April 6, 2015

Spring Vegetable Mini-Quiches

It's springtime! -Ish. It's 55 degrees. We've waited long enough. We go out to the yard, Darwin and me and Nova wrapped to my chest in her jammies and soft hat.

We head for the backyard compost heap, garden tools in hand. The heap rises up from the ground like I remember it from the fall, a slurry of onion skins, banana peels, egg shells, broccoli stalks, collapsed pumpkins, pineapple tops, kale stems, celery butts, sweet potato peels, and many unidentifiable bits and scraps, plus little oval produce stickers swirling in the middle like a minor trash gyre.

Go ahead and hack at it, I tell Darwin, who takes his kid-sized purple hoe to the pile. I angle my shovel into the edge, and together we uncover the black, fertile interior of the pile: the worm's work.

More than robins or crocuses or disappearing snow, it's this big heap of scraps that excites me for spring. Soon we'll smooth this good compost into the garden beds, sprinkle rows of tiny seeds into the ground, and... well, wait, some more. We'll wait for a long time. But the waiting after planting is different, delicious.

In the meantime, we leave our mud-crusted boots on the welcome mat, and do delicious indoors, conjuring spring with miniature quiches made from of-the-moment asparagus, sweet peas, and tender carrots in cups of rich egg and cheese.

Eat them warm or cool, in your kitchen, at school, or at work, for breakfast or dinner. Enjoy making them, and enjoy eating them; you know what to do with the scraps.


Spring Vegetable Mini-Quiches
Makes 12 mini-quiches

4 eggs
1/4 large sweet onion, chopped small
1 med-large carrot, peeled and chopped small
10 medium asparagus spears, chopped small
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated whole milk Mozzarella
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
salt* and black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 325, and line a muffin tin with silicon liners. (Aluminum liners work, but mine always come away from the liners flawlessly when I use silicon.)

In a large saute pan over medium heat, cook onions and carrots in a swirl of EVOO until the vegetables are translucent and softening, about ten minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs with Mozzarella, Parmesan, and cottage cheeses. Add pepper and salt, if using.

Add asparagus to the vegetables on the stove, and saute a few minutes more.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the frozen peas, letting the peas cool off the mixture slightly.

Add the vegetables to the egg bowl, and stir to combine.

Spoon the egg/veggie mixture into the lined muffin tin, and bake until centers are completely set and tops are just barely toasting, 20-25 minutes.

Cool ten minutes, then serve.

*I don't add salt, because the Parmesan cheese is salty. Use your own judgement.

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