the versatile frittata…

Frittatas are a lot like quiche, without the crust. No crust, means they are that much more convenient to prepare. The built in bonus – they are versatile. I love versatile…

1.fritatta eggs

Fresh eggs and veggies. Eggs and meat. Eggs and cheese. Combine all three or more or less, and you have a frittata.

Simple. Inexpensive. Quick and Healthy.

Frittatas are perfect for house guests, a potluck or brunch. They can be served warm or cold.

Expecting company and want to serve straight out of the oven?  Prep veggies the night before and then simply heat, add herbs, mixed eggs and cover. Voila, a beautiful breakfast/brunch/meal is ready to be shared… freshness and scrumptiousness served up in minutes -and for a fraction of going out.

What’s not to love?

Artichoke heart and goat cheese frittata

Print this recipe!

*adapted from Patrie Grace, in Potlucks.

What you’ll need;

2.fritatta ingrediants

1 bunch spring onions or scallions, thinly sliced (substitution – 1 medium onion, chopped and browned)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1/2 cup basil, finely chopped

1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

1/2 cup calamata olives, pitted and sliced in half

3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or 1 medium tomato, chopped)

1-2 good pinches of sea or kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

8 large eggs, well beaten (preferably farm fresh) (:

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (I substituted brie for the goat – I was out of goat – it was great too!)

3.brown onions

Cook onion in olive oil in a large oven proof skillet – cast iron works great – until onions are soft and brown. Add the garlic, cook briefly.

4.ingrediants added

Add the artichoke hearts, tomatoes, salt, pepper and basil. Stir gently, until all vegetables are heated through.

5.top with egg

Reduce heat to low and pour the beaten eggs on top, covering all the vegetables.

6.cover with lid

Cover skillet and cook until eggs are firm on the bottom, about 5-7 minutes…give it a little shimmy to see how firm it is on the bottom. If more time is needed go on a minute to minute basis…

7.cooked

Uncover and place under the broiler, watching carefully until frittata is lightly golden. Sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese and return for 1-3 minutes.

8.top with cheese

Slice, then garnish with ribboned basil or freshly chopped chives and serve.

9.enjoy

Enjoy with a light green salad and or pan fried potatoes.

Serve with soup and salad.

Eat warm or cold – either way, it’s delicious!

enjoy the weekend!

P.S. Fun fact –  the cute rooster plate I found at my local freebie barn – actually, I found an entire dish set for four, including, tea cups, saucers, side plates and dinner plates – plus, the lovely green bowl the eggs are photographed in … I love that place! (:

hand cut fries – at home…

Hand cut fries are something you can make at home. Seriously.

Want to know why making them at home is not only possible, but better than out?

1. If your like me and live 25 minutes from the nearest restaurant, well, it just makes sense to know how to make them. And if your a city/town dweller, well, what’s the harm in knowing how?

2. You can choose to go organic, plus your oil will be super fresh (unlike most restaurant deep fryers which cook up all sorts of foods, sometimes for days, with the same oil…).

3. They will cost you a fraction of the cost of going out.

4. They will be made with love.

…revel in the simplicity of homemade hand-cut fries…you’ll wonder why you don’t make them more often…

Here’s what you’ll need;

Print this recipe!

Russet potatoes (I actually used yukon golds and they worked just fine and were delicious!) – quantity depends on how many you’d like to make. I used about 12 smallish potatoes – russets are larger, so less would be needed.

1.potatoes

My suggestion, cut up 3 russets and see how much you end up with – if you need more, cut up another, if its enough, perfect. If it’s too much, store cut potatoes, covered with water, in the fridge for up to two days. Who says you can’t have fries (homemade) twice in one week?

Coarse salt or sea salt

High heat oil – I use sunflower oil. Peanut oil works well too.

A pot for frying. I use my wok or cast iron frying pan. Any heavy bottomed or deep heavy bottomed pot will do.

You’ll also need a slotted spoon, some brown paper (think paper bags), a tea towel (or two), a candy/frying thermometer (if you don’t have one, don’t fret), and (if making a few batches) a cooling rack (with baking sheet placed underneath) to store cooked fries on while keeping warm in the oven…

Here’s what you’ll need to do;

Fill a large glass or ceramic bowl, half-way, with cold water.

