Spinach and Red Pepper Frittata

Egg Cookery, Vegetarian

Spinach and Red Pepper Frittata

Adapted from nytimes.com/cooking

Another frittata recipe coming your way! I’ve known about the existence of frittatas for several years but I think I only just discovered the wonders of eating one this summer. They are super nutritious. Though eggs have had a bad reputation, they are one of the most nutritious foods out there. They are an incredible source of many vitamins and minerals, protein, healthy fats…They are great sources of Omega-3s choline (a nutrient that’s hard to come by), they raise your levels of HDL (or “good” cholesterol) AND an egg is a complete protein, having all the essential amino acids. This particular frittata also boasts the health benefits of spinach (vitamin A, Vitamin K, manganese, folate, magnesium and phytonutrients) and red pepper (vitamin C).

Yields 8 wedges (4 servings as main course)

Ingredients:

  • 1 6-ounce bag baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut in small dice
  • 10 fresh marjoram leaves, chopped
  • 8 eggs
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Spinach and Red Pepper Frittata, lado

Directions:

  1. Steam the spinach until just wilted. Rinse with cold water and squeeze out excess water. Chop fine and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a heavy skillet. Add the bell peppers. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the chopped spinach and the marjoram. Stir together for a few seconds and remove from the heat. Set aside.
  3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the pepper, milk, spinach and red peppers.
  4. Heat the broiler of your oven.
  5. Set a heavy, ovenproof, 10-inch skillet on the burner over medium high heat. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Drop a bit of egg into the pan; if it sizzles and cooks at once, the pan is ready. Pour in the egg mixture. Tilt the pan to distribute the eggs and filling evenly over the surface. Shake the pan gently, tilting it slightly with one hand while lifting up the edges of the frittata with a spatula in your other hand to let the eggs run underneath during the first few minutes of cooking.
  6. Turn the heat to low, cover and cook 10 minutes, shaking the pan gently every once in a while. From time to time, remove the lid, tilt the pan and loosen the bottom of the frittata with a wooden spatula so that it doesn’t burn. The bottom should turn a golden color. The eggs should be just about set. Cook a few minutes longer if they are not.
  7. Uncover the pan and place under the broiler, not to close to the heat, for one to three minutes. Make sure the top doesn’t burn; at most, it should brown slightly and puff under the broiler.
  8. Remove from the heat, shake the pan to make sure the frittata isn’t sticking and allow it to cool for at least five minutes and for as long as 15 minutes. Loosen the edges with a wooden spatula. Carefully slide from the pan onto a large round platter. Cut into wedges to serve.

Spinach and Red Pepper Frittata, plato close-up

Comments: Though this only takes 45-60 minutes to make, it is 45-60 minutes of hands-on time. Though it’s not extremely difficult, I would not recommend trying to make this recipe if you are a beginner. I think I prefer frittatas hot out of the oven but you can also serve them warm, at room temperature or cold. Leftovers are great for lunchtime sandwiches but the frittata does not reheat well. Serve with bread, sweet potatoes, rice…anything you want; it is quite versatile! Try some other frittatas under “Egg Cookery” in the Vegetarian section.

Spinach and Red Pepper Frittata, plato

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Pizza with Mushrooms, Goat Cheese, Arugula and Walnuts

Pizza, Vegetarian

Pizza with Mushrooms, Goat Cheese, Arugula and Walnuts

Adapted from nytimes.com/cooking

This pizza was quite unlike anything I’ve had so far. It definitely makes top of my list. It is very nouvelle cuisine. It is a work of art (of course, until you cut it up into slices). The blend of the mushrooms, goat cheese and arugula is divine. The walnuts give it just a hint of a nice crunchy texture. Once you have the dough done, which you can make ahead of time, it takes less than an hour to make this pizza.

Yields 8 slices (1 12- to 14-inch pizza)

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe whole wheat pizza dough (recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ pound baby bella mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned and sliced
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 4 walnuts, shelled and chopped
  • 1 heaped cup arugula leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F (232C). Roll out the dough onto a 12- to 14-inch pizza pan.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium high heat in a large, heavy skillet and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender and moist. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  3. Crumble the goat cheese into a bowl and add the walnuts. Lightly toss together.
  4. Top the dough with the mushrooms. Sprinkle with thyme and place in the preheated oven. Bake for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven, sprinkle the goat cheese and walnuts over the crust and return to the oven for 5 to 10 more minutes or until the crust is nicely browned and the cheeses has softened. Remove from the heat.
  6. Toss the arugula with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Scatter over the pizza and serve.

