Dilly Good – Re-Mix

I may be a bit of infrequent blogger these days but I am predictable. (At least when it comes to quiche!)

As is often the case, I found myself once again with too much fresh dill in the fridge. And of course I always have Feta cheese on hands. So naturally I made a quiche. Much like my “Dilly Good” quiche from July 2016, I used potatoes in the base instead of a crust, making it more like a Tortilla Espanola” or a Spanish style potato omelet. (and gluten free) Which means I took my time slowly precooking the thin slices of potatoes in oil, over not too high a heat so they soften but not brown too much. And the same for the onions. Short of that I basically whisk up some eggs and dairy of choice (I like whole milk or half/half) and layer it all into a pie dish. Cook as you would any quiche – 40-45 mins at 400 degrees. Best served after it has cooled a bit or even room temperature.

Take a look at my process in pictures:

 

Advertisements

Spring: Day 16 (Parsley and Feta)

We finally hit 50 degrees around here and moods are improving everyday! Snow is still lurking in the yard but bare patches outnumber the snow patches and the crocus are making a run at growing!

As I continue to “single-handily” will spring to come sooner with my cooking, I incorporated some fresh parsley into my dish. Poor parsley doesn’t have many admirers. But I think nothing says “fresh” and “bright” like some chopped parsley added in. And not just as a garnish but as a primary player!

Pan seared steak with sauteed potatoes, red/green bell pepper, shallots, feta cheese and lots of fresh parsley!

Pan seared steak with sautéed potatoes, red/green bell pepper, shallots, feta cheese and lots of fresh parsley!

A couple of tips:

I like to add the feta and parsley in after I cook so they retain the fresh, bright green of the parsley and the cold, salty of the feta!

Also its nice to only toss in the shallots in the last-minute or so – the rawness is removed but they are not “cooked” to death!

In general, with exception of the potatoes, I enjoy not overcooking my veggies – no pre-blanching – just throw them in the hot pan and cook till just starting to get tender!

Other posts proclaiming my love for Parsley here and here !!

Springing Forward

Here in the metro Boston area clocks have been turned forward an hour, the Fenway Park season-opener home game is in less than a month and there is still 3 feet of snow on the ground. WAIT. (imagine sound of scratching record here) SNOW? Still on the ground? ugh.

So like everybody around here I am trying to single-handedly make spring arrive sooner by surrounding myself with spring-like things including light, bright “springy” food.

Today it was a Mediterranean inspired brunch. Roasted potatoes with garlic and rosemary butter. Burger patties with oregano and Penzey’s Lamb Seasoning mixed in before cooking. (if only they had been lamb instead of beef!) A bright, tangy and sweet “tapenade” on top – chopped olives, feta and sweet red bell pepper all mixed with a lemony-oil dressing.

 

If my grill wasn’t still in thigh-high snow, I would have grilled the burgers – “sigh” – maybe by July.

Parrot Head

I am a card-carrying member of the “parrotheads” elite.

And if you think I raise and breed birds you would be wrong.

For those who don’t know a “parrothead” is a big time fan of Jimmy Buffett’s music. We even have our own wiki page here!

So after having attended over 6 shows and many related events over the years, you would think I would have the lyrics to one of his most famous songs, “Cheeseburger In Paradise” perfectly memorized. Well I do, but recently I cleared up some grammatical confusion.

See I thought he was saying ” …not zucchini fettuccine or bulgar wheat…”  but what he was really saying was “not zucchini, fettuccine or bulgar wheat ”

Small difference (see comma marked in red above) but it means the difference between 3 food items ( Zucchini AND Fettuccine AND Bulgar Wheat) instead of two food items. (Zucchini Fettuccine AND Bulgar Wheat)

Phew! glad I cleared that up!

zucchini 2

Actual “zucchini fettuccine” lightly sautéed in olive oil with fresh tomatoes, herbs, garlic,onions and a little feta cheese on top!

 

In case you want to verify the lyrics or maybe even catch a show…. www.margaritaville.com

“Hakuna Frittata”

Loosely translates to “no worries egg dish”

Although a frittata IS an easy egg dish and a great way to use up whatever is hanging around your kitchen, for us, making one instantly has us singing tunes from “The Lion King.”    As in “Hakuna Frittata” – corny right?

(Kinda of like when I make “empanadas” and we sing the song “Desparado!”)

Anyway this one started out because I had a bag of spinach hanging around needing to be used up and some of the baby gold potatoes.

spinachin the pan

So I sliced up the baby gold potatoes (about a 1/4″ thick) and layered them in a well-sprayed, oven proof 10″ saute pan with some butter on med heat to start softening while I prepped (de-stem the spinach, crack eggs and pour cream) the other stuff. Turn the heat off and add all the goodies in first on top of the potatoes:

1/2 of an 8oz bag of spinach (raw), about 4 oz. crumbled feta, about 8 sundried tomatoes chopped small, plenty of salt and pepper, a shake of garlic powder for a little “warmth.”

And than the liquids get poured carefully over this – I used about a cup of “half and half” ( I was out of milk) and 8 large eggs. Make sure you whisk the eggs and cream (or milk) together first. A little more salt and pepper on top.

ready for the oven

Pop this into a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 mins or until the middle is set and fluffy. Kinda like this….

out of the oven

Now be patient and let it cool a bit – this is best served, and slices cleaner, if you let it cool significantly. This frittata is filling and satisfying, yet deceiving in that it is light. But it is by no means “diet food.” My husband loved it and that is saying a lot since he doesn’t eat anything that might seem at all like “diet food.”

