

Cover bacon with leeks, then cheese.

Carefully pour the egg mixture into the shell.

Pour in egg mixture.

Pour in egg mixture.

Return to the oven and bake until the filling is puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Let cool slightly, then serve.

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SOURCE:  Comfort Food, warm and homey, rich and hearty,  by Rick Rodgers

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Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

It’s a fact!  I know it for sure.  Real men do eat quiche.

How did quiche ever get the reputation for not being “manly”?  This quiche is he-man stuff.  Packed with broccoli, sautéed onions, two kinds of cheese, six eggs, and heavy cream all wrapped into a flaky, tender crust.  Yikes!  It just doesn’t get any better than this.IMG_8874

Fact #2:  You can eat this at any meal.   Call it a weekend breakfast or brunch,  call it lunch, or add a leafy green salad and call it dinner.

Like a favorite guest who is always welcome at your table, this is a dish you will want to make often.  If you must, you can sub out the broccoli and insert asparagus,  or change up the cheeses used,  but please don’t use skim milk instead of heavy cream.  It just won’t be the same;  no way, no how.

A properly prepared quiche has two requirements:  a well-cooked crust, and a properly cooked filling–not rubbery and overcooked, and not watery.  This quiche recipe will deliver perfect results every time.

A key factor that contributes to the deliciousness of this quiche is pre-baking the crust before filling it.  This is called “blind baking ” the crust.  With the crust almost totally cooked before filling it, it doesn’t become soggy when you add the egg custard.   Even leftover pieces will have a crispy, flaky crust.

The key to the filling?  Keep an eye on it and remove from the oven as soon as the center is set.

As we swing into the new year, with thoughts of trying to loose a little weight, this quiche will be seeing some heavy rotation in my meal planning because in spite of its richness, it is quite low in carbs, (only the crust).  When following a low-carb diet, weight loss occurs by using stored fat as your energy source instead of carbohydrates as a ready source of energy.   In that scenario, the amount of fats you eat has no significance.  I know, it sounds counter-intuitive, but it works.

BROCCOLI CHEDDAR QUICHE

Yield:   Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:IMG_8865

  • all-purpose flour for rolling
  • 1 homemade or store-bought single-crust pie dough
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 pound broccoli florets, steamed until crisp-tender
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375*F.  Lightly flour a rolling pin and work surface and roll out dough to a 12-inch round.  Place in a 9-inch pie plate, fold overhang under, and crimp the edge.  Place a sheet of parchment paper over the dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans.

Fill crust with pie weights or beans to prevent air-bubbles.

Fill crust with pie weights or beans to prevent air-bubbles.

Bake until edge is dry and light golden, about 20 minutes.  Remove parchment and weights.

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2.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, precook the broccoli florets until crisp-tender.

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3.  In another skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

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4.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and cream.  Season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

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5.  Place broccoli florets in bottom of pie dish (crust)…..

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spoon on the onions, then the cheese.

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Pour the egg/cream mixture over all.

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Bake until center of quiche is just set, 40 to 45 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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To store:  refrigerate cooled quiche, tightly covered, up to 3 days.  To reheat, cover with foil and place in a 325 *F. oven until warmed through, about 15 minutes.

SOURCE:   Everyday Food,  Dec. 2011

 

(Lighter) Spinach-Bacon Quiche

Bacon Spinach Quiche

Spinach Bacon Quiche

If brunch is in your plans in the near future, one favorite menu item is quiche.   Quiche, however, can contain lots of hidden calories and fat.  One wedge can contain in the neighborhood of 600 (or more) calories.  Yet we love it, so the dilemma is how to lighten it up, and still get all the creamy goodness that we love.

One way would be to eliminate the crust, but really, who likes a quiche with no flaky crust to support all that eggy, cheesy filling.  This recipe uses a crust made with olive oil instead of the traditional butter or shortening.  The heart healthy olive oil lends a “green”, flavor to the crust.  The filling is bulked up with mushrooms and spinach, adding few calories, but great nutritional value.  A nutty flavored cheese like Gruyère, or Swiss is the perfect compliment to the vegetables, and only 2 ounces go into this quiche.  The egg custard is made using mostly low fat milk (I used skim milk) plus a splash of half-and-half that adds richness but fewer calories and fat than heavy cream.  The quiche is finished off with a sprinkle of crisp bacon on the top, which you taste first, so you get a savory crunch in every bite.  One sixth of this quiche is a 317-calorie slice of heaven.  Vegetarians would find this quiche very satisfying even without the bacon, or could use a substitute.

