Sunday, 20 May 2012

Broccoli, leek, sun-dried tomato and dill mini-quiches

What is it about miniature things that make us love them more than their regular sized counterparts? Kittens and puppies, smart cars, mini-eggs, mini-golf, baby shoes, miniature world, cherry tomatoes and cupcakes. Is it because they appeal to our evolutionary impulses to care for the small, young and vulnerable?

When my sisters and I were young, we had a lot of toys. Dolls of all sizes, Barbies and Kens, dress up clothes for us and for the dolls, puzzles, toy animals, shelves full of books, toy dishes and all sorts of games. Our toy room was always a mess and we were frequently transporting arrays of colourful and deeply-loved toys outside, to our backyard, to the park behind our house and to friend's houses.

Needless to say things would get lost, broken and left behind all over the neighbourhood. But there was this one little toy which never went missing that me and my sisters would always go crazy over. It was a little plastic baby, about 2 cm small. The plastic baby had painted on a light yellow shirt, frilly yellow and pink shorts and was positioned in an eternal crawl. It was just so cute and tiny and we were always amazed when we would stumble upon it; that something that tiny had not disappeared in that mess of a room. One of us would be digging around in a bin and would pull it out and we would all just exclaim at its cuteness.

There was not much we could do with that baby. It was too small to be Barbie's baby, you could not change its clothes or even lay it in a pretend crib. It was just cute to look at. So after we were finished admiring how teeny tiny and cute it was it would just get tossed aside to be uncovered again a few weeks or even months later.

Fortunately these mini-quiches are more than just something cute to look at. But the fact that they are miniature makes them just all that more appealing then a full, pie-sized quiche. They are easy to snack on, quick to cook and extremely simple to make (because I skipped the crust). Just four eggs, a cup of milk, some cheese and tons of veggies is all it takes to make these healthy and delicious egg-y cakes that, when paired with a simple salad make a light and pleasing dinner.

Broccoli, leek, sun-dried tomato and dill mini-quiches

1 tbsp oil 
2 cups chopped broccoli
1 leek, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1/4 cup dill, roughly chopped
Sea salt
4 eggs
1 cup 1% milk
Sharp white cheddar - 1/2 cup grated
Butter for greasing muffin pan
5 Sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup of goat cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Heat cast-iron pan to medium heat, grease pan with grape seed or vegetable oil.
3. Stir in leeks and shallots and stir, cook a couple of minutes.
4. Stir in chopped broccoli and cook about 7 minutes or until everything is tender. In the last couple of minutes of cooking, stir in dill and season with sea salt.
5. Take vegetables off of heat and allow to cool.
6. Whisk together eggs, milk and cheddar cheese.
7. Grease the bottom and sides of a regular sized muffin pan with butter. I take a cold chunk of butter and rub it inside each cup.
8. Divide the egg mixture evenly among the 12 muffin cups.
9. Add the vegetables to the muffin cups, dividing them up evenly and pushing down gently into the egg mixture.
10. Top cups with a little bit of sliced sun-dried tomato and a small amount of crumbled goat cheese.
11. Place muffin tin in oven and bake 20 minutes.
12. Remove from oven, let cool and serve. The little quiches should slide easily out of the pan (if it was greased properly).

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