Skinny Jeans

DSC03536Everyone has them, even those who claim they don’t. Doesn’t matter if you are girl or boy, somewhere in the recesses of mind and closet stands a pair of skinny jeans. And depending upon just how long it’s been since you’ve been able to raise them higher than thigh, button and zip, they are usually more a symbol of hope and achievement than fashion choice. I mean, unless it’s Halloween, you’re not likely going to sport those self-embroidered hip huggers you bought because Bobby Sherman was wearing a pair in Tiger Beat magazine. At least, please don’t.

Some have a “collection” of the svelte denim. An indigo history if you will, tracing the expanse of time (and ass). Perhaps there’s a pair you have from high school senior year, before gravity and beer worked its cruel magic. Or that pair in your “dream” size, which only fit for one glorious day in college, after a three-week bout of mono. Or the more recent pair you’re currently dieting to achieve, because you’re  determined to squeeze into them for that reunion, even though it means encasing the wobbly bits in Spanx and not breathing for a few hours. Whichever pair you have, the ultimate goal is the same — the feeling of wonderful smugness that you’ve achieved a goal, even if no one but you knows it.

Here’s something I’ve discovered about my personal skinny jean collection. As brain has gotten wiser (and body older), I realize that skinny jeans are completely subjective to the wearer. Sure, their name implies one is a wispy reed, but the wearer is the one who defines the width of that reed. In the end, all that matters is that particular pair is the one your end felt great in. The other day, after working pretty hard toward skinny-jeandom, I pulled out my pair and ventured in. While I’m not quite there yet, I’m well on my way. No, they aren’t the pair I wore at my thinnest. But they are the pair that made me feel terrific. And just the knowledge of that brings the final pounds to goal a bit closer. 😉

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You’re thinking this is a “diet food” recipe aren’t you? Something that will doubtless get those skinny jeans closer to fanny. It’s not. It is how I look at losing weight. You see, I’m a cook (uh, duh) and an avid eater. Meals are not fuel, they are something to be enjoyed. And over the years I’ve learned that denying luscious tasty things all in the name of reducing Karin isn’t going to work for very long. So, I make those yummy things, just a bit smaller, and maybe adjusting one component to lessen the amount of hiking I need to do to work it off. That’s how my Individual Crustless Quiches came about.

Ok, so something that has cream and cheese as major components doesn’t sound like a skinny-jean inducing dish. And if you have a big slab of it wrapped in all-butter crust, it wouldn’t be. But, if I take the bones of my favorite quiche recipe as a start, make it in an easy single serving size, and leave out the crust altogether, I can have my quiche and eat it too. These are also a great way to get veggies and those “super greens” in me, without having to resort to conspicuously eating kale and chard. Skinny jeans, here I come!

Individual Crustless Quiches

One recipe makes four 1/2-cup ramekin sized servings.

For the custard:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • pinch teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • pinch nutmeg
  • a pinch of cayenne or a shake or more of hot sauce (optional)

For the fillings:

This is where you can really go wild if you like. The key is not to overload the ramekins with goodies, because the point of a quiche is that luscious custard. Here are some options:

  • Chopped mixed hearty greens, like arugula, spinach, baby chard, baby kale. The “baby” greens are more tender and work better in these than the usual ones.
  • Roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, diced summer squash, etc.
  • Thinly sliced asparagus
  • 1-2 ounces diced cooked bacon, pancetta, ham, chicken
  • 2-3 ounces cheese: feta or goat are lovely, so are any cheeses that melt well, such as swiss, cheddar or jack, fontina, havarti, etc.
  • 4 tsp grated parmesan to sprinkle on top.
  • Minced fresh herbs – tarragon is particularly good with asparagus, parsley or basil are terrific too, as are chives or tender thyme leaves.

Technique:

I have a convection/toaster oven, and it’s perfect for making these. Eggs are always best cooked slower in a low oven, and with the added circulation of convection, these go a little faster. Don’t worry if you don’t have one, though – they work fine in a regular oven too. (You just have to be a little patient…something I rarely am when I’m “getting into skinny jeans”-mode.)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray the ramekins with baking spray (I always have a can of olive oil spray around for this.) Beat the eggs, then add cream, milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne or hot sauce. Add in a teaspoon minced herbs if you are using, and beat until well combined. Add half the cheese and other add-ins into the custard and mix well.

Take the remaining cheese (except the parmesan) and add-ins and divide evenly between the 4 ramekins. Top each ramekin with 1/4th of the custard. Sprinkle each with a teaspoon of parmesan.

Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet or pizza pan, and bake until the custard is set, and the top is nicely browned. Since ovens vary (especially if you are using a toaster oven or convection), start with 20 minutes and go from there. When they are done, the edges of the quiche will have pulled away a little from the sides of the ramekin. Run a knife around the edges, and invert onto a plate. Serve with a green salad, and enjoy your quiche, and your skinny jeans! Calories = approximately 200 to 250 per serving, depending upon the amount of cheese and meat you add.

If you like what you read here, please help me spread the word. Meantime, I’d love you to join me on Facebook (please click the ‘like’ button), and check out what else is going on in my kitchen at cookinginmyheels.com. Thanks!  🙂

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