With less than 6 weeks til baby, it's time to stock the freezer with pre-made meals. I did this with the first baby and it was the best preparation I could have done. As it turns out returning to the practice of law, with a 6 or 8 week old baby, is really hard (who knew?). Having dinner made and in the fridge is absolutely one of my favorite feelings.
So this beautiful Saturday morning, the husband ticked off a 40 (not a typo) mile training run and I found some happy quiet activities for E$ (prounounced "E-money"). I got busy in the kitchen, cranked out 3 quiches from scratch and cajun red beans and rice.
Quiche is one of our family's favorites. It is rich and filling and while we do not eat it all the time (because of its fat content and calories), it is wonderful cool weather comfort food. A piece of quiche with a large spinach salad and we are in business. Typically one quiche makes it 2-3 meals for us.
Today's quiche was an combination of 3 recipes and they turned out beautifully. I use Williams Sonoma's pie crust recipe; Betty Crocker's quiche filler and some lovely woman named "Suzanne" told me what to put inside it.
Suzanne's contribution: I sauteed a pound of bacon, cut into one inch strips. Once the bacon was almost cooked, I added one diced onion and about a 1/2 pound of sliced mushrooms. I could have stopped here and had a private moment with a fork. These ingredients smelled better than anything I could ever imagine. And they looked like this:
|Oh bacon, the things you do to me. And everything that touches your magical goodness.|
So here's how I do it:
1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Teaspoon salt
Dump in food processor with dough blade inside. (Yes you can do it by hand and I did for many years. But a food processor cuts your time in less than half.)
|29th birthday present was a food processor. A moment of common sense levelheadedness that rarely happens for me but possibly the smartest thing I've ever asked for.|
|The start of many happy moments.|
|See the dough button? Turns out it TOTALLY makes dough.|
|Butter. Flour. Magic.|
|That is a tablespoon inside a cup of cold water.|
Once again, on the "dough" setting, press pulse three or four times. The water becomes the glue and after another 20-30 seconds of combining, magic happens. You get a dough ball! It's cold and slightly damp.
|Pie crust recipe works again. I'm telling you that butter is MAGIC.|
Plop your ball of crust onto a floured surface and scrape out all those little pieces in the corners with your fingers. Dust your hands with flour and gently work the dough into a flat disc. (Note: at this point, this little guy can be frozen or refrigerated until you want to make multiples or use it later. Just cover in plastic wrap.)
|My disc is not as pretty as say, Martha Stewart's. But I bet it tastes just as good.|
|It's okay that it isn't perfectly round...it's the thickness that counts :) Dust generously with flour top and bottom and throughout rolling so your dough doesn't stick to your rolling surface.|
|Until you really know how to handle your dough, just be slow and careful while you move it around. And only touch it with floured hands.|
Slide your pie crust into your pie pan and gently press it into the bottom of your pie pan. At this point in time you have done the hardest part. Smile because you are almost there. (Also, this is where you ask yourself...do I really want to make quiche? Perhaps I should slice up some apples instead. Or some peaches. Or lemon curd. Perhaps what I really want is dessert. Today I stayed on focus...and made quiche...the bacon filling smelled so amazing I knew I had to see this through to the end.)
|Almost. There. Ehhhhhh!!!!|
|Boom. I got this.|
Now, you can either trim the excess with scissors or fold it under itself and press against the pie plate. Unless there is extensive overhang, I use very floured hands to fold the excess dough under and pinch it on top of itself. Then I make it pretty. I have never done crazy edges to my crust. Maybe someday but these days I stick to what I know. Right index finger, left thumb, and right thumb pull the dough edges into the basic ruffled edge.
|Check it. I rule.|
|So much promise.|
Betty Crocker's Contribution: the filling. This is 4 eggs, 2 cups heavy cream (do not substitute half and half or milk, it will be runny and won't set up--yes this is why we run marathons in our house), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne.
|Whatever you do. DO NOT READ the heavy cream container calorie count. It will ruin quiche and ice cream and alfredo sauce for you forever. Just go work out for 1 hour, get really sweaty and then eat your quiche.|
|If bacon is wrong, I don't want to be right.|
Now pour your egg mixture over this thing of beauty.
|Look at all that piggy goodness poking out. Trying not to drown in the velvety deliciousness of the cream. There is no escape little piggy, you will now be quiche.|
Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. This will set your crust.
|Look Mom, I cleaned my oven.|
Bake at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour. Test with a sharp knife to make sure the eggs are cooked through. The knife needs to be spotlessly clean to ensure your filling is cooked through.
|Why yes, my kitchen does smell amazing at this moment.|
I went all assembly line today. Two for the freezer and one for my ultra-running husband for lunch. He was pretty excited to have a fresh homemade quiche waiting for him for lunch. The other two were wrapped in foil and put inside a gallon sized freezer ziplock. The only thing you do after the fact is defrost in the fridge and heat in the microwave. If you feel like going all out...put your individual pieces in the toaster oven for a minute to crisp up the bottom crust.
|I think Betty and William and Suzanne would be proud. Their combined efforts created some serious deliciousness in my kitchen this morning.|
Other fillings we fall back on:
- cubes of ham + mild cheddar + 1 small diced onion
- mild ground sausage + raw spinach + chunks of brie
- tomatoes (seeded and diced)+ spinach + mushroom + roasted red pepper
- roasted broccoli florets + mild cheddar
Basically anything you'd like in your omelet, you'll love in your quiche. It's a wonderful vegetarian meal but I struggle to deny the lure of bacon or sausage. That is picture of many meals we now don't have to make when baby arrives. Happy morning.