Monthly Archives: July 2013

Clean out the fridge frittata

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What to do for dinner? Have some eggs? Frittata!!!

In this frittata: zucchini, red bell pepper, mushrooms, onion, garlic, sliced oven roasted turkey lunch meat, one slice of provolone cheese, three slices of prosciutto crisped first in the microwave, artisan cheddar cheese.

Sauté your veggies in some oil until soft, add any seasoning, add the meat to warm, dot top with cheese, scramble eight eggs and pour over the goodies. Let eggs set for a bit on the stovetop then pop into a 450 degree oven for 5-7 minutes to cook the top.

I used a 12″ pan, if you use an 8″ pan you may only need six eggs.

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom

Summer vegetables are at their peak and super tasty right now but you can always get zucchini and some sort of squash year-round if you are wanting a bit of summer when the temperature drops. Inspired and reconstructed from a dish at a restaurant this is a simple and tasty way to create a great topper to some salad greens or wonderful side dish.

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom on Greens

Ingredients*:

  • 2 large portobello mushrooms
  • 1 small to medium zucchini
  • 1 small to medium summer squash or golden zucchini
  • 1/2-1 red bell pepper
  • 5-6 mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp sundried tomatoes cut into strips (with or without oil)
  • handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 shallot
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • fresh basil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Dried herbs – oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary OR italian spice blend
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Rinse or brush any soil off the portobello mushrooms and using a sharp knife, cut the stems out of the center. If they are woody, discard/compost, if not cut into 1/4″ dice. Put mushrooms on a plate or dish to marinate, gill side up.
  2. Make a quick marinade of one minced garlic clove, 5-6 basil leaves sliced thin (chiffonade), 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar, 4 tbsp of olive oil and salt/pepper to taste. If you have other seasonings you like feel free to play! Give your marinade a good stir to blend the oil and vinegar and pour over the portobello mushrooms and let set at room temperature for 15-30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, time to dice some vegetables.
  4. While your portobellos are marinating, mince the remaining garlic cloves and shallot. Cut into 1/4″ dice the zucchini, summer squash, pepper and mushrooms. Half the cherry tomatoes.
  5. Put the portobellos in the oven for 15 minutes to cook.
  6. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. If you are using sundried tomatoes in oil put those in the skillet along with the shallots and garlic, saute until shallots are translucent. If you are using sundried tomatoes that aren’t in oil, add 2 tsp of olive oil to the pan before sauteing. Add a tbsp of dried herbs and a 1/4 tsp of fresh ground pepper and saute for 1 minute to release the aromatics.
  7. Add zucchini, peppers, squash and mushrooms to the pan and saute until softened. Add cherry tomatoes and saute for a minute to two to warm tomatoes through. Remove from heat. Add a 1/4 c of Parmesan cheese to the sauteed vegetable and stir. Sometime in this your portobellos should be done, remove from the oven but leave oven on for one final heat through.
  8. Now time to get a little messy, or not. After you have removed the portobellos from the oven, they will need their veggie topping. You can either spoon on the sauteed vegetables into a pile on each mushroom or you can be all restaurant-like mold your veggies before putting them on the portobellos. Get a small bowl that is the same diameter as the mushroom, pack the veggies in there and then turn out on the portobellos. I hate dirtying more dishes than need be unless I am feeling the need to make it pretty so I usually just spoon it on.
  9. Sprinkle the top with a tbsp of mozzarella and back in the 350 degree oven for 7-9 minutes to warm throughout and melt the cheese.

*Notes:

  • I have tried to help with timing management with the steps as if you are making the dish.
  • If you are only making two portobellos I have found using my large toaster oven works well and you don’t heat up your kitchen for a small dish.
  • You can precook everything and just assemble and heat the day of your meal, bring everything to room temp and just do the final heat through it the oven for 10-15 minutes to heat everything through. Leave out the Parmesan cheese from the vegetable saute until you are right about to put on the portobellos, if not it will discolor and be sticky.
  • The amount of vegetables are always negotiable, have more of one thing or another? Cleaning out the fridge? Use what you have on hand.
  • You will probably have some vegetable saute left over, I toss it with scrambled eggs or in an omelet the next day.
  • Dairy-free or vegan? Leave out the cheeses. The vegetable saute may not hold together as well but it will still be delicious!

Lineage and Legacy – Part Two

In my first post I talked about my food legacy inherited from my family and this month I was delighted to host my parents and one of my Aunties. It was my parents first trip to Oregon, my Aunty Cynthia or NTC had only visited Southern Oregon once before. I had a great time playing tourist in my town, it really made me realize that more exploring is in order!