I tested out this recipe earlier this week, served it for dinner with a side salad, and Mr. D.  loved it,  never suspecting it was a “lighter” version. I thought it was luscious.

This quiche with salad and bread makes a complete meal.

The quiche with salad and bread makes a complete meal.

(LIGHTER) SPINACH-BACON QUICHE

Yield:  Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 5.6 ounces all-purpose flour, about 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons

    Ingredients ready to start cooking.

    Ingredients ready to start cooking.

  • 3/4 kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • cooking spray
  • 3 slices bacon, lean center cut, if possible (vegetarians can omit bacon)
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach
  • 1 cup 1 % low-fat milk (I used fat-free)
  • 1/3 cup half and half, or light cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (swiss cheese, or any good melting cheese may be used instead)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.

2.  ** Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cup.  Combine flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and baking powder in a food processor; pulse 2 times to combine.  Combine oil with 3 tablespoons water.  With processor running, slowly add oil mixture through food chute; process until dough comes together.  Turn dough out onto slightly floured surface.  Knead 1 minute.  Press dough into a 5-inch disk; wrap in plastic wrap, and chill 20 minutes.

3.  Roll dough into a 12-inch circle.  Fit into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate coated with cooking spray.  Line dough with foil;  arrange pie weights or dried beans on foil.  Bake at 425*F. for 12 minutes until edges are golden.  Remove weights and foil; bake an additional 2 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.

4.  Reduce oven temperature to 350*F.

5.  Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings;  crumble and set aside.  Return pan to medium-high heat.  Add shallots to drippings in pan; sauté 2 minutes.

Bacon crisped, shallots being sautéed

Bacon crisped, shallots being sautéed

Add mushrooms and thyme; cook until tender, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in spinach; cook 2 minutes or until it wilts.  Remove from heat.  Drain any excess liquid.

Mushrooms and spinach added to skillet.

Mushrooms and spinach added to skillet.

6.  Place milk, half-and-half, eggs, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a blender; process until smooth.

Prepare egg custard in a blender.

Prepare egg custard in a blender.

7.  Arrange half of cheese over bottom of crust; top with spinach mixture and remaining half of cheese.

Cheese goes into the crust first.

Cheese goes into the crust first.

Next goes the spinach mustard mixture.

Next goes the spinach mustard mixture.

Cover with remaining cheese.

Cover with remaining cheese.

Carefully pour milk mixture over cheese.  Sprinkle with bacon.

Sprinkle crumbled bacon over all, and pour in milk mixture.

Sprinkle crumbled bacon over all, and pour in milk mixture.

Bake at 350*F for 45 minutes or until filling is set and top begins to brown.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Bacon Spinach Quiche

Bacon Spinach Quiche

**As a time saving step, and if calories in the crust are not a concern, you could use a frozen pie crust.  Bake as directed in step #3, according to package directions.

Serve with salad.

Serve with salad.

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SOURCE:     Cooking Light Magazine

 

Spring Tonic Quiche

Spring Tonic Quiche

Spring Tonic Quiche

This may seem like an odd name for a recipe, but it comes from Barbara Kingsolver’s excellent book, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral:  A Year of Food Life.  In it she describes a winter of  relying on root vegetables and home-grown  canned goods, so the first green shoots to emerge from the earth in the spring were pounced upon by her family.  The minerals contained in these new shoots were believed to provide renewed vigor and energy for bodies tired of being cooped up all winter.

This recipe uses fresh young asparagus but if you’re in an area where fiddleheads** are available they would be a wonderful replacement for the asparagus.  The quantity of the recipe is designed to fit into a 9″ or 10″ pie pan.  If you’re using a shallower quiche pan  use 3 eggs and cut back the buttermilk to 3/4 cup.

The buttermilk called for in this recipe gives the custard a “tang” that is typical of buttermilk.  If you prefer a more traditional flavored  filling you may use regular milk instead with equally good results.  This quiche cuts and hold its shape vey well especially it you let it rest for about 15 minutes before serving as the recipe suggests.

