Happy post-Thanksgiving, everyone! Things got away from me in this past week or two. Everything at work and school is starting to gear up. We have three weeks until our performances and I have three/four weeks until my finals for my classes this semester. Both of which include papers, on top of one final exam and one oral presentation. I am desperately trying to make serious headway on both papers during my free time this weekend, but it will also be my only chance to decorate for Christmas and prep my food gifts (no telling what those will be, yet!). I’m planning to make the dough for three different Christmas cookies tomorrow, which I will shape into cookies and pop in the freezer. I know all three freeze beautifully and this will make things so much easier as the month goes on! I might even make up a batch of my Cranberry Chutney, which is the ultimate sign that the Christmas season is here!
We powered through our fundraiser for work last weekend, which went splendidly! However, I felt my throat get a little sore throughout the day and by Monday I was knocked flat with some kind of winter muck. A scratchy, painful throat that made my whole mouth hurt, some crazy body aches, super fatigued. Ugh. Thankfully, an afternoon of sleep, lots of soup, and a few eucalyptus & epsom salt baths got me back up on my feet to finish out this week and still get through my prep for Thanksgiving. I still don’t know what it was, but I am hoping I avoided catching my coworker’s bronchitis and, instead, just picked up a bug off one of our students. My asthma and allergies make me very prone to bronchitis and pneumonia, but this hasn’t really moved down into my chest as bronchitis normally would, so I do think I got lucky and it’s just a bad cold!
Anyways, on to more pleasant topics! Thanksgiving at M’s mum’s house ended up having 18 people and was, all-in-all, stress-free. We had a few sticky moments when politics and other controversies came up (it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it, huh?) and trying to get the massive 21 lb turkey in the oven in time, but otherwise, it was lovely. About half of those 18 people had already sign-up to bring a dish, so I focused on desserts (pumpkin pie, vanilla bean cheesecake, cranberry curd tarts, and a praline sauce) and ended up putting together the green bean casserole since M ran out of prep time. But everything else was taken care of! It was nice to loosen the reins a little bit! Shockingly, with all of those people and all of that food, there wasn’t too much in way of leftover. I managed to snag a few slices of dessert, cranberry sauce, and a solid 3 cups of turkey–some of which went into this quiche and the rest will go into a double batch of Turkey Pot Pie Soup tomorrow night. I’m not too sad about our lack of leftovers. We have a ton of veggies in the fridge from our Produce Delivery box, so I’m planning to do a lot of simple, plant-based meals to reset ourselves after this weekends indulgences. Plus my crisper box is completely overflowing and this is the only way to deal with it!
This quiche is, hands-down, my favorite quiche that I have ever eaten. My mother made it often when we were younger, but I was only reintroduced to it after I graduated and we tried making it gluten-free. I love quiche because it take so few ingredients to make a solid dish with many servings (with just M and I in the house, this will last us a few days worth in lunches, too). But I usually don’t go through the fuss of making pie crust (often, I just thinly slice potatoes, layer them in a greased pan, and cook them until brown and crispy before adding in the quiche filling). So this lovely mix of turkey, cheese, bacon, and broccoli, all wrapped up in a flaky, buttery crust, is extra special. That last bite with more crust from the side as well as the bottom is just total bliss. Every time I make this, I wish I had grabbed even more turkey leftovers, so I could stash them in the freezer. I never seem to remember, so I will just have to do my best to enjoy this quiche now, before waiting another whole year to make it again!
