Thursday, April 26, 2012


I love parties. I love eating at parties, I love making food for parties, and I love having people over for parties. There is something I don't quite understand, though. When people talk about party food, they always try to find quick and easy things that don't require much work. Like assembly-only dishes. I, on the other hand, look for something that I have been dying to make. Like some crazy cake that would be way too much for just my family, but perfect for a group of friends. Or maybe a new appetizer. Again, that is not something I am going to make for a weeknight dinner, but something I would love to try out. So, I end up inviting people over, and cooking. Half of it is for them, but the other half of it is for my personal enjoyment. Selfish, I know. But, in my defense, some people don't mind being my guinea pigs.
I just recently hatched another idea for a party,
along with my sister, mom, and sister-in-law. I am sure you will hear about it later.
This recipe is for the 'do-aheaders' those of you who like to make something the night before, put it out there for your friends and enjoy their company.
This recipe is also for people like me, who want to offer something homemade, and like to do a bit of experimenting. 
I, also, like this recipe, because it tastes great and it is easily adaptable to anything you want to put inside. Its a bit funny because I started writing this post, wrote about four other ones, and then I bought a Food Network magazine off the stands, and lo and behold! An entire section devoted to quiche. All sorts of veggies you can toss in (make sure they are cooked first-same goes for potatoes) The options are endless. We usually just stick to ham and cheese (surprise). But quiche is one of those things that you can pretty much throw anything you have in the fridge into and make great use of leftover roast chicken, the last bit of fresh herbs, or some extra cooked bacon. Traditional quiche lorraine is make with bacon and onions. Quiche florentine is made with spinach (hint: anything with the french descriptor 'florentine' is professing to contain spinach) and possibly cheese. Think: onions, leeks, broccoli, kale, tomatoes or peppers as far as veggies go; any prepared meats can be tossed in as well, and cheese is always a good idea.
I also don't use the traditional quiche crust. I just use my usual pie crust (that is my version of a shortcut-not learning a new pastry) and fill it with whatever I want. You can use a combination of half milk and half heavy cream, but I just use half and half because I usually have that on hand.
We usually have minis for parties, but I occasionally use  muffin tins to make the perfect size for breakfast. I have included a few different cooking times to accommodate your desires.
 It is also traditionally made in a spring-form pan, something I have never done. I don't have a problem with it coming out when I use my crust.


Pie crust for a single crust pie, made without sugar and blind baked (for minis, do about 7 minutes; full-size, 15; muffin-size, somewhere in between)
3 eggs
salt and pepper
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg (not a deal-breaker)

1 1/2 cups half and half
3/4 cup heavy cream
and 3/4 cup milk

1 cup grated cheddar
1/2 cup finely chopped ham
2 cups chopped spinach, cooked (see below)
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter, cut into four pieces

Prepare the dish of your desire with your crust. A biscuit cutter works great for muffin-size quiche, whereas a circle-shaped cookie-cutter about 1 1/2 inches in size is great for the minis.
Preheat the oven to 350 for a pie or muffin pan, and 375 for minis.
In a heavy frying pan over medium heat, cook the chopped spinach until wilted and reduced in size to about 1/2 a cup. Season with salt and pepper. Cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cream and milk or half and half and whisk until well-blended. Add the spinach. Sprinkle your meat and cheese evenly into your prepared pie crust(s). Pour the egg and milk mixture over the top and dot with butter pieces (obviously, you will have to cut them up more if you are making miniatures). Bake the quiche until the top is lightly browned and the filling is just barely set when you give the dish a gentle shake, 40-45 minutes for pie, 20-30 for minis, and somewhere in between for muffin tins.
I like to top mine with tiny sprigs of thyme, but chives are also very nice.

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