Beef and cheddar frittata

Beef and cheddar frittata

I first made this frittata because I had the ingredients in the refrigerator. I thought it turned out to be a surprisingly good combination. This is now one of my regulars.

I used 3 slices of deli roast beef, cut into small pieces. It measured out at 3/4 of a cup. As I was adding it to the eggs and cheese, not quite all of it “fit.” So I left some out. Another thing, if you have leftover roast beef, you could certainly use that as well.

Beef and cheddar frittata

1/2–3/4 cup sliced deli roast beef, in bite-sized pieces
3/4 c shredded sharp cheddar

3 eggs
oil

Put the eggs into a good-sized mixing bowl and beat just to mix them up. Add a bit of oil to the pan and let it get hot. Add a small amount of the eggs to the pan to set the bottom of the frittata to prevent sticking. Turn the heat down to medium low. Mix the cheddar cheese and beef into the eggs, adding the beef a bit at a time to keep it all from sticking together. Pour the mixture into the pan. Cook this for about 5 minutes to set the bottom and sides.

Preheat the broiler. When the 5 minutes cooking on the stove are up, place the pan under the broiler, about 6 to 7 inches below. Cook until the top is set and just starts to brown. This is about 1–1/2 to 2 minutes for me, but watch closely.

Remove from the broiler, loosen up the sides with a spatula if necessary, and slide the frittata out onto the serving plate.

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Scallop ceviche salad

Scallop ceviche salad

I like ceviche made with all different types of fish and seafood. I thought that ceviche would make a great centerpiece for a salad. As I considered what type of ceviche, I easily decided on scallops. I am a great scallop lover, so scallop ceviche sounded great.

I had never made any type of ceviche. I looked up recipes online. As far as the time to “cook” the scallops in the citrus juice, recipes varied from 20–30 minutes to 4 hours and even 8 hours to overnight. I settled on 2 hours and was very pleased with the outcome.

Most ceviche recipes include chiles. This is not surprising since the origin of ceviche is in Latin America. I wasn’t interest in going in that direction, so I omitted the chiles. But I did include the red onion. That worked well both for flavor and for adding some color. I used my mandolin to get very thin slices.

The tomatoes on the salad were the mini-heirloom tomatoes from Trader Joe’s. I love the color variety they add. Obviously other tomatoes would work as well.

This is a very easy and quick prep. Cut up the scallops and onion a few hours before and add the lime and lemon juice. Then just assemble the salad.

Scallop ceviche salad

4 sea scallops
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
(enough of the juice to cover the scallops)
2 very thin slices of red onion, cut into pieces

spring mix lettuce
avocado
tomato

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
fresh ground pepper

Cut the scallops into quarters. Put in a small dish with the onions. Add lime juice and lemon juice to cover the scallops. Cover the dish and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Assemble the salad with the lettuce, avocado, and tomatoes. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil, lime juice, and pepper. Spoon the dressing over the salad. Strain the juice from the scallops and onions and place them on the salad.

The making of a frittata

After making the palak paneer frittata, I realized that this provided a typical example of how I come up with my salad and frittata recipes. First, on coming up with the basic idea: I was shopping at a new store, just looking around, and saw that they had paneer, the Indian cheese, which is not available in many stores. This made me think of palak paneer, one of my favorite Indian dishes. And that make me think, spinach and cheese are both ingredients that work well in a frittata. So why not a palak paneer frittata?

Next come the details of the ingredients and how to make it. To give it an Indian flavor, some spices should be added. Garam masala was an obvious one. My next step, which I often do, was a Google search for recipes, in this case, for palak paneer. I’m not doing this with the intent of following any specific recipe. The objective is to get ideas for potential ingredients and their quantities. This led to my adding the cumin seeds, onion, ground ginger, and garlic. A lot of the recipes also included chiles or chile pepper, but I didn’t want to include that.

Then on the preparation: Heating the cumin seeds until they sputtered was mentioned in the recipes, and I knew about that from other Indian food I have made. Of course the onion and garlic would have to be cooked. For palak paneer the spinach is completely cooked and pureed. But for me, spinach that has just been wilted works well in a frittata. Finally, briefly frying the cubes of paneer came from several of the recipes.

One thing I nearly always do when making a new preparation is to plan all of the quantitites first and measure things out during the preparation. I record this information along with the basic procedure followed for the preparation. Of course I need this for salad and frittata recipes for this blog. But I began doing this years before starting the blog for all sorts of food that I would cook. If I make something and conclude that the results are great, I want to have the information to be able to make it the same way again. Sometimes I will make something and conclude that it’s good but that it could be improved if I used more or less of some ingredients or changed the preparation in some way, perhaps cooking a longer or shorter time. So I note that on the recipe as well so I can make the change the next time. Of course I can only add more or less than I used the first time if I have a record of how much that was.

