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Confession time: I’m an absolute bear in the morning.  Ask my kids.  By the time they’re ready to pop out of bed, my eyes are still glued shut and I’m groggy and exhausted from a horrible night’s sleep.  But I’m starving and have to emergency pee, which just irritates me further, and when my littlest one starts screaming and crying because clearly her need for fresh juice the SECOND she rises is more important than my need to avoid having an accident on my way to the bathroom…let the roaring begin.

And then breakfast happens, and everything changes.

There’s something magical about breakfast – not just the eating part, but the whole experience if you do it right.  Maybe I watched too many reruns of Leave it to Beaver growing up, but I’ve always romanticized this time of day in my mind.  And more recently, my obsession with the writings and speeches of the world’s most famous idler, Tom Hodgkinson, has only thrown more fuel on top of that fire.

Breakfast, as much as it can in this time of fast-paced everything, should be dragged out and enjoyed.  It should be a pleasant thing to wake up to, no matter what your domestic situation is.  Maybe you’re that couple who likes to sit quietly reading your respective newspaper sections while sipping coffee and picking slowly at authentic French croissants.  Or maybe you’re that boisterous family of seven who likes to cook pancakes together, children shouting and climbing, batter dripping everywhere.  Both scenarios, by the way, sound like heaven to me.  Because they’re unique and real and personal.  And that’s the greatest thing about breakfast, really.  There’s no pressure for unattainable perfection.  Just enjoying life the way we like to enjoy it.

I’m a bacon and eggs girl, all the way.  I like to put the kettle on for my coffee first (I use a French press), then put on some music (generally anything in the blues/folk/americana ballpark).  Throw the bacon in the pan, cook the eggs in the bacon fat.  My girls love being a part of the breakfast thing, which for Abby means whisking the eggs and for Sadie means sitting on my hip and watching the bacon sizzle.  Sometimes I switch it up and add toast, fresh fruit, etc…nothing gets me more excited than the sight of a smorgasbord at breakfast.  But the bacon and the eggs must be present, or there’s no point in getting out of bed.

Very rarely do I tire of this routine.  But it does happen.  Or I simply sense the night before that I will not be in the mood, or have the time, to go through the entire cooking process, which means that breakfast must be ready for me before the first growl of my stomach.  My solution for this?  Quiche.

Quiche is actually my go-to meal for any situation, any time of day.  Lazy Sunday brunch?  Quiche.  Last minute dinner guests?  Quiche.  It’s quick, easy and super versatile.  Especially when you start with a no-fail base like WLBC’s savory pie crust.  Just press it into your pan, fill with whisked eggs and your favorite meats and vegetables, and bake.  So simple.

Laboring in the kitchen for the reward of a warm, hearty meal is a task that many of us welcome during the colder months, as it serves both to pass the time and heat up our homes.  But it’s been a long winter, and we’re ready for a break, and our children are anxious to get outdoors.  Let’s put the kettle on for our coffee – or better yet, brew it the night before and drink it iced – and slice up a pre-cooked quiche for all the hungry bellies at the breakfast table.  Let’s lighten the load of our day and savor the gift of simplicity.

There are many, many recipes for quiche to pick and choose from.  Here is a personal favorite that I have found to be both toothsome and acceptably easy.  Feel free to substitute any of the ingredients to suit your own dietary needs or cravings.  Bon appetit!

BACON AND LEEK QUICHE

1 recipe WLBC savory pie crust mix
4 thick slices Applewood-smoked bacon, coarsely chopped
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 small leeks, white and pale green parts, chopped
1 cup half-and-half
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese

1. Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 350.

2. Mix pie crust mix according to package directions, and press into tart/quiche pan.

3. Make the filling: In a frying pan, fry the bacon over medium heat, stirring, until crisp and golden, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour out some of the fat if necessary, add the butter to the pan and melt over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.

In a bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg until combined. Scatter the leeks, bacon, and Gruyère evenly in the pastry shell. Carefully pour the egg mixture into the shell. Put in the oven and bake until the filling is puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, then serve. Serves 6.