Sunday, August 31, 2014

Crustless Quiche Mini-Loaves

This recipe is flourless, thus, gluten-free. The filling ingredients are—besides evaporated milk and eggs—coarse-cut ham pieces, cut-up sliced Swiss cheese, and thawed and drained, previously frozen zucchini. Because has so much sodium, I decided Swiss cheese would contribute less additional sodium than cheddar or other saltier cheese.

I had spotted an intriguing recipe for crustless mini-quiche that used cupcake cups. I started poking around for additional crustless quiches, which I list some links at the bottom of this article.

My inclination to modify kicked in. Why not make the quiche totally gluten-free? With my crusted quiches, I was always adding one or two tablespoons of flour. How about, instead of using cupcake pans, I finally use my mini-loaf pan that I've had for years and not yet used? The one ingredient that nudged me to make the recipe items all come together? Zucchini! More zucchini from the co-worker who had already given me lots of!

My pixstrip shows eight image areas:
  1. Implements
  2. separate bowls of zucchini, cheese, ham
  3. zucchini, cheese, ham combined in a larger glass bowl
  4. eggs, evaporated milk, spray oil
  5. mini-loaf pan, prepped with the spray oil
  6. Combo pic:
    1. mini-loaf pan with the filling mixture parceled out into the pan wells
    2. evaporated milk and eggs whisked together in the measuring cup pitcher
    3. closer-in pic of pitcher showing the total amount of fluid
  7. baked mini-loaf quiches
  8. baked mini-loaf quiches, one dished onto a plate (yum!)
Implements
  • mini-loaf pan
  • wide-mouth mixing bowl
  • measuring cup pitcher or similar
  • wire whisk
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
Ingredients
  • Solid fillings, listed in the order that the 2nd pic shows
    • thin-sliced zucchini, previously frozen, then thawed and drained to weigh 10 oz. (YMMV if you use fresh zucchini.)
    • 8 oz shredded Swiss cheese (I used thin-sliced Swiss cheese that I cut into smaller pieces.)
    • 8 oz cubed ham or similar (I cut ham pieces into small-cube size.)
  • Wet
    • 4 eggs
    • 12 oz evaporated milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Spray oil into the pan wells. You can do this step any time before you add the solid fillings or fluids into the pan.
  3. Prepare the bowls of zucchini, Swiss cheese, and ham. Stir together in a bigger bowl.
  4. Divvy up the fillings into the mini-loaf pan wells.
  5. Beat eggs and evaporated milk together in a separate bowl. (I used a large, plastic measuring cup.) If desired, beat the eggs first, then blend in the milk.
  6. Pour the egg-and-milk mixture into the pan wells, being careful not to overfill.
  7. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick.
  8. Use a cooky spatula or similar to press a mini-quiche's sides away from pan walls, then lift it onto a plate.
  9. Repeat extraction for each quiche. You can store the rest of them by wrapping each individually in food wrap and freezing them.
Post-Recipe Thoughts
When I tried extracting a mini-loaf quiche (gingerly using a cooky spatula and plastic knife), I noticed some fluid at the bottom of the pan well. It's a good thing I had drained the zucchini before I mixed and baked.

Each wrapped mini-quiche weighed about 4 ounces. Hmmm, snack size!

On occasion, I've thawed one a few hours or overnight in the fridge, then microwave it for about a minute, using a nearly ancient, low-power, 700-watt oven). I'd still get fluid, which I concluded came from the ham. (I've reheated ham slices from the same ham and wound up with fluid.)

One friend, more patient than I, reheated one mini-loaf quiche that I gave her. She placed hers inside a dish and lid set, and heated it in a regular oven. Hers came out fine, without extra fluid.

What did I do with the fluid? Sipped it like it was a broth. Tasty!

My recipe is versatile enough for using different ingredients, different baking shapes. You could even try pouring the ingredients into a pie shell for a regular quiche. For that matter, try the cupcake-sized wells as several recipes say to use.

The following webpages attracted my attention while I searched for ideas for crustless, mini, and quiche:

Crustless Veggie Mini Quiches
This recipe uses Egg Beaters pourable eggs. Yields cupcake-sized quiches. Some good advice about ingredients:
Use your favorite vegetables in these mini quiches. Firm vegetables such as carrots, broccoli or asparagus will need to be cooked in the microwave a few minutes and then chopped finely so they will be tender at the end of the baking time.
Mini Loaf Pan Quiche Lorraine
This recipe calls for loads of ingredients, including flour. (This recipe makes crusted mini-loaves in individual pans.)

