Author Archives: John Ottensmann

Red bean frittata

Red beans frittata

I really liked the red beans I made with the New Orleans tostada. These were the spicy New Orleans/Louisiana/southern-style beans for red beans and rice. So I wondered how they would work in a frittata. Bottom line–great!

The beans are made the same as before. Again, I am making the whole can even though I am using only about half in the frittata. I’ll eat the rest for lunch the next day. It helps to cook the beans for a long time. I did 40 or 45 minutes this time.

In making the frittata, it didn’t seem to make sense to try to mix the beans with the eggs. So I put a thin layer of the eggs in the pan and cooked them for a minute, put the beans on top, and poured the rest of the eggs over the beans.

Red beans frittata

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

3 eggs
oil

Brown the sausage briefly in the 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, fresh ground pepper and about 1/2 cup chicken broth. Cook at a low simmer for at least half an hour, stirring occasionally and adding more chicken broth as needed to keep it from getting dry.

Put the eggs into a good-sized mixing bowl and beat just to mix them up. Add a bit of oil to a pan and let it get hot. Add a thin layer of the eggs to the pan. Turn the heat down to medium low and let it cook for a minute. Spoon the beans over the top of the eggs. Spoon or pour the remainder of the eggs over the beans. Cook this for about 4 more 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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Grape orange and chicken salad

Grape, orange, and chicken salad

I made this salad as a side salad, without the chicken, for a dinner. I really liked the combination and thought it would make a great main course salad with the addition of some chicken breast.

The honey-lime vinaigrette is a distinctive contribution to this salad that I think really makes it work. I find it always helps to heat the honey a bit in the microwave to make it thinner before adding to the dressing. And with honey, I always shake the dressing in a small jar to mix rather than trying to whisk it.

I think a mixture of greens with some texture works well for this salad. I used the Champs Elysees mix from Trader Joe’s with green leaf lettuce, frisee, radicchio, and carrots.

Grape, orange, and chicken salad

cooked chicken breast, sliced or cut into smaller pieces
red seedless grapes
mandarin oranges
sliced almonds
mixed greens

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
fresh ground pepper

Arrange all of the ingredients for the salad on the plate. Shake in a small jar the oil, lime juice, honey, mustard, and pepper. Spoon over the salad.

Bacon, avocado, and tomato frittata

Bacon, avocado, and tomato frittata

This is a great sandwich combo. So why not a frittata?

I usually use a Roma tomato for a frittata. It’s about the right size. I cut it into quarter-inch slices and then cut those into small cubes just right for the frittata.

Bacon, avocado, and tomato frittata

4 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2–3/4 avocado, small pieces
1/2 cup tomato, small cubes

3 eggs
oil

Cook the bacon until crisp. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Wipe out 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 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 bacon, avocado, and tomato into the eggs. 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.

Gyro tostada

Gyro tostada

I had a gyro recently. A tasty, different sort of sandwich. This got me thinking about making a gyro salad or frittata. I decided on a tostada. For the beans, given the Greek origin, I thought of garbanzo beans or chickpeas. But rather than hummus, which I had on my Greek tostada, I decided on the fresher alternative of simple chopped-up beans with a little bit of seasoning.

I found gyro meat at Trader Joe’s. It comes in a package with enough slices for 2 sandwiches, and I used a little less than half. It is possible to make it yourself, but I wouldn’t have gone to that much effort had I not been able to get it ready made.

For topping the tostada, tomatoes are usually included in gyros. Tatziki is another ingredient for gyros. I followed the approach I took with the Greek frittata. I put cucumbers on the frittata and then made a tatziki-like dressing by mixing yogurt with a lemon vinaigrette.

Gyro tostada

garbanzo beans/chickpeas
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 clove garlic, pressed
1/8 teaspoon paprika
salt
fresh ground pepper

baby spinach, chopped
gyro slices
tomatoes, small cubes
cucumber, small cubes
red onion, thinly sliced

2 corn tortillas.
oil

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 to 3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1/2 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill
fresh ground pepper

Rinse garbanzo beans. Put the beans, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper into food processor and process very briefly to just chop up the beans.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a 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.

Wipe out the pan. Put the slices of gyro meat in a hot pan for about 20 seconds on each side. Cut into smaller pieces for the tostada.