Slice potatoes into the thickness and length you like – here’s yet another added bonus – you choose how thick or thin to make them!

2.hand cut potatoes

As your chopping away, place the cut pieces into water, in bowl. This helps release their starch as well as prevent browning. Add more water as necessary…

Once all potatoes have been cut and covered with water, pour cut potatoes into a colander and drain cloudy water. Refill bowl with fresh cold water. Add potatoes again. Continue this until water is no longer cloudy. Two or three times should do…

Drain water again, though now, place cut potatoes onto a tea towel and thoroughly dry. Remember, water and oil do not mix. So, if you need to use a second tea towel to ensure their super dryness, do so.

While your drying the potatoes, get the oil heating up. You’ll want to use enough oil to cover the potatoes, yet not so much that the oil would bubble over once heated up with potatoes in…trouble for sure…

*be sure to leave enough space at the top of the pot for the bubbling hot oil and the potatoes – do not overfill your pot.

If you have a candy or frying thermometer, great, use it. The oil should be between 350 degrees F and 375 degrees F. If you don’t have such equipment – don’t fret. If you drop a 1″ cube of white bread into the oil and it browns in 60 seconds or less, your up to temperature. You can also try tossing a cut potato slice into the oil, if it starts to sizzle, a lot, well, it’s probably up to temperature… if it doesn’t, let it heat up some more…

The key is to not overcrowd the pan.

Too many and the oil will cool and the fries will absorb too much oil and become soggy. Too few and they fry up super fast – almost to the point of burning…so best to cook in smaller batches, leaving enough room around each piece to allow for proper cooking.

Once potatoes have been added to the hot oil, increase heat, slightly, to compensate for the heat absorption from the fries…Keep an eye on them as they cook. Stirring occasionally and regulating the heat as necessary.

4.sizzeling and crispin'

Once the fries look nice and browned, remove with slotted spoon and place on paper bags/paper. Salt generously.

Turn heat slightly down while removing. Once all fries have been removed, increase heat again to bring back up to temperature and repeat the process all over again…

I place the salted and cooked fries onto my cooling rack (seems to prevent them from getting soggy) which is also placed over a cookie tray (to catch the ones which fall through the ‘cracks’) and then tuck them into the warmed oven (200 degree F) until all fries have been cooked or all food is ready to be served…

5.fried and salted

This recipe can also be used with sweet potatoes – sweet potato fries – YUM!

What do you like your fries with?

I like mine with fried fish – fish ‘n chips – dipped in organic ketchup and malt vinegar. Super deliciousness – at home…

Enjoy!

two tacos please

People love tacos! I’m one of those people…

tacos

Tacos can be as simple or complex as you’d like.

My two favorites are black bean and sweet potato tacos and fish tacos with cabbage.

Here’s how I make my black bean tacos;

I season my homemade black beans with finely chopped sauteed onions, a bit of garlic, a heaping dash of cumin, salt pepper and a bit of chipotle and the juice of two freshly squeezed limes – or more, depending upon the quantity.

I mash up some cooked sweet potatoes to make sweet potato mash. I just add a bit of salt while mashing.

I heat up a few organic hard corn shells and assemble chosen ingredients.

Ideas for taco fillings;

goat cheese

avocado

salsa

sauteed mushrooms

raw greens – lettuce, spinach, swiss chard (shredded)

cheddar cheese

walnuts (so good!)

guacamole

refried beans

roasted peppers

seasoned chicken

shredded steak

battered and fried fish

Let your mind go wild – add what you like…keep it vegetarian or not…

What kind of tacos do you like? Hard or soft shells? Flour or corn? The options are endless…

Enjoy

white bean cutlets save the day

Thankfully, the official last frost date has passed…though, only two days prior to ‘the’ date, we had a frost warning – what? – it’s May, practically June, what’s with this frost advisory?

I couldn’t believe my ears.

Frost advisory?

‘Are you serious?’, I said, out loud, to no one…but the radio…

My immediate next thought was, ‘Well, if this is true, I better go cover the greens in the garden and get cooking – something to not only warm our tummies, but our sprit as well’, so that’s just what I did.

I decided to make white bean cutlets.

