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"Ham" and Cheez Mini Quiches

Growing up with an amazing cook for a mother, holiday gatherings and special occasions got us excited by the plethora of treats mom would make for her guests. I was always dragged into helping her cook, and eventually, I started to enjoy it. Some of my favorite mom recipes are her baked goods. Man, this woman can bake. Quiches were a staple in our family diet, mostly for fancy brunches and holiday breakfasts, but occasionally for dinner too. When I got turned vegan, I missed them. And, when I got sick in my 20s, and later diagnosed with severe irritable bowel syndrome, I was no longer allowed to eat gluten, on top of my already strict diet. Quiches were pretty much off limits. But, being the stubborn, determined woman I am, I figured it out. I could use tofu instead of eggs, and over time, I mastered the art of gluten-free baking too. So, now I make quiches for all kinds of gatherings, parties and events too. These mini quiches are easy and bite-sized, and are good for most any food sensitivities. I have also been able to make them grain-free, and soy-free, but that will be a different recipe in the future.

The Ingredients:

1/2 bag Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Pie Crust flour blend

1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance vegan buttery spread (10 tablespoons)

3-4 tablespoons ice water

1 block medium firm tofu

2 vegan gluten-free hot dogs (I like Tofu Pups), diced finely

1/2 yellow onion, diced finely

1/2 bag Daiya cheddar, diced even more finely than it comes

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only, minced finely

a pinch of granulated garlic

a pinch of red chili flakes

1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon of Indian Black Salt (Kala Namak)

The Instructions:

Drain, wrap and press tofu block.

Preheat oven for 425.

Pour 1/2 bag of Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Pie Crust mix into a bowl and add 10 tablespoons of cold vegan butter (cut into inch pieces). Mix with hands, working the butter into the flour, until no large clumps of butter remain. Sprinkle in ice water and gently mix again, until the dough just comes together. It should not be sticking to your hands. Knead until it resembles pastry dough. Roll it into ball and wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour.

In a medium pan, saute the onions, and the pinches of granulated garlic, thyme, parsley, and chili flakes. Add in diced hot dogs, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a food processor or blender, puree pressed tofu and add in the nutritional yeast and Indian Black Salt (Kala Namak gives this dish its eggy flavor and scent). Blend a little more.

In a large bowl, combine the sauteed mixture and the tofu, and mix thoroughly. Then, add in the finely chopped Daiya cheddar, and mix until all combined well. Salt and pepper to taste again, if needed.

When the pie crust is ready, take it out of fridge, roll it out, and separate into bouncy-ball-sized rounds (maybe an inch in diameter). Spray some non-stick spray onto your mini quiche pan and press the crusts into the molds, keeping the edges and bottoms not too thick (around 1/8"). It's helpful to leave a little lip on the crusts too, like little pies. When the entire pan is done, and all the quiche crusts look good and ready, spoon the tofu and veggie mixture into each crust, leaving the top flat (do not over stuff, they will bubble up in the oven a little bit).

Pop them in the oven and let them back for 15 minutes, then rotate pan. Bake another 15 minutes, or until turning golden. remove from oven, and let cool. When cool enough to the touch, remove from pan, and move to serving tray or plate. Enjoy!

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