Put the tortillas side-by-side on a plate. Spread on a thin layer of the chopped garbanzo beans. Top with the spinach. Put the gyro meat, tomatoes, cucumber, and onion on the tostada. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil, lemon juice, garlic, dill, and pepper. Add yogurt for desired consistency. Spoon the dressing over the top.

Pasta salade Nicoise

Pasta salade Nicoise

I had some haricots verts left over. My first thought was to make a salade Nicoise. And then I thought, how about trying something a little different, a pasta salade Nicoise?

Along with the pasta and haricots verts, I could iinclude the tomatoes and Kalamata olives from the salade Nicoise. Mix the tuna in and the taste of the tuna would overwhelm the other ingredients in the salad, so that should be served on the side. I also thought that serving the egg on the side would be best.

I tend to be fussy in choosing the pasta for my pasta salads. I think it’s important that it complements the other ingredients in the salad. Here, the haricots verts are very thin, so I thought it best to have a smaller pasta. I found the mini farfalla, which worked well.

With combinations like this, you know before making the salad that it will be good. But I was surprised by just how well the pasta salad complemented the tuna and egg. This really is a serious competitor to the traditional salade Nicoise.

Pasta salade Nicoise

1–1/2 cups haricots verts cut into 1 to 1–1/2-inch pieces
1 hard-cooked egg, sliced into quarters lengthwise

3/4 cup mini farfalla
10 grape or cherry tomatoes cut in half
10 Kalamata olives cut in half lengthwise
yellowfin tuna in olive oil

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 clove (or 1 very small clove) garlic, pressed
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon herbes de provence
fresh ground pepper

Sometime before serving the salad, bring water to the boil, put in the haricots verts, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until just tender crisp. Drain and rinse with cold water to keep the color. Refrigerate. This would also be a good time to cook the egg.

When you are ready to make the salad, cook the mini farfalla following package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool.

Mix the pasta, haricots verts, tomatoes, and olives in a bowl. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil, vinegar, mustard, and spices. Pour over the pasta salad and mix. Put on the plate and add the tuna and egg on the side.

Smoked turkey breast, Havarti cheese, and avocado salad

Smoked turkey breast, Havarti cheese, and avocado salad

The idea for this combination on a salad came from this frittata, which in turn came from different deli sandwiches. To me, smoked turkey breast, Havarti cheese, and avocado just go together.

I used sliced deli smoked turkey breast and kept the slices together as I cut it into pieces, giving chunks rather than lots of thin slices. I likewise did bite-sized chunks of cheese. The salad was topped with my standard vinaigrette.

Smoked turkey breast, Havarti cheese, and avocado salad

smoked turkey breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
Havarti cheese, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 avocado, sliced and cut into pieces
baby lettuce

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon herbes de provence
fresh ground pepper

Put the turkey, cheese, and avocado on the lettuce. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil, vinegar, mustard, and spices. Spoon over the salad.

Kidney bean and egg tostada

Kidney bean and egg tostada

I can’t remember when or where I had the kidney bean, egg, and pickle relish salad. A long time ago. Perhaps it was a different-looking salad I picked out on a cafeteria line. In any event, beans are now suggesting tostada for me. So I’m making this bean salad as the base for this tostada.

The quantities for the kidney bean salad are more than you need for the tostada. But I didn’t know what else I would do with the remaining kidney beans and thought I could have the rest for lunch or dinner the next day.

Kidney bean and egg tostada

1 can kidney beans drained and rinsed
2 hard cooked eggs, chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

2 corn tortillas
vegetable oil

romaine lettuce, chopped
roasted red pepper, cut into slices and small pieces
green olives, sliced
1 hard cooked egg, sliced

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon herbes de Provence
fresh ground pepper

An hour or more in advance, mix the kidney beans, chopped eggs, mayonnaise, pickle relish, and onion. Put in refrigerator to chill.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a 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.

Put the tortillas side-by-side on a plate. Spread on a thin layer of the kidney bean salad. Put the romaine, roasted red pepper, and olives on top. Whisk or shake in a small jar the oil, vinegar, mustard, and spices. Spoon the vinaigrette over the salad. Add slices of the third hard cooked egg.