Breakfast

When Life Gives You Mangos…

Mangos!!

Mangos!!

I’ve always said, “Sometimes you get lucky.” Just last weekend when we visited the supermarket, I saw mangos for sale for $5.99/lb. I realized that I hadn’t had a mango all summer, but I also thought that the price was a bit spendy for something that would not be as good as something I could get at the farmers’ market. It’s just that I’ve finally really just started walking again! We did manage to find a couple of small mangos from a nearby tree on the way home from the store, but they were too small to inspire me to cut them open.

Walking again is what  brings me to to this post. I saw my doctor last week for my 6 week appointment regarding my recent knee replacement, and we discussed exercise and how much I couldn’t wait to get back into it. I told him I was already being a bit abusive, with spending a recent Saturday with friends, exploring nurseries in Waimanalo for hours. I told him that I was sore for a couple of days after, but it was totally worth it. He advised me that yes, that was to be expected for a while, but I would still recover. Anxious as I am, I took this as a green light. Also, the way I see it, the only way to build up any kind of stamina is to just do.

So this past Monday morning, I took a little bus ride and a bit of a hike to Kahala Beach to attempt catching a sunrise. I was a bit late for the colors, but I managed to get a couple of really nice shots.

 

Kahala Sunrise

Kahala Sunrise

 

Kahala Sunrise

Kahala Sunrise

 

Couldn't resist the plumeria

Couldn’t resist the plumeria

How I’ve missed it!

 

On the way home, walking through an old, favorite Kahala neighborhood, I happened to run into a lady pulling mangos off of her huge tree, in her front yard.

Ready for picking

Ready for picking

 

Mangos!

Free mangos!

She said hello and I noticed the pile of the fruit sitting on a platform by her fence. “Help yourself,” she said, though I noticed the sign that advised to take just two. I very, happily complied. She said that she was out there almost every morning at the same time to pull the ripe ones off the tree. She could only eat so many herself, so she offered them to whoever happened to pass by. Sweet! I thanked her profusely, and made my way home, dreaming of the luscious mango bread that I was going to make.

Now, I’m going to put a little bit of a kink into this recipe, just because I tried something a little bit different about a month ago with some banana bread I made. That banana bread was a good test for a great variation on any quick bread that you like.

 

 

Banana upside down bread

Banana upside down bread

It is a little bit like an upside down cake, but not using the traditional pineapple and maraschino cherries.

 

Just something different

Just something different

This variation simple means baking it in a round baking pan and melting about 2 tablespoons of butter to put on the bottom of the pan. Then you sprinkle about 2-3 tablespoons of sugar on top of the butter. Arrange fruit on top of that,  pour on the batter and bake. Invert when done. It makes it just a little bit more special.

 

If you have extra mangos, try this!

If you have extra mangos, try this!

This recipe is also very flexible. I used about half white whole wheat flour (I’m a King Arthur Flour fan!) mixed in with all purpose, just to make it a bit healthier. You can skip the nuts if you are allergic, or use whatever kind you have available.

 

Mangos!

Mangos!

So when life gives you mangos, you just follow this recipe:

Preheat the oven to 350º. Butter a loaf pan or round baking pan, if you are trying the variation. Truthfully I needed both, because these mangos were huge!

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups sugar
¼ cup macadamia nut oil (vegetable oil or olive oil will do)
¼ cup melted butter
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ripe medium mangos (and their juice) peeled,
pitted and diced (approximately 2 cups… more if you’re trying the upside down variation)
¼ cup chopped macadamia nuts
¼ cup chopped walnuts

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Set aside.

In a larger bowl, mix together the oils and sugar, then beat in the eggs and vanilla. Gradually add in the dry ingredients, making sure not to over-mix… that will just make the bread tough.

Lastly, fold in the nuts, if you’re using them. Pour the batter into the pan (or pans, if you have lots of batter like I did) and bake for approximately 45 mins to 1 hour. This will depend on if you are making more than one bread, so I kept checking on it every 15 minutes.

