Mom always maintained that her own admission to Stanford some years later was on MJ’s coattails. I have serious doubts about that since Mom was far from the dumb blonde that she felt people often perceived her to be; they seemed to be deceived by her extraordinary beauty.
But the fact is that she was definitely no slouch in the brains department, possessing an insatiable intellectual curiosity that endured until the time of her death in her 90’s. She and MJ shared that passion for learning, a familial trait.
But MJ’s lifestyle could not have been more different from ours. Unlike Mom, she never married and never had children, so she showered love, attention, and life lessons upon me and my 8 siblings.
Among other things, she often treated us to fancy restaurants and plays on Broadway, and exposed us to a style of gracious and luxurious living that was the polar opposite of our own far simpler, much less sophisticated way of life.
She fostered further the seeds planted by Mom that encouraged in us an appreciation for music and the other arts, as well as for the richness other cultures and countries have to offer.
To that end, she funded international trips of exploration and discovery for each of us upon graduation from high school and during college. She was a major influence in my own decision to study languages and live overseas after high school and beyond.
Even the town MJ lived in, an artsy, affluent community within commuting distance of New York, was worlds apart from my small, middle class town. While our main street was lined with the comfortingly familiar Woolworth's, Grant’s store, pizzerias and sandwich shops, her main street was lined with boutiques, shops and restaurants that featured products and food from all over the world.
And among those was a small French restaurant run by a lady named Dolly (that's my recollection of her name anyway), who also ran a catering business. She was the precursor to Martha Stewart, who, some years later, would get her own start in this very same town.
It was there at Dolly's that I had quiche for the very first time. I have no recollection of what kind of I ate at that restaurant, but I loved it.
Besides being very tasty, quiche is actually a very easy dish to put together.
And when you get them on sale (the only way you should buy them, of course!), they are a reasonably priced buy as well, particularly the store or generic brand. I recommend buying a few extra when that happens and storing them in the freezer for later use.
Of course, if you’re good at making crust, then by all means save yourself some money by continuing to do that. But for most of us that's a dauntingly time-consuming task. I’m all for cutting corners and saving time whenever possible, as long as meals stay within budget parameters ---which this one does.
Another way to save time for the recipe is to use pre-grated cheese. I am able to find bags of it in my local grocery stores on sale for less than $4 per pound.
It's usually -- but not always -- a large 2 pound bag. (Sometimes the smaller, one-pound bags are actually cheaper per pound, so it pays to check the unit price always.)
In any case, I use what I need for this or other recipes, and freeze the rest in 1-2 cup portions, which is the amount most recipes call for.
But it is also very versatile and lends itself to all kinds of variation in flavorings and additions. The cheapest ones, of course, are the vegetarian varieties, such as the ones I present here.
But there are many versions that include meat and shellfish, if you’re so inclined to try them. Those would not be included in any budget cookbook, but would be great options for festive occasions or for entertaining.
My point is, though, that once you know how to make one quiche, it’s easy to make just about any kind of quiche, fancy or otherwise. This version here is an everyday variety that is easy on the pocketbook, and a breeze to put together.
Here’s the recipe.
Quiche with Spinach or Broccoli
Makes 4-6 servings
Prep time - 15 minutes
Start to finish time – approximately 75 minutes
Total recipe cost – approximately $7.00
Total per person meal cost with fresh, tossed salad – approximately $1.50
1 folded or rolled pie crust (from the dairy or frozen food section of most grocery stores)
1 homemade pie crust for a 9-inch pie
4-6 ounces low-fat brick cheese, or 1-1½ cups pre-grated cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, etc.)
1 cup skim milk
1 10-ounce box or approximately 3/4 of a 1-pound bag of frozen spinach or broccoli
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
(Recipe continues after photos)
- Remove the crust from the refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature for a while.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Thaw the spinach or broccoli in a microwavable package or container on a plate in the microwave on low power for about 3 minutes and allow the vegetables to drain in a colander or on a plate.
- Coarsely grate the cheese onto a plate. This will make about 1-1½ cups of grated cheese.
- Center the crust in a 9-inch deep pie plate or quiche dish and press it into the bottom and sides. Fold over and pinch any overhanging crust, if necessary.
- Put a cookie sheet under the quiche pan with the crust (to catch any potential spill over during the cooking process).
- Spread the grated cheese over the bottom of the crust.
- Spread the thawed spinach or broccoli evenly over the cheese in the pie crust.
- Beat the eggs with a whisk or fork in a medium bowl for about 30 seconds. Add the milk, and salt and pepper to the eggs and beat again to mix well, about 30 more seconds.
- Pour the egg mixture over the cheese and vegetables. Make sure the vegetables are evenly distributed throughout.
- Slide the cookie sheet with the quiche into the oven and set the timer for 45 minutes.
- When the timer goes off, check the quiche to see if it is done. It is ready when an inserted knife comes out clean, and the crust and top are golden. Return it to the oven for 10-minute intervals, if necessary.
- Cut the quiche into sixths or quarters and serve with a tossed green salad.