Sunday, June 16, 2013

Spinach Frittata

A frittata is an Italian-style omelet.  I only recently learned of the concept of the frittata, but it's been a huge success with the kids, especially in the "breakfast for dinner" category.  As with omelets, you can enriched your frittata with any number or combination of ingredients. This is one of our favorites.

7 eggs
chopped spinach leaves
diced ham
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
Heat oven proof skillet on med heat with olive oil.  I use my cast iron skillet, my mother would be so proud! Turn down lead to med low. In a bowl, scramble the eggs.  Add the chopped spinach, ham, 1/4 cup of Parmesan, and a dash of nutmeg.  Salt and pepper lightly.  Pour egg mixture into skillet and cook (without stirring) for 5-7 minutes.  It will still have some liquid.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan to the top.  Put skillet int eh oven under broiler for 3 to 4 minutes until puffy and golden.  Remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes before serving.

Roasted Beets n Sweets

My kids long ago declared a fatwa on beets as a source of enjoyment or even nutrition.  I suppose they do not appreciate the color or texture, but I haven't given up.  I continue to introduce this vegetable into the household menu hoping to broaden their horizons.  The original yummy recipe was shared with me by one of my girlfriends, but I'm tweaked with it a little just because I didn't have garlic powder.  Also, where I live, beets are sold in bundles of four instead of six.  Here's what I did.

4 beets, peeled and diced
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 sweet onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 1/2 Tbs of olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp on course salt (cooking salt or kosher is fine)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).  Toss the beets in 1/2 Tbs on oil to coat.  Spread in a single layer in a large casserole dish. 

In a resealable plastic bag, combine the remaining olive oil, salt, pepper, and sugar.  Add the sweet potatoes, onion, and garlic.  Seal the bag and shake to evenly coat the sweet potatoes.

Bake the beets for 15 minutes in the preheated oven.  Add the sweet potato mixture and continue baking for 45 minutes or until all the vegetables are done, stirring the mixture after 20 minutes.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ginger Cookies

These cookies are a variation of the Ginger Snap.  They are amazingly chewy and have a huge ginger flavor that is not too sweet, but just right for a cuppa tea.  The candied ginger is the secret ingredient.  It adds an little bit extra that make these little babies just awesome!

4 1/2 c all purpose flour
4 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 c shortening
2 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c molasses
1/2 c finely chopped candied ginger
1/4 c granulated sugar

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, ginger, soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.  Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, bleat shortening until softened.  Gradually add the 2 cups granulated sugar.  Beat until fluffy.  Add eggs and molasses, beat well.  Add half of the flour mixture and beat until combined.  Stir in remaining half of flour and mix with a wooden spoon.  Add the finely chopped candied ginger and stir until combined.

Shape dough into little balls and roll in the remaining 1/4 c granulated.  Place on an ungreased cooking sheet.  Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes.  Do not over bake or the cookies will not be chewy.  Let stand for two minutes before transferring to a wire rack.  Yum. Yum.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Butternut Sweet Potato Soup

Let's talk vegetables for a bit.  In my opinion, the butternut squash is an under appreciated vegetable. I think it gets the bad squash rap, but really it tastes more like a pumpkin than a squash.  When you are choosing a butternut squash, the skin should be a golden tan in color and matte (not shiny). A ripe butternut squash feels solid and heavy for its size. It will sound hollow when you tap it. It should feel firm and smooth.  It fact, a butternut squash can be difficult to to skin and chunk up when it's completely raw.  Sometimes I cheat, I will stab the squash a few times and roast it in the oven for thirty minutes or so until it is easier to skin.  You need to stab the squash so that the steam can vent while it's cooking.  If your forget, it may explode in your oven and that is no bueno. 

1/2 butternut squash, peeled and chunked
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and chunked
2 onions
4 garlic cloves
1/8 c fresh ginger, shredded
8c chicken stock
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp nutmeg
Low fat Greek-style yogurt

Coat the bottom of your cooking pot with cooking spray.  Add onion and saute for about five minutes.  Add garlic and ginger.  Cook for about 1 minute.  Add squash, sweet potato and chicken stock, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are done.  Using a blender (or food processor), process soup until smooth.  Return soup to the pot.  Heat soup on med low heat until heated through.  Serve topped with black pepper and a dollop of yogurt.