Check with a toothpick for doneness, and when it comes out dry, let it sit in the pan for a bit while it cools.

Upside down mango bread… yum!

Upside down mango bread… yum!

If you make the variation, gently go around the edge of the pan with a small spatular before inverting onto a plate.

 

Mango bread

Mango bread

 

I sent the rest of this one to work with Monty

I sent the rest of this one to work with Monty

 

Mango bread… a treat worth heating up the kitchen

Mango bread… a treat worth heating up the kitchen

 

As the ice cream melts in 90º heat...

As the ice cream melts in 90º heat…

 

Eat it fast, before the ice cream melts!

Eat it fast, before the ice cream melts!

 

Until next time, enjoy the bounty of summer, while it’s here and never take walking for granted. ❤

 

Strawberries and Basil, Bringing Out the Best of Summer

I really ❤ this combination!

I really ❤ this combination!

I tried strawberries mixed with sweet basil for the very first time, just a couple of weeks ago. Now, I’m wondering where I’ve been all my life, that I managed to miss out on this wonderful combination of flavors. We were having breakfast at our usual Saturday morning buffet, and there they were, begging for me to try them. I did, and I’ve thought of little else since.

 

Strawberries and basil, some of the best of summer

Strawberries and basil, some of the best of season

I researched a little bit on this, and I found that berries prepared in such a way are usually macerated, i.e., soaked for a bit in vinegar to make them softer. Knowing that this is the best time of year to buy and eat strawberries, timing couldn’t be better. This week, I found the strawberries on sale, so I made a point of getting to one of the smaller, weekday farmer’s markets to get the basil. I knew there would be nothing better than some that’s fresh and locally grown.

 

An unexpectedly good combination

An unexpectedly good combination

Once again, this is another “What could be simpler?” recipe, one that I barely even need to write down.

All you need is…

1-2 pounds fresh strawberries
A bunch of sweet basil, though you’ll just need about 8 leaves
A sprinkling of sugar, maybe a tablespoon?
A large dash or three of balsamic vinegar

 

Simply slice

Simply slice

Wash, hull, and slice strawberries, placing them into a non-metallic bowl. Sprinkle just a bit of sugar over the berries, then add some balsamic vinegar~ you’ll need to taste it to find the right balance, but it isn’t too hard, since the flavors blend so well. With kitchen shears, thinly snip several leaves of basil over the berries. Gently mix with a spoon and serve.

 

Good for breakfast, a snack or dessert

Good for breakfast, a snack or dessert

That’s it! The result is a beautiful, elegant, fragrant dish, that will make you want to experiment.

 

You can serve this for breakfast with a dollop of vanilla yogurt

You can serve this for breakfast with a dollop of vanilla yogurt

We had these for breakfast, this morning… they were wonderful!

 

Try it on toasted bread with cheese

Try it on toasted bread with cheese

You can also use them to top toasted bread spread with cheese~ you could choose from any number of cheeses that would work well, such a cream cheese, goat cheese, or even brie. Serve as an appetizer or an afternoon pick-me-up snack.

 

Spoon it over ice cream

Spoon it over ice cream

Lastly, you could spoon it over ice cream, or even a simple cake. Vanilla would be good, but since it’s National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, that’s what we’re having. Try this easy recipe and enjoy!

 

An Omelette to Love, Even When Watching Calories

Bacon.

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Okay, now that I have your attention, (unless your vegan, keeping Kosher, or on a fat-free diet) here’s one you’re really gonna love. For me, this is a recipe reminiscent of a place and time in San Francisco, at a place where I frequently had brunch with friends. I had this omelette there one time, and it was all over~ I never ordered anything else there, again.  Even now, anytime I make an omelette, this is how it’s done, in my humble opinion.

