Spring Vegetable and Potato Frittata

Image

I was thinking about ways to use the remaining spring onions and green garlic that were going to waste in the crisper when it hit me – it’s Frittata time!  I started chopping and about 30 minutes later this is what came out of the oven.

Spring Vegetable and Potato Frittata

4 large eggs (or 6 medium/small eggs)
2 spring onions – sliced into thin rings
2 green garlic – sliced into thin rings
1 large russet potato, quartered then sliced into 1/4″ thick slices
1 clove garlic – finely chopped
3 stalks of Kale, stems removed and then coarsely chopped
1 ounce of sharp cheddar, finely chopped or shredded
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper, and herbs of your choice (I used Fine Herbes)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Boil potatoes until almost tender.  Remove from heat and drain.  Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the kale for a few minutes.  Drain well and squeeze out as much water as possible.  In a fry pan cook the potatoes in the olive oil until crisp on the outside.  Meanwhile, put the eggs in a large bowl and whisk until well blended.  Add the chopped onion, green garlic, garlic, kale, salt, pepper, herbs and cheddar to the eggs and blend together.  Once the potatoes are crisp turn the heat down to medium-low and add the egg mixture.  Cook over medium low heat until the eggs start to set and then transfer the pan to the top shelf of the oven.  Cook for another 4-5 minutes and finish with a blast from the broiler to get a nice crisped top.  Serve immediately!

IMG_0648

Advertisements

Tuna Pasta Salad with Lemon and Greens

ImageIt was one of those evenings where we didn’t have much time or energy to cook so my lovely wife threw together this quick tuna and pasta salad.  I’ve learned that tuna salad can be as unique as the individual making it.  It makes me wonder if there is a correlation between a person’s tuna salad and how interesting they are.  With that said, I hope you don’t find us too boring.  Recipe is as follows:

  • 1 can of quality solid tuna in water (or oil if that’s your preference)
  • 8 ounces whole grain fusilli
  • 1/2 spanish onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 2 Tbsp of Mayonnaise
  • Dill weed
  • Pepper (we didn’t add salt since the tuna and mayo were already salted)
  • Whole leaf lettuce

Boil the pasta “al dente” and cool.  Combine remaining ingredients and mix well without breaking apart the tuna too much.  Combine with pasta and mix gently.  Chill until cool.  Create a bed of lettuce and place the salad on top.  Garnish with any remaining dill and a crank or two of pepper.  Simple and delicious.  Enjoy!

Fresh Morels – A Welcome Gift (I <3 California)

Image

It’s the little things in life that matter.  We stopped at a local business yesterday and ended up talking to the owner for quite some time while looking around.  The conversation quickly turned to food (doesn’t it always?!) and we were talking in detail about herbs and the love of cooking.  As we were checking out he stopped and said, “I have a surprise for you!”  He went out back and came back with a beat up cardboard box.  Upon opening the box I saw a pile of morel mushrooms.  He grabbed a few, put them in a bag and said “Welcome to Northern California” as he finished ringing us up.  This small act of kindness has done two things:  1)  Raised my hopes about the inherent good in humanity and 2)  Made a lifetime customer out of me

A few hours later I cooked them up.  Here’s my ridiculously simple recipe:

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • morels
  • sea salt to taste

Melt the butter in a saute pan until nice and hot.  Drop in the morels in a single layer and saute until the juices have been released.  I like a little bit of a golden edge to mine.  Once cooked, place on a plate and sprinkle with sea salt.  You’ll be hard pressed to find a more delicious snack.

Pizza at Home – My Two Cents

Pizza dough is remarkably simple to make yet “perfect” dough can be elusive due to the lack of technique and improper tools.  So here are my two cents…

1.  Equipment

  • Buy a Baking Stone that is at least an inch thick and large enough to accomodate pizza and bread.  I always recommend going a bit larger than you would think for a few reasons:  a large stone retains heat and provides a bigger target for you to place your pizza/bread upon.
  •  Invest in a pizza peel.  I personally favor the stainless steel version.  It’s strong, thin, and easy to store next to the refrigerator.
  • Parchment Paper is the best “cheat” I’ve ever used.

2.  Technique

  • Proper hydration of the dough is crucial, so follow the recipe exactly unless you are a master breadmaker.
  • I use two recipes:  Jim Lahey’s No Knead or the one from FornoBravo.com
  • Learn how to stretch/toss the dough.  It may look a little hard at first, but it’s quite easy and makes for a wonderfully thin crust.  Mind the ceiling fan!  Here’s a great video of the technique: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWL__9yDu8I
  • HOT Oven.  Crank it up as hot as it goes.  500 to 550 depending on the make and model.  After preheated give your stone at least 30 minutes to get up to temperature.
  • CHEAT: Place parchment paper on your peel.  Place the dough on the parchment paper and assemble your pizza.  Place in the hot oven and after a minute or two of cooking you can quickly reach in and pull out the parchment paper while using the peel to lift up the pizza about an inch.  **NOTE** Make sure you remove it after a few minutes otherwise it will brown and possibly ignite.  Kitchen fires = Lame!