I grew up in Hawaii and because of it’s ethnic diversity, the food culture is also quite varied. I never thought it odd that you can have foods from 3-5 ethnic groups in one meal or on one plate. Several weeks before their trip my Mom kept asking me what she should bring. Most people will interpret this as what clothing she should pack, when my Mom asks, it means what food from the islands have I been missing can she bring. Also know that despite what I tell her, she will bring much more!

Hawaiian food for dinner

Hawaiian food for dinner was the plan for one night. She brought frozen laulau, fresh poi and pipikaula and we supplemented the meal with lomi salmon from Uwajimaya (highly recommend if you don’t make your own) some wakame salad and of course rice. Sorry no mac salad for the plate lunch purists. It was so ono (good)!

Ice cream from Salt & Straw

We had lunch at Third Degrees on the waterfront enjoying the beautiful sunny Portland views. After that dessert was at Salt & Straw, a gourmet ice cream place on NW 23rd. We lucked out that the line at Salt & Straw was short and we soon had our treats. NTC’s double scoop was the sea salt with caramel and chocolate with gooey brownies, Mom opted for just one scoop of sea salt with caramel, Dad is a vanilla man and they didn’t disappoint with double fold vanilla, I had honey balsamic strawberry with cracked black pepper. I kinda love how my Dad has a little bit of ice cream on his chin, I didn’t tell him when I snapped the picture.

I took the Hawaii folks to an Oregon beach and what is a trip to the beach without going to Mo’s? By the way, they have a gluten free menu! I was a little bummed not to have clam chowder but I was happy with my Shrimp Medley on the fish plate.

Mo’s Shrimp Medley

Saturday Market is one of those “musts” when you have out of town guests and after walking up and down the aisles we walked over to the Lan Su Chinese Garden for lunch and to get out of the crowds. If you have never visited the garden, you are missing out. It’s a tranquil oasis in the middle of the city plus there is a tea house that serves food and tea. If I worked near there I think I would be there during lunch every day.

Lan Su Chinese Garden Teahouse

I loved having my family here and I figured out where some of my idiosyncrasies come from like thinking about dinner before I have eaten lunch, my Mom, though she calls it ‘planning ahead.’ I am also quite territorial about my kitchen space, yeah, had to get over that one but Mom and I work well around each other. I am really grateful to be able to watch how she does things and got a few tips and tricks from her while she was here.

Making breakfast and Mojito time!

Making breakfast and Mojito time!

Summer Yum – #1 Black Cap & Mint ‘Adult’ Sweet Tea

Summer often doesn’t start until July 5 here in the Pacific Northwest. It’s an inside joke that is really isn’t a joke, I have experienced the coldest Junes ever since I moved to Oregon. But in the spirit of amazing summer produce here is the first in a series of creating some Summer Yum!

Berries in the Pacific Northwest are awesome, blueberries, black berries, marionberries, raspberries, black caps (black raspberries), strawberries the litany can go on just like Bubba can go on about shrimp.

Black caps are smaller and more tart than raspberries but lend a lovely dark pink hue to this cocktail. If you cannot find black caps, blackberries are fine substitute.

The Ingredients…

Ingredients (2 cocktails)*

  • 15-20 black caps
  • 10-12 mint leaves
  • 1 lemon
  • sweet tea vodka – Jeremiah Weed and Firefly are two brands
  • club soda/sparkling water or Sprite/7-Up
  • Ice

*Note – you can adjust to taste and the size of your glass

Muddle 5-8 black caps with mint at the bottom of the glass, add ice. Squeeze half a lemon, 1.5 oz of sweet tea vodka and top with club soda/sparkling water or sprite/7-Up. Stir and enjoy!

You may need to add some sugar depending on your personal taste. The vodka and if you choose the Sprite/7-Up option will add sweetness to your cocktail.

Go stand in a line…

World Domination Summit was this past weekend, July 5-7. Wow, what an epic ride. There were so many things from that weekend that had me laughing, on the verge of tears, thinking a-ha, YES!

I thought on Monday, wow I could have taken pictures of everything I ate at the food carts, that would have been an great write up but I didn’t take any pictures…and what’s a food blog without a food porn?

But what was amazing about the whole experience could be summed up in advice given to my by a 3x attendee when I said I felt a bit of overwhelm. She said, and I will paraphrase, go stand in a line and strike up a conversation and see what happens. The most amazing things happen in lines, first evening at the zoo, standing in line for a salad, I met Harrison, Nick and Emily, Emily went for a beverage and brought back Mary and Jessica; cruising the food lines for something gluten-free for lunch the next day I ran into someone that I knew online and had hoped to meet. Next to Brenda was Myra, all three of us gluten-free, bonding ensued until the end.

dancing at the end!

