Summer Vegetable Frittata

Summer Vegetable Frittatta

What a weekend…all focused on food.  Ok, so maybe most of my weekends are all focused on food – but this was different.  I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference here in Seattle, and not only did we eat (and did we ever), but there were multiple sessions focused on photography, technology and writing.  When I attend a conference like this, I realize how little I actually know – and how little time I actually have to spend on my blog.  I know I could have prioritized it more during my summer sabbatical, but to be honest, I just didn’t want to sit behind a computer when I was in the most glorious food cities in the world.  I am happy with my decision…and maybe someday I will be able to devote more time here.

Aside from eating and learning, I actually met some really great people.  The two blogs I would like to highlight have something in common – these women got their significant other’s involved in their blogs!  I love it!!  The first blog is Dang that’s Delicious – an adorable blog with outstanding photos.  And would you believe they actually met at the food blogger’s conference a couple of year’s ago??  He was not attending, but they met at a bar downtown – what an amazing story.

The next blog is A Tasty Mess – and they travelled all the way from Houston to attend the conference.  They wasted no time at all, and even fit in a UW Husky game!  I loved getting the chance to talk to them, they are young and energetic – and by the look’s of that incredible blog – they have a beautiful life eating, drinking and writing about their adventures.  Next year’s conference is going to be in Sacramento – so if you are a blogger looking for a great way to learn and grow, definitely check it out.

So what do I do after a weekend of eating and drinking?  Turn to vegetables.  Vegetables from my incredible market basket.  The market basket that I look forward to every Thursday.  This week’s basket contained all the ingredients for this delicious frittata (even the eggs!!) – and this recipe below.  It was completely dairy-free, and tasted like summer.  Fresh and delicious.  And next week we get to visit the farm!

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 8-10 fingerling potatoes, washed and thinly-sliced
  • 2 sweet Bullhorn peppers, washed, seeded and chopped
  • 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced potatoes to the skillet and sauté for about 6 to 8 minutes, until tender but firm. Remove from skillet. Add another tablespoon oil, then add the peppers, onions and garlic. Sauté for an additional 2 to 4 minutes or until the peppers and onions are softened, and garlic is fragrant. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Remove from skillet.

In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs and thyme with a pinch of salt and pepper. Return the potatoes to the skillet, arranging in an even layer. Top with vegetable mixture and then pour eggs evenly over the vegetables. Drizzle olive oil around the edge of the pan to ensure easy removal.

Transfer to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the eggs have completely set in the center. Serve straight out of the skillet, cut into wedges, or flip onto a serving plate.

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Caramelized Onion, Tomato and Blue Cheese Galette

Caramelized Onion, Tomato and Blue Cheese Galette

It has never felt so good to be back in the kitchen.  I had the summer of a lifetime, but there was one thing missing…my kitchen.  I thought it would be strange to cook after no kitchen time for a couple of months, but I got right back into it – with a little help from my market basket.  I still miss all the produce and wonderful food products from France and Italy, but this is the best time of year in Seattle – the markets are overflowing with beautiful produce.

It is also hard to believe it is September – not only the beginning of my favorite season – but the IFBC is just around the corner!  I can’t want to hear about the latest food/blogging trends and share them with you.

This week I had the opportunity to visit Coyle’s Bakeshop where she showed us how to make a delicious flakey pie crust.  It is very similar to my recipe (without the sugar) – and she made us a savory and a sweet galette.  It just so happened that the next day when my market basket arrived, it came with the perfect ingredients.  So here you go, my re-entry galette…  If you would rather make your own crust (which I highly recommend), please follow my recipe – omitting the sugar – and then use one disk for galette.

Ingredients

  • Pie crust dough (found in the refrigerator section)
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sherry or white wine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

Preparation

Melt the olive oil and butter in a saute pan, over medium heat. Add thinly sliced onion and red bell pepper.  Saute, stirring, for a while, until the onions start browning and getting soft.  Add 1/4 cup of the sherry or white wine to deglaze the pan.  Keep stirring until all the liquid is evaporated and then add the rest.  The entire process should take around 25 minutes, and the onion and pepper should be nice and soft.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Roll out the pie crust in a 10″ circle.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Add the caramelized onion and pepper mixture, leaving a rim around the edge (to fold over).  Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, and sprinkle on top.  Then sprinkle the blue cheese.  Fold over the dough, creasing every couple of inches.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Caramelized Onion, Tomato and Blue Cheese Galette

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Feta

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

I have a lot going on right now – not just my normal “lot” – but there are some big events coming up in the next few months that I am spending time on, which is taking time away from the kitchen.  I will get back there eventually, but for now I need to make sure all my ducks are in a row.  They are getting there, but it is taking a lot of my time.  What little time I have left when I am not working – which is not a lot these days – work is 200% consuming, and then I have to think about those ducks. Those ducks don’t always want to stay in their rows.