They are a lovely blend of warming herbs, fresh bread (crumbs) and sublime white beans…add to this loveliness, chopped carrots, celery and chives and well, you’ve got cutlet love…

Top it all with mushroom gravy and serve alongside freshly steamed, buttered green beans and you’ve got the perfect solution to the ups and downs of spring in New England.

This dish is both for warming and soothing…just what the body (and mind) needs when facing the reality that in the morning there just may be frost on the ground – despite the fact that June is only 12 days away (well, it was when this was written)!

White Bean Cutlets

adapted from savvyvegetarian

Print this recipe!

Ingredients

1

2 cups white beans rinsed and drained (try preparing yourself from dried)

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 good pinch freshly chopped chives (or two scallions, chopped)

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

2

1 carrot, finely chopped

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. fresh thyme

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

parsely

2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped

1/4 cup flour – not all may be needed – any flour will work

1 cup finely chopped fresh breadcrumbs*

* no breadcrumbs?  No problem, chop and whiz bread pieces/slices with crusts in food processor. No processor? Simply rip and finely chop bread and crusts. No bread? Try this yeast free recipe. 

I’m all about being resourceful… (: One has to be when living milessssss from town

Here’s what you’ll do

1. Heat oil on medium/low in heavy bottomed fry pan.

2. Saute carrot and celery until soft, about 5-8 minutes.

3. Add all herbs and spices, except parsley, to fry pan and saute another 2-4 minutes. Constantly stirring…

4

4. Place cooked and rinsed beans in food processor, add sauteed veggies and spices, parsley, salt, pepper and bread crumbs into processor and combine just until mixed.

5

6

5. Add flour, 1 Tbsp. at a time until mixture is thick enough to form patties. aka, cutlets.

7

6. Form into patties and let chill one hour in fridge.

8

7. Heat oil in fry pan and fry each 6-8 minutes each side, until nicely browned.

10

8. Top with Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy.

9

11

Vegetarian deliciousness served up in a cutlet…feeds not only the body, but the soul as well…

Enjoy

PS. If you omit the milk and butter in the gravy, you’ll have a delicious vegan recipe too!

loveliness in a loaf pan

Meatloaf. I love meatloaf. Not meat meatloaf, but meat(less)loaf.

I love slicing into it, topping it with extra sauce and then serving it alongside mashed potatoes with freshly snipped chives…

I love its texture and hardiness. Its down home simplicity. Its common ingredients…

Especially on fog enshrouded evenings…comfort food in spring I say, and healthy at that!

Meatloaf without the meat.

Try it.

You’ll never know ’till you do…

Mushroom meat(less)loaf

adapted from the silver palette

Print this recipe!

2 cups white beans

1/2 cup walnuts, ground

generous pinch of coarse salt

generous pinch of ground pepper

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 cup organic ketchup (no high fructose corn syrup here)

1/2 tsp. basil (dried or fresh)

1 cup old fashioned oats (not instant)

2 eggs

2 tbsp. parsley, chopped

4-6 ounces fresh mushrooms, sauteed till browned

1/2 tsp. oregano

1

Cook beans and drain. If using canned, drain and rinse. Mash beans with fork.

2

Slice and saute mushrooms until browned (saute in butter or olive oil)

3.eggsjpg

Add oatmeal, nuts, and eggs, to mashed beans, mix well.

4

5

Blend mixture with herbs, ketchup, mushrooms, onions, salt + pepper

6

Place mixture in a greased 9″ X 5″ X 2″  (or thereabouts…)loaf pan.

7

Top with red sauce. (recipe below)

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

8

Red Sauce

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp.olive oil for sauteing

1 cup crushed tomatoes or diced

1 handful fresh spinach, kale or swiss chard, chopped

Saute onion in olive oil until browned.

Add chopped greens, saute until softened.

Add tomatoes.

Stir.

9

10

enjoy!

lunch is served

Now I don’t need to tell you how to make egg salad, I’m sure you already know how…but just in case, here’s a friendly reminder for a lunch or brunch idea that can be as fancy (think bread, crusts removed, finger sized) or simple (rolled in a tortilla) as you like…

Add a little decadence – serve champagne with your finger sandwiches…or any sandwich for that fact!

Not only is egg salad good for just about any day, but it’s also perfect for picnics (keep chilled of course – sandwiches and champagne) and meals on the go. It’s inexpensive (even with organic eggs), requires little time and the ingredients are common to most.

