Love Letter #2, vegetable quiche

What is it about breakfast for dinner that is so special? Maybe it’s because in the morning we are rushing to get out the door and don’t think twice about what we are eating. Or, maybe, it’s because for some reason it takes us back to our childhood. How many of us growing up had pancakes for dinner on a rare occasion? It was such a special treat. When you have breakfast for dinner you can sit down and enjoy those traditional flavors without needing to be somewhere in twenty minutes. It’s a laid back Sunday around here and to go with the theme of relaxation, I decided to do quiche for dinner. With this love letter, we can pretend like it’s the weekend just a little longer.

Besides pastries, my favorite traditional breakfast dish is quiche. Quiche is so versatile, you can put almost anything into them. Baked with an all-butter pie crust, my vegetable quiche is a letter that Alex requests often.

My quiche uses onions, bell peppers, and zucchini. Any vegetable will work in a quiche, such as broccoli, spinach, or asparagus. I find though that having some kind of squash (whether it’s zucchini, eggplant, or butternut) gives a needed hearty texture to the tenderness of the baked eggs. There needs to be some kind of vegetable to offset the creaminess of the dish. With red peppers and squash, there is a pleasant added crunch. Combine that with lots of grated parmesan reggiano, and it’s a meal fit for any time of the day.

 

Making pie crust can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. The key to pie crust is making sure everything is chilled and to be conscious of the time. I put both the ice water and diced butter in the freezer for five minutes to get it nice and cold. I also put the bowl of my food processor in the fridge, just to help with temperature control. Once you get the hang of this crust, you’ll make it every time you need a pie crust. Forget Pillsbury. It freezes well, so I like to make two batches at a time and save one for another meal.

 

While I love using Ina’s Perfect Pie Crust recipe, I tend to prefer an all-butter crust. It makes for a flaky and golden final product. Using a food processor is a fast way to get the desired consistency. I prefer this over a handheld pastry cutter. It’s faster and works just as well. Can’t beat that.

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An easy way to transfer the dough into the pie pan is by rolling it almost halfway onto the rolling pin, then laying it over the pan.

 

While I love decorative pie crusts, a simple border you make with your fork is perfect for quiche. Once the dough is in the pan, put it in the fridge to chill.

Before you start the cooking process, it’s always a good idea to have all your ingredients out, chopped, and measured. This makes everything go much smoother and you don’t have to worry about chopping an onion while making sure something on the stove doesn’t burn.

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I slice the onions paper thin so that they cook fast, and a small dice to the red and orange bell peppers. Put them in a sauté pan with olive oil over medium high heat until they start to brown. Add zucchini then garlic. Almost always you should add garlic last. It burns easily and turns bitter. Just cook until fragrant–that’s how you know it’s ready.

 

Whisk the eggs, parmesan, and half and half together. Add a liberal amount of salt and pepper. Add in fresh dill, chives, and parsley.

 

Recipes that aren’t improved by fresh herbs are few and far between. They add a freshness to food that can’t be imitated. Even desserts taste better with fresh basil or mint! In the summertime, I like to grow my fresh herbs outside in small pots, but during the winter you can take them inside and store in a sunny place. Thankfully herbs are very easy to grow and maintain.

Once slightly cooled, you can add the onion, pepper, and zucchini mixture into the egg mixture. It needs to be somewhat cool so that the heat from the vegetables doesn’t scramble the eggs. You definitely don’t want that!

Add the quiche ingredients to your pie crust. Place onto a baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil. Cook for one hour. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it. Serve with in-season heirloom tomatoes and spinach.

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For lunch the next day with caprese salad and avocado

Quiche is perfect for so many occasions–birthdays, bridal or baby showers, brunch, etc. But I like it best when it’s for dinner. It’s perfect with a grapefruit vodka cocktail and fresh fruit. Having this for dinner on Sunday evening helps ease you into your work week. It’s elegant comfort to the max.

Vegetable Quiche

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1 1/2 zucchinis, chopped and quartered
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 7 eggs
  • 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan reggiano
  • 1 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Sauté peppers and onions with olive oil over medium high heat until almost browned. Add zucchini and cook for two minutes, add garlic and cook for one minute. Whisk eggs, half and half, parmesan, and fresh herbs together. Once cooled, and vegetable mixture and season with salt and pepper. Add to pie crust. Put pie crust onto baking sheet and cook for one hour at 400 degrees. Let set for ten minutes before serving.

All Butter Pie Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 stick of cold butter, diced
  • 5 tbsp ice water
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Add flour and salt to food processor. Pulse once. Add cold butter and process until butter is the size of peas. Add ice water one tablespoon at a time. Note: you may need more or less water depending on the flour, humidity levels, etc. After the right amount of water is added, dough will form after five seconds or so. Shape dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Roll dough out and use rolling pin to drape over pie pan. Cut off extra dough and use a fork to go around the sides.

 

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