Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Broccoli, Leek & Red Pepper Quiche

Veggie Quiche

I have a lot of odds and ends in my kitchen today, mostly vegetarian. Basics like carrots, onions, and celery. Some broccoli crowns. A couple of Ruby Red grapefruit and Cara Cara oranges. Potatoes. Coconut milk. Randoms things like Jerusalem artichokes and tomatillos stare me in the face saying "C'mon, eat me already!"

The easy way out would be to run to the grocery store and buy something to go with, say, the potatoes. Steak or chicken perhaps. Toss in some broccoli and I've got a decently balanced meal. That's all well and good... but there's no real effort involved, and it also means I would need to spend more money.

Right, now, I can't really afford to be picky.

I knew returning to the States from living in Europe for a year and a half would be difficult. Especially in this economy. I knew finding a job in my original field -interior design- would be unpredictable. I picked up a few decent contracting jobs with my previous design firm for the first few months back in the States, but now find myself back at the drawing boards. In between sending out resumes and typing up cover letters, I'm focusing on getting back to my blog. The last 8-10 months were a rapidly-changing and at times, emotionally-unstable ride, and the words just weren't flowing as freely as I would have liked.

I got my mojo back... but for now the biggest challenge is creating delicious meals on a veeerrrry *tight* budget. Riding on my savings and "emergency fund", coming up with inspiring dishes takes some real planning and dedication. In my last post, I mentioned that David and I had endured a month-ish long vegan stint. In doing this, we actually opened our eyes to how much money we spend on meat and dairy products. Our weekly grocery bills went from fifty dollars down to about thirty. We bought local produce that was in season, which not only saved even more money, but ultimately tasted better too.

Another amazing benefit? I haven't gotten sick in months. My parents always harp on me to take my vitamins, but with flying between countries, visiting family on holidays, and the onset of pollen season here in Atlanta, by now I would be cuddled-up in my comforter with the sniffles. I don't know if it was a weak immune system or the quality of my diet, but with the change in my eating habits has come a change in my heath... for the better.

Ok, back to the food in my kitchen.

I knew there had to be something I could make out of all the stuff I had floating around my fridge. It was definitely time to use up as much as I could... even the turnips were getting a little dingy. We still had some smokey Idiazabal cheese that we brought over from Spain last December... and miraculously it was still good! I saw two broccoli crowns that were begging to be used, and a carton of eggs. Oooohhh... veggie quiche! Why not? It's a great way to use up all of those little bits and pieces of left over veggies, and there was a red bell pepper, some spinach, and leeks in my fridge just asking to join the party.

Eggs/Veggie Quiche

For the quiche, I used pâte brisée, a flaky, buttery, rather difficult to work with, but oh so yummy, classic French pastry dough. I made pâte brisée in Paris a while back with my dad when we made Better than Chicken Pot Pie, so I used that recipe... but cut the butter into the flour with my fingers instead of two knives... it's just a bit faster that way. If you have a pastry cutter... use it here. 

I cooked the majority of the vegetables separately, to ensure that even when the quiche is cooked, you can still distinguish the different flavors. The thing that takes this quiche to the next level is the smokiness of the Idiazabal cheese paired with the sharp French Cantal cheese. If you can find them, it's definitely worth it, but these two cheeses can be quite expensive and difficult to find, so smoked Gruyere and sharp Cheddar make nice substitutes.
 Veggie Quiche

This quiche is even better reheated in the oven the next day. Perfect for make-ahead weekly meals.

Broccoli, Leek & Red Pepper Quiche

Pâte Brisée - (follow the link and scroll down to the bottom of the page for the recipe)

2 cups of broccoli florets, separated into very small pieces
1 leek
1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced
1/2 of a medium yellow onion, diced
1 handful of fresh spinach, stems removed
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-2 sprigs of fresh lemon thyme (substitute: fresh thyme and the zest of half a lemon)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup of half and half
1/2 cup almond milk
3/4 cup Idiazabal cheese, shredded (substitute: smoked Gruyere or smoked Cheddar)
1/2 cup Cantal cheese, shredded (substitute: sharp Cheddar)
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit.

Follow directions for the pâte brisée, and line a pie plate with the rolled out dough.

Slice the leek in half, and then cut cross-wise into small slices. Place in a clean sink full of cold water to wash the sand and dirt out of the leeks. Strain and transfer to a dry dish cloth or paper towels to absorb any extra water.

Bring a medium pot full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Quickly blanch the broccoli florets, by placing them in the boiling water for just a minute or so, then transferring them quickly with a strainer into a bowl of ice water. Once cooled, strain and place in a large bowl.

In a medium sauté pan, heat butter and one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, leeks, lemon thyme and garlic and sauté until onions and leeks begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Place into the bowl with the broccoli.

In the same sauté pan, add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and saute the red bell pepper for a few minutes, just until it starts to turn soft. Place into the bowl with the broccoli and onions.

Rinse the spinach. Without patting completely dry, transfer to the hot sauté pan and cover with a lid to steam. Salt to taste. Once the spinach is shriveled, remove from the pan onto a cutting board. Roughly chop leaves into small pieces, and transfer into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.

Mix all of the ingredients with a spatula until thoroughly combined. Salt and pepper if needed. Place vegetables into the pie plate and spread out evenly with the spatula.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, and almond milk. Fold in the shredded cheeses and pepper to taste (the cheese has salt in it, so be careful not to over-salt). Pour over the vegetables and smooth out the cheese with a spatula to make sure it is evenly spread across the vegetables.

Bake quiche at 375° for 25-30 minutes, or until the top starts to turn golden brown. If re-heating the next day, just place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and reheat for 5-10 minutes in a preheated 425° Fahrenheit oven. Makes 8 servings.


  1. You are starting to cook like me! Except, you know, high class and stuff. This totally gave me an idea of how to get more people involved with your blog though.

  2. Looks delicious. Am I missing the obvious? I don't seem to see how many eggs to use, but your picture shows 5. Is that correct?

    1. Ahh!!! Thanks for catching that! Actually it's 3 eggs. I'll fix it right now! Thanks!

  3. Hi, Katrina! I just found your blog through Trissalicious, which I also just found recently! It's a joy looking through your photos and recipes - truly inspiring and gorgeous! I'll be lurking around your blog more often! I'm definitely adding you to my blog roll!
    P.S. Love your clever blog name also!!! I wish I thought of that first :)

    1. Hi! ...and thanks for checking me out! Thanks for the nice compliments... I'll be sure to check your blog out too! Can't wait to share recipes! :)

  4. nice idea.. thanks for sharing.

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