If you like to make up new recipes, I would encourage you keep such a record. It helps when making something again, and doing so provides a sense of accomplishment. I keep all my recipes, including those created by others, along with early ideas for new recipes, in the Notes program that comes on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac (and syncs among the devices). It’s handy to have my iPhone or iPad in the kitchen to refer to a recipe as I am cooking. But any app that that provides for the creation and storage of separate notes or a dedicated recipe app could be used.

Palak paneer frittata

Palak paneer frittata

I saw paneer in a store and thought of palak paneer, a favorite Indian dish. Then I thought that spinach and cheese are both good in a frittata. With some Indian spices, this makes a palak paneer frittata.

If paneer, the Indian cheese, is not available, the Mexican queso blanco or queso fresco are similar and can be substituted.

I went back and forth on the quantities of the spices. I liked the results. It had moderately spiced Indian flavors. Easy to increase or decrease depending upon taste.

Palak paneer frittata

1/2 cup 1/4-inch cubed paneer (or queso blanco or queso fresco if not available)
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1–1/2 cups tightly packed spinach, chopped
vegetable oil

3 eggs
more oil if necessary

Heat oil in pan. Lightly fry paneer until it starts to get golden. Remove from pan . If using queso fresco, omit this step and add directly to the eggs with the spinach.

Add a bit more oil to pan if necessary. Add the cumin seeds and cook until they just start to sputter. Add the onion, garam masala, and ginger and more oil if necessary and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the spinach in batches and stir until wilted. Remove from pan.

Put the eggs into a good-sized mixing bowl and beat just to mix them up. Add a bit of oil to the pan if needed and let it get hot. Add a small amount of egg mixture to the pan to set the bottom of the frittata to prevent sticking. Turn the heat down to medium low. Mix the spinach and paneer into the eggs and pour the mixture into the pan. Cook this for about 5 minutes to set the bottom and sides.

Preheat the broiler. When the 5 minutes cooking on the stove are up place the pan under the broiler, about 6 to 7 inches below. Cook until the top is set and just starts to brown. This is about 1–1/2 to 2 minutes for me, but watch closely.

Remove from the broiler, loosen up the sides with a spatula if necessary, and slide the frittata out onto the serving plate.

New Orleans tostada

New Orleans tostada

Once I got started with my unusual tostadas, I keep thinking about different kinds of beans and how they might be used to make a different kind of tostada. Red beans and rice is a staple in New Orleans and Louisiana. So my thinking was to use the red beans as a starting point for a New Orleans tostada.

My first idea was to top the tostada with Cajun shrimp. Can’t get much more New Orleans than that. But then I had the idea of andouille sausage, very much associated with Cajun cuisine. Both sounded ideal and I couldn’t make a choice. So I didn’t. It’s the shrimp on one tortilla, the sausage on the other.

For the red beans, I used canned kidney beans, which some recipes call for. This seemed so much easier than starting with dry beans. I used the whole can of beans, which is more than I need for the tostada. But what else would I use the kidney beans for? I’ll eat the leftover red beans for lunch. The recipe for the red beans was adapted from a number of different recipes. But feel free to use your own approach and spices. I chose to remove the casing before chopping up the sausage, but that certainly is not necessary. I cooked the beans for at least a half hour before starting the sausage, shrimp, and tortillas, so they cooked for at least 40 minutes. Cooking this long (or longer) makes the beans softer, but this is not necessary.

For the shrimp, I used McCormick’s Cajun seasoning and followed a recipe from their website. Again, I am choosing the easiest way, but you could certainly follow a more authentic recipe.

The amounts of cayenne pepper in the beans and the vinaigrette make this moderately spicy. Use more or less to suit your taste.

New Orleans tostada

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 andouille sausage, chopped up
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
chicken broth
olive oil

1 andouille sausage cut into bite-sized pieces
olive oil

4–6 shrimp, depending on size
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
butter

2 tortillas
olive oil
romaine lettuce, chopped into smaller pieces

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

To make the red beans, start by browning the sausage in some olive oil. Add the onions and green pepper and cook over medium heat until soft, adding the garlic for the last minute. Add the kidney beans, cayenne pepper,  and 1/2 cup chicken broth. Cook covered at a low simmer for half an hour, stirring occasionally, adding more chicken broth as needed to keep it from getting dry.

Brown the pieces of the second sausage in olive oil. Remove from the pan and wipe out the pan. Melt butter in the pan. Put the shrimp and Cajun seasoning in a small plastic bag and shake to coat the shrimp with the seasoning. Cook the shrimp in the butter until pink on both sides, no more than about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan.