Crustless Quiche Lorraine
In contrast to the previous recipe I listed, this one makes a full-size quiche that calls for a pound of bacon, a whole onion, and six eggs. The author does mention using a 12" ceramic quiche pan. She suggests cutting the ingredients by about a third if using a pie pan.

Crustless Quiche for One
This crustless mini-quiche is flour-free and free of cow dairy products, using soy milk and soy creamer. Even though using vegan and soy cheese, the author suggests alternatives of mozzarella or cheddar.

Mini Crustless Quiches
The recipe looks heavy on the eggs (5) and light on the milk (1/4 cup). The yield is six muffin-size mini-quiches, but I can't tell the muffin well size. The author makes a statement about about types of veggies to use (similar to another sentiment):
you can add whatever veggies you like {or tolerate} or happen to have on hand in your home
Mini Quiche Recipe
This recipe is light on both the eggs (1) and milk (1/2 cup). She uses a mini-muffin pan for 15 crusted quiches.

Update, as of 9/10/2014
  • Original zucchini amount: 2 cups prviously frozen zucchini, thawed to measure 2 cups
  • Original baking time: about 30 minutes, then test for doneness

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Varying Zucchini Mini-Muffin Methods

I previously posted recipes for round and square mini-muffins, using zucchini that a co-worker provided from his summer bounty. I coarse-shredded it with my trusty Salad Shooter. I varied for pans—one type being round aluminum, and the other type being square-well silcone. As the batches were at least a week or so apart, it wasn't easy to contrast taste and texture results between them.

Since then, I baked another two batches, using both kinds of pans at the same time. One batch (upper part of pixstrip) had zucchini that I shredded, which another co-worker provided. (I have such sharing co-workers!) The most recent batch (lower part of pixstrip) had zucchini that I previously shredded, froze, and thawed.

Contrasting Round (Aluminum Pan) and Square (Silicone Pan)
For starters, neither recent batch of silicon-pan mini-muffins tasted of siliconey weirdness. As for different baking times, I encountered that issue in the most recent batch, when I positioned the baking pans differently from the batch before. More on that later.

The round mini-muffins look to have perfect crowns. The square ones, although also having crowns, seem to favor one edge over another. The slight lopsidedness might result from my not having sprayed the shots of oil as evenly into the squares as into the circles.

Contrasting Pan-Type Positioning in the Oven
The pixstrip shows the two different pan positionings in the oven. For the most recent batch, I placed the round-well aluminum pan on the bottom rack, closest to the oven element. The mini-muffins wound up browner and drier than the square ones, which were on the upper rack. (I had baked both batches at 350 for 15 minutes each, with pre-heating.)

Contrasting Fresh-Shred and Previously Frozen Zucchini
The thawed zucchini was very watery and less bulky than fresh-shredded. I poured and mixed in the entire thawed 8 ounces without draining the fluid. The batter was slightly easier to stir than when using fresh-shred. The results seemed the same as using fresh-shred. As noted, however, the pan positioning and timing seemed to affect the results.

Conclusion
  • No significant difference between using fresh-shredded zucchini and frozen/thawed zucchini. Frozen means convenience for using the zucchini whenever, and without fear of having too much or too little fluid.
  • If using metal pans, bake for a minute or so less than if using silicone. Or put the metal pan on a high rack.
  • My silicone pans have more wells for area than the aluminum pans, making them more compact for quantity.
  • It seems the silicone pans yield a slightly more moist result, but not by much.
  • The slight downside of silicone is that it requires structural support (a metal pan) in the oven because of its floppiness.

Update—Another batch
Yesterday (Th September 4), I baked a batch of 12 round and 24 square mini-muffins—using one aluminum and one silicone pan. The frozen zucchini that I took down from the freezer the previous night had ice crystals in it. Thus, when thawed, was very watery. Although I didn't think to weigh the bagful, it didn't feel any fuller than the bagful that I used in a previous baking session.

The results, after 16 minutes of baking, were 12 round mini-muffins that were nicely browned at the edges and tan on the surfaces and 24 square mini-muffins that were pale and had a texture as though I steam-cooked them. Delish as expected!
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