When life gives you leftovers...make a frittata! Sometimes after a few catering jobs, I have little bits of leftovers in my fridge. It happened this week, I had some caramelized onions, cooked mushrooms and fresh mozzarella from a pizzetta appetizer that I had prepared. I also had some asparagus and roasted potatoes from the main course offering. A few green onions leftover from the salad and I had plenty of tasty ingredients to make a frittata, Just whisk some eggs together, add the veggies and cheese, some herbs or spices, put it in the oven and in under an hour you have a wonderful breakfast dish, a perfect 'ladies' lunch or an easy but hearty dinner.
3 cups of leftover cooked veggies, including some onions (if you don't have cooked onions, sauté one onion chopped in 2 T butter along with a clove of garlic, chopped)
2 c cheese, jack, cheddar, mozzarella, whatever you have on hand
a few slices of pancetta or prosciutto (optional)
1/4 chopped parsley
dash of hot sauce, such as tabasco
pinch of thyme and oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk to blend. Add in the cheese and the seasonings. Chop the pancetta or prosciutto, if using, brown in a skillet with a bit of butter and then add to the eggs. Fold in the cooked veggies (drained, if a lot of liquid). Grease a 10" pie plate, pour in the filling and bake for 45 minutes or until firm in the middle and edges start to brown a bit. Cut into 6 or 8 pieces and serve warm. It is also great cold. I have even made a frittata in a sheet pan and cut into squares for an appetizer.
Irish soda bread has been made for hundreds of years on the proudly dubbed 'Emerald Isle'. It is a savory yet scrumptious bread that has roughly the same consistency as a scone and is super easy to make. It is a big muffin-like loaf with a crust as rugged as Ireland itself. Originally it was cooked over a peat fire in a cast iron skillet and while you probably won't be cooking over peat, you can cook it in a cast iron skillet (it's just fine to place it on a baking sheet or cake pan too). Feel free to add nuts or fresh herbs such as rosemary or thyme for a different flavor experience. In any case, do make it because after dinner leftovers make wonderful breakfast toast!!
Irish Soda bread
4 cups of flour
1 ½ t salt
1 t of baking soda
2 c buttermilk
½ c currants or raisins (golden or dark)
1 t caraway seeds, save some for the top if you like!
1 T melted butter, for brushing the top
cooking oil spray for greasing the pan (PAM)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a cast iron skillet, large baking sheet or cake pan. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir in the buttermilk, caraway seeds and currants (if you are adding nuts or herbs, they go in now too) with a wooden spoon until it has reached a doughy consistency and holds together like a rough mass. Dump out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or so. Pat it into an 8" round, 1 1/2" thick. Slash a ¼ " deep X across the top center of the dough (as legend says, to keep the evil spirits away). Place the dough in the skillet, cake pan or baking sheet and place in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes. You will know it is done because of its light brown coloring and because the X has spread apart. Take it out of the oven and let it cool covered in a kitchen towel. Serve, breaking it apart into quarters, with some good Irish butter and enjoy!
Most people are under the impression that the food in Ireland is not very tasty or exciting. I beg to differ. Last year around my birthday I spent a week on the Emerald Isle and had some of the most wonderful food I have ever eaten. There is a yummy dish over there called Colcannon, a blend of mashed potatoes, cabbage and kale with loads of good Irish butter and cream. I decided to use this dish as my inspiration for an Irish potato salad, I wanted something I could take on a picnic paired with my corned beef and cole slaw sandwiches (March 2016 archives). I added crispy bacon, sautéed leeks and a bit of creamy dill mayo and it turned out great! So, let's get out there and enjoy some of our very own emerald green hills before they are just a rainy day memory.
Colcannon - inspired Potato Salad
6 - 8 Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut into 1” chunks, about 6 cups
1 T salt
2 T white balsamic vinegar
4 strips thick cut, applewood smoked bacon
1 T bacon grease, reserved
2 T olive oil, separated
2 leeks sliced lengthwise then across, thinly
1 shallot cut in half lengthwise, sliced thinly
salt and pepper, as needed
1 bunch kale, leaves stripped from the stems and chopped roughly
1/2 of a head of cabbage, quartered and sliced thinly
2 green onions, sliced thinly
1/2 c parsley, chopped
Cover the potatoes with water and add the salt. Bring to a boil and cook until a fork goes through easily, about 10 more minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl for mixing. Sprinkle with the white balsamic vinegar, a bit of salt and pepper and let cool slightly. Cook the bacon until crisp, remove, drain, cut into 1/2” pieces and add to the potatoes. Pour off all but 1 T of bacon grease from the frying pan and add 1 T of the olive oil, the leeks, the shallot and a bit of salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until soft, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally then add to the potatoes. Add 1 T more olive oil to the pan, heat and cook the cabbage until soft, about 20 minutes, cool then add to the potatoes along with the parsley and green onions. Pour the dressing (see below) over and mix well. Serve slightly warm, room temp or chilled. Serves 8-10.
Dilled Mayo Dressing
1 1/2 c mayo, I use Best Foods
juice and zest from 1/2 lemon
1 T fresh dill, chopped coarsely
pinch of salt and pepper