Wipe out the pan again. Heat a thin layer of oil in the pan. When the oil is hot, put in a tortilla, cook for about 30 seconds on each side until it starts to crisp up. You want it a little crispy but not as hard as a tortilla chip. Repeat with the second tortilla.

Place the tortillas side-by-side. Top with a layer of the red beans. Add the romaine. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil, vinegar, and pepper. Spoon over the romaine. Put the andouille sausage on one tortilla and the shrimp on the other.

Poached egg and bacon salad - Salade Lyonnaise

Poached egg and bacon salad – Salade Lyonnaise

After making the corned beef hash frittata with the poached egg on the top and having the egg come out nicely, I thought it would be good to have a salad with poached eggs. Bacon was an obvious choice to include with the eggs.

As I often do when making a new salad, I then went online for further ideas. Of course my idea was hardly original. In fact, this salad was famous and named for the city of Lyon, France. The recipes called for bacon or pork lardons, poached eggs, frisee, and a vinaigrette made with the warm bacon fat. Some recipes included croutons while others showed slices of toasted bread on the side. I decided to be sinful and grill the bread in butter like a grilled cheese sandwich.

A note on the base for the salad. Frisee seemed to be called for most often. Some mentioned using curly endive because they couldn’t find frisee. And yet other recipes just said to use curly endive. In looking around, I found curly endive. But then I did a little research online to find out what the difference was between frisee and curly endive. The answer: none. Frisee is another name for curly endive. Also, the more yellow leaves at the center are milder and more tender.

This was a fantastic salad, thanks to what I learned doing the research online. I am adding it to my list of the great salads along with Caesar salad and salade Nicoise.

Poached egg and bacon salad – Salade Lyonnaise

3 slices bacon cut into 3/4-inch to 1-inch pieces
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vinegar for poaching eggs
frisee or curly endive
2 slices French bread
butter

1–2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
fresh ground pepper

Tear the frisee or curly endive into bite-sized pieces and have ready on the plate for the final assembly.

Cook the bacon. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel. Leave the bacon fat in the pan.

For poaching the eggs, heat water about 1–1/2 inches deep in a nonstick pan to a low simmer, about 190 degrees F, adding 1 tablespoon vinegar. Break each egg into a separate custard cup. Place the eggs in the water by tilting the cup, lowering it into the water, and letting the egg slide out. Cook for 4–1/2 minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon. Place on a towel and trim off any white around the edges with the spoon.

While poaching the eggs, melt butter in a pan and grill the slices of bread until golden, as you would in making a grilled cheese sandwich. Keep warm in the oven.

For the dressing, add olive oil to the pan to total about 3 tablespoons with the bacon fat (judge by eye). Heat and cook the shallots for several minutes. Combine the red wine vinegar, mustard, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly pour the bacon fat, olive oil, and shallots into the bowl, whisking to combine. Spoon as much of the dressing as desired onto the salad and toss to coat all over. Top with the eggs and the bacon, with the toasted bread on the side.

Leek and spinach frittata

Leek and spinach frittata

A simple frittata with some complementary vegetables is always good. The idea for this one came from what I had leftover in the refrigerator–one leek, some spinach, and a part of a red bell pepper. I thought they could go together well in a frittata. This turned out to be a really tasty frittata, one that I will definitely be making again.

Leek and spinach frittata

1 leek, white portion 1/4-inch slices
1–1/2 tightly packed cups spinach
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 small clove garlic, minced
fresh ground pepper
olive oil

3 eggs
olive oil

Heat olive oil in a pan. Add the leeks and red pepper and cook over medium heat until they start to soften, adding the garlic the last minute or so. Then start adding the spinach a handful at a time, stirring and turning over until the spinach is just wilted. Continue until all the spinach has been added and is wilted. Add some fresh ground pepper. Remove from the pan.

Put the eggs into a good-sized mixing bowl and beat just to mix them up. Add a bit of oil to the pan if needed and let it get hot. Add a small amount of egg mixture to the pan to set the bottom of the frittata to prevent sticking. Turn the heat down to medium low. Mix the leeks and spinach into the eggs and pour the mixture into the pan. Cook this for about 5 minutes to set the bottom and sides.

Preheat the broiler. When the 5 minutes cooking on the stove are up place the pan under the broiler, about 6 to 7 inches below. Cook until the top is set and just starts to brown. This is about 1–1/2 to 2 minutes for me, but watch closely.

Remove from the broiler, loosen up the sides with a spatula if necessary, and slide the frittata out onto the serving plate.