It’s incredible, and humbling, what you learn about yourself when you set out to make a pie a day for a year. I initially decided to stick with sweet pies, feeling savory isn’t really my idea of pie. I also missed two days a few weeks ago due to a big life event, but was gentle with myself…I didn’t fail at my goal, I won at putting what really mattered first.
As for this pie, it’s totally savory. I needed a break from sugary sweets. I give many of the pies away, but knew there was no one to share it with when I made it. I also had a bunch of broccoli that’d been begging for a use in the fridge crisper bin. So, that’s how this Broccoli & Cheese Pie came to be. Sure, it’s really a quiche, but the focus is more on the broccoli, with just enough eggs to hold it all together.
Before the summer of 2011, I often saw life as black and white, never much room for the grey areas. Now I see life in full color, and remind myself that it’s always a work in progress. We all feel stuck sometimes, but nothing is ever set in stone unless we choose to stop adding to our story.
This pie, two of them in fact, held a special place at our Easter table. The girls and I loaded into the car on Saturday afternoon, and drove down to New Jersey for an overnight with my friend Carol and her family. Travis, her husband, grilled up some amazing pork chops for dinner, and we gathered around the firepit with some wine, talking a lot about hopes and dreams for the future.
Around midnight, Carol and I met back down in the dining room, and began filling plastic eggs for the next morning’s egg hunt. Then we went into the darkness of her backyard to hide the eggs, and Carol joked about how the people of color always go first in horror movies, to which I told her the blondes get done in pretty quickly, too, so I wouldn’t be far behind her.
The next morning, our table runneth over with enough food for 20, even though there we were only seven. That is what happens when you put a Dominican and Italian in charge of the menu—we never think there’s enough food. Carol made an amazing egg dish reminiscent of shaksuka in technique, by swapping out the spicy tomato sauce with creamy, sauteed spinach. I can’t wait to give this a try at home.
On the way home later that afternoon, the girls and I stopped for a bite to eat (I know, it sounds crazy that we were even hungry!). Isabella asked me if I’d ever get married again. I’m not sure why she even asked. I told her I wasn’t sure. I did say I loved the idea of being someone’s wife again, to have that commitment with someone is a beautiful bond. But as I know from experience, marriage takes a lot of work. I’m a contradiction in so many ways. An introvert with extrovert tendencies. I love being together, but value my alone time, too. I don’t like clingy and needy, but I’m learning I need more than I realize sometimes.
For me, marriage is a trifecta of love, friendship, and respect. Love is that je ne sais quoi, a special kind of glue that only the right combination of two people can make for that particular partnership. And with that it brings a unique understanding of what friendship and respect means to the relationship. My answer to Isabella surprised even me. I’d been quite resolved the last few years that marriage was behind me at this point in life. Perhaps it still is…I mean it took Michael eight years, and one child to finally propose to me. I guess what matters most now is, much like making this savory pie, it’s good to keep an open mind about the future.
One Year Ago: Homemade Frico (Baked Cheese Crisps)
Two Years Ago: The Best Cornbread Recipe
Three Years Ago: Eggs in Purgatory
Four Years Ago: The Gift of Nothing
Five Years Ago: Roasted Rhubarb Jam
Six Years Ago: Lemon Thyme & Hummus Egg Salad
Seven Years Ago: Quick & Easy Marinara Sauce
Eight Years Ago: Zucchini Muffins
Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Pie
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 head of broccoli, florets chopped into small pieces (save stems for another use)
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 3 to 4 ounces (84 to 112 grams) Cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 single piecrust (use this recipe, and just omit the sugar)
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Add a swirl of oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan, to a 10-inch skillet. Heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add the broccoli and shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until the broccoli is tender, and the shallots are wilted and golden, 5 to 7 minutes, adding more oil as needed if the pan seems too dry. Set aside.
- Roll out the pie crust, and fit it into a 9-inch pie plate (not deep dish). Crimp the crusts, or finish as desired.
- Scatter the broccoli into the piecrust. Sprinkle most of the cheese top, reserving a few fingerfuls.
- Combine the eggs and cream in a deep bowl. Whisk to blend. Season with salt. Pour into the pie dish. Tilt the pan to make sure the egg is evenly distributed. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325ºF. Bake until filling is set, and top is golden, about 20 to 25 minutes more. Let cool at least 10 minutes before slicing.