Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ham + Leek + Gruyere Deep Dish Quiche


The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays.  First, because of the three day weekend, but secondly, because it is our wedding anniversary.  We were married on July 5, 2008 and it was the most perfect weekend ( you can see an read a little more about that here).  Last year, we were in the process of moving and spent the holiday with friends.  This year, we decided to stay here in D.C. for the weekend and are looking forward to some much needed FUN!

I actually made this quiche the weekend after Memorial Day for friends that were visiting from Jersey (Hi Megan, Jeff, Jen and Danny!).  Clearly, I have not been the best at staying on top of  posting regularly.  Our friends were actually guinea pigs for this quiche, as I was assigned to making many quiches for a wedding shower and I wanted to make sure this was a solid recipe before I served it to 40+ women. I am proud to report that this quiche passed with flying colors.

This crust is un-freaking-believable!  It is so flaky and buttery.  Plus, using a spring form pan to make this deep dish is simply a show stopper.  The best part is that you can make it ahead of time and just warm it up in the over before your guests arrive.

For the shower, I took the shortcut and went with premade pie crusts.  I just didn't have the time, energy or enough spring form pans!  However, I did make a vegetarian version with roasted butternut squash, kale and goat cheese (inspired by this lovely bakery in SOHO, Maman).

I hope this recipe inspires you to make your own version and may all your quiche dreams come true :)  Happy Fourth everyone!

Deep Dish Quiche Crust
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, cubed
10 ounces cream cheese
heavy pinch of salt
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
pie weights or uncooked beans (for baking)
non-stick cooking spray

In a blender with a paddle attachment, add the butter, cream cheese and salt and mix until creamy. Slowly add the flour, about 1/2 cup at a time.  Once the dough comes together in a ball, turn out onto a floured surface and pat until all loose bit form a ball.  You want to see clumps of the butter/cream cheese mixture in the dough because that is what makes it flaky!

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  Once the dough has chilled, remove dough and place on a heavily floured surface.  Roll out the dough until it is about a 1/4 inch thick circle.  You want the circle to be big so it can fit in the spring form pan.

Spray the spring form pay with a non-stick spray and carefully place the dough in.  Working it carefully, form the dough in the pan going all the way up the sides.  You want some overhang around the edges. Prick the bottom with a fork.  Cover with plastic wrap and freeze in the pan for at least 2 hours to overnight.

When you are ready to assemble the quiche, remove pan from freezer and place a large piece or parchment in the well.  Fill with pie weights or beans (you can save these beans for other baking adventures!) and partially bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  The overhang will most likely fall off during this time.  If not, press on the edges to remove and overhanging crust.

Remove from oven, let cool and prepare the filling.

Ham + Leek + Gruyere Filling
2 tablespoons fat (I used 1T. butter and 1T. bacon grease..mmmmm)
1 pound ham, cubed
2 cups chopped leeks
8 ounces gruyere cheese, shredded
8 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded
2 cups sour cream
8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
touch of fresh grated nutmeg

Chop up the ham in small cubes and set aside.  Shred both cheeses and set aside.

In a large saute pan, heat the fat over medium heat. Add the chopped leeks and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the ham to partially brown and heat through.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, milk, cream pepper, salt, and nutmeg.  In the cooled, partially baked crust, layer the ham and leek mixture and cheese. Slowly pour the custard mixture over the  ham/leek/cheese, gently tapping the pan on the counter to make sure it permeates through the filling.  Be sure that the custard fills the pan all of the way to the top.

Place the quiche in the oven and bake at 325 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours, until the quiche is slightly browned on the top and the center is no longer "jiggly".

I actually baked the quiche the day before and then refrigerated after it was done.  To reheat, carefully remove the side of the spring form pan while the quiche is cold and place in a 300 degree oven for about 30-45 minutes to warm all of the way through.

Slice and serve this masterpiece!

Adapted from Foodie Crush 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fresh Summer Peach + Mozzarella Salad

Holy heat wave!  I spent most of this past week in the 110 degree Las Vegas weather only to return to the 100% humidity in DC.  When the temperature begins to rise, my palette begins to crave lighter and fresher options.  

It is now officially peach season so pick 'em up while they are still sweet and juicy.  Fresh peaches are easily one of my favorite fruits.  I eat them like an apple all of the time.  Whole Foods had these lovely white peaches on sale today and they were the inspiration for this salad.  

This salad was the because of the:  

Sweetness from the peaches and balsamic. 

Peppery bite from the arugula, radishes and pepper. 

Saltiness from the crispy prosciutto and flaked sea salt. 

Creaminess from the fresh mozzarella.  

Crunchy bite from the toasted walnuts.  

My salad cup runneth over and my heart is happy!  

Fresh Summer Peach + Mozzarella Salad
measurements will depend on how many people you are serving
1/4 lb thinly sliced prosciutto
fresh mozzarella
toasted walnuts
flaked sea salt
fresh cracked pepper
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lay the prosciutto on a sheet pan covered in parchment. Bake for 5-10 minutes until crispy.  Let cool. Do the same with the walnuts (same time and temperature).

Prepare the ingredients for the salad by thinly slicing the radishes, segmenting the peaches, slicing the mozzarella, and washing/tearing the arugula.  

Arrange all of the ingredients on a plate to your liking.  Top with small amounts of sea salt and pepper, oil and vinegar along with the toasted walnuts and crumbled, crispy prosciutto.  

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Atlantic City Bachelorette Party

So last weekend, me and 15 other girls made our way to Atlantic City to celebrate our dear friend Allison's upcoming marriage.  Yes, I said 16 girls and we had the most fantastic time.  Ever.  

Most of us have been friends for 20+ years.  Throughout college, living across the country and many ups and downs, we have all remained incredibly close and I feel so lucky to have all of these girls as my extended family.  

We found a GORGEOUS shore house to rent and it was absolutely perfect for our group (In case you are interested, here is the link for the rental).  It ended up raining most of the weekend, but this group can have the best time together even if we were in a cardboard box, so it didn't matter. 

We grilled out, went to Harrah's pool party and even went to see a show called Savage Men... and I bet you can guess what that was all about!   

August cannot get here soon enough so we can do it all over again with Allison & Mark on their big day! 

We finished the entire can... kidding!  


Cheers all around!

Some WTF gifts
And some very appropriately themed gifts
Gag gifts
And some that were just plain naughty!


Girl time

She wore it well!  
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