In the summer of 2007 I was kicking off the third trimester of my pregnancy. I was sporting a huge tummy, a nice outie belly button and a kick-ass set of cankles. I was definitely not your glamorous yummy mummy to-be, but I didn't care, I was pretty darn excited. One of the many joys of pregnancy, in addition to how beautiful you feel (not!), is that all sorts of people volunteer to celebrate your impending parenthood with parties commonly known as baby showers. I was very fortunate that several friends and family members decided to get in on the party-throwing action. The gist of each event was a gathering of good friends, the giving of gifts to the baby-to-be, lots of rubbing my belly and many platters of delicious food.
Eating good food is a great form of pleasure for me and pregnancy only exacerbated this pleasure. For those joyous nine months I could not get enough food. Could. Not. Get. Enough. I know it was a minor miracle that I never had a whiff of nausea, not once. This was a good thing because, oh man, I could pack it in like a truck driver. I starting eating around week 6 of my pregnancy and steadily consumed half of Manhattan's food offerings for eight straight months. And then, after 40 weeks and 3 days of pregnancy, I delivered quite a large baby, 9lbs 9oz to be exact. People ohhhhed and ahhhed over her round cheeks and thick thighs, exclaiming "What a big baby!" but I can't say I was surprised.
This vegetable pie was served at my baby shower on Martha's Vineyard. The minute I got home from this event I called the hostess, to thank her for the car seat, of course, and politely beg for this recipe. I loved it at first bite because it is really a cross between a quiche and a pie. It is egg-y, cheese-y and full of vegetables which are all baked into a wonderful buttery pie crust. It serves as a nice departure from the egg "strata-sphere", as my brother and I used to refer to our mother's Sunday brunch entertaining regimen. The beauty of it is that you can really substitute any vegetables you want as long as you keep the ratio of eggs, cheese and cream constant. It has become one of my go-to recipes for brunch when we entertain at home. It is fun to change up the flavors seasonly, I tend to use whatever vegetables are fresh at the farmer's market.
Anytime Vegetable Pie, adapted from my friend Chris Cox (thanks for the baby shower!)
1 pie crust (I am no stranger to Pillsbury frozen pie crust, but feel free to make your own if you have the time)
1 red pepper, chopped (or any other vegetable you feel like!)
1/2 purple onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tomato, sliced
1 T. fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 c. half & half
2 c. Monterey Jack, shredded
1/3 c. Parmesan, grated, plus more for sprinkling
Salt & Pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare pie crust in a 9" pie dish according to directions.
2. Saute vegetables and garlic in olive oil until vegetables are softened and fragrant.
3. In a bowl mix eggs, half & half, monterey jack and parmesan.
4. Add cooked vegetables to the egg mixture and combine. Then add the chopped basil and combine.
5. At this point I recommend adding salt & pepper to taste and perhaps seasoning it with any other herb that might be fresh at the time your making it.
6. Pour mixture into prepared pie crust and place sliced tomatoes on top. Sprinkle lightly with parmesan cheese.
7. Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes.
8. You can tell when the pie is done by making sure the center is set when you lightly jiggle the pan.
*Naptime Recipe Props: This recipe is a fast, easy brunch recipe that always delivers. Last weekend our friend Pierre had three pieces in one sitting! You can put it in your "no-fail" file and have fun playing with all the different vegetable flavor combinations you can find.
*Naptime Stopwatch: This recipe takes about 30 minutes to prepare, which includes pre-baking the pie crust. Once you pop it in the oven you only need to check on it one or two times, so you have plenty of time to do other things.
*Naptime husband review: "My favorite! I love it when you make this, and our company always loves it too. I wish you could make it for me every morning." Wife note: In your dreams I am going to make you a quiche for breakfast every day.
*Naptime toddler review: "Yum Yum Mom. I love eggs and this pie is so nice and chewy, perfect for eating with my little mouth. I also like the way it sticks to the walls when I fling it across the room!"