Friday, June 18, 2010

Mini Quiche Cups

I'm getting very sick and tired of eating some of the same things for breakfast. Everything had a ton of sugar and a ton of carbs in it, and doesn't fill me up till lunchy lunch time. I got an idea to make mini quiche cups that I can take to work, warm up and eat fairly quickly, that saves me from eating another cereal bar.

I know right now my mother is telling me "Well darling girl, why don't you just wake up early and make yourself some nice breakfast?" My response, "I like sleeping."

So last night, after the Lakers won the championship I tackled this task of trying to make these mini quiches. My first attempt went pretty well. It was a twist on Quiche Florentine, the flavors were really amazing and I was fairly happy with the first round. However, I definitely need to tweak it a little bit. I wanted to add some protein so I used Chicken Apple Sausages, turns out, too sweet with the caramelized onions. I would suggest substituting a hot or savory sausage, like a Jalapeno Cheddar, or just a plain Hot Italian Sausage, just make sure they're cooked before you combine it in the egg mixture. This recipe can be easily turned into a fritata or a scramble, you can even substitute the Gruyere cheese with feta and add olives for a Mediterranean twist.

Mini Quiche
8 eggs, seasoned with salt and pepper and beaten slightly
1/2 - 1 cup milk (anywhere from skim to whole depending on how many calories you want to save)
1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese, I used Gruyere
1/2 bag chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and drained of all water
1 savory sausage, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
2 pinches nutmeg
1/2 tsp garlic powder
olive oil
cupcake liners
non-stick spray

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a saute pan, heat up the olive oil and saute the onions with a little salt and pepper till translucent on medium heat, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, spinach and chopped up sausage and stir to combine. Add the red pepper flakes, nutmeg and garlic powder and turn off heat.

While the onion mixture cools, mix the seasoned eggs and milk together in a big bowl. Make sure to beat for a few moments to incorporate air to the eggs. Add the cheese, sun dried tomatoes, a touch more red pepper flakes if you wish. Add the onion mixture to the bowl and stir to combine.

Using a muffin tin, place the liners in and spray each cupcake liner with non stick cooking spray. Then spoon in the combined egg mixture into each liner. Make sure not to fill up completely because the egg mixture will rise a bit.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Then at the last minute, turn on the broiler and brown the tops so it has a nice crust. These can be rewarmed in a microwave very easily. Just make sure to use the cupcake liners that don't have metal in them.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Bay to Breakers is a yearly event in San Francisco that consists of a 7 mile trip from The Embarcadero, through Golden Gate Park, finishing at Ocean Beach. The boyfriend hosted everyone the night before so we could all wake up together (at 6am mind you), get ready and start the "race." A few girlfriends and I dressed up as Neon Ballerinas, while other members of our group just went for straight Neon. However, because everyone was staying the night before I decided to make dinner for everyone and decided I was going to attempt Spaghetti Bolognese. It turned out really well, it's not the classic version but it was pretty damn tasty. I made the sauce and let it simmer for a good 2 hours and the flavors developed really nicely.

Bolognese Sauce:

1/2 cup of pancetta
1 onion, finely chopped
2-3 large carrots, pealed, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pork sausages (removed of their casings) or some sort of ground pork with seasonings
1/2 - 3/4 cup of white wine
1 dash vodka (optional)
2 cans of tomato sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/4 cup of chicken or vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp chili powder
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper (bout a tsp of each)
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup heavy cream
Fresh basil and parsley chopped for garnish

Brown pancetta in a deep pot with a little bit of olive oil on medium heat till crispy.
Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon and start to sweat the onion, carrot and garlic in the rendered oil from the pancetta, you may have to add a little bit more oil at this point. Add the salt, pepper, oregano, fennel, chili powder and red pepper flakes. Let onions cook till translucent. Pull the vegetables out with a slotted spoon.
Brown the pork sausage and break up into small pieces with the back of your spoon. Once the pork is browned, add back the vegetables and pancetta and stir to combine. Pour in the wine and vodka to deglaze the pan and scrape the browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Add in the tomato paste, the tomato sauce, broth, and bay leaves.
Let the sauce simmer on low for at least an hour to let the flavors develop. After an hour taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Right before you're about to combine the sauce with the pasta, add the cream and turn off the heat.
Boil pasta (I used whole wheat spaghetti) in very salty water till al dente. In a frying pan, add the pasta sauce and when the pasta is ready combine the pasta in the pan with a 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Let pasta finish cooking in pasta sauce. Garnish with fresh herbs (basil, parsley and even mint will be delicious) and some Parmesan cheese. ENJOY!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Curry Marinated Shrimp

I had a BBQ last week with some friends and neighbors. We had a fantastic combination of young and old, neighbors and out of towners, new friends and new boyfriends, it was a great time, ICE included. I made sliders and this amazing marinated Shrimp with Coconut Milk and Curry Paste (I used Red Curry Paste but have tried it with Green as well and it tastes just as good). If you're ok with pealing the shrimp after it cooks with messy fingers I recommend you cook the shrimp with the peals on, the flavor is much stronger, but messier.

Coconut Curry Marinated Shrimp:
1 pound of large shrimp
1 can of light coconut milk (TJ's has a great one)
1/2 stick of lemongrass (optional)
1/2 jalapeno, chopped
1 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 handful of cilantro
1 scallion, chopped
zest AND juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp red curry paste
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp coriander
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp fish sauce (found in any Asian grocery store)
1 tbsp canola oil

Combine all ingredients in a zip lock bag and let marinate for 30 minutes to an hour (don't let sit longer than an hour or the shrimp will start to cook from the acid in the lime).

Place shrimp on a hot grill for a few minutes on each side, they will start to curl up when they are done cooking. Serve immediately with chopped cilantro and scallions.

Birthday Fajitas

So my boyfriends birthday was awhile ago, but I promised him that I'd make him dinner and his favorite dessert, Carrot Cake. When it finally came time to pay out my birthday labor, he craved Fajitas. I created this marinade from many a trials but it has a nice combination of sweet, spicy and savory. I use flank steak because it cooks/grills up very quickly and maintains it's flavor and moisture extremely easily. Marinate the meat for at least an hour to really infuse the beef with the spices if you can.

Fajita Marinade:
1 flank steak
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 an onion, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, chopped
1 handful of cilantro
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ancho chili powder (found in random stores/Mexican food specialty stores)
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp soy sauce
juice of 1 orange
juice of 1 - 2 limes
2 tbsp tequila
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp canola oil

Combing all ingredients in a zip lock bag and massage meat. Let marinate for at least an hour, if you can hold off...wait a day, the flavor develops greatly.

Preheat a grill to high, sear on one side for 7 minutes, then flip and cook on the other side for 5-10 minutes, till medium rare. Let meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing in thin pieces against the grain. Serve with sauteed peppers and onions, cheese, avocado, cilantro, scallions and salsa on a whole wheat tortilla.