From our food contributor, Diana Bauman. Spring is my favorite season of the year. Being from Iowa, it’s a breath of fresh air, literally, to be able to spend time outdoors as the weather warms and the cycle of life begins anew. As much as I enjoy spring time and all that it brings, it also happens to be a busy season in my life. With 2 boys and a husband in baseball and an urban homestead to keep up on, I intentionally seek out and prepare meals that come together quickly. One spring ingredient I take full advantage of are eggs. I know what you’re thinking, “eggs are available year round.” Well, yes they are; however, having raised backyard hens for 5 years, I’ve come to learn that they are indeed seasonal. In the winter, hens need to conserve body heat and so they produce fewer eggs. When spring arrives and the weather warms and the daylight increases, their egg production soars. I’m currently getting around 10-11 eggs per day whereas in the winter my hens would only lay about 2-3 eggs per day. Their egg production usually stays up until the heat of summer kicks in around July and August. At that time, their egg production slows and gradually increases as the weather cools in fall. Then when winter arrives, their egg production is nearly halted until the spring comes again. The reason hens raised commercially are able to produce eggs year round is that they are kept in an environment that is neutral with heat, light, and grains so that they are able to lay continually, year round. Isn’t it neat to be in touch with the seasons and cyclical patterns of life? For now, my family is living in an abundance of eggs and nothing makes me happier since they are a traditional source of complete protein and nutrition.
A Self Crusting, Dark Leafy Green Quiche
One of my favorite way to use our abundance of eggs packed full of nutrients is by making a quiche – a light dish, perfect for a spring time brunch or supper.
A quiche is essentially a custard that is made with milk and eggs and then poured into a pastry crust to be baked. As delightful as a traditional quiche is, I’m oftentimes to busy in this season to make the crust, allow it to firm up in the fridge, roll it out, and then mold it into a pie dish. Instead, on busy spring days, I usually make a self crusting quiche that forms itself by the addition of flour and a bit of baking powder. It creates its own darkened type crust right in the oven as it’s baking. It saves me so much time and makes this dish come together in literally minutes! For this particular quiche, I added dark leafy greens of swiss chard, kale, and spinach. Together with cheddar and pecorino romano cheeses, this quiche is light, creamy, and savory. What’s great about a quiche is that it can be eaten warm, at room temperature, or cold. On days that my family has ball games to play, I’ll usually whip up a self crusting quiche during the day and refrigerate it to eat cold later in the evening. A quick, nourishing, and satisfying spring meal.
- 2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
- ½ medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 cups packed dark leafy greens (like spinach, swiss chard, kale)
- ¼ cup water
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup cheddar cheese
- ½ cup flour (for gluten free, sub oat flour)
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup Pecorino Romano Cheese or Parmesan
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Lightly butter a 10-inch pie plate
- In a skillet or cast iron pan, heat 2 tbls of extra virgin olive oil and saute the onion until translucent. Add 2 cups, dark leafy greens and the water. Cook until the greens just start to wilt; 3-4 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and the milk. Add the cheddar cheese and mix though. Add the flour, baking powder and salt; whisk through then stir in the greens and onions.
- Pour the contents of the bowl into the pie plate. Top with the Pecorino Romano cheese.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the center is set and the outside edges are golden brown.
What are your favorite meals to whip up on busy days?