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Away from home and in an airbnb for two weeks at holiday time could be a recipe for disaster for many cooks. Dull knives, warped and nicked non-stick pans, dollar store utensils, and no pantry but for the ubiquitous old oil, salt, pepper, and weak coffee are the earmarks of many rental home kitchens. There are the rare gems stocked to the nth degree with nearly everything of which you could hope to find in your dream kitchen including All-Clad waffle irons, Breville food processors, Henckel knives, Italian coffee, and, of course, the most spacious of air fryers and instant pots. I’ll give you that, but such happy deals are few and far between and are usually in upscale houses for big groups. Having rested our poor weary heads in a large variety of these smaller houses over the years — often with friends — we come prepared. A small bag of our favorite spices makes the journey with us along with a whisk, a pastry blender, one great knife, a stovetop grill pan, a pie plate, and even a big soup pot if we’re going by car. While the store sometimes (but not always) sells nearly everything you’d want, it’s best to bring a few things along to avoid what might otherwise look like the largest grocery bill of your life. Even then, be prepared for the sticker shock that moves many vacation folks to skip cooking and head to restaurants. While we’d do a bit of that in good times, we’re currently avoiding restaurants like the plague. To coin a phrase. On the road, we do a drive-through at lunchtime in the winter, but are tossing meals into a cooler along with a nice bottle of wine for in-hotel-room dinners. No searching for take-out in the cold and dark and the dogs are happy to stretch out on the floor hoping for dropped crumbs from something way more interesting than grilled chicken sandwiches. Sorry, Wendy’s.Jump to Recipe
Before we hit the road, I work on a tentative menu for the airbnb, print recipes if I need them, and even make a first-trip grocery list. I choose meals we enjoy and that are easy to cook without too awfully many ingredients (think sheet pan and one-pot dinners), though sometimes it’s unavoidable. Christmas is Christmas. I do a fish or seafood stew on Christmas Eve. Then there’s a roast beast to cook on the 25th, cheesy vegetables and fancy potatoes to stir together, along with baking what must be a great dessert. While I may pare down the menu a tad, we’re not going without just because. Good news here is big meals mean big leftovers or just hitting up the fridge for a grab ‘n go when you’re hungry. Soon enough, though, leftovers are gone and it’s time for a pot of chili, roast chicken, or tray of lasagna and not long before we’re thinking of a ham if only to have for bean or black eyed pea soup on New Year’s Day.
When it’s all over but the shouting whether at home or away, I’m left with a little veg here, some cheese there, and if I’m lucky, a small hunk of ham. There are any number of things to be done with such gifts (frittata, pasta, salad, soup, sandwich), but if I have eggs and cream (or half and half as I did here — leftover from the Christmas Eve clam chowder), it feels very much like quiche is in order. It takes a little time, but is good hot, warm, at room temperature –my favorite– or stone cold from the cooler once we hit the hotel in a couple of days on the way back to Colorado. In other words, well worth it and such a good use of those pesky bits and bobs taking up a shelf in the fridge we soon need to clean out.
Need a little more? Read up here and make this method your very own: HOW TO MAKE A QUICHE OUT OF JUST ABOUT ANYTHING. It’s a long post (think lockdown, 2020), but you can scroll down to the nuts and bolts anytime.
If you’re good to go, simply glance at these quick pics and read through the recipe below before beginning. Two things: your quiche needn’t be perfecto or beautiful and you should get a nice kick out of making it! And a cool aside, quiche is inexpensive and works for breakfast, brunch, lunch, picnics, snacks, or dinner.
Ham and Broccoli Quiche
- 1 (9- inch) chilled pie crust -homemade/store bought
- 1 tablespoon EACH butter and olive oil
- 1 small sliced onion
- 1 broccoli crown, well trimmed, cut into 2-inch long florets and sliced in half lengthwise
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 ½ cups milk, half and half, cream, evaporated milk, or combination (can add melted butter to milk for richer custard)
- 4 eggs
- ¼ teaspoon Herbes de Provence-can sub dried basil or thyme
- ½ cup ( 2 ½ -3 ounces) diced ham
- ½ cup (2 ounces) grated cheese. Choose from Gruyere, Swiss, Cheddar, or a mix. (I used 1/4c Gruyere, 1/4c Cheddar.)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 C). Place dough for pie crust in pie plate or buttered tart pan. Crimp or flute edges if using a pie pan (to crimp: press into pan using table fork or to flute: pinch between thumb and index finger around the edge at the top of the pie plate.) or, if using a tart pan, press dough into fluted edges of tart pan, then trim excess dough by running a rolling pin over the top of the pan. Press a doubled piece of aluminum foil into the dough on the pie plate/tart pan to keep crust in place and bake 10 minutes. (This is called "blind-baking.") Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack while you prepare filling ingredients. Lower oven temperature to 350 F (177 C). See Notes below to skip the blind baking.
- Heat butter and olive oil over medium flame in a 12-inch skillet and sauté onions and broccoli with a pinch each salt and pepper, stirring often until tender – about 10 minutes. Set aside.
- Whisk together milk, cream, or half and half, eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and Herbes de Provence and set aside. Place ham evenly in bottom of crust and sprinkle with the cooked onions and broccoli. Add grated cheese. Carefully pour the egg mixture on top of the filling.
- Bake for 30 -40 minutes on a rimmed baking sheet OR until filling is set, browned, and crust is light gold. A knife inserted at center should come out nearly clean. Do not over bake. Cool at least 10 minutes on rack before cutting and serving hot, warm, or at room temperature. Or cool, wrap loosely, and store for up to 4 days, cut and serve cold.
Safety note: Read here about baking in glass pans, old or new, and how to lower risks of broken or shattered pie pans or casseroles. (Hint: avoid sudden shocks in temperature for tempered glass, place it on baking sheets in a preheated oven, and always remove from the oven to hot pads/towels rather than stove tops, etc.)
Need a recipe for the pâte brisée (the all-butter tart dough)? Scroll down through this post.
If you liked this, you might also like my….
The Best Pie Plate for 2021/NYT
How to Make Bakery-Worthy Pie Crust Designs/Food52
Spring Brunch for a Crowd–Easy Sheet Pan Quiche/MORETIMEATTHETABLE
11 Dinners Even my Brother Can Make on his Ski Vacation/FOOD52
Easy One-Pot Dinners to Cook at Your Vacation Rental/KITCHN
We have a new great nephew! Welcome to the world, Lincoln Morgan! Looks like a future quiche-eater to me.
LIFE GOES ON:
While I enjoyed our family and the opportunity to cook in a new great kitchen, I missed you guys. I can’t wait to see what we’ll make, fake, bake, and share in 2022. Keep your sunny side up and I’ll see you on the mesa in Colorado next week,
Here’s the swank-cosy kitchen I got to cook in for two weeks. Definitely the best of any family-sized airbnb so far. It featured a lovely Jenn-Air gas stove with a gas oven!!
2 thoughts on “HAM AND BROCCOLI QUICHE: Cleaning out the Christmas Kitchen”
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