One way to invest in relationships, be it with your family, friends or partner, is by cooking with them.
Cooking together teaches you loads about people: Are they a neat freak or a mess maker? Do they measure or go splash for splash? Do they drink while they cook (a glass of wine, people...)? Do they have fun testing out new things or prefer a tried-and-true course? Do they embrace the passion of cooking or are they more comfortable following a neatly defined recipe? Either way, the fact that they’re cooking at all is a great thing!
Whether you’re inclined to try different foods with your loved one or not, the most important thing is to do just that: Try everything, play, experiment! This is what helps you develop recipes that both of you fall in love with time and time again. (And maybe fall in love even more with each other!) For my husband John and I, that recipe is quiche.
As we celebrate our second anniversary at the end of August, one of our favorite traditions we've developed involves our Sunday morning spreads—we make a huge brunch together. We love to do things like simple bagel sandwiches with lox, tomato, cream cheese and capers, mixed green salads with Raddichio and shaved parmesan, slices of melon and mozzarella, berries with yogurt and homemade granola...but our all-time favorite, easy, indulgent brunch is homemade quiche.
I (sometimes) make my own dough for the crust, but you could just as easily use store-bought frozen pie crust, score it a few times at the bottom and par-bake, then pour in your homemade filling—the fact that it's customizable is hugely important! Relationships are all about compromise and listening to the other person's wants and figuring out where they meet your own (case in point, my original version of this quiche had mushrooms, which I love, but John's not a fan, so I swapped in zucchini). Bake it up, and voila! Love at first bite.
Zucchini, Leek & Feta Quiche
*Super easy all-butter pastry crust from scratch:
In a large bowl, sift together your flour and salt. Use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut in your butter, dispersing it into the flour and salt until only pea-sized or smaller butter pieces remain. You want to touch the dough with your hands as little as possible and try to keep the butter chilled throughout.
Once your dry mix and butter is about sand consistency, start adding in your milk a tablespoon at a time just until you can pinch a piece of dough between your fingers and it sticks together. At this point, gently use your hands to gather dough into a ball, wrap tightly in saran wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, remove dough from the fridge and roll it out on a well-floured surface to about ¼” thick. Use a rolling pin to lift the dough off the counter (you can use a spatula to help get it off the counter surface) and place it over a greased 9” tart or pie pan, being careful to sink dough into the deepest part of the dish so you don’t get holes or stretching. Leave about 2 “ dough overhanging the edge of the pan.
Tuck 1” under the outside rim of the dish so you get a lifted ridge, and use your fingertips to form any fun decorative fluting pattern you like. If you don’t want the bottom of your crust to be soggy, you can blind bake at this point by lining the crust with parchment paper, weighing it down with a about 3 cups of dried beans, and baking it in a 400˚ oven for 20 minutes.
Remove beans and parchment, and bake another 5-10 minutes until the bottom begins to brown, being careful not to burn the edge. Cool slightly on a rack. Then it’s ready to be filled with any quiche or savory tart filling you like and baked again! It also goes well to balance out sweet fillings, or you can add 1-2 tablespoons of granulated sugar to the dough to give it a more cookie taste.
Preheat oven to 400˚ F. Heat olive oil in a saucepan large enough to fit all your vegetables over medium heat. Add leeks and stir to soften and sweat, being careful to avoid burning. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk your eggs and slowly incorporate milk to a nice froth.
Score your pre-made pie crust by giving the bottom 4 or 5 pokes with a fork. Bake at 400˚ for 5-8 minutes until bottom is slightly puffy and golden brown. Remove from oven and arrange sautéed leeks in the shell, crumble feta on top and arrange zucchini slices in concentric circles over the feta. Whisk mint and salt into egg and milk mixture and pour into pie shell, filling to just below the rim, about 2 cups.
Turn oven down to 375˚ and bake for 35-40 minutes until top is golden brown and egg and milk custard is cooked through. With 5 minutes of cooking time left, sprinkle the top of the quiche with pecorino or parmesan and allow it to melt and turn a beautiful golden brown.
Investing in your relationships (and recipes) on a regular basis will make them both feel like second nature.
Can’t make it an every-Sunday occasion? Sometimes, doing special things on random days, when it is least expected, makes an even bigger impact….get cookin’!
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