favorite quiche or other prep-ahead brunch food
So back 25 yrs. ago when it didn't show up on my body :-) I used to make quiche quite often. It was always delicious, and I think tho' am not certain that I used the recipe from Diet for a Small Planet, which I no longer own (as I used it into too many pieces and never got around to replacing it, maybe now I finally will!)
We're having friends to brunch on Sunday and I thought I'd like to make something I can prepare ahead so I'm not flipping pancakes when they're here, and they're not big carb eaters anyway, which is partly why I'm also thinking I don't want to just put out bagels and spreads.
All ideas and recipes welcome!
Thanks in advance.
I am partial to traditional Quiche Lorraine, but I also love a recipe I adapted from a newspaper that was called "Autumn Quiche." I use the Cook's Illustrated Vodka Pie Crust in a deep dish pie pan. 5-6 eggs, a 1.5 cups of half and half, 12 oz of cooked, crumbled sage breakfast sausage, an onion and a small Granny Smith apple, chopped and sauteed, 12 oz grated gruyere cheese (I like it REALLY cheesy), salt, pepper and a bit of nutmeg. The amounts are all approximate, really. My mom adds dried cranberries but I feel they make it too sweet - they're okay if you sub out half the apple and only use a few.
If you have a big crowd, you might consider a strata instead - less fiddly than dealing with pie crust and easy to make in a big pan for a crowd.
One of the only frozen products I use is frozen shredded hash browns, which I layer with cooked crumbled sausage and ham, sauteed onions and peppers if you want, and then pour egg custard over and top with a layer of cheese; refrigerate overnight, bring to room temp. and bake at 350 until firm in the middle (about 45-55 mins. for a 13 by 9 pan) and then let rest 10 minutes before serving. This works for a large bag of potatoes to about 10 eggs and you can make as many layers as you want and incorporate as much protein as you wish. We like this with salsa and a salad of melons and cucumbers and pineapple and muffins.
Sorry that they're not carb eaters but muffins always go over well - you can make them w/ zucchini or fruits and whole grains. Guests don't feel so intimidated by a muffin. Also fresh fruit. There is a blini bake that Ina Gartner has in the CBOTM that looks awesome as well.
I'm not really a fan of the crust part of the quiche, so I make crustless quiche all the time. Probably closer to a fritatta, with the addition of milk/cream/whatever. I always like adding lots of veggies and such in it so it's not just a block of egg and cheese, but it's hard to mess up a crustless quiche!
Quiche is and has been one of my favorite foods. Through the years though I've had to adapt to a never ending call for less calories and cholesterol. So, I have started using eggbeaters and fat free half and half. Trust me with the right veggies and cheese no one will ever know. I've actually taken one of each to a party and the one with EBT's was everyone's favorite. Spinach and cheddar with just a hint of onion and italian sweet sausage, and the all time favorite is asparagus and smoked ham with gryuere or swiss.
The quiche recipe I use is:
1-1 1/4 c milk (I use 1%)
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 - 1 c (or so) of filling
1/2 c cheese
few dabs of butter on top
1 pie crust
It's all pretty flexible -- use fuller/lower fat milk, another egg, more/less filling/cheese ... whatever you like. But this basic recipe has been great as is.
I second the idea for a strata for a bigger group -- though of course if you're trying to stay away from carbs, that's probably not the direction you want to go.
Don't know how seriously they take the low-carb thing, but I always do strata when we have guests for brunch. It's so easy to throw together, and benefits from a night (or longer) in the fridge, and it looks amazing coming out of the oven, all golden brown and puffy.
There are tons of recipes out there, and I've never had a bad one. I use a large loaf of stale-ish bread, with the crust on, cut or torn into small pieces (1" cubes is the standard measurement). Then I make a custard of 6 eggs, 2c milk (you can use 1/2 and 1/2 or cream), 6-8oz cheese, salt, pepper, 1t dijon mustard, and pour it over the bread and fillings, and make sure all bread is weighted down in mixture overnight. In the morning, bake at 325 for about an hour. Like quiche, you can pick your "fillings".