Now, it’s true that this could be made to be a lot more fattening than it is here, and I’m pretty sure that whatever the name of that restaurant was that made the original, probably did just that. But I’ve found that making this as simple as I’m doing here, delivers so much flavor, that adding more is almost overkill. I’m talking about the bacon… I’m only using one piece for each omelette. You make cry, kick and scream, but I’m telling you~ that’s all that’s needed. This is a great thing, since it can be a Sunday treat, even when watching fat or caloric intake.

Bacon, spinach, cheddar & mushrooms make the best omelette

Bacon, spinach, cheddar & mushrooms make the best omelette

 

What makes this even better is the addition of steamed spinach and mushrooms~ we adding vital nutrients early in the morning, which makes it even easier to get your 5-a-day bodily requirement of veggies.

Never make an omelette before? Don’t be intimidated~ it’s actually quite easy!

Here’s a recipe for 2, so if you need more or less, simply multiply or subtract~

4 Eggs
2 strips bacon
1 bunch spinach, thoroughly rinsed and stems removed
8 ounces mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
2 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
salt & pepper
minced parsley for garnish (optional)

————————————————————–

Steam the veggies together

Steam the veggies together

First thing, prepare the veggies. I usually steam the spinach and mushrooms together, until they are just cooked. Once done, drain. You’ll want to squeeze the water out of the spinach, once it’s cooled a bit. Set aside.

 

Bacon!

Bacon!

Cook the bacon until it’s just crisp. Drain on paper towels.

Drain the bacon

Drain the bacon

 

Now you’re ready to cook the eggs. In a large frying pan, melt about two teaspoons of butter until it’s just starting to bubble, swirling the pan so that the butter covers the bottom. Crack two eggs into a small bowl with some salt and pepper and add about a tablespoon of water. Whisk for about 30 seconds, then pour into the hot pan, again swirling so that the egg covers the bottom. Allow to cook, turning the pan if need be so that it cooks evenly. (I have a very uneven stove, so this is a necessity for me)

Cook the omelette

Cook the eggs evenly, if possible

 

When it looks like it’s almost done, pile on the goodies~ divide the spinach, mushrooms and put on one side of the omelette. Sprinkle on some cheese and crumble the bacon on top.

Load the goodies on

Load the goodies on

Allow them to sit there, until you can see that it’s done.

 

Fold the top over

Fold the top over

Flip the empty side of the omelette over, and slide it carefully onto a plate.

 

Serve with some fruit

Serve with some fruit

Serve. Sprinkle minced parsley, if desired. Add some fruit and maybe a piece of toast!

 

One slice of bacon brings LOTS of flavor

One slice of bacon brings LOTS of flavor

 

One slice is all that's needed!

One slice makes it quite delectable

 

Lots of veggies make it healthy

Lots of veggies make it healthy

Enjoy your Sunday!

In Case You Haven’t Had Enough Pumpkin

It’s kind of a crazy thing the flavor of pumpkin has really monopolized the entire Fall season, over the past several years. I only say this because I’m seeing things flavored pumpkin, that I’ve never seen before. There are Pumpkin Oreos, breakfast cereal, M&Ms, potato chips, gum, jello, ice cream, yogurt, coffee, tea, beer and condoms. Condoms?? I thought that this was all getting to be a bit much, until yesterday~ I was shopping for kitchen hand soap. I really like the kind that’s scented like lime & coconut, or maybe almond, grapefruit or pomegranate. I about choked when my eye caught pumpkin scented soap. Really? It didn’t even say “pumpkin spice,” but just “pumpkin scented.” Really? C’mon…

Real pumpkins

Real pumpkins

I’m really not anti-pumpkin, though I think the world has gone quite mad about turning every, single last thing that we eat, see or smell into a pumpkin. In fact, I have a wonderful recipe for pumpkin muffins that you might like to try, just in case you also have managed to shield yourself from the avalanche of pumpkin products.

I really like my muffin recipe, just because it’s pretty healthy, with only having a half cup of sugar and butter. The pumpkin is full of vitamin A, and then they can be made from whole wheat flour, without anyone even taking notice. I like to add walnuts and raisins for texture, and then I garnish with sprinkling of turbinado sugar and  pumpkin seeds.