Turkey Broccoli Quiche
- – 1 gluten-free pie crust
- – 3/4 c. chopped broccoli
- – 1 c. chopped, cooked turkey
- – 1/2 c. shredded baby swiss cheese
- – 1/4 of a medium onion, finely chopped
- – 6 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
- – 1 Tbsp. butter
- – 3 extra-large eggs
- – 1 1/4 c. half-and-half (or: 1/2 c. heavy cream + 3/4 c. milk)
- – 1 tsp groud thyme
- – salt & pepper to taste
Roll out the pie crust and spread into a 9-inch pie pan. Crimp the edges and place the pan in the fridge while you preheat the oven and prep the filling. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, add the broccoli and onion and sauté until tender, when the broccoli is bright green and the onion has softened. Sprinkle turkey, bacon, and half of the cheese into pie crust. Pour vegetables over top, spread evenly. Top with the remainder of the cheese. Whisk the eggs, half-and-half, and spices in bowl until thoroughly mixed. Pour eggs over other ingredients in pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees F and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, until a knife inserted at the center comes out clean.
If I am not careful, I become a very “all or nothing” type of person. I think it is an outlook that is lauded and encouraged in today’s society–unfortunately more for worse than for better. “Perfect” lives are carefully staged on every form of social media and interaction. Because those with the prettiest house, the best relationships, the greatest jobs will automatically gain some mythical, vague status that will actually turn their lives perfect. Alongside perfectionism, we have glorified busy. Stay busy, follow your hobbies, go out, try new things, have adventures, and make sure everyone knows just how much you have achieved on how little sleep. I’ve had my time spent striving for perfectionism and for “busy”, and I’ve found I do better disregarding both. When I try to be “perfect”, in whatever way, I am left scrambling and climbing towards an unreachable peak. When I let go of perfect, I can be happy with what I have achieved already–I can take a break on my little cliff halfway up Perfectionism Mountain, and enjoy the view from where I stand. When I stop romanticizing “busy” as a gloat-worthy state of being, I can finally slow down and rest. I can watch three episodes of Chopped (one of which I have already seen) and not beat myself up about it. I have a clearer head when I do return to the tasks at hand after a break.
I try to remind myself of all this. All to easily, I fall back into the race for perfection and the competition of busyness. In a sense, I am still glorifying both “perfect” and “busy”. I blog here, its own selfish and entitled act to think that what I place on the internet is worth reading. I make endless schedules, down to the half-hour, to fill my days with exercise and creating and cleaning and reading around my work day. All too often, my schedule lies have forgotten with my neglected blog and I’m left with residual guilt that I failed. This guilt and these tasks are both things that I put on myself. No one is making me write or share or cook or read. Just me, and the thought that “I can do better”. Perhaps I can, and
perhaps, probably, I will be bettered by writing, creating, and reading in a clean house with a healthy mind and body. But with the guilt and this all-or-nothing attitude, I am too often overwhelmed. When I am overwhelmed, nothing is achieved. So I try, as often as I can remember, to focus on the baby steps. My mantra has become something I have recently realized that I yearn for: balance. I long to move, to stretch and bend and twist, to combat sitting at a desk for eight hours a day. I actually want to run, to the utter bewilderment of my sophomore-in-high-school, last-semester-of-gym-ever self (whether or not I can run is another question entirely). I want vegetables by the truckload after getting burgers for lunch and then trying that new pizza place for dinner. I want to rewatch this episode, even when I don’t, because the alternative is watching something new and I have been actively engaged all day and I need to shut off my brain. I want sleep, but only eight-to-nine hours after a reasonably active day, because I’ve finally realized that any more just makes me sluggish. I want to neglect the vacuuming and meal prep to instead do nothing, after six days at work. Until the time when I crave something creamy or I choose sleep over yoga and my life leans back the other way again. Balance. Maybe, what I really want is to listen to my body more.
So I’m trying to be gentler with myself. I try to forget about perfect and remember that it is all okay, because perfect is exhausting and disheartening. Balance is better.
