Cheddar Crimini Frittata with Sweet Potato Crust

At about 2 PM yesterday, I got a craving for breakfast- specifically an omlette, a scramble or something, anything, having to do with eggs. So, I thought to myself ‘What can I make for dinner that would be like breakfast, but better?’  Since eggs are such a versatile food that lend themselves to any combination of ingredients, I decided to utilize some of my favorite flavors for this dish: sweet potatoes, mushrooms, pancetta, garlic, green onion and extra sharp white cheddar. I also lightened it up by using mostly egg whites for a light and fluffy texture. Delish, at any time of the day.

Ingredients:

  • 12 eggs- 4 whole eggs, 8 just whites
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 md/lg sweet potato
  • 1 Tbs butter, melted
  • 2 thick slices pancetta, diced
  • 5 large crimini mushrooms, large dice
  • 4 stalks green onion, thinly slice the whites, large chop for the greens
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 leaves fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 c. shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper

Method: Preheat the oven to ‘HIGH’ broil. Move the oven rack so that it is about 10-12 inches from the broiler coils.

Wash and peel the sweet potato. Use a food processor or cheese grater to shred the potato, and transfer to a bowl. Add one clove of the minced garlic. Pour the melted butter over the mixture, and season with some salt and pepper to taste. Stir the ingredients together, and let sit for a couple of minutes. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray, and transfer the sweet potato mix to the dish. Place the dish under the broiler, making sure the rack is 10-12 inches below coils. Broil for 7-10 minutes, until the potatoes are just a bit crisp. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, get a sauté pan nice and hot on the stove. Add the pancetta, and allow it to cook down in its own juices. Add the whites of the green onion, garlic, and diced mushrooms. Sautee on med-high heat for about 2 minutes, allowing for all the flavors to meld together. This mixture will be ‘al dente’.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, and milk. Salt and pepper to taste. Slowly stir in the sauteed ingredients,  basil, remaining green onions, and finally add the cheddar cheese. Mix together thoroughly.

Pour the egg mixture into the baking dish over the sweet potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until eggs are springy and there is a golden brown crisp around the edges. Garnish with a little sour cream, fresh basil and enjoy!

Caprese Salad Skewers w/Balsamic Reduction

People LOVE these little salad-on-a-stick skewers. They are really simple to assemble, and are a sure hit at any party. Bonus: the balsamic reduction makes a great glaze for pork OR as salad dressing!

Ingredients:

  • 1 container Grape Tomatoes pint
  • 1 8 oz package fresh buffalo mozzarella
  • 10-12 basil leaves
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 package 6″ bamboo skewers

Method:

Balsamic Reduction – In a small sauce pan, place balsamic vinegar over medium heat, stirring frequently, until vinegar thickens and becomes syrupy. It’s done when you draw a line with a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan, and the balsamic syrup holds its shape. Set aside to cool. You may need to reheat and add more balsamic if syrup becomes too thick.

Method:

Caprese Skewers – Slice mozzarella into bite sized cubes. Assemble skewers with in a tomato-mozzerella-basil-tomato pattern. Repeat as desired.

With a small spoon, drizzle balsamic reduction over skewers.

Cupcake Vineyards: Summer Chardonnay!

If you haven’t tried Cupcake Vineyards‘ Chardonnay, you better get out and grab a bottle quick! It is my favorite summer Chardonnay. It’s fantastic ‘porch drinking wine’ which makes for a great accompaniment to a warm sunset viewing. It’s crisp, and slightly oakey but packs a refreshing punch. Bonus perk! It’s a huge bang for your buck at only around $11.00 a bottle.

www.cupcakevineyard.com

Adventures in Seattle, WA

The salty sea air in Seattle is inspiring and lethargic (in a good lazy way!) at the same time. The city itself is alive with tantalizing treats around every corner, but it’s those tasty treats that encourage me to hunker down for a while and see, taste, listen and breathe in the deliciousness that awaits.

Enter: Purple-(thepurplecafe.com) a wine and cheese bar on 3rd and University where the service is unparalleled and the flavors diverse and sprightly. I ordered the ‘Hard to Say’ white wine flight and was pleasantly surprised by the chosen ones that sat infront of me. A Gewürztraminer (by Villa Wolf) that was subtly sweet and friendly, a Georgian specialty (Kindzmarauli Marani Wines Kisi)  that was full of fruity sass, and a Chilean white (Cucao Pedro Ximenez) that was soft yet springy, etc. The chosen fare?: Cranberry chicken salad (no lettuce allowed!)- think Waldorf salad minus the mayo, with Northwestern spirit and given extra crunch with a base of celery shavings, and smoked tomato soup which was excellent with a dollop of local goat cheese on top. Be sure to take home a little box of their melt-in-your-mouth house sea salt chocolate caramels.

Another stop along the treasure hunt of cuisine included Peso’s Kitchen (pesoskitchen.com), a local favorite Spanish joint famous for it’s eclectic decor and cocktails (Try: ‘Beijing tapwater’- their self proclaimed ‘citywide phenomenon’). Have a taste of the Lemongrass-Chipotle Chicken Lettuce Cups and  Rockfish and Shrimp Ceviche. Bonus: They serve fresh made salsa (flavors vary daily) and warm from the fryer chips while you wait.

Further towards the western waters we visited Miners Landing on the pier  and checked out Fisherman’s (fishermansrestaurantseattle.com) for a towering seafood appetizer platter like none I’d ever seen. The crab cakes (with Asian cabbage-cuke slaw) were to die for- savory and sweet, spicy and refreshing, crunchy crust yet tender centers… I’m salivating all over again.

Now, let’s get to the real goods here, my Mecca; or shall we call it by it’s more common name, Pike Place Market (1st & Pike, pikeplacemarket.org). Head there early in the morning to experience the fish mongers center stage. As fresh catch sails through the air, be sure to sample the  smoked salmon from one of the local seafood stalls. They are super friendly and knowledgable. Best of all, most of them will ship your selection anywhere. Pike place is almost sensory overload. From the flying fish, to the fragrant floral bouquets wrapped in paper, the fresh local produce to the dried fruits and spices, you can find it all here at this historical city gathering place. Local artisans and crafters also set up shop here to sell their wares.

Don’t miss: Rainer cherries, the original Pike Place Starbucks, $5 peony arrangements.