So right now I am focused on cooking healthy foods that are easy to make.  Ok – I know, last week’s post was certainly the opposite of that, but I made an exception.  We have been in a rut recently – a rice rut.  As a family, we probably consume rice 5 out of 7 nights a week.  Fortunately we switched to brown rice a while ago – but still.  It is shocking to me that the kids haven’t protested yet.  I decided that it just couldn’t go on anymore, and that I needed to shake things up a bit – and that’s when I thought about quinoa.

Quinoa is completely underrated – rice gets all the glory – but quinoa is awesome, versatile, and also so easy to make!  It just so happened that I had some fresh feta in the refrigerator that I had to use up – so I went with a Mediterranean theme for this side dish.  It was almost like spring came to dinner.  It was fresh, flavorful and delicious.  And only one duck fell down in the process…

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 cup black olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/4 cup oil and vinegar salad dressing

Preparation

Mix all the ingredients together – and serve chilled.  Yes, it is that easy!

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Feta

Italian Bietole Chard Tart

Italian Bietole Chard Tart

I am starting to think that I need to go back to school to learn about my greens.  I actually considered myself an expert when it came to food, until I realized how little I knew about the leafy green vegetable.  Just take kale for instance, I had no idea how many variations there were of just kale!  My new market basket has really humbled me…

So each week we get at least 4 or 5 different leafy green vegetables, and usually there is one or two recipes in the box on how to use them.  My problem is that I can’t even tell the difference between the greens to know which ones to use!  So – the other week I got a recipe card for the Italian Bietole Chard Tart.  It sounded amazing, and I thought it would be a great way for the girls to eat these nutrient rich vegetables.  My favorite part about this tart was there was no crust to make.  You basically make a crust out of the bread crumbs and the cheese.  Yum.

So, I looked over the greens in the box that week, but I had no idea which one was the chard – we even brought them over to our neighbors (who I really consider to be an expert), and even he wasn’t sure what they were.  So, after staring at them for about 30 minutes, I just closed my eyes and chose one.  I couldn’t let this go on any further – and seriously, what is the worst thing that can happen, that we eat a different green?  I take this cooking thing way too seriously.

Whatever green I ended up using – it was perfect in the tart.  I don’t actually think it was the chard because I didn’t have to cook it nearly as long as the recipe said, but it was perfect anyway.  The girls even liked it, score!  The next morning, I warmed it up for breakfast – what a treat – nutritious and delicious.  It doesn’t get any better than this – leafy greens roulette – I can’t wait to play again this week…

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Swiss chard, washed and dried
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350°. Bring 8 quarts water to a rolling boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Roughly chop the Swiss chard, discarding the rough stems. Add the Swiss chard to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly and set aside.

In a 12-inch saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over a medium flame until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and the parsley. Let cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Meanwhile, break the eggs into a small bowl. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Add 3 tablespoons of Parmigiano and, using a whisk, mix until the ingredients are well-blended. Add the egg mixture to the cooled Swiss chard and toss to combine.

Using the remaining olive oil to lightly grease a shallow 9-inch round or oval baking dish. Dust the bottom of the baking dish with 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Carefully place the Swiss chard and egg mixture into the pan. Dust with the remaining Parmigiano and then the remaining bread crumbs. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 1 hour. Serve hot or room temperature.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Italian Bietole Chard Tart

Sauteed Radishes with Peas and Mint

 

Sauteed Radishes with Peas and Mint

I love it when I find a new way to cook an old favorite.  I have been seeing radishes in my market basket almost weekly for the past couple of months.  For the most part I just pop them in my mouth and eat them as a snack – although sometimes when I am really in the mood for something special, I thinly slice them and place them on some French bread with butter – then I sprinkle some sea salt on top.  Yum.  It really doesn’t get any better than that.  That was before I realized that you could actually cook them…

When I saw the recipe in my market basket for the first time, I must admit I was skeptical.  I couldn’t imagine that they would taste good cooked – boy was I wrong.  Cooking radishes takes the bite out of them.  They are left with a wonderful flavor and an even better texture.  You can still taste the water inside of them, as they burst in your mouth.  This recipe really took them to another level though.  The mint really brought out the deep flavor of the radishes, and because I had some fresh peas to use, and peas are amazing with mint – I thought they would go well.  Oh did they ever.  I quickly ran outside to photograph since I didn’t want to miss this opportunity.  And hey, not only were they delicious, the colors were beautiful.  Bonus.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound radishes, trimmed and cut into wedges
  • 1 cup fresh shelled peas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons mint, chopped
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:

Heat oil and butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Let butter melt and then cook a bit longer, until it’s a deep golden and beginning to take on a nutty smell, about 2 minutes total.

Add radishes and peas to pan and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 8-10 minutes, tossing frequently, until radishes are tender and tinged with caramelization in places. Let cool slightly and sprinkle with mint and additional salt to taste.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Sauteed Radishes with Peas and Mint

Sauteed Radishes

Bacon and Leek Risotto

 

Bacon and Leek Risotto

It is hard to be on a treadmill day after day, not feeling like you are actually getting anywhere.  There is so much going on at work these days, I take one step forward, and two steps back.  I told my team a little secret yesterday…sometimes I go home and make myself a list of things to do – just so I can check things off and feel like I have accomplished something.  Yep, I have a problem.