Canned pumpkin

Canned pumpkin

 

The recipe is also really easy, too. Just grab yourself a can of pumpkin and get to it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1-2/3 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1 cup canned pumpkin

½ cup sugar

½ cup milk or buttermilk

2 eggs

½ stick (½ cup) butter, melted

1 tablespoon molasses

½ cup chopped walnuts

½ cup raisins

turbinado sugar for garnish (optional)

pumkin seeds for garnish (optional)

—————————————————————

Preheat oven to 400º F.

In medium sized bowl, whisk dry ingredients together~ flour, salt, spices and baking soda. Set aside.

In larger bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, butter, molasses, eggs and milk or buttermilk.

Mix dry into wet ingredients

Mix dry into wet ingredients

Gradually add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, mixing just until everything is moistened.

Garnish first with turbinado sugar

Garnish first with turbinado sugar

Pour into paper-lined muffin tin. If garnishing, sprinkle tops of muffins with turbinado sugar…

Then sprinkle with pumpkin seeds

Then sprinkle with pumpkin seeds

…and a few pumpkin seeds, pressing the seeds down lightly into the batter.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

These are now ready for the oven. Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cooling

Cooling

Cool on wire racks. Makes 1 dozen.

Pumpkin muffins

Pumpkin muffins

Good for breakfast or a snack

Good for breakfast or a snack

Good for a Halloween treat

Good for a Halloween treat!

Have a Happy Halloween!

Char Siu and Shrimp Fried Rice for Friday

Okay, I have one more item to use from the “Big Refrigerator Clean Out,” (I’m referring to my April 13th post) and it’s gotta be used by next week. I have a package of char siu pork, (that’s Chinese roasted pork, for the uninitiated) that I got on sale shortly before the refrigerator blew, and it’s perfect for one of our favorite Friday evening meals. Why wait? Today is Friday, and we want fried rice! It’s fun to make because it makes my favorite Chinaman smile, too.

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This recipe is actually more flexible than what I’m going to put in, which means if you don’t like peas, you can use something else. Use up your leftovers! We happen to carry char siu in our supermarkets in Hawai‘i, but I imagine a lot of places don’t. So if you don’t have a Chinatown nearby, you can use regular pork, or even just shrimp. Or, even just vegetables. This recipe is very forgiving.

Ingredients are your favorite veggies

Ingredients are your favorite veggies

One thing I will suggest is using day-old, cooked rice works best~ it really needs to dry out a bit to work properly in this recipe. I’ve used fresh in a pinch, but I’ve found that leftover rice just works better.

I’m going to use….

2 eggs, beaten with a little bit of water, and seasoned with some salt and pepper

vegetable oil~ you’ll want to choose one that can tolerate fairly high heat

1/2 yellow onion, sliced into thin rings, and then halved

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

1/3 lb shrimp meat

1 small stalk celery, sliced crosswise

1 carrot, peeled and diced small

1/2 lb char siu pork, chopped

1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed

1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed

2 cups brown rice (you can use white, but we are used to brown)

3-4 green onions, thinly sliced crosswise

small bunch of  Chinese parsley (cilantro) leaves + sprigs for garnish

Have everything ready

Have everything ready

The easiest way to put this together is to have everything chopped and ready to go, before even starting. You’ll want to throw this together fairly quickly, so it’s best to have the chopping work done.

Scrambled eggs

Scrambled eggs go in this

Get out a large skillet and heat up about a tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. Pour the seasoned, beaten eggs into the pan and quickly scramble them. When they’re done, place them into a small bowl and set aside. Wash the same pan to clean the egg that likely will be sticking to it.

Start by sautéing the onion and harder vegetables

Start by sautéing the onion and harder vegetables

Add 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet and sauté onions until translucent, then add in carrots, celery and ginger;  cook them for 5 minutes.

