Cooking With Maddie Newsletter #7

Veggie Quiche

Hi friends!

Happy 21st of September! It feels so fitting to be sending you all a love note on what might be my favorite day of the year. I can hardly believe that it’s already the third week of September. I don’t know about you, but this summer has flown by. Can I still say it’s summer? I’m going to.

Because summer is my favorite season, it can be easy to dwell on the fact that my days in the sun are dwindling. I know at least half of you reading this are probably pumped that it’s now socially acceptable to drink your PSLs and pull out your cozy sweaters, but for me, all I can think about is the fact that tomato season is over and the pool is closing. 

But what’s pulling me out of my debbie-downer funk is that a new beginning is on the horizon for me. In just two weeks (holy shit, I should stop writing and go pack), I’m moving into a new home. My dream home to be exact. And to make it even better, it’s with two of my best friends. Oh, and a puppy! Everyone, please meet Greta. 

I mean, THAT PAW!!! Brb— crying.

While I’m overcome with excitement for the move, I’m also paralyzed by the amount of shit we have to do before moving day. One of the only fun parts, and when I say this, I know most of you will think I’m psychotic for thinking it’s fun, is cleaning out the fridge. 

I’ve been noodling on the idea of creating a freezer inventory list since Christina Chaey wrote about her own experience with it in April, and moving gave us just enough motivation to pop open the freezer and assess what all was going on. Let me tell you, it was a sight for sore eyes. 

We have sauces and sweets and starter. We have pizza, egg whites and bananas. We have danishes, gnocchi, puff pastry, popsicles. Our freezer is stuffed to the brim with things we honestly forgot about. And so my advice to you all is don’t wait until you move to take inventory of what you’re storing. The freezer can be a very sacred place that extends the life of almost all foods. But don’t let it become a place to hoard things until they’re freezer burnt beyond repair. 

For us, we have 18 days (let the countdown begin) to start chipping away at a year and a half’s worth of frozen food. I’m proud to say, this past week, we had a pretty great start. We used some frozen Mahi Mahi from Trader Joe’s to make Jessica Gavin’s Seared Mahi Mahi with Crunchy Coleslaw. 10/10 recommend. We topped our cherry pie from Hinman’s Bakery with some vanilla ice cream that was leftover from our rootbeer float phase. We drunk ate our last frozen Imo’s pizza. Yes, I’m already looking into another shipment. 

And last, but not least, we used a frozen pie dough and leftover sautéed veggies to make a kick-ass Veggie Quiche.  

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you’ll know quiches are a regular menu item in this household. Paired with an arugula salad, a slice of quiche is the best lunch. Hence why we’ve made it a habit to always have quiche ingredients at the ready. 

I’ll admit that I learned everything I know about making quiches from The Kitchn, a daily online food magazine that I’ve grown to really trust. The Kitchn article will tell you about why quiches need a perfect ratio of egg to liquid and what classic pairings go well together, but I’m here to tell you that in my experience, quiches are best when you use what you got. I personally think it’s a pretty forgiving food. 

In the countless times we’ve made quiche, we’ve made it a little bit differently each go-around. I usually stick with three eggs, but sometimes I’ll throw in a fourth just cause. I once only had 2 eggs, so we only used two eggs. The recipe calls for 1 ½ cups of liquid, and while I try to keep to that amount, how I get there changes. Sometimes I only have a ¼ cup of heavy cream. Sometimes I only have ½ cup of milk. It’ll be okay! What I hope you’re realizing is that you can be flexible with this recipe, and it’ll still turn out great. 

For fillings, we honestly just use whatever we have on hand. If you’ve read other newsletters of mine, you’ll know this is usually how we roll. For veggies, it’s what’s leftover from salads, so typically bell peppers, mushrooms and onions. We always have a bag of spinach that we thought we’d eat but didn’t, and before it went bad, we threw it in the freezer. Case and point: the freezer is a sacred place. That usually makes its way into the quiche. If we remember, we’ll cut some herbs from the garden and add those in. If we’re lucky and have bacon lying around, we’ll bake that until crispy and add it to the bunch. And for cheese, we prefer to use one of the shredded, white variety like low-moisture mozzarella or parmesan.

Use what you have. Don’t stress about what you don’t. No matter what, it’s still custardy goodness in a buttery, flaky crust

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pie crust 

  • 1-2 cups fillings (veggies, bacon, fresh herbs, etc.)  

  • 1 cup shredded cheese 

  • 3 large eggs 

  • ½ cup heavy cream 

  • 1 cup milk — we use soy milk 

  • Few pinches of salt 

  • Cracks of fresh black pepper 

Start by coating a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray. Roll out your pie dough and fit into the pie pan. You know I love this pre-made Pillsbury dough, but if you really want to make your own, I recommend this Fine Cooking recipe. You can read all about it in Newsletter #5.

Poke a few holes in the bottom of your crust with a fork. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Turn your oven to 350 degrees F. 

While you wait for the dough to chill, start prepping your fillings. Dice whatever veggies you want to use and throw them into a non-stick skillet with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper until soft. Then let cool on a paper-towel lined plate. You want your fillings to be as dry as possible when you add them to the quiche. 

At this point, you’re going to blind bake the crust. Don’t be scared— blind baking is easy. Cover your chilled dough with a piece of parchment paper, and add something heavy like dried beans or rice to weigh it down (If you have real pie weights, I am very jealous). Make sure the weight is snug against the sides of the pan. This will make sure that the crust doesn’t puff up while it bakes. Bake for 20 minutes. 

Tip: Place the pie pan on a baking sheet. This will make taking it in and out of the oven much easier. 

When your 20 minute timer goes off, remove the parchment and pie weights, and bake again for 10-15 minutes. Don’t throw your dried beans or rice away! You can and should still use them!! 

While your dough is back in the oven for the second time, whisk together your eggs, heavy cream, milk, salt and pepper. Set aside. 

Once the dough is just starting to brown, take out of the oven. Sprinkle half of the cheese on the bottom of the crust. Add your fillings. Add your liquid-egg mixture. Top with the remaining cheese.

Bake the quiche for 30-45 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center jiggles just a bit. 

Like I said earlier, a slice of quiche makes for the most perfect lunch. It’s also a great way to start your morning if you’re a breakfast type of person. And I’ll admit, I’ve also had a slice as a midnight snack, so I can vouch that it’s also delicious after sunset.

For what’s bringing me life this week, it’s seeing all the love and respect the world has for RBG. I’m not going to pretend I didn’t cry myself to sleep last night, but seeing how much personal and political impact she’s made inspires me and gives me hope for the future. I’m also filled with joy after every hour-long FaceTime I have with friends. Shout-out to my girl Marin for always putting a smile on my face. It’s starting my mornings with a milk tea from Tea Street or Ding Tea because it reminds me of our time in Singapore. Singapore, I miss you. And lastly, it’s the launch of Past Life Collective — a local company dedicated to zero-waste slow fashion. Their slogan is “unfuck the future,” and I am HERE for that.

Wish I was with you,