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!
Well, she was really my Godmother and a dear friend but I called her Ma Mére. She ran a restaurant in Dallas in the 1970's called 'The Little Mushroom'. This easy breakfast casserole is from her first cookbook of the same name. You put it together the night before and then pop it in the oven the next morning. It is warm, billowy, cheesy and tastes mildly of garlic and wine, really different and delicious. You could add a layer of thinly sliced ham or just lay out some bacon on a foil lined sheet pan and bake it at the same time. It will all come out together. Slice up some fresh fruit and you're done. I thought it would be the perfect dish for your busy Christmas morning. Happy holidays everyone!
6 slices of bread, crusts cut off
6 T unsalted butter, softened (if you use salted butter, just omit the salt later)
1 medium garlic clove, chopped finely
1/2 c half and half
2 c Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/2 c dry white wine (I am using sauvignon blanc)
1/2 c chicken stock (or veggie stock if you want)
1/4 t dry mustard
1/4 t salt
3 sprigs fresh thyme, picked (optional)
Mash the butter and garlic together with a fork until blended and spread on one side of the bread. Place the bread face down in a 9" x 13" casserole dish. Sprinkle the cheese over the bread. Beat the eggs with the half and half, add the wine, stock, salt and dry mustard. Pour over the bread. Sprinkle with the thyme if using. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until puffed and lightly browned. Serves 6.
The holidays are busy enough without having to think about every meal for your family and friends being a production. This delightful breakfast pancake is incredibly easy and yummy too. Taking only minutes to sauté the pears on top of the stove, it goes into the oven afterwards to bake and puff the pancake. It is an eggy, billowy thing of beauty that needs only a dusting of powdered sugar to become a breakfast masterpiece!
Red Bartlett Pear 'Popover' Pancake
2 red Bartlett pears, cored and sliced thinly (any type of pear works well, also apples!)
3 T lemon juice
3 T sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground ginger
pinch each cloves + nutmeg
6 T butter
3 eggs, room temp
1/4 t salt
1/2 c flour
1/2 c milk
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, picked (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put the pear slices in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice. Mix the spices and the sugar together and sprinkle over the pears, toss to coat. Melt butter and set aside 2T. Add the pears to the rest of the butter (4T) in a 12" skillet and cook, stirring often for 3-4 minutes until the pears are soft but still retain their shape. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, salt, flour and milk and the 2T (reserved) butter. Beat until smooth. Spread the pears evenly over the bottom of the skillet and pour the batter on top. Bake for about 20 minutes until puffy and golden brown. Invert on to a warm platter, with the pears on top, sprinkle with powdered sugar and a few leaves of fresh thyme. Serve while hot.
I think this could be a great dessert too, why not! Served warm with a bit of good vanilla ice cream it would be delicious.
One of my (and my daughter Lily's) favorite muffins of all time is a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin from a small cookbook simply called 'Muffins'. I am in Mexico visiting friends and when I saw a small sugar pumpkin on the counter in their kitchen, I decided to make these tasty treats for them to try. I cut the pumpkin in half and scooped out the seeds, roasted it on a sheet pan at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes until it was soft, scraped out the pulp and pureed it in a food processor.
(Don't worry, you can buy pumpkin in a can, they just don't have any canned pumpkin down here in Mexico). Just for fun, I changed some of the original ingredients from the recipe and added a bit of chile powder to get a 'south of the border' flavor. They turned out great and my friends loved them! Perfect with coffee, hot tea or hot chocolate, anytime, anywhere. Viva la muffin Mexicana!
Mexican Chocolate, Toasted Pepita and Pumpkin Muffins
1/2 c toasted salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 T *pumpkin pie spice
1 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 t chile powder (optional)
2 large eggs
1 c plain pumpkin (half of a one pound can)
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 c (6 ounces) Mexican chocolate (such as Abuelita) cut into chunks
Grease muffin cups, or use foil or paper baking cups. Thoroughly mix flour, sugars, pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, chile powder and salt in a large bowl. Break eggs into another bowl, add pumpkin and butter, and whisk until well blended. Stir in chocolate chunks and pepitas. Pour over dry ingredients and fold in with a rubber spatula just until dry ingredients are moistened. Scoop batter evenly into muffin cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until puffed and springy to the touch in the center. Turn out onto a rack to cool. Wrap in a plastic bag and keep for 1 or 2 days or freeze. Reheat before serving. Makes about 12 muffins.
*Wrens recipe for all spice (pumpkin pie spice):
1 t cinnamon, 1/2 t each of cloves, ginger, nutmeg, allspice.
You can also make the recipe the original way by using all granulated sugar (no brown), toasted almonds (or no nuts at all) instead of pepitas and regular semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of the Mexican chocolate—oh, and no chile! They are equally delicious.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"