Sunday, April 18, 2010

Week 15: Sausage, White Bean & Rosemary Frittata

A friend told me she spotted a recipe for a white bean frittata and I was immediately interested. Rather than waiting for her to find the recipe, I concocted my own. I also had two other frit recipes sent to me by my sister and a good friend, both of which I look forward to making.

6 eggs
1 small onion
1/2 can cannelli beans
2 links of chicken/turkey sausage
1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

We sauteed the onions and sliced sausage together and then added the white beans toward the end to warm them up. I covered the mixture and let it "simmer" for a couple of minutes. The chopped rosemary got mixed in with the eggs and some salt and pepper and a dash of milk. The egg mixture was poured over the sausage mixture and cooked on the stove top for a few minutes. We transferred the frit to the broiler, allowing it to puff up and brown, then adding the Parmesan cheese to the top and let it melt under the broiler for less than a minute.

This was okay, the sausage really saved this one for me. We should have added a touch more rosemary. I'm usually a big fan of white beans, but I wasn't really in love with them in this frit—they were a little to dry and pasty.  I am curious to see my friend's recipe now to see if I could make the white beans work in a frit. The sausage was awesome. We also had an iceberg wedge with blue cheese dressing and tomatoes, a house favorite.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Week 14: Easter Morning Frits—Scrapple & Lox

Ah, sweet Spring! Lovely sunny days, flowering trees and bulbs, and long breezy walks all lead to me spending less time on the computer. We made these frits last Sunday and now almost a week later I am finally getting around to posting.

Hubs, pup and I drove down to Baltimore to spend time with family for the holiday. Our frittata making skills were requested and put to the test—cooking in a new kitchen without our own equipment did have some challenges, but I'd say all in all the frits were good.

My mother-in-law did the shopping for us after a brief discussion of what we would make. One frittata would be a tribute to home (MD) and the other a bit more refined and fitting of an Easter breakfast. We prepared both frit "bases" with 8 eggs each, ~2 tbsp milk, and ~1/4 cup sauteed onions, salt and pepper.

The first frittata had fried thinly sliced Scrapple and Kraft cheese, simple and yummy. The second frit had smoked salmon, finely chopped red onion, capers, and dollops of sour cream.

We enjoyed these with a great green salad and roasted red potatoes with rosemary.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Week 13: Potato, Fennel and Garlic Frittata

It's Thursday! The weeks go by quickly and our Sunday night frittata has pretty much turned into any night we can squeeze it in. Yesterday after a nice country walk with a friend and the pup, we stopped at Terhune Orchards to browse around. I bought some delicious guacamole, chips and a lovely fennel bulb. Armed with the bulb I looked for a frittata recipe that uses fennel. After a quick Google search, I came across the below recipe published in The Boca Raton News, September of 1994.

This frittata was good. I followed the directions pretty closely, with a couple little cook time changes. One of my complaints in this recipe is the cook time for the potatoes, it was not enough time, they were a slight bit underdone even after I cooked them for about 5 minutes longer than directed. I also cooked the garlic slices for a bit longer, slightly browning them, yum. The fennel added a lovely flavor to the frit as did the jarlsburg cheese—bubbling and delicious on top!

Preparing the potatoes and fennel and the finished frit below. We kept it simple and served this with an arugula, carrot and tomato salad.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Week 12: Chicken Satay Frittata

Tonight's frit was a last minute decision inspired by roaming aimlessly around Trader Joe's. I spotted a jar of Satay sauce and my gears started turning—I had a bush load of cilantro at home, throw some coconut milk & chicken in the cart and I was ready to cook. I decided to put the TJ's brand Satay back on the shelf and make my own. I loosely based my satay sauce on a couple recipes I viewed online, it was very hard not to eat it while the frit was cooking, it was delicious.

I used 4 small boneless, skinless chicken thighs and browned them in the frit pan in a little olive oil and s+p.

The egg mixture:
6 eggs
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp sriracha sauce

Satay sauce:
1/4 natural chunky peanut butter
1/8 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp sriracha sauce
1/2 tsp agave syrup
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 tsp soy sauce

Mix together all ingredients to make the Satay sauce. Mix together all egg mixture ingredients and pour into greased (from cooked chicken, drain extra oil out) pan over medium heat. Stir gently around a bit until the mixture starts to set on the sides and then throw in the broiler for a minute or two. Slice the chicken breasts into strips and brush with satay sauce. Arrange the slices around the frittata and then throw back into the broiler for a couple minutes until the top is nice and browned. Serve garnished with more chopped cilantro, thinly sliced red onion and the remaining satay sauce on the side.

This was great. The coconut milk gave the eggs a wonderful smooth and delicate texture and lovely subtle essence. I was surprised that the cilantro flavor in the egg was a little lost, which is why it was great to have the backup garnish. I made a simple salad with little heirloom tomatoes and dressed it with this outrageous 18 year balsamic vinaigrette mixed with a dash of olive oil. We got this balsamic for Christmas and I just cracked it open this weekend, what took me so long? It is divine drizzled over strawberries.

Special happy birthday wishes to my wonderful friend's beautiful daughter, she turned 1 this past Monday and I was lucky enough to celebrate with them this past weekend.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Week 11: Tunacan! Frittata Nicoise

This week’s frittata was inspired by a gift from our friend and
upstairs neighbor Paloma Torres. In our local grocery store, she found
jarred tuna in oil like they sell in Spain and gave it to me for my
birthday (March 10. Yeah, I’m 36.). The tuna became the centerpiece
for this week’s frittata, which after some back-and-forth with the
wife became a frittata with all the ingredients of the French nicoise
salad: tuna, red potatoes, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, black olives,
hard boiled egg, green beans, capers, and Parmesan cheese.

