Happy Holidays and Merry New Year to all of you!
In this most special time of year, I hope that you have had a most meaningful and enjoyable holiday. For many, the holidays are about heading home to a table full of food, a comfy bed, and a room full of loved ones.
For me, this set of Holidays was about new experiences. My roommate and bestie sadly could not make it home for the Holidays because of work. This being our first holiday season so far from home, I knew that this was especially saddening for her. So, I told her to just do exactly what she would do at home in our apartment here in SF, and I would help her celebrate Christmas.
Thus, my first Christmas happened.
Aside from the fun stuff like wearing ridiculous sweaters and christmas hats, a tradition that her family follows is to make a christmas egg casserole-thingy the morning of, which we used as inspiration for a Christmas Quiche. Tradition or no, I’ll never say no to quiche.
Christmas Quiche – Blue Cheese, Veggie, and Chicken Sausage
- 1 tin of frozen unbaked pie dough, thawed (or a pie tin and any pie dough of your choosing)
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 onion, diced
- 4-5 mushrooms, diced
- 1/4 bag of spinach (approx 1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 links of chicken sausage of choice, diced
- 1/4 cup blue cheese
- salt and pepper
Thankfully, making a quiche is almost as easy as opening presents while drinking spiked apple cider. 😉
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F. Start the quiche madness by prepping the vegetables that will go into the quiche. For me, it was whatever I happened to have in the fridge. Dice up mushrooms, onions, and garlic, and get ready to sauté them for a few minutes to get them nice and tender. If you don’t sauté them first, they won’t be thoroughly cooked when done baking, and may still have a “raw taste” to them.
I love the taste of sautéd onions and garlic, and reveled in the magnificence of it during the quiche making process. I love stirring them slowly over medium-low heat with a few tablespoons of olive oil, watching them sizzle and caramelize and become amazing. If this holiday is about being home and being with loved ones, then you can count onion and garlic in my group of loved ones.
Once the onions and garlic were done sautéing, I turned off the heat and added my spinach so as to allow the spinach to cook down a little. This will make it easier to put into the crust and egg mixture later.
The next step is only for those of you who are making this into a meat-filled quiche. If you are vegetarian, it’ll taste just fine without this. But being the American-Russian-meat-loving-22-year-old that I am, I decided to put some delicious garlic chicken sausage that I’d purchased from Trader Joe’s. (I could live in Trader Joe’s and be completely happy). Just dice it up into delectable bite sized pieces, and put aside.
Now, prepare your delicious pastry shell. Pie pastry dough is absolutely delicious, and truly makes a quiche the amazingness that it is. The buttery, flaky, salty savoriness of the dough makes the egg and other ingredients come together! But it is a pain in the butt to make (in my humble opinion). Which is why I have no qualms or issues with buying pre-made dough. This can come either in the form of a frozen pie tin, or in frozen rolled dough that you defrost and put in your own tin. Or if you are truly that much in the holiday spirit, you can make the dough yourself (kudos to you if you do!).
I decided to thaw some frozen dough and place in my own tin, which my roommate did with absolute beauty! I could never get those fantastic coils and waves to come through like that! Once the pie dough is ready, put aside and prep your eggs.
The egg mixture of the quiche is made by combing three whole eggs with 3 cups of milk or half-and-half (if you want a sinfully creamy texture). Mix those thoroughly, but don’t over-beat. Over-beating will make it too fluffy, and lose a lot of the dense, buttery smooth texture we are going for here!
Next, pour about 1/3 to 1/2 of the egg mixture in the pie shell. Why not pour all of it, you ask? Well, we don’t want to overflow the quiche, and we certainly don’t want to skip out on the other ingredients. So I like to pour a little egg, then pile in the good stuff (like veggies and meats) then pour the rest of the egg mix until there is maybe 1/2 an inch left of pie crust showing.
Once you’ve arranged the veggies and meats as you like, add some delicious blue cheese on top. Gorgonzola would work just as well. And if you’re not a fan of blue/gorgonzola, or allergic, feel free to add whatever you like! I recommend parmesan as a safe and delicious substitute.
And, being the cheesy person that I am (woo! pun!), I put tons of blue into this quiche. The beauty of blue cheese is that it adds this pungent, vibrant kick to the quiche that really makes the mouth tingle with delectable excitement. If you’re at all into blue cheese, trust me on this one.
The last thing you need to do is refill your bourbon spiked apple cider as you place the quiche in the oven for a good 40-45 minutes. Considering how hungry we were from all the well-wishing and present opening that morning, it was quite unbearable to have to wait that long to take a bite of unbelievable Christmas quiche goodness. Thankfully, we made it.
Later the next week, when you’re trying desperately to detox from all of the Christmas hams and baked yams and desserts (and the Christmas Quiche, of course), you’ll need a nice and easy New Year Stir Fry. Something light and healthy, but still absolutely delicious to start the New Year off the right way.
- 1 stalk of bok choy, diced into quarters
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 bag of brussels sprouts (approx 12-15)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cabbage, shredded
- 2 tablespoons of oil (olive, coconut, etc)
- 1 yellow or red bell pepper, cut into small pieces
- 2 tbspn oyster sauce
- 3 tbsn soy sauce
Start by prepping your ingredients. If I had your kitchen after the Christmas festivities, it would be probably be clean and still in one piece. Instead, I’ve been incredibly busy, which means that my kitchen looks something like this:
But it certainly isn’t easy to cook in after the holiday extravagance, which is why preparation is so important! To prepare for this salacious stir fry, cut up the onions, bok choy, brussels sprouts, garlic, and peppers. The vegetables should be bite sized, including the garlic and onions so as to spread the flavor evenly. Additionally, the bok choy will decrease in size as the water gets cooked out of it.
Heat about 2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil (or the oil of your choosing) in the pan on medium heat. Add ALL of the ingredients EXCEPT for onions and garlic so that they can cook and gain a delicious “crispy” texture from the pan. This will help to keep them from being too soggy when you add sauce later. After about 8 or so minutes, add the onions and garlic, and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
While you are sautéing away, prepare your sauce by mixing the soy sauce and oyster sauce together in a small bowl. The sugars in the oyster sauce will help to create a delicious glaze on the vegetables later on.
After the you’ve added the onions and garlic, lower the heat to medium-low, add the sauce, and begin allowed the sauce to cover and glaze the vegetables. Continue to cook for about 3-5 minutes, then enjoy the vegetables! Trust me, they will definitely help to speed the recovery.
Looking back at the Christmas and the New Year’s, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with gratitude – gratitude for all that I’ve had in life, and the many opportunities that are to come. As I sat there, wearing a santa apron over an ugly Christmas sweater with a santa hat on my head, I didn’t think about how silly it was that I was not Christian, or how the holiday is (sometimes) blown out of proportion. I thought about how grateful I was to have this amazing person as my best friend and roommate. I thought about how grateful I was to be celebrating something very personal and special to her with her and her family. I was grateful to be living in San Francisco and be enjoying life with people that I admire and respect. I was grateful to be starting a new year that could hold endless wonderful possibilities, all depending on how hard I was willing to believe in them and work for them. That morning was one of clarity and joy, which is what I strive for all of the time.
Having wonderful friends visit and stay with us for New Year’s also made me incredibly grateful for the wonderful relationships I have made. As my friends and I played games, drank delicious wine, and snacked on food until well into the morning of New Year’s Day, I was so happy and grateful for having such amazing people in my life. In the future, when I come across those times where I let the little things bog me down, or let my emotions run away with me, I hope I can think of that moment of pure happiness and return to it.
May your New Year be one of happiness, joy, clarity, and prosperity with those whom you love. 🙂