Today’s lunchbox idea comes from the fact that we have so many eggs much of the year (spring through early fall–chickens lay according to how much light there is). We have 4 laying chickens (and 1 older chicken who no longer lays), who each lay 1 egg per day, which means about 28 eggs per week (give or take some). By mid-summer, we have eggs in several bowls in the fridge, and eggs in bowls on the counters. Fresh chicken eggs will stay fresh for months as long as the coating with which they are laid is not washed off. Our kitchen in summer looks like some weird temple devoted to eggs. When the chickens are at their laying peak in June-July-August, we are overrun with eggs. We have more eggs than we can use and, eventually, more than our neighbors want. At one point in time, Girlfriend wanted to have a business selling eggs. But, that never got off of the ground. And, of course, we can’t legally sell them until we go through a zillion steps to get a license, etc. So, we mainly give them to our neighbors who have to put up with the “bawking” chickens during the summer.
One of the awesome things about having the photo shoot for my book during August was that we had a chance to use up all of the eggs that had been accumulating. We baked something like 5 recipes per night, and went through our egg surplus in a few days. We even had to run out and buy a dozen extra eggs, which is quite unusual for summer.
As the fall has progressed and the egg laying has tapered off, we have fewer and fewer eggs. Soon I will have to switch into winter mode and start buying eggs for my baking recipes. But for now, we still have “homemade” eggs.
It may interest you to know that Girlfriend is the only one in our little family who can actually eat eggs. I found out several years ago that I get severe eczema when I eat too much of eggs (yes, the pun potential in that is not lost on me). I can eat them in small amounts in baked goods, but I can’t just sit down and eat a plate of eggs. If I do, I have to endure a horribly itchy and scaly rash on my hands for about 2 weeks. No fun and not worth it. dAhub has a similar reaction, so he doesn’t eat them either. So Girlfriend is our resident egg eater. And she goes through phases with eggs. When she was a toddler and a preschooler, she ate at least 1 hard-boiled egg a day. And before dAhub and I discovered our egg sensitivities, we often had quiches and omelets for easy dinners.
Then for a few years, Girlfriend went through a major anti-egg phase where she said she was tired of them. That was a particularly egg-ridden few years for our kitchen. Now she will eat them in rotation with other things, but not all the time (which is healthy, even though it makes me a bit crazy since we have so many eggs). In addition to the occasional breakfast dish, she likes them in these bite-sized quiches in her lunch or for an afternoon snack. Making these little quiches is fairly quick and easy and provides 24 quiche-bites that easily can be packed in a lunch, or frozen for later use. Also, though I haven’t done it yet, but I am guessing that these would be terrific party snacks. An adult can eat one in about 2 bites. In fact, I am going to make a note of that for our next party.
For taste-testing purposes, I ate a mini-quiche out of each batch I tested. And I have to say–these bites are really good! It was hard for me not to throw caution to the wind and eat many of them (but the price of itchiness is just too high for me to do that, though). I experimented with making these a few different ways. They are delicious with just herbs and cheese, and they are also terrific with roasted veggies in addition to the cheese and herbs. It turns out Girlfriend’s pal (who agreed to be a test subject) loved them this way (they day she came over I put onions and cauliflower in them–delish!). They are also amazing with garlic and zucchini. Girlfriend, however, is a purist who likes them best with just herbs and cheese. I recommend that you experiment and see what works best for your family.
Bite-Sized Cheese and Herb Quiches, Gluten-Free
Yield: 36 bite-sized quiches
- 1 extra-large egg (about 1/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup grated cheese of your choice (I like cheddar and parmesan)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried basil, dill, or tarragon, or herb(s) of your choice
- 1/4 cup (optional) roasted veggies of your choice, chopped
- 1 recipe Flaky Pie Crust, gluten-free (see link below)
- Make and refrigerate pie crust for recommended amount of time.
- Have ready a 24 cup or 2-12 cup mini-muffin pans.
- When dough is ready to be rolled, preheat oven to 400 degrees F/204 C/Gas Mark 6
- Place dough between 2 pieces of waxed paper (or plastic wrap) and roll out to 1/8 inch thick (no thinner).
- Cut out rounds with a 2 1/4 inch round cookie cutter. Place each round on the top of a mini-muffin pan cup and gently press down to form a cup with the dough. Repair and tears by smoothing dough with your fingers.
- Repeat dough rolling, cutting, and placing in cups procedure until 24 mini-muffin cups are filled.
- With a fork, pierce the bottom of each dough shell.
- Bake shells at 400 degrees F until lightly brown, about 10 minutes.
- While shells are baking, make your filling.
- In a large bowl, whisk egg until bubbly. Add remainder of ingredients and whisk until well combined.
- Remove baked shells from the oven.
- With a teaspoon, fill each shell to the top of the dough line. This will be about 1 full teaspoon. Be sure to dip down all the way into the filling mixture with the spoon in order to scoop out the grated cheese and veggies (if using).
- Once all of the shells are filled, bake at 400 degrees F for about 12 minutes--until the filling is puffed and the top is slightly brown.
- Remove from oven and set pan on a wire rack to cool completely (filling will deflate as quiches cool).
- Repeat process with remainder of the dough and filling. You should be able to get another 12 mini-quiches out of it.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.