Friday, June 10, 2011

Ham, Cheese & ½ Spinach Quiche

There’s a Ukrainian word hospidiña (bear with my non-traditional spelling. Ukranians use the cyrillic alphabet). Hospidiña means one who takes great care with cooking, presentation, and being a great hostess. My grandmother was known as a great hospidiña. The tables she set, the flowers she arranged, the food she presented… it was all treated like an art. I like to think that I have a bit of my grandmother in me, or I at least aspire to.
Recently for Memorial Day weekend, my husband and I played host as family stayed with us. Perhaps I went overboard, but I was having a lot of fun. My onion flowers ("how-to" post coming soon!) even broke out amid the lettuce, tomatoes and onions for the burgers. But what I really had fun with were the breakfasts. Feeding 5 to 9 mouths is not the norm in my childless household, so I thought it was a great excuse to try a few new recipes. Here’s the first:
Ham, Cheese & ½ Spinach Quiche

This was the quiche to please the range of eaters in my family. What started out as a plan to make 2 quiches turned into an improvisation that blended the two.
Ingredients: 1 pastry shell (9 inches), roughly 2 cups diced fully-cooked ham, 8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese, minced onion to taste, 4 eggs, 2 cups half-and-half, ¼ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper, 2 hand-fulls fresh baby spinach.
Spray pie pan with non-stick oil. Unroll store bought pastry shell (see, I cheated here!) into pie pan - personally I use a Pampered Chef Pie Stone, which I love! Bake pastry shell at 400° for 5 minutes covered with foil. Remove foil; bake 5 minutes more. (The pastry shell needs more time to cook than the filling, so this makes sure the whole quiche is finished at the same time.)
After you pull out the shell, scatter ham, half of the cheese and onion on top of the shell. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, half-and-half, salt and pepper, and after it is blended pour it into the shell on top of other ingredients. Spread cheese over mixture and slowly stir with the whisk to blend it in evenly.
This is where the picky eaters come in. I didn’t put in any spinach until this point, because I tried to keep it on only half the quiche, with no spill over. (Important stuff!) Wash the spinach in a strainer, and then push it into the mixture on the one side. I dropped it on top and then pushed it deeper with the whisk.
Cover the edges with foil so they don’t brown more-so than the rest of the quiche. Bake at 400° for 35-40 minutes. When a knife is inserted in the center and comes out cleanly, it’s done.

(Click here for printable recipe)

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