Pizza with Mushrooms, Goat Cheese, Arugula and Walnuts, close-up

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Adapted from eatingwell.com

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast (about 2¼ teaspoons)
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ½-2/3 cup hot water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

Directions:

  1. Combine the flours, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Combine the hot water and oil in a bowl. While continuing to mix, gradually pour enough of the hot liquid into the bowl with the flour mixture until a sticky ball is formed. The dough should be quite soft. If it seems dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of warm water. It it’s too sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour.
  3. Continue to mix until the dough forms a ball and then knead for about 1 minute.
  4. Coat a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray or oil and place it, sprayed-side down, over the dough. Let the dough rest for about 30 to 40 minutes before rolling.

 

Comments: Lately, every time I’ve made pizzas I’ve been trying out different whole wheat doughs. The problem with the whole wheat doughs is that they are tougher and not as elastic. Surprisingly, the recipes that are 100% whole wheat use honey that may help solve that problem. It’s something to keep in mind for next time. You can always buy refrigerated pizza dough. I know Trader Joe’s at least has a whole wheat one; I’m not sure if it’s 100% though as I never buy pizza dough. When preparing the walnuts, make sure you actually use 4 walnuts; if you buy a bag of walnuts at the supermarket they usually come as walnut halves. To chop them finely, I used my mini food processor. I like, as you already know, baby bella mushrooms but you can use any kind of mushroom you desire. I used Trader Joe’s crumbled goat cheese, which tastes almost as good as the goat cheese back in Europe. If you buy a goat cheese that’s already crumbled you, of course, don’t have to crumble it except maybe if there are some bigger chunks.

Pizza with Mushrooms, Goat Cheese, Arugula and Walnuts, pedazo

Apple Baked Beans

Vegan

Apple Baked Beans.jpg

Adapted from Happy Herbivore by Lindsay S. Nixon

I first discovered baked beans in the vegan corner of my university’s dining commons. I had never tasted anything quite like it but fell in love immediately. It wasn’t a very common thing they served so whenever they did have it I would binge on it. These baked beans are different from the ones in my university but I love the addition of the apple flavor. I could eat this anytime but I’m sure it’d make a great meal for a cold autumn or winter night.

Yields 3 servings as main course or 6 servings as side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ¼ cup tomato purée
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce, divided
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Cayenne, to taste
  • Smoked paprika, to taste

Directions:

  1. Line a large pot with a thin layer of water and sauté the onion over high heat until it is translucent and most of the water has evaporated.
  2. Stir in the tomato sauce, molasses, maple syrup, Dijon and ¼ cup applesauce. Stir to combine. Then add the chili powder and beans. Stir well, cover and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-20 minutes until warm and white beans have taken on a brown coloring.
  3. Add the remaining ¼ cup of applesauce and stir to combine.
  4. Taste and add additional maple syrup, chili powder and cayenne pepper to taste.
  5. Add a few dashes of smoked paprika and serve warm.

 

Comments: This recipe actually uses liquid smoke, which you add along with the tomato sauce, molasses, maple syrup, Dijon and applesauce but I didn’t have any. I’m not quite sure how it changes the taste either. It’s not a difficult recipe and it hardly takes any time at all; other baked bean recipes said you had to cook them for over 3 hours, something I found a bit too much. They go great with a whole wheat English muffin and/or roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes.

Apple Baked Beans, plato

Florentine Lasagna

Lasagna, Vegetarian

Florentine Lasagna

Adapted from eatingwell.com 

Here goes another recipe to satiate my lasagna obsession. It offers a great blend of spinach and cheeses. It doesn’t take very long to make and there is nothing too complex about the instructions. It makes a great dinner for vegetarians as it includes whole-wheat pasta, iron-rich spinach and a LOT of dairy protein. It did not disappoint! 

Yields 8-9 servings 

Ingredients:

  • 16 whole-wheat lasagna noodles
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2½ cups milk
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 16-ounce container ricotta
  • 1 16-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • ¼ cup Italian blend shredded cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
Florentine Lasagna, plato

Don’t judge. I love nutmeg on pasta and with spinach. You should try it!

Directions: 

1.     Bring a pot of water to the boil. Preheat the oven to 425F (218C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.

