Grown Up Brunch
When I was little, my family would get together with other families for dinner or brunch or some other meal. I’d play with the children from that family and the parents would talk. Usually it would separate out by gender but I have distinct memories of looking up and seeing all the adults around the table, chatting, laughing and watching us play.
Today, we became my parents. It was awesome.
We had friends over for brunch, two couples, one of whom has children. The adults (though, since it’s us, I use the term loosely) sat at the table, chatting, laughing and eating while the two older kids played. This is what it looked like when they were done playing:
It was great. And we had so much food! Bagels, cream cheese and lox (we’re good Jews), yummy cookies and pastries (thanks to one couple), homemade blueberry muffins (thanks to the other couple) and a mushroom and leek quiche that I threw together so that we’d have some more protein, you know, for balance.
It really was a lovely morning and it was nice to see G. and the other child play together. He’s the son of a good friend from high school (with whom I’d lost touch but, thanks to facebook, we’ve re-connected) and it was neat to see our children getting along. Also a bit surreal since most days I still feel like I’m in middle school- it’s hard to believe that high school was over 15 years ago and that many of us now have children of our own.
At any rate, here’s the quiche recipe. I find quiche quite forgiving and it can take on a number of different flavors. It’s a great leftovers dish since you can throw almost any veggie in there and have it end up tasty. Eggs, cream, cheese…. what’s not to like?
Leek and Mushroom Quiche
1/2 recipe of dough (I use the Hippo’s recipe but I add about 1-2 teaspoons of sugar for a bit of sweet)
6-9 eggs, depending on the size of your pie pan
3/4-1 cup of milk, light or heavy cream- use what you have
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 – 3/4 cup leeks (sliced and cleaned)
1/2-1 cup of grated parmesan cheese (other cheeses work well, too)
Make your dough and let it firm up in the fridge. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Slice and clean your leek. I make really thin slices and then separate the layers into a bowl, cover them with water and let them sit. All the sand and dirt will sort of fall out and sink to the bottom. I actually love leeks- they’re milder than onions and sort of sweet. I saved one leek to make potato leek soup later in the week. I can’t wait!
Heat a small saute pan on the stove over medium heat. Add some olive oil and toss in the leeks (take them out of the water first). Let them cook a bit until they’re soft and sort of translucent but not brown- maybe 5 minutes or so.
Add your mushrooms and let that cook until the mushrooms cook down (i.e. release their liquid and get smaller). Meanwhile, crack your eggs into a large-ish bowl.
Whip them with a whisk until they’re all blended together well.
Add your cream (or whatever dairy you’re using) and some salt (and pepper if you wish). Whip again to mix and set aside. Then it’s time to roll out your dough.
Now, I am NOT a dough expert. I can not crimp or flute to save my life so my crusts are always asymmetrical and sort of ragged looking. I only started making my own pie crust in the last year or so when I realized that 1) the Hippo’s recipe was easy and did not involve lard (big debate in the pie crust world about how lard is what makes a really good, flakey, decadent pie crust which is probably true but, ick) and 2) I could make it in my food processor. I love my food processor. So take my rolling out advice with a grain or two of salt and find what works for you.
I roll my dough on a cutting board because I’m never sure my counters are clean enough and I am never prepared enough to clean it before I put the dough down. Lightly flour your surface as well as your dough.
Start rolling from the center out, not from either end. I remember this from my bakery days but I’ll be damned if I can remember why- I think maybe it’s more even this way.
Flip it over and turn it 90 degrees. Roll again, from the center.
Continue this until it is the thickness and roughly the shape that you want. Again, mine are never symmetrical and never the correct shape. Keep in mind that you want to work the dough as little as possible and that the more time it has to heat up the less flakey it will be- has to do with the butter melting and other food science-y stuff. If you really want to know more, I’m sure Alton Brown can tell you. (I just watched the video link and he actually uses a ziplock bag and two pie pans which, if I had two pie pans, I might try)
I put my pretty red pie pan on top of it partly to measure and partly because it’s easier for me to get the dough into the pan. You can be all fancy and roll the dough over your rolling-pin and then sort of drape it over the pan but I find that fancy makes holes in the dough (at least for me).
Peel off your cutting board if necessary and then sort of drape the dough gently into the pan. I press down gently to kind of tuck it into the sides and bottom.
At this point, you should make the edges look pretty. I do not, but you should. I just sort of leave it.
By now, your mushroom/leek mixture should be done (did you forget about it? I hope not!). Set it aside to let it cool for a few minutes while you grate your cheese. I am (as well we all know if we’ve been reading along) lazy so I do mine in the mini-food processor.
Sprinkle about half of your cheese onto your crust. It will sort of insulate it once you add the other things and make it less soggy as it bakes.
Add them on top of the cheese and sort of spread them around as evenly as you can.
Give your egg and dairy mixture another whip and then pour over.
Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and toss into your oven. You may want to put a baking sheet underneath, in case some of it spills over.
Let it bake for about 45 minutes to an hour. About halfway through, I always need to cover it loosely with a bit of aluminum foil as it will be brown but still jiggley. You want it to be firm and not wiggley in the middle. When you take it out of the oven, let it sit for a few minutes before cutting into it, otherwise it won’t set as well.
Around here we’ll eat quiche for any of the our three meals. It’s good both hot, room temperature and cold. And it’s generally pretty easy to throw together last minute, too. I’ll sometimes do a bacon cheddar cheese quiche or a sausage and other kind of cheese. Sometimes it’s just whatever veggies I have on hand- peppers, broccoli, asparagus you name it, it can probably go into a quiche.
Enjoy with your friends and family (even if you’re not having brunch).