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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Leek and Asparagus Quiche {Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off}

This has been an extremely easy-going and comfortable weekend.  I haven't really been plugged-in.  I did check in once yesterday...but only momentarily to weed out the 100+ new emails screaming at me from my inbox, threatening to rile up my relaxed mood.  And then I turned off the screen until now.

We hadn't seen my mom or my brother since the holidays (Christmas eve, to be exact), so when they arrived from out of town on Friday evening, we had plenty of good comfortable family time to catch up on.  And hubs and I actually went out for the evening sans kids.  On Saturday we all woke up pretty early (well...teenagers not included) to a cozy kitchen warmed by the smell of freshly brewed coffee.  We gathered 'round the table and solved brain-twisters, browsed the new magazines that were hanging out waiting to be perused, talked food and music and movies.  Mom fell head-over-heels for the new Joy the Baker cookbook.  Because it is out and being used in full-force around here as you've witnessed.
It was inevitable, really.  I'd found some long, slender stalks of asparagus at the market last week that found their way into y basket without argument.  I almost used them for dinner a couple of times over the days that followed.  But when I found out that we'd have house guests, I decided to save them.  There was a quiche that was calling my name and I knew that aside from hubs and and bro would love it, too.  So in the midst of loud chatter, steaming mugs of coffee, brain-teasers, laughter, and pajamas, I chopped, sautéed and folded that asparagus into a cozy, rustic quiche that would wind up adding to the intoxicating atmosphere of our kitchen that morning.  Add the requisite cast-iron skillet of bacon popping on the stove.  And McBeggerson cats rubbing your ankles.  And the sun rising high outside the windows.  And the stirring of teenagers.  And the patter of small feet gaining their energy for the day.  Even the sound and swishing of the washing machine winding it's way up the basement stairs.

It's been a good weekend.  The weekend included spicy garlic wings, Ghost Rider in 3D, two haircuts, 8 loads of laundry, two pairs of new shoes, two pairs of colorful knee-highs and two pairs of stripey and polka dotty tights, girl scout cookies, fusbol, and the ripping and sharing of magazine pages.  And now I'm off to tie-dye with the kids in honor of an upcoming school concert  where the kids are singing Beatles songs.  I'm gonna sleep well tonight.
Leek and Asparagus Quiche

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 45-60 minutes
Keywords: bake breakfast entree vegetarian eggs asparagus spring
Ingredients (serves 8-10)
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 c. leeks (white & pale green parts), thinly sliced
  • 2 c. asparagus, cut in ½" sections
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed but cold
  • 1¼ c. whole milk
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • ~1 c. grated Gruyere, Swiss, or a combination
  • freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350° F.

Heat a medium-sized sauté pan over medium heat. Add oil and leeks sauté until just translucent, ~4 minutes. Toss in asparagus and continue to sauté for a few more minutes until they've turned a bright green. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

Unfold the cold puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out about an extra ½" per side using a lightly floured rolling pin. Set into a deep-dish 9" pie plate*. You can trim the edges of the dough that hang over the sides to about a ¼" lip, if you like...but I don't. I think the extra crust is a total bonus! Place in refrigerator to chill while whisking up the filling.

Place milk, cream, eggs, salt, and a good grating of nutmeg in a large bowl and whisk together. Whisk in half of the cheese.

Remove pie plate from fridge and tip in the reserved veggie mixture. Pour the egg mixture over the veggies. Scatter the remaining cheese as evenly as you can over the top. Grind some black pepper over the whole thing, using ~¾ tsp., or to taste.

Slide into preheated oven and bake for 45-60 minutes (my oven leans toward the longer baking time) or until puffed and golden. Remove from oven and let rest for an hour (if you can) before serving.

Good warm or cold. Will last well wrapped in fridge for up to 3 days.

This mixture fits perfectly in a deep-dish 9" pie plate or a "regular" capacity 10" pie plate. If you only have a "regular" capacity 9" pie plate, it will still'll just have a little extra egg mixture left over. Discard it or scramble it up, as you like.

slightly adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook
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*This post is part of the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef*
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