Friday, December 27, 2013

Elegant Quiche Cups

It was a calm, peaceful Christmas day at our house. Weird, right? Since I work at a church, this is one of the busiest times of year. Honestly, I didn't realize how tired I'd be by the time December 25th rolled around. (Can you relate?? Hee) I needed the calm. And, while I absolutely loved just hanging out with Matt & Sam the dog all day in the stillness, I think I just want this kind of Christmas once in our lives. :)  So, along with our nontraditional Christmas came a nontraditional Christmas dinner...sort of.

Quiche can be dated back to the 1300s, a German-influenced French pastry, and the French word "quiche" comes from the German "kuchen," meaning cake. Something like that. What I'm trying to say is this is old and traditional and seemed like the perfect Christmas dish in keeping it simple and beautiful. (Simple is a challenge for me! Having 8.9 side dishes is my minimum for a merry day.)

So this quiche is 1)gluten free and 2)gluten filled. It's great for a dinner for a crowd when you aren't sure how many are coming. And these cups reheat really well! How? Keep reading.......

Elegant Quiche Cups
When you need an elegant, easy, semi-quick dinner, go to a quiche cup. You can modify the ingredients based on what you have in the fridge, and you can customize each cup for picky particular eaters that you are cooking for. The crust is separate from the quiche, so a soggy, reheated crust is a thing of the past! Plus, with an option of gluten-free or gluten-filled, it's a dish for all! Fill with the same amount of veggies as this recipe if you don't want a super egg-y quiche, or add more eggs and less veggies for those who adore the incredible edible egg.

Makes 6 BIG quiche cups (using a 6-cup LARGE muffin pan, or makes 9 standard-size muffin cups)

Quiche Cups:
8 large eggs
2 TB flour (use brown rice or other gluten-free flour to keep it GF)
1 TB olive oil
1/3 chopped green bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1/2 of a small onion)
1 zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
3 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups fresh spinach
5 slices cooked turkey bacon (or bacon of your choice), chopped
1/2 cup of chopped mushrooms
Seasonings: garlic powder, seasoning salt, 21 Seasonings Salute (Trader Joe's), lemon juice, Chipotle Tabasco --Season with any or all of these, to taste!

Snowflake Crust:
1 1/3 all purpose flour (alter with gluten free flours according to flour packaging)
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2-3 tablespoons cold water

Fresh spinach makes ALL the difference in this dish.
Step One: In a large saute pan, saute olive oil, bell pepper, onion and zucchini for 2 minutes. Next, add garlic, spinach, and 2 TB water and let cook until spinach is slightly wilted. (Spinach will cook more in the oven.) Ste pan aside to cool a bit.


Snowflakes in dough form
Step Two: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Now let's make the crust: In a food processor (or with a hand mixer in a bowl), beat the butter, flour, salt and sugar on medium-high. Add the water a bit at a time, until the consistency of the dough is crumbly and the butter is dispersed throughout. Roll the dough out onto a FLOURED surface and, using a large snowflace cookie cutter, cut out 6 snowflakes. You can use any large festive cookie cutter (mine is about 5 inches in diameter). Warning: this is a lazy woman's pate brisee recipe, so it will not be the smoothest pie dough you've ever worked with! Set your snowflakes on a cookie sheet and set aside.

Cups about to go in the oven!
Step Three: Let's assemble our quiche. In a large bowl, add the 8 cracked eggs and whisk. Add the flour and whisk a little more. Fold in the sauteed spinach/veggies mixture, turkey bacon and spices and stir. Spray the muffin pan with nonstick spray, and spoon out the egg mixture. (I used a 1/3 cup measuring cup to evenly distribute the egg mixture.) To make it pretty, sprinkle with chopped chives and top with mushrooms before putting in the oven.

Step Four: Put the muffin pan AND the snowflakes into the oven (muffin pan on the bottom rack, the snowflakes on the top rack), baking for 30 minutes. Remove both pans from the oven. Check on the snowflakes after those 30 minutes and, if they're lightly brown and a bit crisp, remove from the oven to cool. Otherwise, bake for a few more minutes. For the quiche cups, top with cheese and bake for 10 more minutes. The cups should be solid and the cheese melted.

Step Five: Carefully remove the quiche cups from the pan using 2 teaspoons (my secret for removing most muffins/cupcakes from pans). Using the spoon-side down, circle around the cup to loosen the quiche. Then, life with the 2 spoons on opposite sides. Top with a golden snowflake and serve with a salad or fruit on the side! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

There you have it--healthy, elegant, simple. Enjoy.

Happy holiday-ing!

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