Category Archives: Vegetarian

Not a Frittata

I love reading cookbooks. They give me ideas for things I should make the next time I have whatever ingredients. I went to return a couple of books to the library yesterday and found myself in the cooking section. I ended up grabbing various interesting-looking books, including a baking book from Sur La Table, Techniques of Healthy Cooking from the Culinary Institute of America, a giant book of Cooking Light recipes, and two Giada de Laurentiis books.

I love Giada. If I’m at work, and I turn the TV in the cabana on, I’ll switch it to the Food Network to see what’s on. If Giada’s on, I end up losing a few minutes watching what she’s up to. She has wonderfully simple and elegant recipes, she has a great presence in front of the camera, and she doesn’t add tons of salt like some other personalities (*ahem* Paula Deen >;_>;).

I was flipping through Everyday Italian, just checking things out that might be simple to supplement our coming ingredient reduction, like popcorn with rosemary oil, and drooling over lovely foods like fried calamity, when I came across the description of frittatas. I’ve heard the word thrown around, but had no real idea what it was. I learned that it’s kinda like an omelette, only the ingredients are distributed throughout the egg, and then it’s tossed in the oven to brown on top. I didn’t really think much of it other than it was interesting, but it apparently stuck in my mind a lot more than I realized.

While making my tiramisù, I noticed for the umpteenth time that I had a large batch of egg whites from previous batches of crème brûlée in the freezer. I also had a bunch of spinach and a handful of mushrooms, so I figured I’d use the whites in a relatively simple omelette for dinner.

As per usual, I really didn’t keep it simple.

Not a Frittata

6-8 eggs
1/2 half onion, diced
5 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup packed spinach
1/2 cup pepperjack cheese
1/2 tsp hot chili sauce (can use Asian chili sauces, tapatio works; I used a slight bit of the salsa I had left from the sopes)
garlic (chopped or minced works, but I was lazy and used granulated)
salt and pepper to taste
cumin and sage to taste (I just sprinkled it on, used at most 1/8 tsp)

Toss onions into skillet to caramelize. While they do their thing, whisk eggs with chili sauce, salt and pepper. Preheat broiler to 500°F.

Once onions are mostly caramelized, add mushrooms. Let those cook a bit, then add sage and cumin. Add tomatoes and cook until liquid is evaporated.

Add egg to the pan and make scrambled eggs. Add spinach late in the game to prevent overcooking. Add tiny handful of cheese.

Place concoction in oven-safe pan (I used a pie dish) and top with remaining pepperjack cheese. Place in oven for five-ish minutes and watch the cheese melt and brown a bit. (I had my rack in the middle of the oven so it wouldn’t turn into a crispy mess before I noticed. Also, watching the last minute or so is really interesting and fun.)

Remove from oven. Dish up. Chow down.

 

Thai Noodle Salad with Fried Chicken Bites

I have been trying to sit down and get this post written, but things just keep coming up. Life is getting busier, which is nice: I’m not dwelling quite so much on the over-cloudy/rainy/snowy weather outside, with it’s strange sun breaks right when I can’t get outside. I’m more and more annoyed with western Washington weather.

On another note, pancakes for dinner is amazing.

I came across the following recipe for fried chicken with sweet chili sauce on Pinterest, which has become my new addiction in finding random food ideas. I’ll spend a good half hour or so before falling asleep each night. There are some pretty cute ideas on there, mostly for entertaining. But I came across this recipe, and it sounded really perfect for what I was wanting, but it was only supposed to be an appetizer, so there wasn’t much to it. I looked around for something to accompany…. And had a stroke of food genius. I swear, I could have kissed myself for how awesome this turned out.

Thai Noodle Salad with Fried Chicken in Sweet Chili Sauce

Thai Noodle Salad

1 package rice noodles
4 tablespoons oriental sesame oil

8 green onions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter I used crunchy, and it actually added a really nice crunchy texture.
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce
2 cups mung bean sprouts
1 cup finely shredded carrots

Cook rice noodles according to the package instructions. Transfer pasta to large bowl; add 3 tablespoons sesame oil and toss to coat.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 6 green onions, garlic, and ginger; sauté until onions soften, about 2 minutes. Add honey, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, and chili-garlic sauce; whisk to blend. Simmer sauce 1 minute. Cool to room temperature. Pour over pasta and toss to coat. Add sprouts and carrots; mix well. Transfer to platter; sprinkle with remaining green onions.