Quinoa Snack Bars

I ran across this recipe by Tasting Table and thought it looked great, but wasn’t gluten-free and I don’t care for dates. Googling “quinoa bar” gave me a barrage of recipes to choose from and after looking at a few (remember my “what I have on hand” and “not too many ingredients” rules) I did a mash up of 3-4 recipes I ran across. Please note that measurements are approximate, if you have a bit more or a bit less, this recipe will accommodate you.

Dry Ingredients

  • 1/2 C almond meal or flour
  • 1 C quinoa, cooked
  • 1 C rolled oats (I use gluten free oats from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2-3/4 C nuts, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1-2 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2-3/4 C dried fruit (I love using the Golden Berry Blend from Trader Joe’s but you can use dried cranberries, raisins, chopped apricots or whatever you have on hand)

Wet Ingredients

  • 1/3 C nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower seed**)
  • 1/4 C honey or maple syrup
  • 1/3-1/2 C unsweetened applesauce or banana (small or about half of a medium banana)
  • 1 egg white**
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Coconut oil for greasing pan

Directions

  1. Combine all the wet ingredients together in a small bowl and mix well
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well
  3. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredient mixture
  4. Combine well, mixture will be very sticky
  5. Spoon into a greased 8×8 or 9X5 loaf pan, smooth the top and bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until golden brown
  6. Let cool, cut into 6-8 pieces
  7. Store in the refrigerator

Notes**

  • Sunflower seed butter will give your bars a lovely green streaks due to the chlorophyll in the sunflower seeds reacting with the baking soda. It doesn’t affect the taste and could be a fun addition to a St. Paddy’s day brunch.
  • You can substitute a chia egg or flax egg for the egg white. If using the chia egg, just remove the chia seeds from the dry ingredients, I found having both was a bit too much.
  • Chia egg – 1 Tbsp chia seeds + 3 Tbsp water + 15 minutes = egg substitute
  • Flax egg – 1 Tbsp ground flax seeds + 3 Tbsp water + 15 minutes = egg substitute. If using whole flax seeds add an additional Tbsp of water
  • Nut allergies, substitute another gluten-free flour, bean flours would be a good choice. Instead of nuts, up the amount of hemp/chia seeds and/or dried fruit. Use sunflower seed butter which usually doesn’t affect folks with nut allergies or substitute more applesauce/banana
  • Double the recipe? Use a 9×13 pan, same temperature and baking time

Cooking my crankypants off

Today was a MONDAY, one of ‘those’ Mondays. After a really busy day at work plus the heat and IMG_0699 humidity, I came home feeling sticky, cranky and crabby. I kept thinking of all the things that I should get done and it my mood turned even darker and more sour. I stood in the middle of my apartment unsure if crying or throwing something would make me feel better. Yes, I needed an intervention.

And that intervention started with a cantaloupe. A cantaloupe that needed to be cut up and refrigerated before the heat turned it into a biology experiment on my counter. Knife in hand, a deep breath and the pungent sweetness of the cantaloupe and the movement of slicing into the ripe fruit began to shift my focus. Doing a little QA (quality assurance) by eating the pieces that missed the container from the cutting board brought awareness that I was hungry. Low blood sugar=crankypants.

The last thing I wanted to do was make it any hotter by cooking but a well stocked fridge from weekend shopping yielded a Quinoa Salad on a bed of lettuce lightly tossed with basil olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar. Figs from Trader Joe’s along with some chevre and prosciutto filled my plate.

almondeggcollage

While giving the Quinoa Salad 30 minutes to chill  I threw together some dessert that I am bringing over to a friend’s house. Again, going with the “cooking cold” idea I was inspired by some sliced, frozen chocolate covered bananas that I had at a retreat and the Detoxinista’s Healthier Peanut Butter Eggs. I figured I was melting dark chocolate anyway, why not do double duty dipping? My adaptations to the original recipe included using raw almond butter rather than peanut butter, making them a bit smaller (yield 8 + a QA tester rather than 6 in the original recipe) and double dipped the almond butter eggs taking into the account the feedback I got from coworkers about wanting more chocolate.

End result? Had dinner, QAed the chocolate covered almond egg, successfully cooked cold, re-balanced blood sugar while doing cooking meditation, no more crankypants! Oh, bananas passed QA too.

crankypantscollage