Archive for January, 2009
Making frittata has never come easy for me. Anytime I’ve tried, it has come out either burnt or runny. I could never find a happy medium. This morning however, I woke up with an out of character (for me at least) desire to make a badass frittata. So out I went, without a plan, in the snow and yuck to Cleveland’s famed Westside Market. It was in the parking lot that it hit me: Spinach and feta.
8 to 10 medium eggs (depending on the size of your skillet)
¾ cup of whole milk or half and half
2 ½ cups fresh chopped spinach
½ cup diced red onions (more or less to taste)
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese.
4 tbs butter
2 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
Preheat your over to 350 degrees (f). In a large bowl whisk eggs and milk together. Set aside for the moment.
Sauté spinach, onions, and garlic in skillet with about 1 ½ tbs of butter. Set aside.
In an oven safe cast iron skillet melt remaining butter over medium-low heat. Add egg mixture and cook for about 8 minutes or so. Stir occasionally so that cooked eggs around the middle are brought to the center, like you were making an omelet. You want it to be almost set on the bottom. Add spinach mixture and spread evenly. Add salt and pepper.
Stick the skillet into the oven and cook until the top is no longer jiggles. It took the foodiecall kitchen about 17 minutes but may take more or less time so keep an eye on it.
Let cool for about 4 minutes and garnish with diced tomatoes.
I must admit that I don’t really even like egg salad. But, I felt an urge to make something with curry and the surplus of eggs in my refrigerator inspired me to make egg salad. To make a long story short, I now love egg salad.
6 Hard boiled eggs, chopped
¼ cup chopped red onion
1 stalk of celery chopped
1/3 to ½ cup of mayonnaise- depending on how dry or wet you prefer
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp sea salt
Sprinkle of celery seed
First, boil your eggs. Apparently, the proper way to do this is to put your water and eggs into a pot and bring to a boil. Once you see it is starting to boil, turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the water for about 15 minutes. To cool eggs run under cold water until the eggs are cold to the touch. Refrigerate for an hour or so.
Mix together all ingredients and serve in pita pockets.
When I bought the squash for the Butternut Squash Apple Soup below I went a little crazy and bought 2 of them knowing full well that I wouldn’t use both of them. So for the past week or so that stupid squash has just been sitting there. Perhaps it’s just mocking me for being stupid enough to buy two of them. Anyway, I had a bag of risotto just sitting in the pantry and I figured that I might as well use it. So Butternut Squash Risotto was clearly the way to go. Traditional risotto uses white wine and Parmesan cheese. In this recipe I opted to use red wine based entirely on the fact that it was the only thing I had and I was not about to go out in a blizzard to get a bottle of white. Also, I left the cheese out, which is typically added at the very end of cooking, and replaced it with goat cheese, which I sprinkled on top.
All in all, I was impressed with the outcome based on the fact that 1) I had never made risotto before and 2) I didn’t quite follow any specific recipe. Don’t worry if you don’t either. I promise that the risotto police will not come after you.
For the roasted squash-
1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut into quarters
1/8 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (f). Place squash, garlic, oil, and salt/pepper into glass Pyrex dish or roasting pan and toss to coat all pieces. Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes or until squash is easily pierced with fork.
Allow to cool slightly. Then, lightly smash pieces with fork or potato masher.
For the risotto-
4 tbs butter
½ medium onion
2 ½ cups risotto (aberro rice)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 ½ cups water
½ cup wine (red or white)
2 tsp salt
Combine all liquids and salt in a mixing bowl.
Melt butter in medium saucepan. Add onions and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Add risotto and stir for another 5 or 6 minutes. Make sure the risotto is coated evenly in the butter and onion mixture.
Add liquids to risotto and onion mixture using ladle. Add slowly making sure all liquid is absorbed before adding another ladle. Cook on medium low maintaining a low simmer. Stir constantly.
After about 20 to 25 minutes all liquids should be absorbed. At this point, you should remove the risotto from the heat and mix in the mashed squash and garlic mixture.
