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March 25, 2008

Phyllo shells (Recipe: one-bite vegetable quiche) {vegetarian}

Babyquiche

Does your house sometimes feel like a bed-and-breakfast inn, with a steady stream of guests coming and going?

When you live in a log house in the woods, with a great kitchen and a fireplace and a big screened porch and indoor plumbing, you get plenty of company. (Yes, people ask. Do we need sleeping bags? Do you have towels? Should we bring flashlights? I remind them that, even out here in the woods, we have a dishwasher and DSL.)

If you're me, you love having people come to visit. Of course, if you're me, you don't bake, so you're always on the lookout for ingredients to keep in the pantry for easy entertaining.

When it comes to pastry, I'm all thumbs. Forget making it from scratch; even a store-bought pie dough becomes silly putty in my hands. However, a bit of pastry can dress up almost anything, from scrambled eggs to hummus to leftover Chinese food, so I stash a few boxes of phyllo shells in the freezer.

Phyllo (pronounced FEE-lo, from the Greek word meaning "leaf", but also spelled fillo or filo) is paper-thin dough made from flour and water, layered with oil or melted butter. Phyllo originated in Turkey, and while it features in the cuisines of many Mediterranean and Balkan countries -- dishes like strudel, spanakopita and baklava -- it can be used to envelop chicken, lamb, asparagus, figs and cheese, butterscotch, or pears.

Any filling you'd use with sheets of phyllo dough will work with these pre-formed shells, which, at one-and-a-half inches in diameter, hold one bite's worth of anything sweet or savory. Use the pre-baked shells as is, defrosted and filled with a bit of ice cream or fruit or tuna salad. Or fill the frozen shells with a savory custard or leftover mashed potatoes, pop them into the oven, and bake for 12-14 minutes.

One-bite vegetable quiche

Irresistible, flexible, fast and easy! Each box of phyllo shells makes 15 miniature quiches, perfect for entertaining and for A Taste of Yellow 2008, supporting cancer survivors and their families. This recipe is for my courageous friends (and frequent house guests) Joyce and Fred.

Ingredients

1 package mini phyllo shells
1 large egg
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced onion or shallot
1 Tbsp minced red bell pepper
1 Tbsp minced zucchini
Pinch of minced fresh thyme
Pinch of minced fresh parsley or chives
Kosher salt and black pepper or piment d'Espelette, to taste

Directions

Remove the shells from the package and place on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and set aside.

In a small nonstick frying pan, heat the oil. Add onion, bell pepper, and zucchini, and sauté for 2 minutes, until the vegetables are slightly cooked. Remove from heat, allow to cool for one minute, stir in the herbs, and add the mixture to the egg. Season with salt and pepper. Fill the shells with the egg mixture. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until egg is set. Serve hot or at room temperature.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


Also in The Perfect Pantry:

Tyropita
Teeny tiny lime tarts
Elaine's lemon curd

Comments

I love this idea. And wow, I think this is the first time I have seen a whole dish completed on your site.

aha!
premade. that´s clever. I thought you were going to advocate making mini shells out of phillo sheets, and that would never have done.

lol @ the sleeping bags/flashlights questions. Are they aware of the fact that you run this web site?

Phyllo is a wonderful thing I always intend to use, but looking back, I've probably only used it once for making baklava. It really is versatile, but somehow, I never follow through and actually use it. The quiches look like an excellent way to use it and great entertaining/finger-food.

Also, thought I'd also chime in with praise for Sandie's site. :-)

They look delicious. I love phyllo - spanakopita is one of my all time favourites! Maybe your hands are very warm and that is why you can't handle pastry!?

I love such little bites they are awesome little snacks for guests and to add to a lunch box. I love the mixture in this recipe!

Yes, you can always depend on phyllo shells to save the day. Great for elegant appetizers!

Lydia, you should put up more photos of your dishes because they look so delicious & perfect!!!
Please send me one of your quiches for lunch tomorrow!!

What a lovely post. I'm glad you were able to tie in "A Taste of Yellow, 2008" with your One Bite Vegetable Quiche. Any event supporting "Live Strong" is a good thing.

I also want to thank you for introducing "Inn Cuisine." The support and enthusiasm you've shown for my ideas have been instrumental as I developed the concept behind the site. So thank you, for being such a kind, insightful mentor. Everyone should have such a cheerleader in their corner!

i love this! i try to keep puff pastry and pie shells in my freezer for impromptu baking, and now i'll have to add phyllo shells to the list as well. i can already think of 1000 things to stick in 'em.

