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Meatless Monday: Sun-dried Tomato, Spinach and Goat Cheese Mini Frittatas

For some reason, things are just cuter when they’re smaller: children, bills, bugs.

Oh, and frittatas.IMG_6828

It’s strange, but whenever I make frittatas in my favorite cast-iron skillet (like this other meatless one), they never get finished. So I decided my hand out mini-versions, because we seem more inclined to go back for seconds (and thirds, and fourths) when the item is smaller. And l get offended at leftovers.

These mini frittatas — or crustless quiches — are satisfying for lunch, dinner or pre-curser to a large meal. With frittatas, you can add anything in and they’d be delicious. I paired goat cheese with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, sautéing the spinach with some garlic first to enhance the umami of the dish. Simple ingredients that don’t require much preparation.

IMG_6809

Disclaimer: I made 12 of these with the recipe provided below, but after careful consideration, I think you can make 24 by filling the muffin tins half full instead of two-thirds. Either way, you’re going to end up with something deliciously satisfying.

Sun-dried Tomato, Spinach and Goat Cheese Mini Frittatas

Makes 12

Gather These Up

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 12 oz spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 3 Tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 oz goat cheese, divided
  • Baking spray, such as Pam
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk Them Together

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a muffin tin generously with the baking spray of your choice.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Season generously with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin tin cups.
  4. In a large skillet, heat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium hear with the olive oil. Add the chopped garlic and cook for three minutes. Add the spinach and toss, cooking until wilted — about 6 minutes. Drain the spinach once it’s wilted, squeezing out any excess moisture.IMG_6811
  5. Divide the cooked spinach among the egg-filled muffin tin. You may have some leftover, which I encourage to snack on while these guys bake.
  6. Divide the chopped sun-dried tomatoes evenly among the cups.
  7. Divide the goat cheese in big crumbles among the cups. IMG_6815
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting around the edges to help release the frittatas.
  9. Serve, savor, sigh.IMG_6839

Tips and Variations

  • As we fall into the new season, add mushrooms for an earthier, comforting flavor.
  • Make this on Tuesday and add crumbled, cooked bacon or sausage to the mix.
  • Add red or yellow raw bell peppers for added crunch and color.
  • Use fresh tomatoes instead of sun-dried.
  • Use feta cheese instead of goat and marinated artichoke hearts instead of spinach for a more Mediterranean flavor.
  • Use caramelized onion and blue cheese for a decadent appetizer.IMG_6835

Free-for-All Friday: Deviled Eggs

I wish I had time to prepare a blog post with a recipe for a Seder dinner staple, but this week has been busy for me and my friend Stef, who I would’ve asked to guest blog.

So instead, I’m re-sharing my deviled eggs recipe with you! (click here to view it). Two points for recycling!

One-Eyed Deviled Eggs

For some reason, they’re an Easter food. I don’t know why. Someone wanna fill me in?

I hope everyone has a great Passover and Easter!

Tasty Tip Tuesday: Separating Eggs

You know, I don’t separate eggs a lot.

But if you like to bake, like Rachel here, or whip up your own mayonnaise or make meringue, separating eggs is just a part of life for you.

Now, you can separate the whites from the yolks the old fashion way and make a clean break in the egg and pour the yolk from one egg shell half to the next, but clean breaks have never really been my thing and I’ve been known to drop the yolk into the bowl with the whites…

My way is much easier and fool-proof: Use a funnel

picture via thriftstorecowgirl.wordpress.com. she's in the know.

The egg white falls right through and the yolk stays snuggled up inside the funnel.

Now, as what to do with the leftover yolks? You’re on your own there.

Meatless Monday: The Frittata

I sometimes feel like frittatas don’t get much love in the culinary world. They’re kind of like a hash, you just throw in whatever you have in your fridge and combine it all for a meal. It’s  a poor-man’s quiche (cause crust is just so expensive).

But that’s exactly why they’re so amazing. They’re versatile! You can put anything in them and they’re going to turn out tasty. I hadn’t done the weekly shopping trip yet and I needed a Meatless Monday recipe for you guys so I decided to use my resources.

I used a bellpepper we had sitting in the fridge, an onion, half a tomato, cheese that was almost gone. I would’ve used some spinach that’s about to be on its way out but it didn’t catch me eye until after the fact and the realization of it had me yelling out curse words that are a sure sign I need anger management.

Some frittatas are made with leftover pasta in them. So if you’ve got leftover fettucini or spaghetti, by all means, dump it in! This is an “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” kinda dish. If you happen to have leftover ham or bacon or sausage, throw that in this, too. Just do it on a Tuesday or something ;)

Frittata

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. Pecorino Romano, shredded (or Parmesan)
  • 1/3 cup chopped bellpepper
  • 1/3-1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tomato, chopped and de-seeded
  • 1-2 Tbsp. butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. In a bowl, beat the eggs with the cheese, salt and pepper.
  2. In an oven-proof skillet (I used a cast iron), melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers and saute for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and stir.
  4. Add the egg and cheese mixture and stir again to evenly distribute the veggies.
  5. Let sit for about 5 minutes over the medium heat, or until the top is just about set and bubbling.

