As many of you have noticed, The Single Chef has been slacking on her food writing this winter. My excuse last month was that I was out of town. My reason now is that by the end of the day, I have lost much of my creative motivation. I suppose cooking can be considered a labor of love with an ebb and a flow. There are times when I have been extremely passionate about food, voraciously reading cookbooks and magazines, seeking out several new recipes to try out in a week. There are also times, like now, when it takes every bit of energy I have left at the end of the day to crank out a box of macaroni and cheese. To get myself through this cooking rut I am telling myself that I should do what I can, when I can and have faith that the passion will return.

What I have found is that the “when I can” is in the morning when I still have motivation to get things done. Thus, the majority of the homemade meals we have been consuming this winter have been breakfasts.

This winter we have been eating a lot of eggs and potatoes. We jumped on the backyard chicken bandwagon this past year and have been blessed with somewhere between four and seven eggs a day. We also planted our first garden which provided us with an abundance of tubers. Cooking with two main ingredients as often as I do has caused me to be creative in my culinary endeavors. I make scrambles (I’m not an omelette fan), poached eggs, fried eggs…I make home fries and hash browns…but I must say that it was a stroke of genius that caused me to combine my eggs and potatoes for this month’s recipe. I work at a small bakery where we serve mini-quiches cooked in muffin tins. These little morsels are a huge hit and the perfect single chef meal. Problem is how many of us really want to crank out a pie crust first thing in the morning. And so I present you with Hash Brown Crusted Quiche.

Hash Brown Crusted Quiche

Quiche is a great way to use up random leftovers that are sitting around in your fridge. Sauté the veggies and/or meat while you cook the hash browns. By using hash browns we eliminate the use of wheat and YAHOO, all you gluten-free folks can go back to enjoying quiche! High starch potatoes like Russet make the best hash browns, but I use whatever we have in our root cellar. My friend Deneen even used a sweet potato. You can use any assortment of bake ware to crank out your quiche. I utilize a mini-muffin tin (recipe = 2 mini quiches), but you could just as easily use large muffin tins, Pyrex “custard” cups, silicone baking cups or mini tart pans. If you have a non-stick option, all the better. These quiche are fabulous served for breakfast with a side of fruit or for dinner with a side salad. Once cooked and cooled they freeze well, if you want to make extra for later.

Crust:

1 small potato , shredded (about ½ c packed)

¼ c thinly sliced onion, optional

2 tsp olive oil, plus extra for oiling the bake ware

Filling:

1 egg

2 tsp heavy whipping cream (or milk)

Salt and Pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons chosen from the following:

chopped cooked veggies such as broccoli, spinach, asparagus, bell pepper, onion

chopped fresh herbs

crumbled cooked bacon or sausage

diced ham

shredded or grated cheese such as Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, Gruyere

soft cheese such as mascarpone or goat cheese*

  • Preheat oven to 375º
  • Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat, add oil, potato and onion. Stir occasionally. Cook about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and beginning to brown.
  • Brush inside of muffin tins or other bake ware with olive oil. When potatoes are done, press hash browns into the bottom and side edges of the bake ware.
  • Beat together egg and whipping cream, stir in vegetables, meat and cheese.
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Pour egg mixture into hash brown crusts and bake for 20 minutes.

*If using soft cheeses, like goat cheese, your quiche may need to cook a little longer. Check it at 20 minutes and if the quiche is still soft pop it back in for 5 more minutes.

Sample Quiches:

  • Cheddar cheese and cooked diced ham
  • Quiche Lorraine: Bacon, Swiss and sautéed onion
  • Sautéed mushroom, bell pepper, onion and cheddar
  • Basil and goat cheese
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