Might I suggest a glass of wine and some crusty warm bread with this?

have a slice

Green Bling

Most girls would consider “bling” something along the lines of diamonds. Maybe even just some really nice costume jewelry.

But for me “bling” comes in the form of food.  “Food bling” is one those items that wasn’t on your grocery list. You weren’t even thinking about it when you walked in. But there from across the aisle, hiding behind some stacked bulk sale items, it catches your eye. Suddenly you have forgotten what you even came in for. Because all you can think about is rationalizing this “bling” purchase that you can’t live without!

My "green bling"

My “green bling”

When I saw this gorgeous asparagus, so fresh and healthy looking, everything else just faded away. I disregarded any seasonality, had no idea if it was organic, I just knew I had to have it. (Okay I admit, it was on sale too – that helped.)

But how would I use it?

With something equally glamorous of course….

"red rice"

“red rice”

My mom discovered this lovely colored, nutritional wonder on a recent trip. Upon returning home she has incorporated it into her diet and was nice enough to give me some extra cooked rice last time I was visiting. I was waiting for just the right partner to use it with.

Behold the red rice salad…

rice and asparagus salad

First I  jazzed things up by sauteing a small diced onion, minced garlic, and a pinch of red chili flakes in some olive oil. Than I added my freshly washed and cut asparagus. ( no pre-blanching for me – just let the water from washing them add a little “steam action” to your pan.) Once those were on their way, I added in my cooked rice – really just to heat it through and marry the flavors. Keep an eye on it – if it seems dry add some more olive oil or just a little water if you want to keep the fat/calories down. Salt and pepper to taste. ( don’t be shy with this – it is a simple dish)  At the end I splashed in a little rice vinegar to perk things up. (That easily could have been lemon juice instead.)  Topped it with a little crumbled feta. (low fat even!) Serve warm, serve room temperature, serve chilled. (but not cold) But whichever way you choose, you will be able to fully justify this “bling” once you taste it.

P.S. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day and Evacuation Day!

Spana-what?

Spanakopita.

As a child growing up with a very progressive and adventurous mother, I assumed everybody was eating Spanakopita AKA “spinach pie”.  (I also assumed everybody was eating Tabbouleh too but that is another posting, for another day.)

What? You weren’t? Well you were missing out. This is probably where my insane love of Feta cheese started. And my love of  “Phyllo dough” sometimes spelled “Fillo.”  Since I am not Greek, I have no idea what is correct or not correct. But you can check it out here.

So when fate dealt me an excessive amount of spinach in my fridge, and of course I am never without a large supply of Feta, I immediately decided it was time to try my hand at making my own “spinach pie.” I had also recently watched an episode of “The Chew” where Michael Symon made it look so easy.

I have trouble following directions, so I had to tinker with the recipe.

I decided to add a sliced tomato!

And while I was adding tomatoes, why not throw in all the extra fresh basil leaves I still had? ( I can hear the Greek readers gasping right now!)

I didn’t have the fresh dill that most variations of the recipe called for, so I decided to use the dried dill that I had on hand. (more gasps) It worked great. To be honest in all my millions of times consuming Spanakopita, I had no idea dill was in it – but it definitely is. In fact,  I think that’s the “spana” in the “kopita!”

Just kidding.

Anyway, an hour later and more melted butter than I care to admit to, I had a beautiful pan of spinach, basil and tomato pie!

The Recipe

16 sheets of Phyllo dough – there is aprox 20 sheets in one of the two rolls that come in a 16oz box of Athens brand® – you may have mishaps or tear one – so the extra 4 sheets will come in handy – you could put an extra sheet in the middle or on top if you feel strongly about it, but not on the bottom or it will be too thick. Save the 2nd roll for another day. READ the box about storing and handling this delicate dough.

1 small onion finely diced – feel free to substitute garlic here or leave out the onion altogether. (you know who you are)

1 lb +/- fresh spinach leaves, de-stemed, washed and roughly chopped

2 Tb butter + 1 stick melted for brushing the layers of dough

2 cups (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves, no stems

1/4 cup fresh grated Romano cheese

1 Tb dried Dill

10 oz crumbled Feta cheese

1 medium tomato, thinly sliced

juice of half a lemon

Black pepper to taste

Preheat oven 375 degrees. Brush a 9×12 (or some size close) baking dish with some melted butter or cooking spray. Saute the onion in the 2 tb butter until soft. Add the spinach leaves turning to coat and cook. Add the basil leaves, continuing to coat and cook a couple of minutes more. Add dill. Turn off heat and let cool a bit. It is okay if there is “liquid” in the pan from the greens. Add both cheeses, lemon juice and pepper. Stir and taste for seasoning. Set aside.

Assembly: in the bottom of the baking dish – carefully layer 8 (no more – no less) sheets of Phyllo dough, brushing each sheet after it it’s laid down with copious amounts of melted butter. After the 8th sheet is down. Spread half of the filling evenly across. Now layer 4 (3 would be okay here) sheets of Phyllo dough with the melted butter on top of each. Spread the other half of the filling on top. Layer on the sliced tomatoes. Layer 4 more sheets of Phyllo dough with the melted butter treatment on each sheet.

Bake for 30-35 mins until top is golden brown and flaky. It will be REALLY hard to wait for it to cool but I HIGHLY recommend you wait until it is almost room temperature to cut it or it will fall apart. This is great served room temperature or cold from the refrigerator.