    Can you see the bubbles?

6. Stick the pan in the top third of the oven and broil until brown and cooked completely through, about 5 minutes.

Voila!

Slice it like a pie

And gobble it up

Tips and Variations

  • Use up whatever veggies you have in your fridge: mushrooms, asparagus, zucchini, spinach, olives.
  • Change up the cheese: try feta, Parmesan, cheddar, Gruyere, mozarella.
  • If you’re using a cast iron like I did, make sure it’s a well-seasoned one. The more you use a cast iron, the more non-stick it becomes. Even if you use plenty of butter in the pan, the egg will still stick to a cast-iron and it can be a b***h to get off. Consider yourself warned.
  • Mix in your leftover macaroni and cheese with this. I know it sounds strange, but it’s actually quite delicioso.
  • Make it meaty with cooked bacon (dump it in when you add the tomatoes) or ham (saute it up with the onions and bellpeppers). You could even add some crumbled turkey sausage for a heartier meal.
  • Don’t worry about measurements in this recipe. Eyeball all veggies. I ended up adding two more additional eggs than I had originally planned for. This is a dish made on purely instinct, so go with yours.

Tasty Tip Tuesday: Hard-Boiled Eggs

There’s not much more disgusting than a grey ring inside of a hard-boiled egg. (Please, no hateful comments. Exaggeration is my thang.)

It’s completely unappetizing and even has a different taste from an egg that hasn’t been plagued by the grey ring.

ew, see the grey ring?

But not to worry, egg over-cookers! My tasty tip will give you perfectly cooked eggs every time.

First, “hard-boiled” is a misnomer. You shouldn’t be boiling the eggs. The whites cook faster than the yolk, so when you boil eggs, you have to cook them longer than necessary to cook the inside, resulting in an overcooked egg (hence, grey ring.)

Instead, you should cook eggs slowly and evenly. I put my eggs in the pot, cover with an inch of water and let the water come to a boil. I let the water boil for one minute (set a timer) then cover the pot, turn the heat off and let them sit in the water for 13 minutes. This results in beautiful eggs.

Hard Boiled To Perfection

Some things to note:

  • After the eggs have been sitting in the hot water for 13 minutes, I carefully dump out the water then fill it up with ice water. You can also have an ice bath ready for the eggs in another bowl. This stops the cooking process immediately. If you don’t do this, you could have over-cooked eggs.
  • I peel my eggs right away when they’re warm because they’re easier to peel that way. I highly recommend it.

Remember when…

Hard Boiled To Perfection

I told you that I wanted to learn how to cook an egg all ways, and work my way to perfectly poaching one??

(No? Ok, well click here and read this first, then, to get a good laugh at my failed attempt.)

Yeah, that didn’t happen. Eggs are a big no-no here, as my dad has to watch his cholesterol pretty closely. So our egg-intake is limited, which is fine by me. Also, and this may be a big surprise to you all, I have a “life” that keeps me from being in the kitchen all day trying to cook eggs. Shocking, I know.

However, I did make some pretty stellar deviled eggs this past week. And then, I wrote all about it here on Patch.

Here’s the recipe for those who don’t want to support my career ;)

One-Eyed Deviled Eggs

Simple Deviled Eggs Ingredients

  • 6 eggs, hard boiled (I cover my eggs with an inch of water, bring it up to a boil, cover, and turn off the heat and let them sit in the hot water for about 15 minutes.)
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 dashes your favorite hot sauce, like Tabasco
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Sweet, smoked paprika
  • 6 Spanish olives, halved

Make them Devilish

  1. Cut the cooled, hard-boiled eggs in half, scooping out the yolk into a medium sized bowl. Set aside the egg whites.
  2. Mash the yolks with the mayo, mustard, Worcestershire, and hot sauce.
  3. Salt and pepper the mixture, to taste
  4. Scoop the mixture evenly back into the egg whites.
  5. Sprinkle paprika over each egg.
  6. Top off each deviled egg with a halved Spanish olive.

Tips, Tricks, and Variations

  • Use half of an avocado in the yolk mixture for “green” eggs.
  • Add some cooked and chopped bacon to both the mixture and the topping.
  • Add in some whipped cream (whipped until soft peaks form) for extra creamy filling.
  • Scoop the mixture into a plastic bag and snip one of the corners off and pipe the mixture evenly into the whites for a prettier presentation.
  • Add some chopped celery and crab meat to the recipe above for a seafood twist.
  • Add a teaspoon or two of horseradish for a devilish egg with a kick.
  • Add a smoky note with one chipotle in adobo sauce, chopped, mixed in to the filling.
  • Top with some smoked salmon.
  • Cut fresh chives to sprinkle on the finished product.
  • Using the recipe above, add a tablespoon of barbecue sauce for a southern-style deviled egg. The devil did go down to Georgia, after all.

Fancy Schmancy

I’m the first one to admit I’m totally and completely intimidated by foods deemed “fancy.”  You know, beef bourguignon, risotto (which I’m totally going to make next week!), beef wellington, coq au vin, and…….*drumroll please*………..souffle!