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SPRING TONIC  (ASPARAGUS ) QUICHE

Asparagus, chives, cheese, buttermilk, eggs and Worcestershire sauce make the filling.

Asparagus, chives, cheese, buttermilk, eggs and Worcestershire sauce make the filling.

Yield:   8 slices

Ingredients:

  • 1 single recipe pie dough, or use 1/2 package refrigerator pie dough
  • 2  1/2 cup asparagus spears or fiddleheads, bias sliced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1  1/2 cup grated cheese ( your choice, but Swiss, Parmesan and/or Asiago are good)
  • 3 to 4 four large eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1.  Preheat the oven to 425*F.  Line a 9 or 10-inch pie pan  or 10-inch quiche pan with the pastry.  Chill the lined dish while the oven comes up to temperature.  This will minimize shrinking while it bakes.

2.  Bake the chilled crust for 10 minutes;  remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 375*.

3.  For the Filling:  Spread the sliced asparagus over the crust.  Place the tips around the outside edge for a nice effect.  Sprinkle the chives and cheese on top.

Layer asparagus, chives and cheese in the crust.

Layer asparagus, chives and cheese in the crust.

Whisk together the eggs, flour, buttermilk, and Worcestershire and pour over the vegetables and cheese.

Egg mixture poured over the vegetables.

Egg mixture poured over the vegetables.

I used the asparagus tips to decorate the top.

I used the asparagus tips to decorate the top.

4.  Place the dish on a baking sheet to catch any spills and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until the custard is firm 3″ in from the edge and a knife inserted in that spot comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

Out of the oven and cooling.

Out of the oven and cooling.

This makes a nice light meal served with a salad.

This makes a nice light meal served with a salad.

**A note about fiddleheads:  These are the tops of ostrich ferns, and they appear in shady woodland spots in early May.  They look like green, fuzzy bumps;  below the brown stalks of last year’s growth.

English: Photo of fiddleheads emerging in the ...

English: Photo of fiddleheads emerging in the spring (taken in Rindge, New Hampshire). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They emerge tightly curled and covered in a brown, scaly papery covering.  They can easily be snapped off when they are no more than 3 or 4 inches high.  To clean them, wash well and remove the papery covering.  Cook in boiling salted water until you can just pierce them with a fork.  Drain and rinse and treat them as you would asparagus.

SOURCE:   The Baking Sheet, King Arthur Flour.

Ham and Broccoli Quiche

We have come to the end of our second week on a low carbohydrate diet, and I can tell you that Mr. D. has lost 4 lb. and I have lost 3 lb.  So we are continuing with this meal plan, but now we can begin to add a few more carbohydrates into each day’s meal plan.  On the weekend I made this quiche for a late breakfast/brunch.  It is very filling because of the quantity of ingredients, and we were satisfied enough by it  to not eat again until dinnertime.  I did make a few adjustments to lower the carbohydrate level as explained below.

Most quiche recipes call for a pie crust shell (as this one does), into which you layer your filling and egg mixtures.  I used 4  ( 8″ ) corn tortillas, to line my pie dish, overlapping them slightly on the bottom and extending them up the sides of the dish.  Corn tortillas are lower in total carbs than pie crust plus they provide a little fiber.   Also, instead of the 1 cup milk called for in the recipe I used 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup water to make the 1 cup liquid needed.

This recipe makes 6 servings.

CRUST:

1 refrigerated Pie Crust from a 15 oz. package, softened at room temperature as directed on the package.  OR, substitute  4 ( 8″ ) corn tortillas.

FILLING:

  • 1 1/2 cup cooked, cubed ham
  • 6 oz. ( 1 1/2 cup ) shredded cheese of your choice
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, either precooked leftovers, or frozen ones, thawed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk,  or 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

1.   Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Make pie crust as directed on package for one-crust filled pie using a 9-inch glass pie pan. Or line pie pan with the corn tortillas.

2.   Layer ham, broccoli, and 1 cup of cheese in the crust-lined pan.  In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs and all the remaining ingredients. Combine well.  Pour over  what’s in the pan.

3.  Bake 35-45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 cup cheese.  Return to oven till cheese is melted.  Let stand about 10 minutes before serving as it will cut better.

   

SOURCE:     Healthy Meals in Minutes