The dressing was awesome, taken from this recipe on—we had none of the fresh herbs, so we used tarragon Dijon instead of plain:

1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp minced fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

We had some guests over so we made a 9 egg frittata instead of 6 and
we used a larger Le Crueset platter instead of a cast iron skillet. In
advance, wife boiled and halved the red potatoes, blanched a mess
of green beans, and hard-boiled three eggs. I steamed the spinach for
a minute or two until it wilted. Then I beat the 9 eggs with 2 tbsp
cream and 1 tbsp water. I grated a 2 cups of Parmesan cheese.

I coated the big platter with olive oil and the oil from the tuna jar.
Vanessa suggested mixing the steamed spinach into the egg batter so
that the spinach wouldn’t be clumped in one layer. This is smart, but
we also wanted to avoid having spinach touching the bottom of the
platter. So after warming the platter and oil, I cooked a thin layer
of spinach-less eggs first, then poured in the remaining mix of
spinach and egg.

The eggs cooks like an omelet under high heat on the stove. Peel the
edges back to allow the wet batter to seep under and cook fully. Have
the broiler ready on high. We felt the bottom cooking too quickly, so
we put the platter under the boiler to cook the eggs from above for a
bit. With the eggs barely wet on top, we removed it from the broiler
and layered the tuna on top in thin pieces. Back it went under the
broiler for a few minutes to warm the tuna and cook the last of the
egg. Then we topped it with Parmesan cheese and return to broiler
until the cheese was melted.

We served in a buffet style: a slice of frittata, some potatoes, some
beans, some lettuce, some tomatoes, some black olives, some capers,
some sliced of hard boiled egg. Add some vinaigrette to everything.
The plate cold and fresh except for the hot frittata, making for a
tasty spring meal on our first 60 degree afternoon. We also served a
fresh baguette. The delicate eggs and tuna with the salty capers,
olives, and vinaigrette was delicious!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Quick Mac and Cheese

On our drive home from New Hampshire yesterday we were able to catch the end of Splendid Table on npr. A non-bechamel based Mac and Cheese recipe was briefly discussed and after a mental tally of my post-vaca pantry at home I thought (and wished) that I just might be able to pull it off without a visit to the grocery store. And sure enough I did have everything give or take an ounce or two less of cream cheese and the cup of milk which was an easy borrow from a neighbor. Also, I used regular breadcrumbs instead of saltines and I used a smoked Spanish paprika which added a wonderful rich undertone to the dish. This was easy to put together and quite delicious. We ate it as a main with arugula (that amazingly made it through the vacation wilt free) and a California chardonnay.

Here is the recipe:
21st Century Mac and Cheese

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Week 10: Frittata's Fancy Cousin Visits for a Birthday Party

It's hubbie's birthday and he requested Quiche Lorraine for his birthday dinner—which he insisted should take the place of the frittata this week, phew. While attending a pastry course at the French Culinary, we made this dish as part of our pastry dough and custard session. I brought it home and hubs loved it so much and couldn't stop going on and on about it. Whenever we're looking for something to make he always mentions Quiche Lorraine, much to my chagrin. It is incredibly delicious, but I remembered it being a bit daunting to make, so I always shy away from it. But I could not deny a special birthday request, despite a hectic schedule. After Pasta Pietro on Monday, a lovely friend helped me prep for Tuesday night's dinner—I made the dough and she weighed and finely grated the Gruyere (we also made a chocolate buttercream for the birthday dessert). Tuesday morning before work, I rolled out the dough, placed it in tart pans, then covered and chilled for the day.

Pâte Brisée (flaky tart dough)

For a 8 to 9” tart , ~240 grams

125 grams cake flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp granulated sugar
62 grams cold butter, cubed
32 mL water

Mix together flour, salt and sugar. Cut the cold butter into ½ cubes. Add butter cubes to flour mixture. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter pieces are the size of dried lentils. Form a well in the butter-flour mixture and add some of the cold water (be careful not overwork the dough). Dough should be soft and shaggy, add more water as needed. Gather pieces together and wrap in plastic, chill for at least 30 minutes.

Quiche Lorraine

240 grams of pâte brisée
50 grams bacon, cut into ¼ cubes (I used pre-cut proscuitto)
50 grams Gruyere, grated
125 mL milk
125 ML heavy cream
2 eggs
pinch of salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of ground black pepper

Roll out dough until 10” in diameter and 1/8” thick. Line your tart pan and chill the shell. Preheat the oven to 350°. Blind bake the tart shell until light brown, set aside to cool. Cook the bacon in a bit of oil until the fat is rendered and the bacon is lightly browned, remove and drain on paper towels.

Making the custard: Scald the milk and cream by heating on the oven top until there is a “skin” layer on top, set aside to cool. Whip the eggs and spices in the mixer and add the semi-cool scalded milk and cream. You don’t want the milk mixture to be to warm—it could start to scramble the eggs. I added the milk mixture while my mixer was on low-medium speed and then turned it up and whipped the eggs and milk until it was quite frothy on top. My French Culinary recipe has you fine strain the custard, I skipped this step.

Arrange the bacon and Gruyere on the bottom of the cooled tart shells. Pour the custard over the bacon and Gruyere. Bake the quiche for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the custard is set and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

My quiches were in the oven for over 45 minutes…I don’t think I blind baked my tart shells long enough— the dough could have been a little flakier, and the custard took forever to set. But the end product was very tasty and hubs was happy! I am confident I can take on this quiche more often in the future.

Friends added to the birthday feast: dates wrapped in bacon, red potatoes stuffed with onions and smoked salmon, fried cheese with cilantro paste, a green salad laced with dill, and an awesome potato salad. The meal was finished with double chocolate melt in your mouth whoopie pies. Yum.