I have a strong affinity (redundant?) for all things cheese. Perhaps one of the worst addictions one can have. But I love it, nonetheless, and I adore cheese souffle. So on Saturday night, I made one. And I didn’t die from the stress I felt because a souffle dish is nonexistent in our household; I didn’t cry when it took me 20 minutes+ to beat those egg whites into submission; and I didn’t pout when the souffle wasn’t done after 35 minutes of cook time. I didn’t even mind that I didn’t butter the dish as well as I should have! It was an emotional feat more than a culinary one!

Anyway, they say a souffle is the one of the hardest dishes to make. I call bullshit. I will admit that the recipe I used was a very basic one, as it came from a Weight Watchers cookbook (more on that in a later post), but it was a nice way to introduce the art of cooking a souffle.

Here’s a stolen picture of a cheese souffle, since I had no time to snap a picture of my own beautiful creation. (You gotta serve souffles immediately, before they deflate and get cold. yuck.) It looks almost identical to the one I made, though ;)

Cheese Souffle, Courtesy Real Simple

I didn’t have a souffle dish, which irked me at first, but I just used a Corningware round casserole dish and it worked like a charm. It needed about 45 minutes to cook (probably because our oven is in dire need of a replacement) but it was delicious, and light, and fluffy, and full of yummy cheese flavor. We paired it with a homemade greek salad for a calorie-light dinner. When I make it again, I’m definitely going to add some stuff to it, like broccoli or cauliflower, bacon, chives, jalapenos, spinach, etc.

I also dusted the dish with freshly-grated Parmesan to add a little oomph. Of course, most of it stuck to the dish. Boo. Hiss.

Try this recipe out! It’s soo simple, I promise you can’t screw it up! I’m not sure why souffles are made out to be this complicated, fancy schmancy dish that only experienced cooks can make. Psh.

Weight Watchers Cheese Souffle

1 cup reduced fat milk

3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese

1/2 tsp. salt, divided

1/8 tsp. cayenne

2 large eggs, separated, at room temp

2 large egg whites, at room temp

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Whisk together milk and flour in heavy medium saucepan until smooth; set over low heat. Cook, stirring, until mixtures bubbles and thickens, a bout 5 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in cheddar, 1/4 tsp salt and the cayenne.

Lightly beat the two egg yolks in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of hot cheese sauce, then whisk back into saucepan of sauce until smooth.

With electric mixer on medium speed, beat 4 egg whites and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt in large bowl just until stiff peaks form when beaters are lifted (*NOTE: This took me over 20 minutes. Do this step before you make the cheese sauce or have someone else do it for you while you prepare the rest of the dish!) With rubber spatula, stir one-fourth of egg whites into cheese mixture to lighten it, then fold in remaining whites just until no longer visible.

Gently pour souffle mixture into GREASED 3-quart souffle dish. Bake until puffed and cooked through, about 35 minutes. Serve at once.

Good luck impressing your guests or family with this “Fancy” dish!

Striving for Eggcellence

I’ve never been a huge fan of eggs.  I remember my cousin refusing to eat them because they are, in fact, a large embryo.

First turn off.

I also recall my grandmother trying valiantly each time I was sick to feed me scramble eggs.  The thought of scrambled eggs when I’m already nauseated isn’t very appealing, yet every time she asked, and every time I refused.

However, as the years have come and gone, I’ve developed a deeper appreciation for the protein-packed breakfast food.  I like them scrambled, but not very often.  And if I do have them scrambled, mix-ins are a must (be it onions, avocado, feta cheese, bell peppers).  I’ll eat them sunny side up or over easy and scoop all of the delicious runny yolk up with my toast.  I can even enjoy an egg white omelete.  Hard boiled eggs make a great snack (with salt, of course) and who doesn’t love a deviled egg??

As my taste buds grew into eggs, my cooking skills, unfortunately, did not.  Sure I can make scrambled eggs nice and fluffy and creamy (fry high, scramble low!), and boiling an egg isn’t rocket science, but I’ve come to the realization that I really don’t know how to cook eggs in all of the *potentially* delicious ways possible.

My Goal:

To find egg recipes I would normally never, EVER, try, (For instance, this twist on eggs benedict that I came across a couple months ago in the April/May 2010 edition of Fine Cooking.  It looks absolutely delicious, but the whole deep frying the egg thing seems impossible to me) and cooking each one until I get it just right.  I want to be able to perfectly poach an egg, to know exactly when it’s done so when you crack it open, the gooey center spills out.  I want to be able to make the perfect sunny side up.  I want to be able to make quiche without a recipe.

So, starting tomorrow, I am going to try to cook 1 egg dish (that I have never made, or thought of making, before) a week.  I feel motivated enough to say 1 every day or every other day, but eggs are high in cholesterol and I have no intention of shortening my father’s life, so once a week will have to do.

I hope to be eggcellent [insert groan here] at cooking eggs within two months.  Who knows, maybe I’ll even be able to crack an egg open with one hand, a feat I have yet to accomplish.

Any egg dishes that are inspiring or one of your favorites??  Let me know!

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