February 22, 2012

The 3-Egg Quiche

Today marks the beginning of Lent, and for the second year in a row I've tried to become vegan for 40 days, focusing only on the most basic, healthful foods to feed my mind, body, and spirit.

And though my intentions are totally noble, it's only 12:15 on the first day and I've failed. Breakfast came close—a smoothie of garden spinach, frozen blueberries and mango, almond milk, and a banana. And then only one tablespoon of milk in my coffee. (Can I get a medal?)

But you see, last Sunday evening, I made myself two quiches and—wouldn't you know—I'm still enjoying those leftovers. So lunch on Day 1 of my vegan diet includes a non-vegan pie crust, eggs, milk, and cheese.


In my defense... it's delicious and healthy. And while some quiche recipes call for a dozen eggs (that's what I'll make when the neighbors get chickens!), I managed to concoct two nine-inch quiches with only 5 eggs and one cup of milk.

This quiche is jam-packed with tons of vegetables and while it's not as eggy as most quiches are, it's still delectable (did I mention it's healthy?).

I cheated a bit and used store-bought organic whole wheat pie crusts, which made my life so easy and kept the kitchen cleaner. I used the time I saved with store-bought crusts to organize the pantry. Win-win.

Quiches are so highly adaptable that you can take this recipe or leave it. But here's what I did to use up some garden goodies before they went bad.

The 3-Egg Quiche with Broccoli and Kale
(Recipe makes enough filling for one standard 9" pie)

1 store-bought whole wheat crust (or best me and make your own!)
1 small head broccoli, chopped into florets and small pieces (use the stems, too, by chopping them small)
1 medium bunch kale, sliced into ribbons
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, diced (about half a cup)
1 4-ounce can of diced Hatch green chiles (optional)
3 eggs
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup shredded cheese, any variety
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the veggies and set aside. Preheat the oven to 425 and blind-bake the crust for about 10 minutes—don't let it brown! While the crust is baking, heat a large, deep skillet with the olive oil. Saute the onions for a few minutes until they begin to turn translucent. Add the green chiles and a little salt and pepper. Toss in the broccoli, and continue cooking for about 3 minutes. Add the kale ribbons to the mix and cook all the vegetables together until they're nice and tender but still al dente. Taste to be sure the seasoning suits you; add a little more salt and pepper to taste.

When you remove the crust from the oven, turn the temperature down to 350. Pour the vegetables into the crust; they should fill up the crust, but not rise above the rim. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the veggies. Crack the eggs in a mixing bowl and whisk together with the milk and mustard.

Pour the egg mixture slowly over the vegetables, giving it enough time to seep down into every nook and cranny in the pie. The egg mixture should come just to the brim of the crust.

Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, or until the eggs have set and the quiche doesn't jiggle when you shift it back and forth in the oven. (I checked mine at 35 minutes and it was doing great. Left it in the full 40 to get a little bit of golden brown on the tops of the cheesey bits.) Let the quiche rest for a few minutes before cutting it.

Serve warm with a side salad. This quiche is delicious reheated for lunch the next day—I've found that it reheats better in a toaster oven to keep the crust slightly crunchy!