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Picnic-size Southwestern zucchini quiches are a snap to make

 

This recipe for Picnic Size Southwestern Zucchini Quiches comprises individual cupcake-sized pies, each one neatly ensconced in its own liner.

This recipe for Picnic Size Southwestern Zucchini Quiches comprises individual cupcake-sized pies, each one neatly ensconced in its own liner. Photo by: Sara Moulton via AP

 

Sara Moulton/The Associated Press

 

 

You'd think quiche would be a summer picnic staple. In practice, the beloved cheese pies are too darn messy. Cutting one into slices while you're sitting in the wild or at the beach can be tricky. And if you figure, "Aha! I'll slice it up ahead of time," you discover there's no easy way to transport the individual wedges. Finally, however you transport your quiche to the picnic, it's gotta be served with a knife and fork. No way. Picnics are all about finger food. 

 

This recipe for Picnic Size Southwestern Zucchini Quiches provides a snazzy solution to the problem -- individual cupcake-sized pies, each one neatly ensconced in its own liner. And making them is a snap because I've swapped out the typical labor-intensive pastry pie crust for a crumb crust made with butter-moistened Triscuit crackers. (In fact, any kind of cracker will do. So will bread crumbs.) It's sort of like a savory version of a graham cracker crust. 

 

The filling consists of eggs, cottage cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, shredded sauteed zucchini and canned chiles. You're welcome to replace the Monterey Jack with a different cheese and the zucchini with a different cooked vegetable. Just be sure to keep the amounts the same. This filling is poured on top of the crumb crust and baked in muffin tins. Transporting the finished quiches to the picnic is a cinch -- they ride in the tins. 

 

And these little guys hold their shape beautifully. You just pick up one, peel back the paper and eat it as you would a cupcake. (I recommend using cupcake liners made of brown parchment paper, if you can find them.) And they're versatile, too -- delicious right out of the oven, at room temperature, or even cold. 

 

 

 

PICNIC-SIZE SOUTHWESTERN ZUCCHINI QUICHES 

 

Start to finish: 1 hour, 15 minutes 

 

Servings: 6 

 

 

 

22 whole Triscuit crackers ground fine in a food processor (about 1 cup) or 1 cup finely ground cracker crumbs of your choice or dried bread crumbs 

 

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided 

 

1 medium zucchini (about 6 ounces) 

 

Kosher salt 

 

1/2 cup finely chopped onion 

 

1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 

 

1/2 teaspoon baking powder 

 

3 large eggs 

 

6 ounces coarsely grated Monterey Jack cheese (about 2 1/2 cups) 

 

1 cup whole milk cottage cheese 

 

One 4 1/2-ounce can chopped green chiles 

 

Bottled salsa as an accompaniment 

 

 

 

  • Preheat oven to 375 F. In a medium bowl combine the crumbs with 3 tablespoons of the butter; toss well. Press crumb mixture into the bottom and slightly up the sides of twelve 1/3 cup muffin tins lined with parchment or cupcake holders. Bake crusts in the middle of preheated oven until they turn a slight shade darker, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven, set aside, and reduce oven temperature to 350 F. 

     

  • While crusts are baking, grate zucchini, preferably using the grating attachment of a food processor. Toss zucchini with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let drain in a colander for 15 minutes. Working with small handfuls, squeeze zucchini well to remove excess water. 

     

  • In a skillet heat the remaining tablespoon butter over medium-high heat, add the onion, reduce heat to medium-low and cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the zucchini and saute over medium-high heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. 

     

  • In a small bowl stir together flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. In a large bowl whisk eggs well. Add flour mixture and cheeses; stir until combined. Stir in the zucchini mixture and chiles; divide mixture among muffin tins. Bake quiches in the middle of the oven until tops are puffed and golden brown and a tester comes out clean, about 25 minutes. 

     

  • Eat right away (if not taking to a picnic), or let cool and then chill, covered with plastic wrap, leaving quiches in the muffin tin. To serve: Carry quiches to the picnic in the muffin tin and serve, topping each quiche with a spoonful of salsa. 

     

    Nutrition information per serving: 340 calories; 190 calories from fat; 21 g fat (11 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 156 mg cholesterol; 593 mg sodium; 22 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 17 g protein.

     

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