2.     Cook the lasagna noodles in the boiling water until tender, about 8 minutes. With tongs, remove the noodles from the pot and arrange in a single layer on a clean kitchen towel cover with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out. Set aside.

3.     Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside ¼ cup of the onion. Add the flour to the onion mixture still in the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk and return to a simmer. Cook, whisking until thickened to the consistency of heavy cream. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Spoon ½ cup of the sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish and set aside.

4.     Process the ricotta, the reserved ¼ cup of onion, spinach and Italian blend in a food processor until well combined and the spinach is finely chopped. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the egg and pulse until blended.

5.     Spread a generous ½ cup of the spinach mixture onto the baking dish. Use more as needed to cover the bottom. Top with about 3 noodles so as to cover the bottom. Top with another generous ½ cup of filling or so and then 3 more noodles. Continue until the filling is used up. Top the final spinach layer with 3 more noodles. Spoon the remaining sauce evenly over the lasagna and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

6.     Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbling and golden.

      Comments: This was actually meant to be lasagna roll-ups. However, my mom had previously frozen some cooked lasagna noodles and they were already cut so I had to resort to make an actual lasagna. I personally find lasagna roll-ups more fun and they are different. However, feel free to make this recipe however you like. To make the roll-ups, you will spoon ½ cup of the sauce into the bottom of the baking dish as normal. Then, instead of layering the noodles and filling like normal lasagna, you will spread 3 tablespoons of the filling over 1 noodle. Then you will roll it up firmly and place seam-side down in the prepared baking dish. Finally, you top the roll-ups with the sauce and sprinkle with the Parmesan and cook as instructed. When making a normal lasagna, I actually ended up using less than 16 noodles but this is the right amount for the roll-ups.

Florentine Lasagna, plato, lado

Mushroom & Spinach Crêpes

Vegetarian

Mushroom & Spinach Crêpes

Adapted from eatingwell.com

There is nothing more perfect than a crêpe for a weekend lunch. If there’s one thing I like about The Woodlands it’s the Gourmet Bakery owned by a French baker and his wife (more about that in my other blog Les Restos de Lucienne). Nonetheless, you can easily make crêpes at home too though it may seem intimidating. These are whole wheat (not 100%) and are filled with a delicious combination of mushrooms, spinach and feta cheese and you can whip them up in about an hour.

Yields 6 crêpes

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 ounces mixed mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • ½ cup water
  • 6 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

  1. Process the flours, salt, eggs, milk and vegetable oil in a blender of food processor until smooth, scraping the sides a few times. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and rosemary and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are soft and have released their liquid. Stir in the spinach a handful at a time. Cook until the spinach is wilted. Cover to keep warm.
  3. Slowly whisk the water into the batter. Grease a large skillet and heat over medium high heat. Ladle about 1/3 cup of batter into the center of the pan and immediately tilt and rotate the pan to spread evenly over the bottom.
  4. Cook until the underside is lightly browned, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Using a heatproof silicon or rubber spatula, lift the edge, quickly grasp the crêpe with your fingers and flip. Cook until the second side is lightly browned. Slide onto a plate.
  5. Repeat with the remaining batter, greasing the pan as needed and stacking the crêpes as you go. Reduce the heat to medium if the pan begins to smoke. Cover the crêpes with a clean dishtowel or keep warm in a 200F (93C) oven.
  6. To assemble, place a crêpe on a plate and spread a generous 1/3 cup of the mushroom-spinach filling in the center, leaving a 1- to 2-inch border. Top with 1 tablespoon (or more) or feta cheese. Fold in the sides to make a square shape, leaving a window in the center. Press down on the corners as necessary to help keep the crêpe folded. Repeat with the remaining crêpes and filling.

 

Comments: I know making crêpes can be intimidating but it’s really not as bad as it looks. You can, of course, always use ready-made crêpes available at the supermarket but homemade ones are always better. The original recipe actually used goat cheese instead of feta cheese. I’m sure the former goes beautifully in these crêpes but I only had feta and used that instead. I used the original Greek one available at Trader Joe’s, which is made with sheep’s milk, not something very common in the U.S. but that makes a big difference in the taste. In the ingredients I put 6 tablespoons of cheese as stated in the original recipe but by all means add more; there’s no such thing as too much cheese.

Mushroom & Spinach Crêpes. close-up