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People often ask me what my favorite dish is. I think it would be wiser and more efficient to name the few things I care nothing about, like shrimp and other crustacean. It’s not to say I won’t ever like those, but I am yet to have the shell fish served in a way that will blow my mind. Otherwise, please don’t even waste my time.
The things I can eat into infinity, on the other hand, are EGGS. Be those Sunny-side-ups with runny yolk oozing over my lunch toast or fingerling potatoes in my Salad Nicoise. Be those Poached Eggs served over Mashed Rutabaga & Celeriac. Simply hard-boiled eggs chopped and mixed with tuna and pickles that make perfectly creamy and scrumptious filling for sandwiches. An old fashioned Scramble with the volume turned up never gets old. I’ll take my eggs any time of the day, any day of the week. Alas, a lazy Sunday morning and an eggstra decadent meal are a match made in heaven.
This past weekend, I served FRITTATA with Baby Spinach, Green Apples, Goat Cheese and Pancetta. To call it a decadent meal would be offensive. It was magical…
With the first taste that reached my mouth the seat underneath my firm ass-cheeks mysteriously turned into a plush throne covered with red velvet. My hand dropped onto the massive oak table under the weight of a silver fork I never saw before in my life. Little bells rang above my head, stars dust sparkled in the air, and suddenly my left hand was lifting a heavy, silver chalice embellished with precious stones and golden rims. Then I looked down…
Here’s the thing. The last time I saw myself in the mirror before heading to the kitchen to make breakfast I was wearing a see-through tank top and skimpy boy shorts that I like to parade in on Sunday mornings. Now my negligee was replaced with a tight bustier and delicate chiffon gown with mother-of-pearl buttons running up from the waist up to my throat glands. I was astonished. It was the state of the art tailoring bearing trade marks of a royal craftsman. My jaw elegantly fainted and dropped like an autumn leaf to the plate.
The plate! The plate with my SPINACH-APPLE FRITTATA which in fact was the source of all the wicked abracadabra playing out in front of our eyes!
It would be rude and selfish of me not to share this dish with you for the experience is out of this world, I tell ya. The perks, beyond the above described ones, are:
1. It’s easy to make.
2. One batch can last for a few meals that can be stored in a refrigerator for 2 days, or even frozen to be enjoyed later.
3. It’s as versatile as scrambled eggs–you can put in it whatever your soul desires and make it anew every time.
4. You can serve it fresh and hot at home for Sunday breakfast, or pack it for lunch to go on Monday.
5. It’s made of EGGS!
6. It has magical powers…
There are several “proven” methods of making a frittata, and I’ve tried them all. You’ll need a cast-iron skillet (or any other oven proof one) and a 500° hot oven.
Depending on the size of your skillet, you’ll need 6, 10 or even 12 eggs. For my 12″ pan I usually go with 10 organic and free range eggs. Also, peel an apple of your choice (I like the tart ones), quarter, core it and thinly slice. Beat all of the eggs in a bowl, add 2-3 tbsp of heavy cream, and season with salt and pepper. If you like, add chopped chives, or a pinch of chili pepper, or a teaspoon of dry oregano. It’s your dish.
Heat the skillet on the stove top, add a touch of olive oil and butter together, and add diced pancetta. When some of the fat has rendered, tip the apples in and toss them about. Sprinkle a touch of sea salt all over to help the apples sweat and thus get softer. Next, pour the egg mixture in and reduce the heat to medium low. Crumble cold goat cheese all over your dish, add a big handful of fresh spinach, and help it incorporate evenly across the dish.
Using a soft spatula lift the edges of the frittata along the sides of the skillet allowing the still loose eggs from the top to drip underneath the set layer. Make sure nothing sticks. Grate a handful of Fontina cheese all over the surface, drizzle with olive oil and turn off the heat. Place your skillet inside the hot oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and eggs set.
Remove the pan from the oven, let it cool for 5 minutes, cut in wedges and serve with a side of green salad and toasted baguette. Watch the frock on your bod turn into a royal gown, and a pumpkin coach park outside your window 😉
So much for my BIG SURPRISE. It’s a slider, or a whole bunch of them, what I had in mind for your Labor Day festivities. The simplicity of the dish is just to laugh at. There’s no recipe even needed. You get a pound of ground beef, ideally organic and grass fed, cut it in four even squares. Then those squares get chopped in half. And guess what, the meat is READY! Cook each little bastard for 3-3.5 minutes a side, having seasoned them previously with salt and pepper of course.
OK, let’s make it even EASIER, if possible. I found this video on youtube, where chef John from foodwishes.com reveals his dirty little secret of how to keep your mini burgers all identical and perfect.
Saw it? Got it? Let’s move on to all the additional goodies that come with the meat then.
First and foremost, you need a platform that will showcase and carry your slider. Traditionally it’s a small bun. There are choices after choices of various bread options at grocery stores across the board. You can also go the more adventurous and holistic route I took and make your own rolls.
But who’s got the time for baking on a Sunday night, when your Labor Day BBQ crowd is already popping the beer caps off the bottles?
Once the meat and bread are taken care of, focus your mind and heart on the works, as they call them. My sliders came in all colors and flavors as you can see, as I couldn’t decide on one theme. I sautéed leaks for one. Another mini burger got a bed of caramelized onions to rest upon. And the third one was planked in a pool of pesto. For the topping I chose Fontina cheese, as it melts like butter and tastes nothing like the plastic cheddar thingy they sell you at most of the groceries. It actually tastes like cheese, surprise-surprise. Also, only because I had it lying around, I sliced mango and grilled it for the heck of it. It made a lot of sense in the ned, and I didn’t know it till it was already made.