Get the kids involved. Peel, smash, enjoy.

Simple Egg Salad

Print this recipe!

1.hard boiled eggs

7-8 eggs, hard boiled and peeled.

2.peeling eggs(I wasn’t too worried about the state of the eggs once peeled, they’re just going to get smashed up anyway!)

2 heaped spoonfuls mayonnaise (or however much you prefer)

1 teaspoon english mustard

course salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3.mashing eggs

Smash eggs with masher (this makes them super fluffy).

4.blended

Add mayonnaise, mustard.

Mix until blended.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

5.egg salad roll-ups

Serve on sliced bread, rolled in a tortilla or on a Portuguese roll.

Don’t forget to include fresh greens too!

Lunch is served!

Now, where is that champagne?

Enjoy!

spring rolls

My previous post was all about the delicious inspiration served up over at Frugal Feeding, (noodle broth + spring rolls) and while he offers his own recipe for spring rolls, I chose to simply use what I had on hand.

For me, the best part of spring rolls is their versatility…fresh or fried, vegetarian or meat based – the combinations abound…

While the rolling wasn’t that simple, it wasn’t that difficult either…a little more practice and time (I had two very hungry people patiently waiting for me to ‘figure it out’) and I’ll have it down! These rolls were scrumptious nonetheless…

spring rolls

You’ll need one packet of Spring Roll Wrappers and rice noodles, plus whatever filling you’d like to add – see my list below for ideas.

Print this recipe…

First here’s how to use spring roll wrappers;

1. Fill a shallow tray/dish with hot water and place a spring roll wrapper into the water until it is soft and pliable (about 15-20 seconds).

2. Remove the wrapper and gently lay onto a damp tea towel and blot until until it is slightly sticky/dry.

3. Place the filling of your choice in the middle of the wrapper and then fold in two opposing sides, not fully covering the filling, then roll the third side over and upwards to form a neat roll shape.

Here’s one filling suggestion (more below);

spring roll ingrediants

1 cup cooked rice noodles – chilled, whole (some recipes suggest chopping – I didn’t)

handful fresh spinach leaves

1-2 small carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

2 tbs. bean sprouts

handful fresh mint and or coriander (cilantro), chopped

red chili

1. Mix all ingredients in bowl. Use one (more/less) heaping spoon full of mixture per wrapper (or whatever portion you find suitable for the wrappers you are using).

2. Place mixture in center of wrapper, add a dash of tamari or soy sauce and roll as instructed above.

3. Serve immediately. Or deep fry for about 2 minutes and serve with dipping sauce. We used tamari, though a sweet and sour chili sauce would be lovely too!

We enjoyed them both fresh and fried. See for yourself.

Here are a few more suggestions to try, or any combination thereof, the choice is entirely up to you…

lettuce leaves

medium sized prawns (cooked)

shredded duck (cooked)

fresh basil

pak choi, finely chopped

chopped garlic

chopped ginger

any fresh green which can be eaten raw

cabbage – thinly sliced

noodle broth + rolls

This is a refreshingly light, yet extremely satisfying meal…especially when served with noodle broth.

enjoy!

How do you like your spring rolls?

noodle broth

I’d been yearning for something different.

Something light.

Something fresh.

Something new. And I found it.

Noodle broth and spring rolls.

noodle broth + rolls

My inspiration (and Noodle broth recipe) came from the fabulous food blog, Frugal Feeding. As the name suggests, it’s a blog about eating well without spending a fortune – great recipe collection there, to say the least. The photos were so enticing and beautiful I knew right away, this was what I was looking for.

Try them for yourself and see what you think. I think both dishes are divine…especially served in this beautiful dish set from China…can you believe I found the whole set? Still in the package? At my local transfer station. Amazing…

Noodle Broth 

recipe from Frugal Feeding:

print this

100g rice noodles

4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)

small bunch of thyme

2-3 bay leaves

2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger

smidgen dark soy sauce

1-2 small red chilies (depending on your likes)

a few leaves of fresh basil

2 tbsp. sesame oil

broth herbs

stock added - broth

Fry garlic and ginger in a large cooking pot, using the sesame oil. Add thyme, bay leaves and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and allow spices to infuse, with lid on, for 15-20 minutes.

straining

Sieve the stock.

noodles

Remove all the contents. Return to pot and add uncooked noodles. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, at which time, noodles should be cooked.

noodle broth

Serve in bowls and top with finely chopped red chilies, a sprinkling of soy sauce and a few freshly torn basil leaves…deliciousness indeed!

