Get creative for Easter breakfast with mini quiches
Addie Broyles, Relish Austin
Call anything a cupcake and my kid won't just eat it, he'll want to help make it, too, which is why I recently enlisted him to help me make breakfast cupcakes, which anyone older than 7 or 8 would call a small quiche.
It's Easter, after all, and that means we're all thinking about eating, hiding, finding and stuffing with candy those perfect orbs. Using large brown eggs from our backyard chickens, a muffin pan and refrigerated pie dough, Julian and I whipped up individual-sized egg, broccoli, bacon and cheese pies that are perfect for making on Easter morning with your youngsters who have found every last egg hidden in the yard but aren't quite ready for the special morning to end.
Egg dishes like frittatas, tortillas españolas and quiches are perfect for using up odds and ends that are already in your fridge or that are on verge of wilting in your vegetable crisper. We used broccoli, cheddar cheese and crumbled up pieces of bacon we'd fried up the day before, but you could just as easily use up that last bit of goat cheese, thinly sliced or diced sausage, chopped asparagus, corn, scallions or a few leaves of spinach from your garden.
A hint: When making these little quiches, dice up whatever ingredients you are using into small pieces so each quiche can have a little bit of everything and you can be sure that the raw vegetables are cooked enough to be relatively soft. Also, the inside of the quiche won't get hot enough to cook raw meat, so make sure it is precooked before adding it.
I'm all for from-scratch baking, but sometimes, especially when you're working with kids' short attention spans, you can use a little help from the grocery store. Using a store-bought pie crust, the kind sold in a long narrow box in the refrigerated section not the pre-formed crust in a pie pan in the frozen section, meant that within minutes of deciding we were going to make breakfast together, Julian was busy cutting out circles of dough with a small plastic bowl turned upside down while I was chopping up the broccoli. He helped me crack the eggs and mix in the rest of the ingredients, and then we pressed the dough circles into each cup, making sure the dough came all the way up the side of the cup, and poured about 1/4 cup of the egg mixture in each. After 15 minutes or so in an oven preheated to about 350 degrees, we pulled them out, let them cool and then broke into our breakfast cupcakes.
If your little bunnies are as picky as mine, you can keep the vegetables, cheese and meat separate from the eggs and make each quiche to order. A little diced tomatoes, onions and leftover ham here, a few pieces of spinach and cheese only over there. Pour beaten eggs over the top and bake.
The recipe I've included at the end of the column can be adapted using approximately the same proportions for crust, eggs, veggies, meats and cheeses.
Locally grown veggies by the box
Farmers' markets aren't the only way to get local vegetables, herbs and fruits straight from the person who grew them. Community-supported agriculture programs, in which customers commit to buying weekly shares of the produce for an entire season, are the primary source of income for many local farmers. Rather than ordering particular items, CSA members get a box of whatever produce is being harvested at the time, and they usually pick up the boxes once a week or every other week at pickup locations around town. Some of the farms even offer delivery or pickup a farmers' markets. Memberships cost between $20 and $40 a week, depending on how much the farm plans on including in each box, but there is usually more than enough produce to feed two people for a week.
The following farms offer spring CSAs that still have openings: Ottmers (512-276-7008, www.austincsafarm.com ), Urban Roots (342-0424, urbanrootscsa.kintera.org ), Green Gate (484-2746, greengatefarms.net ), Hairston Creek (512-756-8380, hairstoncreekfarm.com ), Tecolote (276-7008, tecolotefarm.net ), Scott Arbor (830-379-0588, scottarbor.com ), Millican Farms (millicanfarms.com), Johnson's Backyard Garden (jbgorganic.com , 386-5273) and Walnut Creek (512-303-3400, wcorganic.com )
Farm stands are another way to buy fresh produce directly from farmers, usually at the farm itself. Springdale, Angel Valley, Natural Springs, Boggy Creek, Green Gate and Montesino are just a few of the farms that set up stands at least once a week.
To find one close to you, check out our list of local farmers' markets and farm stands at austin360.com/go/farmersmarkets .
These mini quiches are cupcakes only in name, but if your kids are anything like mine, you can take all the help you can get when it comes to getting them to try new foods.
4 bacon slices
1 refrigerated pie crust
6 large eggs
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped broccoli
In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove from pan and pat dry with paper towels. Once cool, crumble into small pieces and reserve. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Unroll refrigerated pie crust on a countertop and, using a round cookie cutter, small bowl or plastic cup, cut out circles of dough that are about 31/2 to 4 inches in diameter. Lightly coat a muffin tin with spray cooking oil and press a round of dough into each cup, making sure the dough comes all the way up the side of the cup. (If yours are a little shy of coming all the way up the sides of the muffin cup, you can flatten them slightly with a rolling pin.)
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with a fork until yolks and whites are well-combined. Mix in salt, cheese and broccoli. (This is where you can get creative. Use whatever combination of meats, cheeses and vegetables that suits you. You also can make gluten-free versions of these quiches by omitting the crust and using a few more eggs to help fill out the muffin cups.)
Pour about 1/4 cup of the mixture over the raw dough in each of the muffin cups. Place pan in the oven and bake for 18 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Makes 12 small quiches.
— Addie Broyles