Baking with Julia has a recipe for a "florentine Torta" It is made with puff pastry ( I use store bought Dufour Pastry) and is made in a springform pan. It is layer scrambled eggs, spinach, gruyere, ham, roasted peppers topp with more pastry. It is wonderful and can be prepared ahead and baked. I have made this for lunch/brunch and people rave about. The colors look beautiful when cut into wedges.
My fav is the prep ahead baked french toast. Slice the bread thick, pour in the egg/milk/flavoring mixture/ soak overnight bake first thing in the morning. Moist, delicious, fresh and good for a crowd.
I have a delicious recipe for a Savory Bread Pudding with Spinach and Ham. It's especially great because you can do it ahead and just bake it off.
For dessert, at this time of year I like to serve a fruit compote that's made with apples, pears and wine. Totally non-starchy.
i do a great broccoli custard pie (crustless) that i bake in a long rectangular pan, and is so ridiculously easy...
i like it chockful of veggies, so i cook off like three large heads of broccoli, usually in micro til soft. i chop a large yellow or maui onion, cook in micro. while these cool, i whisk together 4 eggs, 2 cups unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 tsp or so sea salt, black pepper to taste, and some nutmeg to taste (maybe 1/4 tsp or less). i chop up broc (usually just pull apart with fingers, and sometimes chop or omit the stalks (and eat them myself as a casualty of cooking), but i digress). mix in broc, onion, and stir in 1 cup parmesan. pour into Pam-sprayed pan (often aluminum disposable). i arrange the veggies so they're evenly dispersed, and like i said, i like it packed with em. bake at 350 for 40-50 min or til done. i start checking at 35 min just because i'm paranoid. it browns on top and the pieces of broccoli sticking up get really browned and tasty.
Thanks everybody, for so many great ideas! Not sure yet what I'll do (also turns out can't use ham or any red meat, but years ago I was a vegetarian myself so I'm pretty good at adapting recipes and ideas), but the first thing will be to check for strata recipes - I confess, I don't even know what that is, maybe more like a fritatta? In any case I will look it up. It's not a big crowd at all, just another couple, but I'm curious now!
Tho' I might go with the asparagus and gruyere or spinach and cheddar quiche for this time. We'll see! Also will be going to the farm market Sat. a.m. so might go with whatever ingredient just looks irresistable.
strata is just layered ingredients, with bread, soaked with an egg custard, left to sit overnight and baked off..
savory - layer bread cubes in a greased pan, layer cooked veggies of choice, then bread, then veggies and bread again if desired. beat eggs, milk, a little sour cream, salt, pepper, seasonings, (cheese), and pour over. let sit and bake in morning at 350 til set.
sweet - layer bread/croissant pieces, blueberries or peaches or apples or etc., then bread. mix eggs with milk, cream cheese, vanilla, sugar or maple syrup. pour over and sprinkled with nuts if desired. bake in morn. serve with syrup or fruit sauce...
I make a spinach/cheddar/bacon quiche - actually, I am planning on making it this weekend. You could easily leave out the bacon if you want meatless. It is a pretty basic recipe, nothing measured exactly: 4-5 eggs, about 1 cup evap. milk, maybe 2 cups grated cheddar (guessing here - I really don't measure the cheese), a box of frozen spinach (thawed & squeezed), S & P, onion, and the bacon. Very tasty, even better the next day.
I love to do brunch. The last one I did, I made, Smitten Kitchen's Spinach and Gruyere Strata (amazing and easy), bagels, Trader Joe's Frozen, Chocolate Croissants, Mark Bittman's Citrus Salad and mimosas. Yum! Everyone loved my menu.
But, the Strata was the star ~
Thanks again, all. I ended up doing a spinach/mushroom/onion/sharp cheddar quiche, and it was good! I'd add a little more spices and a little more onion next time, but all in all a fine effort after 25 years of not making it!
We served it with a plate of sliced pears/almonds/figs/and a cheese that I'm blanking on the name of but was cinammony and delicious. Also with a plate of pieces of plum pound cake from a farm market that was out of the world delicious, and TJ's mini apple/cranberry/bran muffins (which I have to say, as much as I like TJ's, paled in comparison to the plum cake). Everyone seemed happy and sated!
I look forward to trying some of the other suggestions people made.