Gently stir all ingredients together

Gently stir all ingredients together

Fold in the rice, pork, shrimp, eggs, peas, corn and oyster sauce, stirring gently to distribute all ingredients.

Cook until heated through, taste and adjust seasonings, then garnish with Chinese parsley and green onions. Serves 4.

Char siu & shrimp fried rice

Char siu & shrimp fried rice

 

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Wonderful for breakfast

Wonderful for breakfast

Once again, leftovers for breakfast are wonderful!

Hope you have fun with this recipe!

 

 

 

It’s Been a Rough Week… And Now It’s Time for a Breakfast Casserole

Sometimes, it seems like the world is conspiring to kill your smile, and it has certainly felt that way to me over the past couple of weeks. I had a headache start up the week before last, and it was aggravated by a rough week at work. Then last Monday, I realized that I was getting sick. It really felt like I was getting a sinus infection, having had a couple of those before.  So I called the doctor, and I was fortunate to get an appointment that morning. So I figured I would be taken care of and went about the business of making the bed. I suddenly started hearing a very loud noise, like someone was drilling concrete out in the back of our building (our back lanai faces a parking lot), so I went to look out the kitchen window to investigate. I was shocked and horrified to realize that the noise  was no drill, but rather our refrigerator. It went on with the loud drilling sound for about a minute, and then it sputtered and went quiet. I put my ear up to the side of the  freezer, and found that there was a slight humming. Hmmm… at least it wasn’t fully dead, but rather walking with a limp.

Of course, I had to call the landlady and make arrangements for a repairman to come out, and thankfully he was to come after my doctor appointment. To make a long story short, I went to the doctor and was sent home with an armload of medication, (he was pretty sure it was a virus, not an infection) and was told to go home and rest, which is exactly what I felt like doing. So, I went home to wait for the repairman instead, who was to arrive between 3pm and 6pm. He came earlier rather than later, and I was glad for that. He poked around the refrigerator for a bit. He seemed to be a nice, polite, young man, who was maybe around 30, at most.  He then told me some good news and some very, bad news.

He told me that the part the self-defrosts the freezer was no longer working, and that he could replace that. He explained that the gawd-awful sound I was hearing was the fan hitting ice on the inside. That was the good news. The problem was that the freezer wouldn’t work until it was defrosted… and I mean defrosted the old-fashioned way. Anyone who was born before the 70s will likely remember turning off the refrigerator after putting everything into coolers of ice, (or just running out of food) and letting the ice melt in the freezer. You could very carefully chip away at it, once it started to fall off, but you had to be really careful or you could break something and it would leak freon. NOT a good thing. It was never a welcome chore, but back in the day it was the only way.  He told me I could call him if I wasn’t sure how to do it. I suddenly felt really old… I imagine he probably never really had to do that in his life.

I told him that I, ummm… I had done that many times before, thank you very much… and would it be okay if we waited to defrost until Friday? We don’t have a cooler and I had to try to use up the food in the freezer. He was a bit indirect in answering, just saying that it was important to get it done as soon as possible, and that it would be as good as new, once defrosted.

I won’t go into a lot more detail about all of this, because it doesn’t matter at this point. The freezer really showed signs of not working two days later, as food was starting to thaw on its own. I salvaged what I could and put it into the refrigerator. When that wasn’t feeling as cold, (Wednesday) I broke down and bought 2 styrofoam coolers and 2 bags of ice. We were both wondering… if the repairman replaced the part that self-defrosts, what was the point of defrosting… and, would it freeze again? Would it really reset it self after manual defrosting? We were both baffled. Still, we threw stuff out, (including the lilikoi juice I’d saved…. not good!) cleaned it out, turned it off, and opened the door overnight. Needless to say, it was exhausting.

Monty let me sleep in that morning and left for work, before I awoke. When I went into the kitchen to get coffee, I was amazed to see the refrigerator humming… and cold inside! It was also filled with blinding, white from having nothing in it… maybe that makes me nervous? Maybe just a little. Call me neurotic… it’s okay. I must tell you though, there is one thing that makes me smile~ there is now plenty of room in the freezer for my ice cream maker tub… gelato is coming soon~ yippee!

