Thursday, April 30, 2015

Cheese, Chorizo and Onion Frittata with Za'atar




Yes, it's one more frittata recipe, I'm averaging about one per year recently:
2011 Pasta Frittata
2012 Vegetable Frittata, and mini Frittata Muffins
2013 Tex-Mex Pasta Frittata, and now today's concoction.

 I can't help myself, I love these easy-to-prepare, make-them-with-my-eyes-closed, tasty breakfast dishes. Frittatas are so versatile, adapting to whatever is in the fridge for a casual family meal or starring as the favorite item in a company brunch buffet. 

Easy to cook? Yes, super easy because I use the cooktop-plus-oven method. You could get fancy and flip the entire thing over to cook the second side; it's not a big deal and I've done that before. Flipping means turning the partially set frittata upside down on another plate and sliding it back into the skillet to finish cooking. It does require some careful attention and a steady hand... or a bit of luck. Pick your favorite method, the frittata will be delicious either way.



An Everything Frittata

Serves 2-4, depending on appetites

Fillings: 

1 small onion, diced
1 small potato, cooked and diced (or rice or pasta)
1 link Chorizo sausage, diced (or bacon or other meat)
1 Roma tomato, diced
And/or any other tasty vegetables or other items you find in the fridge
Seasonings:
1 heaping teaspoon seasoning; think assertive herbs and spices like za'atar, oregano, basil, smoked paprika, cumin, ground chili, etc.
salt and pepper, to taste
Basic Frittata Mixture:
1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheese (mix of hard cheese & melting cheese)
4 large eggs (or 3 eggs plus some liquid egg white mix)

Directions:

1. Sauté & season the filling: Use a nonsitck skillet and cook the chorizo (or other meat) first. Discard most of the chorizo oil. Add the onion and potatoes and cook until the onion bits are softened and the potato has begun to brown. Stir in the tomato and seasonings and heat until warm. Taste and adjust seasonings; remember that this flavoring will stretch to include the egg/cheese mixture as well.


2. Add the Cheese: Spread the vegetables into an even layer; scatter 2/3 of the cheese on top and let it just start to melt.



3. Add the Eggs: Whisk the eggs and pour them over the filling and cheese; stir to incorporate. Cook until the eggs begin to set at the bottom and along the edges of the pan, pushing in the edges and tilting the pan to flow the liquid egg from the center onto the outer edges around the pan. When the liquid no longer runs move the pan into the oven.
4. Bake the Frittata: Put the entire pan into the oven and cook  until the eggs are nearly set. (Check by slicing into the center of the frittata.) Scatter the remaining cheese on top and return to the oven to finish cooking, but don't overcook. To crisp the top, broil for a minute or two until the cheese melts and begins to brown. Cool for several minutes before slicing into wedges. 


Serve with salsa, kimchi, sour cream or your favorite other accompaniments. Leftovers, if any, will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. Enjoy them at room temperature or chilled.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Sweet & Spicy Baked Bacon



Just one whiff of cooking bacon is enough to make my tummy rumble, stir up the appetite, change any eat-healthy resolutions... you get the idea. I love bacon. The aroma is irresistible, but the sound of thick slices sizzling in a pan on the cooktop is a thing of the past. I'm a long-time convert to baking bacon in the oven. While I might occasionally miss the sizzle symphony, I certainly don't miss the mess, or the perfume of cooked bacon that used to cling to clothes and person after cooking a pan on the stove.

Bacon? a recipe post about cooking bacon? Of course. I just couldn't resist after reading this morning's post at Food52 on "The Best Way to Cook Bacon". They almost got it right; baking strips in the oven is the best approach but they blew it on flavor. Gourmet published their ultimate version of Sweet-and-Spicy Bacon ages ago (November 2001) and that has been the real deal, the only way to cook bacon ever since. 

Years ago one of the contestants on Top Chef used this method during a cooking ahallenge and received rave reviews and a lot of positive press over his "original" preparation. Original? not so much. But definitely tasty!

I have adapted Gourmet's method only slightly, laying the bacon strips on a baking rack set over a foil-lined baking sheet. This drains away the excess fat and makes for easier clean up after baking. Bacon cooks almost-unattended in the oven for roughly 35 minutes while I prepare the rest of the meal. Forget the mess and try this easy peasy method. Just heat the oven, arrange the bacon on the rack, turn the strips once during baking and sprinkle with the spicy sugary mix, and let the magic happen.


Sweet and Spicy Baked Bacon

1 1/2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
Generous 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Generous 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 lb thick-cut bacon (typically 12 slices)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cover a large baking sheet with foil or parchment. Place a metal baking rack on top of the lined pan. Or use an unlined broiler pan.
  2. Stir together the brown sugar, cayenne, and black pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Arrange the bacon slices in l layer on the baking rack and bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 20 minutes. 
  4. Turn the slices over, sprinkle evenly with the spiced sugar. and continue baking until each strip is crisp and brown, about 15 to 20 minutes more. Enjoy!


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