Summer Quiche

If you follow us on Instagram, then you may have noticed that I’ve been having fun with a #quicheoftheweek hashtag. I don’t make and post a quiche *every* week, but that’s the goal, and I find that my quiche-making really ramps up in the spring and summer time. So, since today’s the first day of summer, I thought it was the perfect time to share my basic quiche formula.

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Basic Quiche Formula

My methods are so stinking easy. As you’ll see, there’s a lot of freedom in what flavors and ingredients you put in the quiche, I’ll share a small list of ideas below, and hopefully you’ll be encouraged to experiment once you see that any crazy combination can work.

The photos in this post all come from the process of making a quick veggie and herb quiche for dinner. Nothing fancy, just leeks and spinach combined with fresh basil, chives, dill, and thyme.

Key Ingredients

  • pie crust. It can be store-bought and frozen or an unbaked DIY crust.
  • egg & milk mixture. I often use about 4 or 5 eggs whisked with 3/4 to a cup of whole milk. Everything is an estimate. I’ve never measured the milk and yet have never had a problem.
  • cheese. You’ll need about a 1/2 cup of grated cheese + a little extra for sprinkling on top. Have fun here. I will use whatever is in my fridge, and I’ll often mix and match. Usually I have some cheddar, maybe some parmesan, swiss, or gouda. You really can’t go wrong.
  • salt and herbs. I don’t add a lot of salt to my quiche, but I will add a dash to the whisked eggs and milk and a few dashes to the veggies as they cook. When it comes to herbs, I like to add dried thyme or even a dried Italian Herb blend during the winter, but in the summer, I’ll experiment with any variety of fresh herbs.
  • savory ingredients. See my suggestions below. Basically, I like to cook most vegetables before they go into the quiche. I like their final texture better if they’ve been cooked, and this also helps to remove water from the veggies, which will give you a firmer final quiche. With meats, I’m a fan of putting salmon (canned or smoked), smoked oysters, canned baby clams (drained), and ham in my quiches. I’d like to experiment with more, but for now that already gives me plenty of variety.

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Putting it Together

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Place the empty (and uncooked) pie crust on a baking sheet. I always bake the quiche over a baking sheet to avoid getting any drips on the oven if it overflows while baking.
  • Begin cooking the veggies. For this particularly quiche, I sliced and sauteed a couple of leeks over medium-high heat in a pan with olive oil. As they began to soften, I added a big pile of frozen spinach (in the summertime this could be any mixture of fresh greens). I then turn the heat down to low and let the veggies continue to cook and let off steam (never put a lid over the veggies, you want all of that water to evaporate!). I’ll let the veggies cook for anywhere from 10-15 minutes or longer if they have a lot of water in them.
  • While the veggies are cooking, whisk together the eggs, milk, a dash of salt, and any herbs. Then toss in about a half cup of grated cheese. If I’m adding canned salmon to the quiche, I break it up into bits and stir it into the milk mixture.
  • Spread the cooked veggies over the bottom of the pie crust. *Reserving any “decorative” veggies for the top of the quiche.
  • Pour over the egg mixture. Very gently, “blend” some of the veggie mixture with the eggs. I’m not too picky here, but I just give the whole mixter a slight mix-up with my fork, being careful not to prick the pie crust.
  • Decorate the top of the quiche. If I have some fresh tomatoes, I may put a few slices on top, or arrange some asparagus spears. If I’m adding smoked oysters, I do that now by just arranging them on top of the quiche. I’ll also sometimes sprinkle on a little bit more cheese, and if I’ve used fresh herbs, I’ll add a few to the top.
  • Place the quiche in the oven for about an hour. It will puff up as cooking, but then deflate as it cools. I like to let it cook until it starts to get a bit brown around the edges.

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Savory Ingredient Suggestions

I will experiment with any vegetables & a variety of proteins in my quiche. And I’m not joking when I say that I’ve never made a quiche that we didn’t like. So many savory flavors go well together, especially when combined with milk, eggs, and cheese. Believe me.

Consider this list just the starting point. You can mix and match any number of ingredients to create something amazing.

