Okay, so I realize that the title of this recipe might be a little misleading. This quiche doesn’t contain any cookies but it does contain plenty of nutritious ingredients. Seeing as many unhealthy choices will undoubtedly tempt us at 4th of July celebrations (I’m looking at you potato salad), it’s nice to detox with a light and refreshing summer quiche.
This quiche actually makes me think of Cookie Monster, the lovable and seemingly emotional eater from Sesame Street.
Long ago, dear little Cookie Monster always enjoyed cookies to his heart’s content. Fast forward to the early 2000s and it seemed as though poor little Cookie Monster had the chocolate chip cookie ripped from his finger…err…uhh paw thing? This stemmed from a song that Hoots the Owl sang to Cookie Monster called “A Cookie is a Sometimes Food”. All of the sudden, the media was going crazy, claiming that Cookie Monster would be renamed something like “Veggie Monster” to reflect the fact that he ate more nutritious things instead of his beloved cookies. (Read more about it here http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Is_Cookie_Monster_now_the_Veggie_Monster%3F)
Cookie Monster himself insisted that this was not going to happen when he was interviewed by Matt Lauer. He was just promoting the fact that he enjoyed eating healthy foods in addition to cookies. He ate his fruits first, then he ate a cookie for dessert. (Isn’t that kind of like chasing a kale smoothie with a chocolate milkshake?) Could it be that Cookie Monster’s marketing people wanted to re-vamp his image due to a childhood obesity epidemic sweeping the nation? Worried that Cookie’s harmless little cookie was the root of all food evil, perhaps creators of Sesame Street decided to solve the problem at its obvious root-Cookie Monster’s cookie!
Who knows whether that’s true, but in any case, the rumors regarding Cookie Monster’s name change were indeed fiction, and Cookie Monster continues to blissfully eat his favorite chocolate chip cookies- in moderation of course. In fact, Cookie has always promoted healthy eating on Sesame Street, even throughout 1970s and 80s. And today, sesamestreet.org has a recipe for “Cookie Monster’s Banana Bran Muffins” (http://www.sesamestreet.org/parents/topicsandactivities/recipes/branmuffin). Pretty healthy, eh?
So anyway, today I am sharing a recipe for a light and healthy summer quiche, for the days when you feel like a “Cookie Monster”. This quiche can be served for brunch, lunch, or a light dinner. It is fluffy yet fulfilling, savory and slightly sweet. I include two colors of bell peppers, yellow and red. I like red because they’re a little sweet, but both are high in vitamins C, B6, A, E and several other nutrients, important for our overall health and metabolic processes. I also add leeks, a green onion, and mushrooms. It’s encased in a healthy, light and crunchy whole wheat crust made with extra virgin olive oil. (And yes, Ina Garten, I used “good olive oil”.) I also added some flaxseed, which are a sneaky source of fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids. They add an ever-so-slight crunchy, nutty flavor to the crust.
Feel free to sub in some other veggies if you prefer; zucchini and yellow squash, for example, would be good in this I imagine. I also use mild Mozzarella cheese in mine, because I like the simplicity of the mild flavor since I’m going for the whole “light and healthy” vibe here. You can also sub in some other cheese such as goat cheese or feta cheese. But beware that if you decide to eat a cookie before you eat this quiche, Cookie Monster might spring himself upon you, slap it from your hand, and give you a carrot.
“Cookie Monster” Bell Pepper and Leek Quiche
Serves 6 as main dish
9-in Pie Crust
• 1 ¼ cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
• ¼ tsp. baking powder
• 2-3 tbsp. ice water or very cold water
• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tbsp. flaxseed
• 1/8 tsp. salt
• ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
• 1.5-2 medium bell peppers, finely chopped (different colors if on hand)
• ½-¾ cup chopped mushrooms
• 1 large leek, sliced lengthwise and crosswise
• 1 green onion, sliced finely
• 3 eggs
• 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat Mozzarella cheese (or other shredded/crumbled cheese)
• salt to taste
• 1 tsp. ground black pepper (or more if you like things spicy)
• 1 tsp. garlic powder
• 1 ½ tsp. oregano
Puttin’ it Together:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Combine flour, baking powder, flaxseed, salt, and ground black pepper in a large bowl and mix. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour olive oil and ice water into the well. Mix ingredients until crumbs form. Try to form into a uniform ball and transfer to pie dish. The mixture will be very crumbly. Press down and evenly spread crust in a 9” pie plate. Pat down flat and press up along the sides of the pie dish. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool and reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
2. Rinse and dry leeks thoroughly, trim off the dark green portion, and chop vertically in half, and then horizontally. Chop bell peppers, green onions, and mushrooms into small pieces.
3. Beat the eggs and flour in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
4. Sauté on high med-heat the chopped leeks, mushrooms, bell peppers, and green onions in some olive oil, adding garlic powder, salt, oregano, and ground black pepper to season them until they have changed color and are just cooked through (about 5-6 minutes).
5. Add vegetable mixture to the beaten egg mixture and mix together thoroughly. Add in ½ cup shredded cheese and mix again.
6. Pour egg mixture into pie dish and top with remaining half of the shredded cheese. Garnish with long, thin slices of bell pepper if desired. Bake at 350°F for 40-50 minutes, until golden-brown and firm on top. Let cool to close to room temperature and serve. This quiche can be frozen.