3.  Quality Ingredients

  • The Dough.  I find that using the extra fine 00 flour makes all the difference in the world.  If you like thin dough with a wonderful texture I have had great success with Farino di Grano Tenero Tipo 00.
  • Don’t use canned sauce.  Build your own!  It’s cheap and quick and you can tailor the flavor to your own preferences.  My personal recipe is something like this:
    – 1 Can or Tetra Pak of quality tomatoes.  I like Pomi Chopped Tomatoes.
    – 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
    – 2 TBSP Olive Oil
    – Pinch of red pepper flakes
    – Oregano, Fennel Seed, Salt & Pepper
    Saute the garlic in the olive oil until fragrant (a minute or two).  Add the tomato, S&P, red pepper flakes and herbs.  Simmer until flavors meld ~15 minutes.  Cool and use!
  • The Cheese – Mozzarella.  Fresh if possible, as it melts so much better and has a lovely texture and flavor.
  • Fresh Vegetables!  Be creative, but don’t use anything canned!!
  • Flavorful meat with a focus on quality over quantity.
  • Fresh Basil – for garnish

Pizza is a wonderful invention and there’s no reason you can’t make a wonderful version at home.

Cheers!

Pan Grilled Strip Steak with Spicy Dandelion Greens and Quinoa

Image

We don’t eat beef very often but every now and then I crave steak.  This NY strip steak in particular weighed in at over a pound and was nearly 2 inches thick.  A quick rub with garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper and olive oil and it was ready to go.

Method:  Oven heated to 450 degrees along with our Le Creuset grill pan Le Creuset Square Skillet Grill Pan.  Once hot, the steak was placed on the hot pan and cooked, flipping and rotating every 5-6 minutes to get the grill marks.  Cook until internal temperature reaches 135F or more (I like medium rare).  Rest for 5 minutes and slice/cut as needed.

I served this on top of a bed of spiced dandelion greens made with onions, garlic, and red pepper flake.  At the very end I tossed in a few golden grape tomatoes and a few drops of 14 year old balsamic vinegar for brightness.

The quinoa was made with chicken stock and topped with a blend of oregano, basil, and pepper.

Giada + Bacon: Fettuccine with Arugula Pesto

Image

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/linguine-with-avocado-and-arugula-pesto-recipe/index.html

I’ve never been a fan of arugula by itself due to the fact that the smell always reminded me of a skunk.  When I saw this recipe where it was blended with avocado, lime juice and basil to form a pesto, I was intrigued.    The recipe is above and I followed it exactly until the final step.  In addition to the cheese I added some fried bits of bacon (really, bacon does make things better!) and omitted the almonds.  I love almonds, but I scorched them.  Last but not least I added some freshly chopped heirloom tomato for color contrast.  This recipe is a keeper and was wonderful again the next day for lunch.

The side dish is an old stand by:  2 cups chopped carrots boiled until just starting to get tender.  Drain the water, put the carrots back in the pot, add 1 Tbsp butter, 1 Tbsp vinegar (your choice – I used balsamic last night) and an aromatic herb (I used Fines Herbes).  Toss to coat and serve immediately.

Cheers!

King Salmon with Green Garlic and Fava Beans

Image

King Salmon is a wonderful fish that I rarely saw while living on the East Coast.  Now that we’ve moved to the Bay Area we were very happy to see it available at most fish markets.  I ended up using a very interesting recipe (follows below) that combined a unique cooking technique along with some lovely spring vegetables.

I’d like to thank the Chicago Tribune for posting this recipe.

For the side dish I made a batch of wild rice (1 cup).  While the rice was cooking I took 2 shallots (finely chopped) and 2 cloves of garlic (minced) and briefly cooked them in a tablespoon of olive oil for a minute or two (until very fragrant, but not browned).  I added a bunch of spinach and mixed it together until wilted.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Once the rice is completely cooked stir in the spinach mixture and voila… a healthy side dish!

Salad – The Perfect Lunch

Image

What’s the easiest way to plow through a ton of vegetables?  Build a salad.  This version features baby lettuce, carrots, and radishes from this week’s CSA box.  In addition I’ve added heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced yellow onion, half an avocado, and some Habanero Jack cheese from Safeway.

Southwest Salad Dressing:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
Pepper
Salt
Dash of White Wine Vinegar
Herb Blend (Ancho chili, garlic, onion, cumin, cayenne, oregano, cilantro, chives, bay, and chipotle pepper)

I was out of beans, but this would be a perfect place to add some black or kidney beans for extra protein.

Vegetable and Chorizo Frittata

The Frittata is one of the easiest things to cook when you are short on time.  For example, I didn’t get back from the gym until 6:45 this evening, but by 7:15 a delicious homemade meal was ready to go.  For this frittata I ended up scouring the refrigerator and came up with the following recipe from the ingredients I had on hand:

Vegetable and Chorizo Frittata

6 eggs (I used 3 full eggs and 3 egg whites)
2 inches of Spanish Chorizo, cut into 1/4″ pieces
8-10 stalks of asparagus
1/2 Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups whole leaf spinach, rinsed
1 shallot
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup romano/parmesan blend
1/8 tsp marjoram
1/8 tsp chives
1/8 tsp terragon
salt and pepper to taste

Steam or saute the asparagus and set aside.  Quickly saute spinach until JUST wilted and set aside.  Beat eggs and herbs until blended, adding a bit a few tablespoons of water to the mixture.  Mix in cheese to the egg mixture.  In a medium sized skillet saute onions with olive oil until just starting to become translucent.  Add shallots, garlic and chorizo and cook until fragrant and onions are soft.  In a small oven-safe pan, place the spinach and onion/chorizo blend and bring the heat up to medium.  Stir in the egg/cheese mixture until well mixed and then let cook over medium heat until almost set.  Press in the asparagus spears until just visible.  Place in the oven on a high rack and broil until the top is golden brown.

**NOTE**  Be sure you cook the eggs long enough on the stove before transferring to the broiler!!