Serve immediately with goat cheese sprinkled on top.
Giant Eagle (A grocery store in these parts) had a giant box of Cornmeal on sale for 89 cents. I stood in the asile thinking of all the fantastic things I could do and I realized that I could make an awful lot of polenta. And so I did. Cypress Grove makes the best goat cheese and there is just something so right about polenta and goat cheese. Really though, any Chevre will work.
For the Polenta:
3 Tbs Butter
1 tbs olive oil
2 Cups of water
1 Cup of Milk or Half and Half
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp Black pepper
Rosemary, chopped, as much (or little) as you’d like
1 Cup or Cornmeal
Melt butter and olive oil in medium saucepan. Add water, milk, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Heat on medium low stirring constantly for about 10 minutes. Do not boil.
Add polenta and stir with a whisk until thick and stirring becomes difficult.
Pour into *very* lightly greased cake pan. Allow to cool and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
Cut cold polenta with a cookie cutter or biscuit cutter and fry until golden brown on both sides.
For the salad:
Any kind of lettuce you would like. We used a Mediterranean blend
Goat cheese. Purple Haze Chevre is pretty much the best and is what we used here.
Balsamic Dressing or Balsamic Reduction. We made a balsamic reduction with a smidge of brown sugar.
Once, while I was traveling, I had the most exquisite apple pumpkin soup. It was perfect in every way. It was sweet as well as a little tangy and the combination of flavors was nothing short of incredible. I came across a recipe for a similar soup a few days ago in an old cookbook (circa 1930) and I was inspired to create my own recipe. Pumpkins are awfully hard to come by after Thanksgiving and butternut squash is a fantastic substitute.
1 Medium sized butternut squash. Seeded, peeled, and cut into one-inch pieces
3 apples peeled, cored, and chopped
1 large yellow onion
6 tbs butter
¾ tbs thyme (We used dried but you can use fresh)
2 tbs brown sugar
2 cups vegetable broth
1.5 cups water
½ cup half and half
Melt butter in bottom of medium pot. Add apples and onions and cook until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add squash and thyme and cook another 5 minutes. Then, add brown sugar and stir.
Add vegetable broth and ½ cup of water. Cook on medium until soft, about 25 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool for 20 minutes or so. Puree in food processor or blender and return to pot. Add other cup of water and cook on low for 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before adding the half and half.
I make this at least twice a month and nobody seems to get tired of it. It’s so incredibly easy to make and so tasty. Also a billion times better than any of that restaurant crap.
12 oz cream cheese (1 ½ 8 oz packages)
1 1/3 cup shredded mozzerella
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 container mariniated, quartered artichokes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp thyme, dried
1 tsp oregano, dried
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees (f) and oil bottom and sides of pie pan or gratin dish. *Really any oven safe glass bake ware would be fine as long as you leave about ½ inch of space on top for the potential bubbles.
Blend all ingredients in bowl of electric mixer.
Scrape mixture into oven safe dish and smooth the top. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another ten minutes until slightly brown on top.
Serve immediately with pita chips (see recipe) or toasted French bread rounds.
Serve these with any sort of dip or jut eat them alone. These were created especially for the spinach artichoke dip above.
1 package of pita bread (The foodiecall kitchen like plain old white but you can use whole wheat or any of the fancy schmancy flavored ones)
2 tbs oregano
2 ½ tbs dried thyme leaves
1 tbs cracked black pepper
½ tsp ground mustard
¾ tbs garlic powder
2 tbs sea salt
Pre-heat oven to 350. Line two or three cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Cut pita bread rounds in half. Then cut the halves into three or four sections. At this point the two facing sides of the pita bread should be attached. Pull those apart and toss into big bowl.
Pour in enough olive oil to coat all chips. Toss with seasoning mix and divide chips between baking sheets. Spread into one layer on sheet.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until chips are only slightly crispy and golden. Dont worry if some of the chips still feel sorta floppy. They typically harden up when they cool.