  • spinach
  • leeks
  • asparagus
  • fresh tomatoes
  • sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • broccoli
  • basil
  • dill
  • thyme
  • chives
  • smoked salmon
  • smoked oysters
  • canned salmon
  • ham

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I’ve found that my boys love quiche! Since it’s mainly eggs, milk, cheese, and pie crust what’s not to love? From my perspective, it’s also a great way to introduce new flavors and give them an extra shot of veggies.

And when it comes to feeding our energetic clan, there’s nothing better than picnic dinners in the park, so I bake a quiche in the afternoon and pack it up with some drinks and fruit for the perfect picnic dinner! It’s so portable, and we even think the quiche tastes better when it’s had an hour or so to cool – no need to serve it hot and no need to worry about letting it sit in the picnic basket until you’re ready to serve.

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As we enter the season of fresh produce and longer days, I hope you’ll bake up a quiche or two and have a picnic in the park! And if you do, be sure to post #quicheoftheweek pic on instagram and tag us, we would love to see it. xo

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Banana Cream Pie!

Vanilla is our ingredient of the season. So far we’ve made some vanilla-infused vodka (great for milkshakes!), a double vanilla cake, and a savory roasted chicken with vanilla bean.

Oh my goodness. We can’t stop with the banana cream pies! If you’re following our Instagram feed, you have all the proof you need (not one, but two pies in one week!)… and no joke, there are perfect bananas on the counter and plans for another pie (fortunately we have guests ready to dig in – we’re not that crazy).

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Double Vanilla Cake

Vanilla is our ingredient of the season. We’re looking forward to a few months of both sweet and savory dishes using vanilla.

Right after Sarah and I picked vanilla as the ingredient of the season, this recipe for a double vanilla butter cake was published on A Cup of Jo, and I knew we had to try it! This cake is so delicious served plain, but we also enjoyed ours for breakfast with a side of berries and as an afternoon snack with a cup of coffee. Calder said that it reminded him of cakes he was served in Germany… and while I don’t have a specific example in mind, as soon as he said that, I couldn’t agree more, and was immediately transported back to my time there, having a snack on a train or stopping in to a little cafe for breakfast.

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The original recipe called for both vanilla extract and vanilla paste, thus the double in its name. I didn’t have paste, and at first I wanted to make some, but after looking up a few different recipe and seeing that each one used different techniques, I felt unprepared to waste my precious beans on something I wasn’t sure about. Maybe I’ll do a bit more research and discuss vanilla bean paste in another post. Instead, I took the author’s advice and substituted vanilla extract for the paste, but then I used vanilla sugar (details at the end of the post) to dust the pan, keeping with the call for two types of vanilla.

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Bran Muffins

This recipe is not necessarily part of our Cooking with Kids series, but it could be! I include just a couple of ideas below. And if you are interested in getting your kiddos in the kitchen, this post has many of our tips and tricks.

There’s nothing like a good breakfast (and a strong cup of coffee) to get your week off to a great start. Do you agree? Somehow/somewhere a few months back, my breakfast routine completely vanished. I wasn’t interested in my spiffed-up bowls of oatmeal, eating cereal didn’t fill me up and tasted a bit too sugary (we all make bad choices in that aisle!), and I didn’t have the time or patience to scramble eggs. So I just didn’t eat, which is the worst plan when your mornings start with a bang and you’re running after two kids.

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It took me some time to identify the problem. Maybe I did a little of the five whys? Alex definitely does a whole lot of the 500 whys every day now. Anyway, I realized that I needed to find a healthy breakfast that I could pick up and go. I’m definitely not a fan of processed bars, and I don’t even like that a “grab-and-go” option is what my breakfast urges are calling for right now, but if it fills me up, it’s better than a hangry hangover.

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Black Sesame Cupcakes with Matcha Frosting

Tea is our ingredient of the season this winter. We’re using that as an excuse to sit down more often and relax over a cuppa’. If you like combining matcha with your desserts, check out this milkshake!

Lately I’ve come across so many dessert recipes that combine the flavors of black sesame and green tea, and I’ve been so intrigued. As you may know, I’m already a fan of having my matcha green tea as a dessert rather than as a hot tea, so extending that passion to cakes seemed like a no-brainer. And since we liked the chocolate chip cookies with tahini so much, I was excited to experiment with another sesame-flavored baked good. It only took me a week and an embarrassing number of hours to hem and haw over recipes before deciding on these black sesame cupcakes with matcha green tea frosting.