Meanwhile, I managed to salvage a package of chicken breakfast sausage that was still ice-cold from the defrosting freezer. It really did need to be used this weekend, so I give you this breakfast casserole recipe that I whipped up  from the experience of several others I’ve made. If you’ve never tried making a breakfast casserole, I do recommend it. You make it the night before, stick it in the oven for about an hour the next morning, and you have time in the morning to relax. Which is exactly what I need… for the next year.

Breakfast casserole~ make it the night before

Breakfast casserole~ make it the night before

The amounts for this will serve 4-6 people, so we will have leftovers for a day or so. This is not a bad thing, because Monty doesn’t like to make breakfast. Here’s what I did, though you can improvise with other ingredients. This is all put into a 2-1/2 quart casserole, to be baked the next morning:

I had the 1-lb package of bulk chicken breakfast sausage, so I cooked that in a small frying pan, breaking it up as it cooked. While the sausage was cooking, I cut up some bread into approximately 1-inch pieces. I wanted a firm, solid, yet soft bread for this, so I chose some ciabatta rolls that I got at the farmers market. You can use whatever kind of bread you want, though I just prefer a little firmness, like a french bread or even something more rustic. But, you needn’t limit yourself… you can make this mexican style with tortillas or cornbread. Whatever you use, you will need about a half loaf of bread. This is a very flexible recipe, so use your best judgement and the things you like. 

Little ciabatta rolls

Little ciabatta rolls

The bread ends up as the first layer in the casserole, after a good spray of cooking spray to the bottom and sides.

Spread diced bread on bottom of casserole

Spread diced bread on bottom of casserole

I wanted to add some veggies, so I washed some kale I got from the farmers market and steamed it. When it was done, I drained it and squeezed the water from it.  If you have some frozen spinach, you can thaw it and squeeze out the excess water. That would be even easier. Whatever you use, it is a great opportunity to squeeze some vegetables in. I also added a little bit of pressed garlic. When the sausage was done, I added it in and gently stirred.

 

Sausage with kale and a little garlic

Sausage with kale and a little garlic

Sausage, kale and garlic mixture spread on top of the bread.

 

Sausage mixture over bread

Sausage mixture over bread

The eggs are next. I whisked 6 eggs and about 1 cup of milk (I’m a non-fat user, but what works for you is your choice) together with a good shake of salt and pepper. I added about a half cup of grated cheddar cheese that also needed  to be used, to this mix.

Eggs, milk, cheese, salt & pepper

Eggs, milk, cheese, salt & pepper

 

Once well mixed, I quickly poured it over the top of the casserole. I then gave the casserole a good rap on a solid surface to help distribute the milk and eggs to the bottom.

Ready for the oven

Ready to kiss goodnight~ muah!

At this point, you are pretty much done, for the moment. All you need to do is kiss it goodnight, cover it with aluminum foil and put it into the refrigerator until tomorrow morning.

The next morning about an hour and a half before  you want to eat, place the casserole into the oven (keep the foil on) and turn it on to 350°. Set your timer for about 1 hour and ten minutes. Relax and catch up on the news or something~ mornings are much better like that. When the time is up, pull the casserole from the oven and let it rest still covered for about 15 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

Fresh out of the oven

Fresh out of the oven

Breakfast is served!

breakfast3

 

Ingredient list for this version:

cooking spray or oil to grease the casserole

bread equivalent to 1 1/2 loaf of bread (I used 5 small multi-grained ciabatta rolls)

1 lb. package bulk chicken breakfast sausage

1 bunch kale, trimmed of stems, steamed, drained and squeezed dry of excess water

6 whole eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

salt & pepper to taste

Serves 4-6.

