Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Fritatta

The changing sky from our balcony

I know, I know, I really need to stop whining about winter. But it is just days before April is scheduled to make its debut and it is 19 degrees. Brr. But the sunrise was beautiful and it just has to get warmer eventually, right?

On Fridays in Lent John and I don't eat meat. It is not really a sacrifice for us as many of our favorite foods don't involve meat. We can't really complain when Friday night dinners are often pizza, sushi, a piece of fish or my favorite--frittata.

Frittatas are flat, round Italian omelets that are quick and easy to make. And did I mention delicious?You could use your favorite vegetables in a frittata or use whatever bits and bobs are left in the fridge  at the end of the week. Frittatas are very forgiving and eggs the perfect backdrop for all manner of ingredients. Think ham and asparagus or bacon and onion or ricotta and spinach or potatoes and onions.

Making a frittata is much like making a risotto.Once you've mastered the method there are no limits.


 My Ricotta Frittata

6 eggs
4 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
olive oil to coat bottom of 10" skillet
2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
2-3 handfuls baby spinach, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix eggs with milk, grated cheese, and ricotta. Set aside.

Film the bottom of a 10" skillet with olive oil. Saute red peppers and onions over medium heat until they begin to soften and take on a bit of color. Add spinach to pan and saute mixture until spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in pan with vegetables. When butter begins to foam pour egg mixture over vegetables in pan distributing evenly.  

Cook over medium-low heat shaking pan and pulling frittata away from sides of pan so that the uncooked liquid flows to the bottom. Cook until eggs begin to set.

Transfer skillet to 350 degree oven and finish cooking for 5-10 minutes until eggs are set.

Along with a green salad this frittata serves two generously, perhaps with a couple of slices left over for breakfast.
Have a good weekend everyone, and cook something good.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dinner Tonight

The temperature is 28 degrees and much too cold to be greeting a long awaited Spring. I enjoy the hearty comforting foods of winter as much as the next gal. But enough is enough, and I look forward to embracing the bright and fresh flavors of warmer weather.

But for tonight, hopefully one last time, I will be making a hearty soup filled with goodness. Barley and white beans mingle in a tasty chicken broth topped off with ribbons of  hearty escarole. Drizzle with a bit of extra virgin olive and a few shavings of Parmesan cheese and serve it forth one last time before Spring.

Barley, Bean and Escarole Soup

Adapted from a recipe from Eat This Poem
4 servings

1 medium onion, chopped
1 small fennel bulb, cored and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1/2 cup barley
Salt and pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups chicken stock plus 2 cups water
1 small head escarole, roughly chopped
2 cups cooked cannellini beans
Parmesan cheese for serving

 Add onion, fennel, carrot, celery and garlic into bowl of food processor and pulse until finely chopped. In a large pot heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the barley and cook, stirring often, until the grains are slightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Add the chopped vegetables to the barley and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Saute, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and red pepper flakes and cook until the tomato paste is well incorporated.

Pour the broth into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the barley is tender, 20 to 40 forty minutes.  Stir in the escarole and beans and cook, uncovered, until the escarole has wilted and the beans have warmed through.

Cook's Note:  If the barley has absorbed too much liquid, just add a bit more water to the soup when you stir in the escarole and beans.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014



One of the  daily writing prompts this month from Write Alm is "return." It  made me think that this may be the right time for me to return to this space.

The longer I stayed away from writing, the harder it became to write. It became easy to think I had nothing to say. My head was spinning from multiple major life changes and my thoughts were not cohesive. I was having a hard time adapting to all the changes.

When John changed his job, I lost mine because I had been working for him. Downsizing for our new home was both liberating and stressful. Packing, moving and furnishing a new home was both exciting and exhausting. Adapting to communal living was eye opening. And losing my mother at age 97 two weeks before we moved was overwhelming.

I am not complaining, just explaining. When I started writing this blog, five years ago this month, I wanted to encourage people to come back to the table. To take some time out at the end of the day to breathe, to cook and to share time with those you love.

Well, here are some of the dishes I have been cooking--

 Sesame Honeyed Almonds and Peppered Pecans

Winter Cauliflower Salad by Domenica Marchetti

Chicken Breast with Goat Cheese, Arugula and Lemon by Joanne Weir

So things are looking up, and they say Spring is just around the corner. The way I see it is that if choosing the perfect tile for the backsplash in my kitchen is my most difficult problem, and if I can look at the gorgeous sunrise pictured above as I cross the road to the gym in the morning and gaze at the beautiful sunset pictured below while I'm making dinner,well, then life is pretty good.

What has everyone else been cooking?