What an amazing idea! Those look adorable and tasty!

Peabody, I do cook, really!

Lobstersquad, me make pastry? Hah! These little shells have saved me dozens of times.

Mike, it's not that phyllo is difficult, but it's a bit picky to work with, and of course it takes some time to get it right. These phyllo cups are delicious, and much, much easier.

Helen, it's not warm hands, it's impatience!

Meeta, Veron, Hillary: Every time I make these baby quiche, I use a different combination of ingredients. But what's amazing is that only one egg will fill all 15 shells.

Stella, thanks so much. I don't usually think much of my food photos; I'm happy when they actually look like food!

Sandie, it's been such fun to watch Inn Cuisine take shape. I hope other bloggers will want to adopt; I've enjoyed every minute of it.

Michelle, these shells manage to dress up anything I put in them. Nuts, fruit, sorbet, tuna salad.... there probably are 1000 ideas!

I have seen these phyllo cups in the store before, but hadn't figured out what I would do with them! I will be adding them to my shopping list soon so I can try these little bites!

What a great recipe. I love appetizers, but hate fussing over them. This sounds so easy. I've struggled a bit with phyllo in the past (in fact, I think I accidentally left in one of the paper sheets) but having something pre-cut is a lifesaver!

Hi Lydia thank you so much for supporting LiveSTRONG With A Taste Of Yellow 2008. I love the idea of phylo shells. I haven'
t seen them in the stores here. I always had leftover phylo until I discovered Om Ali. THe best way of using up leftover phylo.
http://winosandfoodies.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/06/om_ali.html

I love mini quiche! Thanks for the tip on the phyllo shells... such a great time saver.

Yippee! I love those little tart shells, and I'm saving this recipe for my next party. People will be so impressed.

Well...I guess that means I have to share them, huh?

Thanks for this idea. Certainly a good tip for me who does not bake too! Your one-bite quiche looks so pretty and delectable. I can have 5-6 at one go. :D

These little gems look lovely Lydia! I also like the phyllo shells although, sadly, not available here only the long sheet form is.

Patsy, welcome to The Perfect Pantry. I'm sure once you have some of these shells in the freezer, you'll think of dozens of ways to use them.

TW, I'm not great at appetizers, and I'm even worse at desserts. These phyllo cups help with both. Any time I can make a wowza appetizer with one egg and something from the freezer, I'm happy!

Barbara, I remember that wonderful recipe from your blog. Here in the US, the phyllo shells are made by the same company (Athens) that makes the phyllo sheets that are sold in every supermarket. We don't have a lot of choice, but we do have availability.

Chuck, Sher, Tigerfish: Yes, these are convenient. Yes, they're great for a party. Yes, you have to share!

Culinary Chase, you can make these little shells from the sheets, using a small cookie cutter and a nonstick mini-muffin tin. But it does seem a lot of bother.

Your house sounds idyllic. No wonder people keep comming back. Especially with these philo cups. I always have some in my freezer. Great last minute meal :)

Lydia, I have never worked with phyllo, can you believe it? I love it but have never tried cooking/baking with it.
I'm a sucker for minifood, so these are right up my alley!

Holy moly that looks like heaven!

Your place sounds wonderful, when are we all invited??

Warda, you'll appreciate this: I had some leftover cooked prunes from the lamb tagine -- people ate all the lamb and left the prunes, so I put them into these phyllo shells with a few pine nuts on top. Delicious!

Patricia, I cannot believe you haven't made something with phyllo, but these little shells are a good place to start. Much easier than working with the full sheets.

Cara, thanks!

Brilynn, any time, of course. In fact last week I had a group from Toronto here for a cooking class!

dear Lydia,I always use ready made[segera-we called it here]-the kind I use is asian paratha-it's superb for this kind of thing.

Nasihah, I'm familiar with paratha from my travel to Trinidad. I'll have to look up segera, as I don't know what that is. I love learning about new pantry items! And hooray for ready-made. For me, there's no other way to go.

I have 2 boxes of these little filo shells in the freezer. Great idea to use them for mini quiches:D I will also check out your adopted blogger. I love B & B recipes:D

Great recipe!! Thanks!!

Bellini Valli, these little shells have saved my life many times. Hope you have fun at Inn Cuisine, too.

Sabina, thank you so much.

I will have to make these for my next party! They're adorable!

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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