The BK has been travelling a lot lately, and I try to keep my pantry lean and mean when he’s gone. Unfortunately, when he returned from his latest adventure the cupboard was bare. There was nothing to do but call on my inner MacGyver. Cooking a frittata uses a bit of smoke and mirrors. This frittata is really nothing more than scrambled eggs and bacon with a little bit of something extra thrown in. It is a great chance to use up scraps of this and that and create a fantastic breakfast, brunch or quick supper. My daughter, Erin, introduced me to the idea of using mustard, either dry or prepared, when cooking with eggs. Just a little bit steps up the flavor without overpowering the palate. However, the scallions were the absolute star of this dish. There was a wonderful savory flavor that permeated every bite and left you wanting more hours later.
BACON, TOMATO AND SCALLION FRITTATA
6 slices of bacon
1/4 c. milk
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 c. tomato, seeded and chopped
3 large scallions, thinly sliced
1 c. shredded cheddar (split 3/4 & 1/4)
3 large scallions, thinly sliced
salt & pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Cook bacon in a large skillet until almost crisp. Remove, drain and break into pieces; set aside.
3. Drain bacon grease, reserving 2 T. of drippings in skillet. Heat reserved bacon drippings over medium heat; add scallions and tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are softened.
4. Combine eggs, milk, mustard, salt & pepper; and whisk until blended.
5. Reduce heat under skillet to medium-low, and add the egg mixture, bacon and 3/4 c. cheddar. Stir until just mixed.
6. Cook until eggs are firm on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Top frittata with the remaining 1/4 c. shredded cheese, and place in preheated oven until cheese is melted and eggs are completely firm, about 10 minutes.
I made these Tomato Tulips for the birthday celebration of one of my closest friends, Stacey. I just think that this unusual appetizer is beautiful enough to double as a centerpiece. This is another idea that I snagged from Pat Duran at justapinch.com. The recipe is something of a finely blended potato-egg salad mixture. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any long grape tomatoes, the plums were too big, so I settled on some big, fat campari tomatoes instead. Be creative. I would love to try these again with a tuna salad filling or perhaps a white cheddar pimento cheese (?).
TOMATO TULIPS ~ POTATO EGG SALAD
4 c mashed potatoes
1/3 c celery with leaves,finely chopped
1/3 c sweet pickle relish, drained well
1/3 c dairy sour cream
1/4 c mayonnaise
1/3 c onion, finely chopped
1/4 c half and half cream
2 Tbsp wine vinegar
2 tsp yellow mustard-to taste
3 large hard-boiled eggs, separate yolks from white part
green onion tops
1. Separate cooked yolks from egg whites; refrigerate yolks for later in recipe. In a large bowl, combine the first nine (9) ingredients and the chopped egg whites only.
2. Mix thoroughly to blend. Add additional mayonnaise and half and half , only if needed. Mixture should be moldable. — Spray mixing bowl lightly with cooking spray , sized just large enough to hold filling completely to the top. Place potato mixture into bowl, making sure to pack firmly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to fill the tomatoes.
3. Making tulips: Use elongated (oval shape) large grape tomatoes. Cut a tomato crosswise, but not to the very bottom. Remove the flesh out of each tomato and put some salad inside. Sprinkle a little grated egg yolk in center tops. Make the tulip stems out of green onion tops. Add some dill as greenery. Put a bow around your bouquet.
I don’t really have that many natural talents in the kitchen. I’m a good technician — after all, my mother was a Home Economics teacher, and she had us in the kitchen at a very young age. I am competent, but not that creative. However, finding great things to do with my leftovers is one area in which I do think I excel. One of my goals is to use all of the fresh things in my pantry completely. With that in mind, I decided to use the remaining Cheesy Creamed Spinach in a quesadilla along with some of the remaining Beer Can Chicken. KITCHEN TIP: Turning a quesadilla is not always an easy task, and choosing the right tool is sometimes a make it or break it decision. I love using this extra-large palette knife for turning and transferring large items. It can handle everything from a quesadilla to a roast to turning a whole fish on the grill. Well worth the investment.
CHICKEN FLORENTINE QUESADILLA
5 ounces sliced chicken breast
1/2 cup creamed spinach
3 large bella mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
1 large flour quesadilla
softened butter, as needed
1. Saute mushrooms and tomatoes in olive oil until tomatoes are just soft. Remove from the pan and set aside, leaving the liquid behind.
2. Add sliced chicken to the pan and cook until just warmed through. Place a large pan over medium high heat until hot.
3. Spread creamed spinach on one half of a flat quesadilla. Layer the chicken, followed by the mushrooms and tomatoes.
4. Fold quesadilla and spread softened butter over the top. Slide the quesadilla, butter side down into the heated pan.
5. Spread more softened butter over the top of the quesadilla and turn when the bottom layer begins to get brown and toasty.
6. Cook until both sides are browned. Remove to a plate, cut in to sections, and serve.
I have been eating tuna like crazy lately in an effort to increase the amount of omega-3 in my diet. I know that canned tuna is not as rich a resource as fresh; however, it does contain a little more than 50% of the real deal. Make sure that you buy Premium Pacific Albacore that is packed in spring water. When it’s packed in oil, the omega-3 in the tuna leaches out of the tuna and into the oil. Since water and oil don’t mix, the omega-3 is retained when tuna is packed in spring water. I found the recipe below on allrecipes.com. You can substitute fresh grated carrot for the apple in this recipe if you don’t have one on hand.
TOMATOES STUFFED WITH SOUTHERN
APPLE CARROT TUNA SALAD
2 large heirloom tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans albacore tuna in spring water, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon mayonnaise, or more if needed
1 small apple – peeled, cored, and chopped 1/2 c. grated carrot
1/4 small onion, minced
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1. Stir the tuna, olive oil, mayonnaise, apple, onion, relish, and dill together in a bowl until evenly mixed. Season with salt and pepper. You can serve immediately, though is tastes much better after being refrigerated overnight.
2. Cut large heirloom tomatoes into wedges taking care not to cut all the way through to the bottom. Remove and discard seeds and any tough white core remaining. Stuff tomatoes with tuna salad mixture. Garnish with dill weed.
The BK and I tried something like this recently at brunch. However, they served sliced tomatoes on top of goat cheese and didn’t add quite enough onion for my taste. I thought maybe we could do better. We had a couple of large sweet onions, so I sliced one up a day or so earlier and cooked it down until it caramelized — low and slow — for quesadillas. The remaining onions, my last lonely tomato, and a bit of goat cheese were the inspirations for this recipe. Delicious!! This turned out to be a perfect game day snack.
BAKED TOMATO WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS AND GOAT CHEESE ~ BAKED PITA CHIPS
soft goat cheese
Tuscan Herb Olive Oil
For the Tortilla Chips:
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
2. Brush both sides of the tortillas with Tuscan Herb Olive Oil.
3. Cut each tortilla into pieces and place them in a single layer on a baking tray.
4. Season with sea salt to taste.
5. Bake until golden brown, turning the baking sheet once (12-15 minutes). Set aside to cool.
And now, for the Baked Tomatoes:
1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
2. Cut the tomato in half and remove the seeds. Place tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet.
3. Drizzle with Tuscan Herb olive oil and season with salt & pepper.
4. Bake until the tomatoes are tender (about 10-12 minutes).
5. Place the caramelized onions in the middle of each tomato and top with goat cheese.
6. Bake for a few more minutes until the goat cheese is soft and just browning.