Side note – I forgot to buy basil, so I substituted with fresh cilantro (maybe you can tell in the photos?). While it didn’t take away from the dish, I do look forward to trying this dish with the sweetness of basil added…if only my little plants were bigger!

enjoy

P.S.  Stay tuned for the spring rolls…

comfort food

Spring may be here, but warmer temperatures (and sunshine) are still fleeting…so what is one to do when wanting/needing warmth?

Cook.

Cook and eat.

Eat comfort food.

So that’s what I did. I prepared (and enjoyed) the fabulous fish pie from Jamie Oliver’s cookbook, The Naked Chef Takes Off. 

Be sure to gather and prep all ingredients first; a few are cooked at the same time, in the same pot…best to be organized, but don’t let this intimidate you – it’s so worth the effort!

Fabulous Fish Pie

print this recipe 

Recipe taken from The Naked Chef Takes Off, Jamie Oliver

ingrediants

5 large potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch squares

2 large eggs

2 large handfuls of fresh spinach

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, halved and finely chopped

approximately 1 1/3 cups heavy cream

2 good handfuls of grated sharp cheddar or parmesan cheese (I used cheddar, haven’t tried it with parmesan)

juice of 1 lemon

1 heaped teaspoon of English mustard

1 large handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 lb. haddock, skin removed and sliced into strips

fresh nutmeg (optional)

lemon juice, spinach, parsley

Preheat oven to 450 F. Put the potatoes into salted boiling water and bring back to a boil for 2 minutes. Carefully add the eggs to the pot and cook for a further 8 – 10 minutes, until hard boiled, by which time the potatoes should also be cooked. At the same time, steam the spinach in a colander above the pan. This will only take a minute. When the spinach is done, remove from the colander and gently squeeze out any excess moisture. Then drain the potatoes in the colander. Remove the eggs, cool under cold water, then peel and quarter them. Place to one side.

onion + carrot

In a separate pan slowly fry the onion and carrot in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes,

pouring cream

then add the cream and bring just to a boil.

cheese, parsely, mustard

Remove from heat and add the cheese, lemon juice, mustard and parsley.

ingredients with fish

Put the spinach, fish and eggs into an appropriately sized earthenware dish and mix together, pouring over the creamy vegetable sauce.

potatoes over fish mix

The cooked potatoes should be drained and mashed. Mash with just a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and even a dash of nutmeg, if you wish. Spread on top of the fish. Don’t bother piping it to make it look pretty – it’s a homely hearty thing.

baked

Place in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until the potatoes are golden.

serving

Serve with some nice greens or side salad.

enjoy

enjoy!

fish cakes – yum

I like cakes. Potato cakes, fish cakes, risotto cakes, pancakes, sweet cakes…cakes. Yum. Here’s a recipe for some savory cakes – fish cakes to be exact.

Serve ’em with a bit of aioli (mayo. + fresh lemon juice + a bit of garlic), a side salad and dinner is served. Hosting a party? Size them smaller and enjoy as an appetizer…

Fish Cakes

Fish Cakes PDF (printable version)

fish cake ingrediants

a bit of olive oil for sauteing

1 cup finely chopped celery

1 small onion finely chopped

2 tablespoons goat cheese (or cream cheese)

3 teaspoons lemon juice

2/3 cup fresh (or dry) bread crumbs

1 teaspoon dill or fresh parsley

2-3 canned tuna or salmon

1 egg white lightly beaten

1/3 cupful per cake

Saute onion until lightly browned, add celery.

saute celery + onion

In a large bowl combine fish, celery and onion. Add goat cheese, lemon juice, herbs and bread crumbs – mix with hands. Add egg white. Blend.

fish mixed with celery, etc.

Scoop 1/3 cupful per cake. Mix in palm then form into thick pattie.

Fry 3-5 minutes (or until golden) each side.

fish cakes frying

fish cakes

 

Keep warm in oven.

Serve with tarter, aioli and/or fresh chives – top with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Canned fish never tasted so good!

Enjoy.