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Archive for February, 2008

frittata-1.jpg

This week we had a pot-luck brunch at work.  Since I’m not that big on sweets for breakfast, I brought a frittata as my dish.  Frittatas are the Italian verison of an omelette.  They are super easy to make, all you need is a good nonstick skillet and a broiler.  I threw everything together in the morning before I went to work.

My favorite frittata has bacon, feta cheese, tomatoes and fresh basil.  You can use whatever you have on hand or makes you happy. 

 Maria’s Favorite Frittata (this is all an estimate, so just wing it!)

  • 3/4 of a pound of bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 small tomatoes, diced
  • fresh basil, about 2 tbps chopped
  • 4 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 6-7 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar

Preheat the broiler in the oven.  Cook the bacon in a nonstick skillet until crispy.  Remove the bacon from the pan and spread out on a paper towel to drain.  Pour the bacon grease from the pan, leaving a thin layer on the inside of the pan. (This step is important to allow easy removal of the frittata from the pan at the end). Place the pan back on the stove and keep on low heat.

Beat the eggs and the water together in a large bowl, then add the bacon, tomatoes, basil and feta.  Toss together and pour into the pan.  Turn up the heat and cook the mixture on the stovetop until you can see everything starting to set.  Add the cheddar to the top of the frittata.  Transfer the pan from the stovetop to the broiler.  If your pan doesn’t have a metal handle, wrap the handle in aluminum foil to protect it before it goes in the oven.  Broil the frittata until the mixture is completely set and the cheese is brown and bubbly.  Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a plate.   NOTE:  THE PAN WILL BE REALLY HOT, USE A POTHOLDER!!!    Frittatas are good warm or room temperature.

breakfast

 As a side note,  if you think that this recipe sounds good, or if you can’t follow it, please leave me a comment know so I can make changes!

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besides chocolate cake

 The only real reason I can give for the lack of actual recipes lately is being lazy. Well, more like just being tired of doing dishes.

  The better culinary reason I can give goes hand in hand with laziness;  most of our dinners lately have just been a roasted meat of some sort with starch and vegetable.   When I say roasted meat, I mean I have been roasting chicken breasts and pork tenderloins in their most basic form: seasoned salt + canola oil + convection roasting.   To me, it really is the lazy girl’s guide to a good dinner.   Actually I read in the paper not too long ago that our local restaurant critic always orders roast chicken when on the job because he feels it is the best judge of how skilled the kitchen is.  Something that is so simple, but is really bad when done poorly.

 greek chicken

After trial and error I have found some good tips for the perfect roast chicken breast, so I figured I would put them here.

1) Start with good chicken. I have been using chicken breasts on the bone with skin.  I remove the skin after cooking, but it is important to leave the skin on while cooking to protect the meat. 

2) Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then brush with canola oil and season with whatever spice rub you want. I am partial to McCormick’s seasoned salt.  Put this above and below the skin.

3)  Insert a digital meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast.  I think this is the key to moist chicken. Actually it is the best way to avoid overcooking any type of meat in my opinion.  They aren’t expensive and take so much guesswork out of the process.

4)  Place the chicken on a foil lined baking sheet and roast in a pre-heated 450 degree oven set for convection.  I can’t guarantee this recipe if you aren’t using a convection oven because that is what I have in my kitchen. I love it because it circulates the air around the food and allows it to cook quicker.  You can follow this recipe in a regular oven, but it might not brown as nicely and may take longer.

5)  Cook the chicken until it reaches 165 degrees on the thermometer (about 25 minutes).  Take it out and cover with foil. Let this sit for about 10 minutes, the temperature should hit 170 during this time. 

6)  Eat!

See how this can be an easy weeknight meal?   The recipe for the photo above can be found here.

 Anyway, I am going to try and have more interesting posts in the next few weeks.  While you are here, feel free to drop me a comment just to let me know what you think!

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This past weekend we celebrated a good friend’s birthday. I won’t say how old he is turning here on the internet. Let’s just say it was a milestone birthday.  For our present to him, we brought him a birthday cake from the Mad Hatter Bakery in Durham, NC.   I know what you are thinking; “Why didn’t you bake a cake for him?”.  The answer is very simple; I don’t bake.  Baking Lenny a cake would not have been a present for him; it would have been a trip to the ER.

Anyway, I was so glad when his sister told me that Lenny was a fan of chocolate cake.  Chocolate on chocolate cake is the only kind of sweet that I CANNOT resist. So I bought Lenny something that made my mouth drool just reading about it.  Death by Chocolate.  It consisted of three layers of devil’s food cake, with chocolate custard in between finished off with a coating of chocolate ganache.   It was the best cake I ever had in my whole entire life.  Lenny and everyone else who tasted the cake agreed. It was like eating a piece of chocolate cloud. I don’t know how they got something that looked so rich to taste so light.  It probably involves way more fat than I should be aware of.

I took a picture to show how pretty the decoration looked, but the cake was eaten so quickly there wasn’t time to take a picture of the cake once it was cut.  It probably isn’t fair to show you something that you can’t taste or smell.  All I can say is if you live in the area around Mad Hatter, you must go there and try their cakes. 

Death by Chocolate from the Mad Hatter

Happy Birthday Len!

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