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In this post Molly Yeh provides a roundup of beautiful black sesame/green tea combinations (the subject of that post happens to be a green tea cake with black sesame frosting – the opposite of what we have going on here today!)… and if that weren’t enough, both of today’s recipes come from Molly’s site. What can we say, we’re fans.

Extending our search farther into the interwebs, the black sesame-matcha combination is nothing new.  From what I’ve learned it originates in Japanese cooking, where you’ll find many desserts that use flavors not extremely common to American treats, think beans, seeds like this sesame, and sweet potatoes.

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Cooking with Kids : Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin is our ingredient of the season. We have all sorts of sweet and savory dishes, as well as a face mask to wear while drinking your lattes. Cooking with Kids is an ongoing series where we share recipes that are easy enough to make with a two-year-old. If you’re new to the series, read our first post that provides our detailed tips for cooking with little ones; subsequent posts are less detailed.

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You may have seen these pumpkin muffins on Instagram, they spent Halloween week masquerading around the house as spiders. After browsing the Halloween baking supplies on sale, Alex picked out the spider holders, and they dictated our afternoon baking activity.

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It had been a couple of weeks since Alex helped Calder and I in the kitchen (somehow we had even skipped our usual weekend pancake session), and I didn’t realize how much he was yearning for some kitchen time until we started these muffins. The kiddo went ballistic when I put “his” measuring cup and spoon in front of him. I wish I had a recording of his excited giggles/yelps.

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In the first Cooking with Kids post, I mentioned using my phone to look up recipes while in the kitchen. While I do get recipes online, I’m proud to say that just as often I’m using cookbooks as my source. For this particular recipe (and much of my basic baking), I used the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion. I recently read an article about how kids today aren’t getting the experience of using phone books, dictionaries, and other physical resources because so often we just search for information online. While I could wax poetic about how much I love cookbooks for their recipe ideas, inspirational photos, and stories, I think Alex will pick up on all of those details himself if I just keep the books around and continue using them during our kitchen adventures.

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King Arthur doesn’t have a recipe for pumpkin muffins, but it does have reliable recipe for banana chocolate chip muffins with whole wheat flour. I just subbed pumpkin puree for the banana and white chocolate chips for the semi-sweet. I might have stuck with chocolate chips if we had any, but the white ended up being a delicious alternative, adding an an indulgent candy sweetness to these hearty muffins.

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On this particular day, I decided to let Alex try using the can opener. I knew (and I’m sure you do too), that there’s no way he would be strong enough to operate our basic opener, but sometimes I think it’s nice for him to figure out what we can’t do on his own rather than having me always telling him. With a two-year-old, letting them try can actually make your days a lot more peaceful because you won’t have the whole “you can’t do it/you’re too little”, “but i want to/whining” back and forth. Instead, they try, fail, and then we use “teamwork!” to open the can together.

After opening the can (and reminding Alex that the edges were sharp), I gave him a spoon and let him measure out the pumpkin. He started scooping the pumpkin into the measuring cup, but after a few minutes, the temptation was too much, and he ended up tasting the puree. One taste led to two and three, and he completely lost interest in measuring out the puree, so I finished the task. That was no big deal at all. I could have tried to keep him on task, but why cause a fuss that would stop him from eating the healthy pumpkin?

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Other than the pumpkin, the rest of our baking proceeded as normal. Alex measured and sampled. He smelled the cinnamon. He sampled, and spit out, the salt. He ate a few walnuts and a few white chocolate chips.

Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients

  • 8 Tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Scrape down the bowl and then beat in the egg, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin, and milk.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, and then gentle mix them into the pumpkin mixture.
  4. Spoon the batter into 12 muffin cups (grease the muffin cups if not using papers). Bake the muffins for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the pan.
http://liveseasoned.com/cooking-kids-pumpkin-muffins/

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Bake these muffins, I promise they are anything but scary! Of course, if you’re looking to add a bit of spook to your table, we found the spider holders at Michael’s.

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