Balance, these past weeks has meant making time for make-ahead meals. I know it will be a huge help to my psyche to know that I am prepared to make dinner with minimal thinking at the end of a long day. I am adjusting to a new work schedule, and M is working on a project that has him working late (and, usually, whenever I am not working). Thankfully he knows me well enough to understand that I will fail (if I try at all) to stay up to wait for him. I am not much of a night owl. These past weeks have been a few mumbled sentences in the morning to establish when someone is home to let out the dog, and a lot of notes left on the kitchen counter. Weeks like these are when I pull out my secret weapons: slow cooker recipes, quick handheld foods made in huge batches, and quiche. I’ve been thinking of writing a defense for quiche. It is one of the most under-utilized dishes. With a crust, 3 eggs, about a cup of milk, a handful of toppings–a collection that would hardly feed two for breakfast as individual parts, these magic ingredients mix together to created at least eight slices of creamy, comforting goodness. If that’s not cheap enough for you, its easy enough to thinly slice a potato. Line a greased pie pan with that and you’ve got a pretty solid quiche minus the expense of butter and flour for a traditional crust. It’s a dish that is delicious served cold, hot, or room temperature, and easily portable if you have a lunch box and an ice pack. Quiche is awesome.
This quiche, however, was not one made with “cheap eats” in mind. Instead, I wanted to add some fun to this dish that would be feeding us for the next 3-4 days. Someone mentioned mixing a bit of smoked salmon into scrambled eggs and then the light bulb went off. M and I love bagels with lox: chewy bagels (preferably a tasty Everything Bagel), thick swaths of cream cheese topped with savory smoked salmon, red onions, tomato, capers, and a squeeze of lemon. Why not put all of this in a quiche? I mixed the traditional spices of an everything bagel into my crust, and mixed the traditional toppings into the egg filling. Voila!
This quiche is an interesting way to mix things up. The crust, salty and garlicky, makes this amazing!
Lox & Cream Cheese Quiche with “Everything Bagel” Crust
For the Crust:
Basically a 1/2 batch of my Gluten-Free Pie Crust
- 1/2 c. sweet rice flour
- 1/4 c. tapioca starch
- 1/4 c. cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp. potato starch
- 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
- 1 + 1/2 tsp. granulated onion
- 1 tsp. granulated garlic
- 2 tsp. sesame seeds
- 1 tsp. poppy seeds
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- optional: 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
- 1/4 c. butter
- 1/4 c. vegetable shortening (I used EarthBalance)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 Tbsp. cold water
For the Filling:
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 c. milk (whole or 2% is best)
- 1/2 c. cream
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. dill
- 1/4 c. tomato, chopped
- 1/4 small red onion, finely diced
- 4 green onions, finely chopped (green portion only), divided
- 1 Tbsp. capers
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 3 oz. lox/smoked salmon, roughly chopped
- 3 Tbsp. parmesan cheese
- 2 oz. cream cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all dry ingredients (sweet rice flour through pepper/caraway seeds) of crust in a medium bowl. Cube or grate the butter and shortening into the dry mix. Mix well, rubbing the fat into the dry mix until the mixture is coarser than corn meal. Mix egg and vinegar together, add to bowl. Stir egg mixture into dry mix. Add 1 tablespoon of water and mix until dough comes together. If still dry and crumbling, add additional tablespoon of water. Press into 9 inch pie pan. Chill for 30 minutes. (Alternately, if your would prefer a “prettier” crust, chill dough for 15 minutes, roll out on wax or parchment paper, and transfer to pie pan. Trim edges. Chill for 20 minutes). Par-bake pie crust for 15 minutes.
Make the filling while the dough chills and par-bakes. Mix eggs, milk, cream, kosher salt, and dill. When crust has par-baked, remove crust from over. Sprinkle tomatoes, then red onion, half of the green onions, capers, and lemon zest into pie shell. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper the vegetables. Sprinkle bits of cream cheese and slivers of salmon over vegetables. Pour egg mixture over fillings. Sprinkle remaining green onions, parmesan cheese, and additional dill on top.
Bake the quiche for about 30 minutes, until the middle ‘jiggles’ but the top is beginning to brown. If the crust starts to burn, gently wrap the crust edges with aluminum foil. Allow to cool completely. Serve slight warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate, wrapped in saran wrap, for up to 5 days.