Best Brunch Menu!

I have strong memories of spring brunches at my parents’ house with wonderful smells coming from the kitchen.  Trying to enjoy the smell of spring flowers, freshly growing grass and having some down-time on a Sunday.   Many of our brunch get-togethers had a menu of quiche, fresh squeezed orange juice, asparagus and spring mix salad.  The March issues of eating Well and Cooking Light Magazines give great alternative ideas for variations on this theme.

A great bonus to cooking asparagus is that it lends to many different flavor profiles. You can quick steam them for 5-7 minutes and then immerse them in an ice bath to halt the cooking process before they become weak.  If the stalks are too thick after you have snapped the ends off at their natural breaking point, you can use a carrot peeler on them to get to the most tender parts, leaving the tip as is.  I love the taste of asparagus that has been roasted at 425 degrees for 8-9 minutes, having been very lightly coated in flavored olive oil or olive oil spray.  Top with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and you have a beautifully roasted smell and flavor.  Top with reggiano parmesan, fat free feta, blue cheese or Gorgonzola for a fuller flavor.  Many people like the flavor of pesto or olive tapenade on the steamed vegetable.  My brother makes a decadent appetizer with prosciutto wrapped around asparagus with a drizzle of lemon and parmesan that is roasted at high heat.  Amazing!

My Mother’s favorite quiche was ham & cheese and mushroom bacon.  Light but filling, its a perfect brunch food.  Eating Well gives a great recipe for a healthy crust, or you can use store bought.

Basic Quiche Crust:
3/4 each white-wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cold butter into small piece\2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons ice water

-Put flour (both kinds) and salt into a medium bowl.  Rub the cold, cut butter into the  the dry ingredients until smaller but visible.
-Add sour cream & EVOO.  Toss with a fork to combine with dry ingredients
-Sprinkle ice water over the mixture.  Toss with a fork until evenly moist.  If mixture seems dry, add 1 more tablespoon ice water.  Knead the dough in the bowl a few times. Firmly press into a disk.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap annd refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.  If you wrap airtight, the dough will last in the freezer for up to 3 months.
-Makes one 9 inch crust

Classic Quiche (to this you can add what you love!)
Basic quiche crust
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 cups diced onion
1/8 teaspoon salt, plus 1/4 teaspoon divided
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
4 large eggs
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1. Prepare crust and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Coat a 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray.

3. Heat oil in a medium skillet over high heat.  Add onions and 1/8 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until onion starts to brown, for 3-5 minutes.  Add water, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are brown and very soft, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool while you roll out the crust.

4. Place the dough out on a sheet of parchment or wax paper, dusting with a little flour as needed.  If the dough was frozen, let it thaw a few days in fridge, and then let it come to room temperature.  Place the prepared pie pan upside down on the rolled out dough.  Holding one hand on top of the pan and the other hand under the paper, flip the dough and pan over so the dough is lining the pan.  Remove the paper  and patch any tears in the dough.  Trim the crust so that it hangs over the edge by 1 inch, then tuck the edges  under the rim and crimp with your fingers or fork.

5. Spread the caramelized onions into the bottom of the crust.  Top with parmesan (or low fat mozzarella if you prefer).  Whisk eggs, egg whites, sour cream, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Pour the mixture into the crust.

6.  Bake the quiche until puffed and firm when touched in the center, 40-50 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

7. When serving, cut into 8 pieces.

Sky is the limit on your opportunities; salmon, asparagus, Mexican spices, cheddar and broccoli, shrimp and spinach, or whatever makes you happy.

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