Rebirthday Quiche

My belief system has always rested in people, in myself, in the power that humans have to do beautiful things with the energy that runs through us. It was something I saw reflected in a handful of gorgeous souls I’ve found sparkling in fields of tall grass, special stones I’ve collected to keep me from floating away. I find them still occasionally and hold onto them as tightly as I did when I was little.

I had never experienced what can happen when the energetic power of a collection of lovely people, a vibrant community, focuses its love. My community, one I walked into by chance after moving to a new city, found me when I was just diagnosed and lifted me up: made me meals, took my children into their homes, showed up at mine to keep me company at a time when some of my closest friends I’d held my whole life were struggling to face my diagnosis. It was honestly the closest thing to the divine I’ve ever experienced. We wrote to each other brave, healing words that bound us together through journal entries on my blog. Many of my readers there I had never met, but many more were silent characters from communities of my past. I had overlooked some stones, distracted on my path of moving forward, growing up, getting out. I felt the integration of all of this love like a baptism, doused over me when my inner supply had suddenly and dramatically drained dry. Their words held and healed me, my family. They fueled my fight. I will never forget the power I witnessed of near strangers, given to me as easily as a vase of flowers but more beautiful and ever-blooming. Their love and kindness transferred to me a kind of strength I had never known or needed before. It refilled my inner well that still brims full today.

On the anniversary of my craniotomy that I lovingly refer to as my “rebirthday,” I throw a party. Not for me, though I am grateful on that day as any other to be alive, but for them. To bring them into my home, shower them with the love and food they offered me without my asking. It is an honor to be able to offer a single token of kindness once a year in service to the great debt I owe my community.

For my “rebirthday” this year, I arrived home after a trip to visit my beloved corner of New York City, the community that raised me before my sons did and well after my parents tried. A part of me (maybe the part that lounges around the sacred pool, now overflowing, awkwardly in a swimsuit) still can’t believe that the words “home” and “New York” are separate. It is one of many surprises of my adult life, this trail of a thousand utterances of “yes” that led me to a little yellow house on a hill in Seattle.

It is there that I opened my doors and ushered in my community, our dining table filled with offerings that are still only food at a party until they show up. Their love shown in their presence, in that moment as it was years ago, transforms the space, each other, my collection of quiche and dip and punch. Just like that, in the glow of community, we are all reborn. Together.

Deep-Dish Quiche

This is a recipe outline of sorts – quiche is one of those things that can be filled with tasty leftovers, making sense of little odds and ends. I made four of these quiches over the span of a few weeks, cooled them completely, then froze them on wire racks. Once frozen, I wrapped each quiche in plastic then aluminum foil. After labeling them to avoid confusing a future version of myself, I popped them back in the freezer. On the day of my brunch, I returned each to the oven, still frozen, until they were heated through (again, 350°F for 1 hour). With crudité, a few dips (also from the freezer), and a humble assortment of fresh fruit, I had a very easy menu for my big day and could focus on my guests!

For the crust:
1 (5-ounce) log soft goat cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup arrowroot flour, optional
1/2 cup psyllium husk
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan or Kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 large eggs

For the custard:
1 ½ cups half-and-half
6 large eggs
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

For the filling:
About 4 cups cooked vegetables
About 2 cups grated or crumbled cheese
Up to ½ cup chopped fresh herbs, optional

1 / Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in lowest position. Combine crust ingredients, without the egg, in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles fine pebbles or a coarse meal. Add egg and pulse to evenly combine (mixture will hydrate and hold together when pressed).

2 / Turn crust mixture out into the bottom of a 9-inch, deep cake pan with a removable bottom (the kind cheesecakes are typically made in). Press mixture about ¾ of the way up the sides (and about 1/4-inch thick) and evenly on the bottom. (I use a straight-sided dry measuring cup and press it firmly against the crust, against the sides and along the bottom, until it is as smooth and even as possible.) Transfer cake pan to the refrigerator and set aside.

3 / In a blender jar, combine custard ingredients and blend for about a minute to thoroughly combine.

4 / Fill your quiche crust with your favorite combination of ingredients – this is a great way to reimagine leftovers! (Favorites of mine include: roasted asparagus with feta and dill, sautéed peppers and onions with grated pepper jack…though the possibilities are endless.)

5 / Set on a large rimmed baking sheet and transfer to bottom rack in preheated oven. Bake until the custard is puffed, golden and no longer wobbles when the pan is jiggled, about 1 hour. Transfer the quiche to a wire rack to cool completely. Run a thin knife along the edge of the pan to release crust, then unhinge and remove the ring. Slide a knife or large, thin spatula between the bottom crust and the metal round to loosen it, then pull round from beneath the crust to set the quiche directly on the wire rack. (See note for freezing instructions.)

This post was originally published in February 2019, right here on this blog. It’s a favorite, so I thought I would post it again! Thank you for being here and continuing to read while I work on new projects. To hear about them, sign up for my monthly newsletter here. I’ll be honored to keep you posted!