Fortunately I finally figured out my blog problem.  I have to say, I love WordPress, I have had very little issues with them.  Super easy to use, very easy to get help – but this one really baffled me.  For some reason when I looked at my post, I was looking at the code – not what it looks like on the other side.  Well, once I actually was coherent and spent a few minutes thinking about it – I realized there were two tabs on the upper right hand side – “Visual” and “Text”.  It somehow switched to “Text” and when I switched it to “Visual” the code disappeared.  The menu bars were still not the same, and either was the picture, but I figured out I had to click the “Toolbar Toggle” – and then edit the picture and make it bigger.  Whew.  I felt a whole lot better afterwards – like I really had accomplished a lot.  I love that feeling.

So I have mentioned the market basket that we started getting on Thursdays – it seriously is one of the highlights of my week.  Not only am I amazed at what they stick in there week after week, it gives me another opportunity to feel like I am accomplishing something.  If I can use up everything in that basket every week – that is quite a feat.  I am finding myself thinking creatively about cooking again, and I love it.  The leeks have been beautiful lately – nice and big, and bursting with flavor.  I found this recipe in Cooking Light and decided that it was a risotto night – I needed to use up the leeks, and the sweet and smoky bacon that they had put in the basket – from my absolute favorite farm.  Maybe it was the ingredients that I used, but this risotto was over the top delicious.  For a weeknight dinner, it certainly felt special.  Like I had finally gotten off the treadmill and actually ran a mile.  For once, it felt good to run back…

Ingredients

  • 5 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 bacon slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups thinly sliced leek (about 4 large)
  • 1/2 cup sliced shallots
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preparation

Bring stock and 2 cups water to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add leek, shallots, thyme, and garlic to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Stir in rice; cook 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup stock mixture; cook 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Reserve 1/3 cup stock mixture. Add remaining stock mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly until liquid is absorbed before adding more (about 25 minutes total). Stir in lemon juice, butter, pepper, salt, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Remove pan from heat. Stir in reserved 1/3 cup stock mixture. Sprinkle with reserved bacon and chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Bacon and Leek Risotto

Crispy Broccoli-Carrot Fritters

Crispy Broccoli-Carrot Fritters

My daughters are very adventurous eaters – compared to most kids their age.  Last night when we were driving home, I asked my younger daughter was she wanted for dinner, and would you believe she asked me to make something new?  What 8 year old asks for that?  I would have expected her to say – macaroni and cheese, pizza or a big cheese quesadilla – but no, she wanted to try something different.  I guess I dug my own grave there.

I love that they are willing to try just about anything – now, that doesn’t mean they like everything – but at least they are open to trying.  There are a few things though that each of them still won’t touch with a 10 foot poll.  The problem is that they are not obscure things – they are the basics.  Fortunately there are not that many – although they usually are in the vegetable category.  My younger daughter can’t stand cooked carrots.  She actually likes them raw – but cook them, and forget it.  She hates the taste, but more than that she complains about the texture.  Go figure.

In the fall we have a tradition of going to a German restaurant to get some delicious Schnitzel.  We used to drive all the way across town to go to this place we loved, but over the years it just went downhill.  So this year we decided to try a new place that had just opened up in our neighborhood.  It is a great neighborhood joint, and the owner is from Germany.  The food is delicious – and he plays this little game with the kids.  If you eat all of your carrots, you get a big plate of Gummy Bears topped with whipped cream.  Wow, that was quite a dilemma.  Of course my older daughter wasted no time eating her carrots.  She saw the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – but my younger daughter just couldn’t do it.  The owner came back to the table quite a few times, and told her she had to eat her carrots, and I swear she almost burst into tears.  We made her eat one, and seriously that was all I could watch.  We helped her with the rest so she could also get her treat.  There was no way we were leaving that place without the prize.

Recently I was looking through Cooking Light, and found this recipe that looked just scrumptious.  Ok, just about anything fried has me sold – but then dipping it into a yogurt dill sauce?  Come on.  So, I had to give these a try.  I knew that keeping the carrots in the recipe was risky, but I figured if she can eat them here, that is at least a start.  Would you believe she actually scarfed these down completely?  She loved every bit of them, and remarked that she couldn’t even taste the carrots – score!  It is the little victories that count – and the fact that she was willing to give them a try.  I will give her a pot of gold for that any day.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
  • 2.25 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1.5 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

Preparation

Place 4 cups water, broccoli, and carrots in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 4 minutes; drain. Pat broccoli mixture dry with paper towels; finely chop. Place broccoli mixture and flour in a large bowl; stir to coat. Add cheese, salt, pepper, onions, and egg to broccoli mixture; stir to combine.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Spoon 1/4 cup broccoli mixture into a dry measuring cup. Pour mixture into pan; flatten slightly. Repeat procedure 7 times to form 8 fritters. Cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Combine yogurt and dill in a small bowl. Serve yogurt mixture with fritters.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Crispy Broccoli-Carrot Fritters