There's really nothing better than a great brunch. Well I guess the only thing that could make brunch better than it already is, is by celebrating a fabulous person whilst brunching. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to do just that with the one and only Amy. You've seen Amy's sweet smile and little hands on here a few times, I feel like I talk about her a lot! What can I say? I'm thankful for good friends. So for this post, since you've heard my many accolades of my dear, sweet friend, and you've read about my affection for brunch, I'm just going to get straight to the point...the food. It's what you're here for isn't it? Let's start with my favorite part, besides Amy of course, of yesterday's brunch, the cake.
When I hadn't heard anyone was going to make or bring a cake I thought to myself well, that's not acceptable. As the beautiful and wise Julia Child once stated, "A party without cake is just a meeting!" I couldn't agree more. Since it was a brunch, I thought I'd go with something light and airy, vanilla cake with a light lemon buttercream. I've never done a "naked cake" but I knew this would be the perfect occasion for such a cake. If you know Amy, you know her pinterest board is filled with flowers wrapped in brown paper, twine, and other touches of simple elegance. I'll admit, as a true buttercream lover, I thought I'd never like a cake not covered from head to toe, but I really enjoyed it, it was a nice touch of sweetness, but not too much for brunch o'clock.
For the main course, I knew I wanted to make something special, so naturally, I went the quiche route. What's more exceptional than a homemade crust filled to the top with cheese, bacon, shallots, more cheese? Who doesn't love cheese...
I feel like sometimes people can be intimidated by quiche, which is disappointing to me. Quiche is friendly, quiche is nice, quiche never did anything to you, everyone loves quiche. Real men eat quiche right, isn't that a book or something? Most importantly, I'll let you in on a little secret... making a quiche is one of the easiest things in the world.
I think what intimidates people the most about quiche is the crust, because other than a good crust, quiche is just an omelet or frittata or scrambled eggs with junk in them. I guess the biggest problem is no one wants to admit when they show up to a party and are asked, "Did you make the crust?" that they bought the crust. Maybe you don't feel that way, but there has to be a reason people avoid making things with a crust... Personally, while I rarely buy a crust, I don't think it's something to be ashamed of if you do choose to go that route, if it gets you in the kitchen cooking, no harm no foul. My only question to you is why? It takes 4 ingredients to make a crust - flour, butter, salt, and water, maybe a little sugar if you're making a sweet crust. I think the biggest misconception about crust is that it takes forever to make or something, or that there's this big secret to making it and that only people who know the underground rules can make a crust successfully. The truth is, if you keep the butter cold and don't over work the flour, your crust will come out just as flaky and delicious as Paula Deen's crust, that's it, that's the secret.
Now that you know the secret, plan a brunch for next weekend, get in the kitchen and make your guests a beautiful quiche, or two!
Quiche - Two Ways
Let's start with a simple (homemade) crust.
Next up, the egg mixture.
Let's start with the easy quiche first, Cheddar, Bacon and Sun dried Tomatoes
Next, Spinach, Shallots and Gruyère
I highly recommend putting the pie dishes on a cookie sheet to bake.
Fill 'em and bake 'em.
QUICHE - TWO WAYS
3 cups half 'n half
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
big pinch of salt
1 recipe basic pie crust
1/4 heaping cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 heaping tablespoon sun dried tomatoes, diced
3 tablespoons bacon pieces
1/4 heaping cup shredded gruyere cheese
1/2 tablespoon butter
drizzle of olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1/2 bag spinach
sprinkle of garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
preheat the oven to 350 degrees
start by making the egg mixture, whisk 8 eggs
add half 'n half and whisk until little bubble form on the top
add nutmeg, salt and pepper
for the first quiche, layer one of the pie dishes with the freshly shredded cheddar cheese
next, add a layer of sun dried tomatoes
finish with the bacon bits and pieces
for the second quiche, start by layering the gruyere cheese
next, cook the diced shallots in the olive oil and butter over a medium heat
once the shallots are translucent, add the spinach, turn the heat to medium low
let the spinach wilt
once the spinach is wilted, place the mixture in a strainer, and push out all of the juices
layer the spinach mixture over the gruyere
place both pie dishes on a rimmed baking sheet
fill the dishes with the egg mixture
bake for 55 to 60 minutes, the top should be golden and quiche should not jiggle in the center
BASIC PIE CRUST
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, cubed
1/4-1/2 cup water
combine the flour and salt
cut in the butter cubes by either using a pastry cutter or the back of a large fork
add the water until the dough comes together
divide the dough in two
roll out on a foured surface until just slightly larger than the pie dish
set aside or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use
can be made 24 hours in advance
Adapted from paula.judge-me.deen