I waited to put everything together until after I had the chicken done. That way, the flavors of the sauce had time to meld, and I had time to employ Mikal in cutting the veggies for me while I fried chicken.

Fried Chicken

1 large chicken breast (boneless/skinless)
1/2 cup all purpose flour corn starch – makes a much lighter skin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
canola or peanut oil for frying
1/3 cup sweet chili sauce
carrots & cilantro, for garnish

Pour 1-2 inches of oil into a deep skillet. Preheat over medium heat.

Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and set aside. In a shallow dish, stir together corn starch, garlic powder, salt and pepper. In another shallow dish, whisk egg, milk, salt and pepper together. Dredge the chicken pieces in egg and then corn starch mix.

Place chicken pieces into hot oil and fry until golden brown on each side. (About 3-4 minutes per side.) Remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with sweet chili sauce.

Assemble noodle salad if you haven’t yet, and mix in the sauce. Put a bit into a bowl, top with a bit of chicken, and voilà! Amazing food. Holy buttons, amazing food.

Go on. Try it. I dare ya.

Or you could do like me and just make a whole jar of the salad sauce for a nice veggie noodle salad throughout the week. Just be careful with the chili sauce. I slightly overdid it in my last batch @_@;;

Sopes and Salsa

My neighbor and first-quarter Greener Maria dropped by for some help with her first self-evaluation (a hellish but useful particularity of Evergreen), and we used that as an excuse to cook together. I am not particularly versed in making Mexican food, though I love to eat it. When Maria asked me whether I liked burritos, tacos, and sopes, I answered, “What are sopes?” Thus our meal was decided.

Sopes and Salsa

Salsa 2 roma tomatoes 3 jalapeños 1 handfull dried red peppers 2 cloves garlic 1/2 cup water salt to taste (Just to warn you, this makes a seriously spicy salsa. I had to use it sparingly. I haven’t tried this yet, but I have a feeling that if you bumped the tomatoes up to 4, and decreased the number of red peppers, it would be much more mellow.)Add all ingredients except garlic to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Put all ingredients into blender with about another 1/4-1/2 cup water (depending on the consistency you’re looking for – remember, the tomatoes will be pretty moisture-rich), including garlic. Blend the life out of it. Salt and pepper to taste. Sopes 1 1/2 cups Masa (we used Maseca brand, which is available at Safeway) 1/2 cup unbleached white flour water 1-1 1/2 cup oil 1/2 cup finely chopped onions cotija cheese beans (we used pintos, but black beans would be awesome :o) lettuce Add water 1/4 cup at a time to the cornmeal and flour blend, kneading in. Continue until it achieves a moist-doughy consistency. It should make funny noises when you knead it. Add a bit of salt and pepper, and knead until incorporated. Take small handfuls of dough and roll into a ball. Continue until all dough balled. Maria rolling the dough balls – super expert! Take a ball and smoosh it into a pancake shape, then place in tortilla press and smoosh it until thin. (If you don’t have a tortilla press, you can use a plate to smoosh, or just fully smoosh it by hand.)  Heat an iron skillet to medium heat, and cook the tortillas until they start turning a darker yellow around the edges. Flip, and cook until just done – don’t let them go too long, because they need to be somewhat malleable for the next step. Remove from heat and let cool. Fill flat-bottomed pan with about 1/2 inch oil and start heating on medium/medium-high. Once cooled to a handleable temperature, take each tortilla and create a lip around the edge by pinching the rim between your thumb and pointer fingers. Beware of pinching too hard, because you can punch through the tortilla. Fry in the oil until a nice medium-golden tone, and let drain on paper towels (or better yet, on a rack placed above paper towels – keeps the fried items from wallowing in the oil and becoming soggy).
From here, the sopes become largely a matter of taste. Traditional toppings are finely chopped onions at the base, beans, cotija cheese, lettuce and salsa.
Maria slicing the lettuce really thin. I do love to learn how to do things better 🙂 Quite the amazing combination. I did try slicing some leftover chicken breast onto mine, and it was rather delightful.
Maria enjoying the fruits of her labors. Awesome food!