Frittata ~ An Easy Weeknight Meal

frittata8

As most people who know me would know, I go to the farmers market every week and stock up on produce. I usually buy more than enough because everything looks so good and fresh. So I need to make a point of using them up, so I don’t feel bad for wasting them. That’s when I have to start getting creative with a meal, because I tend to make the same things over and over. So, there are times I need to think outside of the box. Many people love to have breakfast for dinner, but I really love frittatas. This is really a good weeknight meal because it tends to be easy~ just slice and dice up some veggies and crack some  eggs into it. Add some  leftover grated cheese to give it some richness and flavor. What’s nice about frittata is that it’s so versatile, too. You can use whatever veggies that need to be used up, so you’ll feel good about them not being wasted.

Use what you have

Use what you have

Basics that are needed for this are an oven-proof skillet, 4 eggs (this is for two) about 1/4 cup of milk, and about 1/2 cup of cheese (if you have more, another 1/4 or so is handy for throwing on top, before putting under the broiler). Some onion and garlic are good, too… about 1/2 onion and a clove or three of minced garlic will help the flavor along. I nearly always also have parsley and fresh basil on hand, and you can bet I chop some up and add them in, also. You can add meat or not~ like ham, sausage or bacon, but this is really good as a vegetarian meal.

This week, I have some leftover asparagus, cauliflower, kale and artichoke hearts from the past few days. I also have some bell peppers, potatoes and mushrooms that I need to use. I have some shredded Italian cheese, too.

Sauté potatoes first

Sauté potatoes first

I scrubbed the potatoes and cut them into a small dice~ about 1/4″ cubes. I heated about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in my large, oven-proof skillet and cooked potatoes in a single layer over medium heat until softened. Add a bit of salt & pepper.

frittata2

frittata3

While the potatoes were cooking, I chopped the raw vegetables and pressed 2 cloves of garlic. I then added the uncooked veggies to the potatoes (bell pepper, mushrooms and red onion) and sautéd until they were soft and wilting. While those were cooking, I chopped the leftover cooked veggies. These really shouldn’t cook much at all, because they shouldn’t be too overdone. Get those eggs ready!

frittata4

frittata5

I whisked the eggs, and milk together with a bit more salt & pepper, and then I tore basil and chopped parsley leaves and the half cup of cheese into the egg mixture and stirred them together.  Once I had the eggs ready, it was a good time to mix in the cooked veggies. This is also the point where you’d want to add chopped ham, sausage, etc., if using.

Mix in the cooked foods last

Mix in the cooked foods last

I then poured the eggs into the skillet, and then gently stirred the vegetables to make sure that the egg mixture spread through the pan.

At that point, I pre-heated the broiler in the oven and cooked the frittata over low heat for about 10 minutes on the stovetop, while the oven was heating. Once the frittata was mostly cooked, (except for a small puddle in the middle) I sprinkled a bit of cheese on top. I used Parmesan for this part.

When the broiler is ready, place frittata under broiler until cheese starts to bubble, then remove and attempt to slip each half on individual plates, though I can almost guarantee you, it will be much messier than that. Also, please remember that that pan is coming out of the broiler… it will be hot! The bottom of the pan will likely be messy, too, but it’s nothing that a soak with baking soda won’t fix.

frittata7

Add a little bit of bread on the side and dinner is served!

Pineapple Pancakes for a Sunday Morning in Springtime

 

Their texture is gorgeous, too.

Their texture is gorgeous, too.

I have some leftover buttermilk from that Irish soda bread I made last week, and I figure I’d best use it. That’s why I’ve decided I’m making Pineapple Pancakes. This is something I tried twice, about a year ago. This recipe was supposed to be a take on pineapple upside-down cake, but adapted into pancakes. The first time I attempted it, it was an admitted failure, but I tried again and totally succeeded. I know that because Monty is a true pancake man~ he loves them. So, this is how I make them:

pineapple1

First I get a nice, sweet-smelling pineapple, and chop off both ends.

pineapple3

I understand that you can stick the leafy top part in to the ground and it will likely grow into a pineapple plant, but I’v never had the room to try it. I’m sure it’s true though, in a warm enough climate. I just discard it, but if you try to grow one, let me know how you do, okay?