These are only a few ideas to get you started, but you know the sky is the limit. Using blue Stilton and sautéed portobello mushroom will change the entire experience of a slider. Different sauces, different vegetables–from pickled to raw to grilled ones, will make the slider your very own, depending on your selection. Even the bun os not all that important. You could serve the meat in a cup of bibb lettuce, and that would be wonderful, too. And so much kinder to your love handles!
Think outside of the box, break the rules, get of the old beaten path in order to experience something new, whether in life in general, or simply in your kitchen. My discovery of the world of food has been amazing thus far. It’s a rare thing that I truly love what I’m eating, whether I made it or someone else. (Yes, I’m that picky and discriminating.) But then, when I do find the food that speaks to my soul, it really equals an orgasm. Ask Jason, he’s witnessed both. So keep at it, cook away, look for what tickles you, try new things, explore, and never limit yourself by what you don’t know. That’s the point of learning. Stay open. And who knew half a glass of wine would get me that tipsy?
Happy Labor Day!
There’s this building in West Hollywood (Los Angeles) that looks like a Wedding Cake. One day someone will find teeth marks in its wall, and don’t come knocking on my door. I know nuthin’.
Who’s your muse?
Jason does it for me, with his eyes open or closed, with his clothes off and even on, with his mind in either Beta or Alfa states, with his raw passion for music, with his yin strength and yang tenderness. It is he whom I want to impress first and foremost whether I write a silly blurb for the Internet, roast a duck, shape my eyebrows, or play with a camera.
(The tape on J’s t-shirt is tagged “I LOVE YOU”. Say no more.)
However, there are also artists among our friends that leave me in awe whenever I experience their works. Jason’s BFF Paul, a man of countless talents, takes a camera and ceases the moment to be forever remembered as his eyes had witnessed it. Looking through his photos makes my throat dry and my skin perspire as my heart beat suddenly accelerates. His work torments my ego to some extent, but mostly it leaves me awed. It’s like peeling an onion–very emotional.
And then there’s Laurent, my old buddy Lolo, whom I’ve known for almost as long as I’ve been in the US. He’s a scientist and an artist, a humble man with big pockets, inside which he was able to fit an MBA and a PhD in Chemistry. If you rummage about, you’ll find a patent somewhere in there as well. And then all this… his art.
When back in my church, the kitchen, I often look for ideas between the many pages of cookbooks I’ve collected. Jamie Oliver’s books are most ragged, though, as I take advantage of them every time I’m in heat… in a culinary sense, one understands.
Yesterday was one of those days. I woke up itching to make something new, to develop a brand new recipe I could call my own. I stomped through the house back and fro, scanning my surroundings like a hungry savage animal looking for prey. And then my eyes rested on the shelf with some homemade preserves and such…
What followed can only be described using the language of astrophysics. A Supernova happened in my very own kitchen. A star of an idea exploded, splashing severed parts of my thoughts all over the surrounding walls, and thus I was illuminated. With no further ado, having arranged my still slightly smoky hair back to order, I gathered my gear, rolled up my non-exsistent sleeves (We live in SoCal. I don’t even waste time on wearing a bra most of the time, much less sleeves!), and witnessed a Nova being born–my ROASTED PEPPER SOUP & PORK BELLY WITH HONEY DEMI GLAZE.
It may be nothing new for you. However, my lips have not been in a near proximity to roasted pepper soup ever before. Therefore, I take credit for the entire thing, including placing the bum that blocks your view in the above photo. While hunting for the best angle/light combo, I was running around the table focusing on the target–the bowl–completely oblivious to the bread in the foreground. That’s why I cook for a living, and not take photographs.
That’s not all, folks. Stay tuned to find out what I will do with my NOVA… (In the background you should hear now…. …Yes, you must click that link in order to hear it…)
Don’t be hatin’, but I’m here only for a minute. This pre-Christmas bustle is not a relaxing time, oh no. Not only is there a list of people to be gifted, and consequently a list of gifts to be found, packed, shipped, sneaked and hidden, delivered and stored under that Christmas Tree, but also there are parties to attend, parties to be thrown, delicacies to be baked, Ho Ho Ho’s to be wished, cards to be sent…. Oh, brother!
That’s the closest I’ve ever been to Santa, or His helper. Only when I squeezed myself into that naughty costume did I feel the magic! It’s a photo from a Halloween Party we held a couple of years ago that I dug out for your entertainment today.
Now back to business. In the continued series of light and balanced dinner ideas for the time between all the diet-busting holidays, I propose a fillet of GRILLED SALMON OVER A BED OF SPINACH. Not only is this obviously healthy, but also it’s highly satisfying on multiple levels. It’s a surprisingly filling dinner, that fills your mouth with bliss and – to quote Mick Jagger himself – SATISFACTION!
Grab yourself a bag of baby spinach and empty it into a bowl. Drizzle with a DRESSING of your choice, por exemplo:
– 1 part of red wine vinegar
– 3 parts of walnut oil
– 1 tsp of Dijon mustard
– 1 finely chopped shallot
– 1 tbsp of honey
– big pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Whisk it together, until the mixture is emulsified into a delicious VINAIGRETTE. Drizzle the nectar over the green, now crumble small pieces of goat cheese all over. Feel free to add dried cranberries and chopped and toasted pecans or simply diced beet (previously cooked). Mix the salad together while your fillet of salmon is grilling cheerfully on a hot grilling pan or an outdoor grill (if you’re blessed with one). Remember to season your fish evenly on both sides with kosher salt and pepper. It’s OK to sprinkle some dry herbs over the flesh, like thyme or marjoram for that extra layer of flavor.
When ready, place the salmon over the bed of spinach salad, and wait no longer for the first satisfying bite.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I must retire to the kitchen to fix a treat for the Christmas Tea Party I’m attending this afternoon. Good Day Everybody!