Next, I trim the outer skin off with a knife.

Trim the skin

Trim the skin

I try to keep it as rounded as possible, though that’s not always easy. I also try to get all the rough little “eyes” out too, since they are really not tasty, nor good for you.

I then cut it cross-wise into thin slices.

Slice cross-wise

Slice cross-wise

Lastly, I cut out the core.

Remove core

Remove core

Preparing the pineapple can be done a day ahead. Just put it into an airtight container and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Actually, the flour mixture can be made ahead, too. One or two less things to do on a Sunday morning is a good thing.

Next, prepare the pancake batter.

You’ll need:

2 eggs

1 cup (or 1-1/2 cups) milk or buttermilk*

3 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar, honey or other sweetener (I used honey)

You will also need some butter to cook the pineapple rings in

*If it’s humid, or if the batter will be resting for more than 15 minutes, use 1 cup of milk. Use 1-1/2. cups in colder, drier conditions. Pancake batter is just funny like that.

batter

In a large bowl, whisk the milk and eggs until light and very foamy. Stir in the butter or oil. Quickly mix the dry ingredients into the milk and eggs. Allow the batter to rest for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile get the griddle or large frying pan heating.

Fry until golden

Fry until golden

While the batter is resting and the pancake pan is heating, melt butter in another small frying pan and cook the pineapple (a few at a time, depending on pan size) until it is golden. Flip, cook and set aside on a plate. You can get some ready and continue to cook the slices, once the pancakes are ready to cook.

I like banana in the center.

I like banana in the center.

Once batter has rested long enough, ladle batter into the hot pan.  Place a pineapple ring in the center of the pancake. If you like, you can put a banana slice in the hole of the pineapple ring. Once pancakes are done on one side (dry around the edges and bubbles on top) flip pancake and finish cooking. Put cooked pancakes on an ovenproof platter to keep warm, until it’s time to serve.

breakfast1

Serve with warmed maple syrup, if desired.

breakfast2

Makes approximately 12 pancakes.

Happy Sunday!

Playing Around With Rambutan

Rambutan, a tropical fruit from Southeast Asia

Rambutan, a tropical fruit from Southeast Asia

I saw a bag of rambutan at the farmers market yesterday for only $4.00, so I broke down an bought it. I guess I’m longing for more summery days when lychee is available, but that won’t be for a while. Rambutan is so similar that it might as well be the same, at least as far as flavor. It just looks funnier, with all of the little “hairs” sticking out of it.

I thought it might be nice in a tropical fruit salad. I got online and found a really impressive one served inside of a pineapple bowl. Hmmm… nice. So, I ended up ended up buying a pineapple, a papaya, and some bananas, too.

pineapple

pineapple

papaya

papaya

apple bananas

apple bananas

The hardest part was trying to make the pineapple bowl… in fact, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you really wanted to try to impress someone… or even impress yourself. I think it would work, too! It’s easy enough cutting a circle around the edge of the cross-wise halved fruit, but getting the meat out after that is challenging and a bit messy. The very top part of the pineapple can be cut, cored and diced.

The rest is pretty easy~ just chop and/or peel, slice and dice, and toss together. Add some kiwi slices in for color and garnish with a strawberry. The rambutan peel pretty easily, once you get them started with a paring knife.

All you need to do is peel it

All you need to do is peel it

I didn’t bother trying to seed the rambutan either, because the little buggers are slippery. I just figure as long as one is aware that there is a pit inside, it wouldn’t be that much different that eating a tangerine.

Tropical fruit salad with rambutan, pineapple, apple banana, papaya, kiwi and strawberry served in a pineapple bowl

Tropical fruit salad with rambutan, pineapple, apple banana, papaya, kiwi and strawberry served in a pineapple bowl

I imagine this could be a whole lot simpler, by simply serving the rambutan in a bowl of ice, but I had to try this once… glad I did, too! Bon appetit!