Wish Upon A Dish: June 2015

June 29, 2015

Frittata with Zucchini

I had such high hopes for this years deck garden. I made six square crates into potting vessels along with 4 pots (of various shapes and sizes) and two milk crates for my tomato plants and within one month they were healthy, bug free, green lush plants loaded with fruit flowers and tendrills reaching for the sky.

Than the rains came and did not stop. The leaves turned yellow without the sun as I watched all my work, money and produce die a watery death.

After almost two full month's, I was able to rescue three zucchini blossoms, two baby zucchini's about 2" in size with the ends just beginning to rot and green tomatoes that never got any bigger than the size of a cherry.

Not willing to write this year off, I took what zucchini gifts I did get and made a frittata in my small cast iron skillet.

Italian frittata's are different than American versions. You know how they always taut the phrase "Everything is bigger in Texas", well that says it all for everything American.

A frittata is an Italian way to use up leftover ingredients and to make a quick meal or snack. Unlike an American omelet, they're not usually eaten at breakfast. In fact, they are probably eaten more often as a snack or as a portable sandwich for a road trip or train ride.
A favorite across Italy is one made from zucchini along with the blossoms.

When The Nudge travels, it's nice for me to make a simple dinner in a skillet and while I watch the US Open, I will eat this very special frittata and tuck away half on a roll, in the fridge, for a weary traveler. Grown and made with love from our first teenie weenie, but tasty, harvest.

Let's get cooking....

Frittata with Zucchini
 Makes 1 (8") frittata

* 2 tablespoon EVOO
* 1 shallot,chopped
* 1 (5") zucchini, sliced thin
* 3 zucchini blossoms (optional), bottoms sliced off and pestle removed. Tear in half.
* 4 eggs
* 1 tablespoon water or milk
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
* salt & pepper
* 1 tablespoon butter or sub

1. Heat a heavy oven-safe skillet. Add the olive oil and shallot and saute until soft.
2. Add the zucchini slices and saute until they soften and become translucent.
3. Beat the eggs with the water and gently pour the mixture over the zucchini, which should be evenly distributed. Add the blossoms around the pan. Press gently into the egg and cover the skillet with a lid.
4. Lower the heat and cook until the mixture stops moving when you shake the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and melt the butter around the edges so it travels under the frittata.
5. Turn the broiler on to HI. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the top of the frittata and place the skillet under the broiler.
6. Remove the skillet when the top starts to bubble and the cheese is melted.
7. Season with pepper, remove the frittata to a cutting board and serve with rolls or bread.

June 24, 2015

Rotolo di Pasta

I saw a pizza version of this dish on a "Best Of" show. While a great idea, the concept was taken from an Italian pasta dish. Time to do some research.

We have all seen lasagna rolls either on blogs or on Pinterest and I have a skinny version (under 350 calories) that uses all veggies as the filling but the original is what I was most interested in.

I wanted to make mine with creamy ricotta, fresh mozzarella, broken up meatballs and Swiss chard grown right in my own crate garden. Plus, I had a large container of homemade sauce I needed to do something with.

When the weather with me, it was the perfect time to put my plan into action. The Nudge was traveling and I wanted to bring a good stick to the ribs dinner to my Dad's for Father's Day.
I know this would be something he would really enjoy and pick at all week.

So what makes this version different from the original? The filling is usually prosciutto and spinach, the roll is boiled in cheesecloth and the final sauce is Gorgonzola and mascarpone.
A yummy version for sure, but once again I had a few leftovers that needed to be used.
Yes, another "Off the Cutting Board" post.

Originally I was going to make the pizza rotolo and top them with a fried egg (like this pizza) for a recent recipe contest, but after two tries and two failures, I gave up the idea (for now) and bought a package of fresh pasta sheets and went in a direction I was familiar with.

Let's get cooking.....

Rotolo di Pasta
makes 12 servings of two each

* package of fresh pasta lasagna sheets (usually 8 sheets)
* 8oz. prosciutto, chopped fine
* 1 large shallot,minced
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 cup Romano cheese, grated
* 8oz. fresh mozzarella, grated
* 2 large meatballs, smashed
* 1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, drained
* 1/2 cup cooked spinach, squeezed dry and chopped fine
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
* freshly ground black pepper
* 4oz. cream cheese 
* 1 cup Alfredo sauce, prepared or jarred
* 24oz. marinara sauce + extra for serving

1. Boil, at a low rolling boil, the pasta for 3-4 minutes. Remove and place between a sheet of wax paper until ready to use.
2. In a skillet saute the shallots, garlic and prosciutto until the edges start to brown. Remove to a bowl.
2. To the prosciutto, add the meatballs, ricotta, Romano, spinach, egg, nutmeg, pepper, cream cheese and mozzarella. Mix well. Can be refrigerated ahead of time. Bring back to room temperature before using.
3. Divide stuffing mixture into 8 even piles. Spread 1 pile from short sides, edge to edge, evenly on a sheet of pasta.
Gently roll without pressure, until the end edge is under the roll. Carefully remove to a sheet pan and continue until all sheets are rolled.
4. Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
5. Slice each roll into 3 pieces. Prepare a baking pan with an even layer of marinara sauce.
Turn each cut piece so you see the pinwheel, touching side by side. Continue with each sheet until all the pinwheels are snug in the pan.
6. Cover with foil, that has been sprayed with olive oil spray and bake for 30 minutes at 450°.
Lower the heat to 400°, remove the foil and spoon a layer of Alfredo over the pinwheels. Return the pan to the oven to bake, uncovered, for 30 more minutes, until the top starts to brown and the edges are bubbly.
Sprinkle additional Romano cheese on top and carefully place two pinwheels on each plate.
Sprinkle with parsley.

This is a HUGE Ta-Da!! Makes a great appetizer, pasta course or with three pinwheels, a dinner.

My Dad is gonna love this!!

June 22, 2015

Asian Pasta Salad ♥ Not ya' Momma's Macaroni Salad

Yes, another pasta salad, but I bet you have never eaten it this way. Hey, it's summer and mandatory that every picnic table sport all the salads. In this house, macaroni rules the cookouts.

While I started with my Mom's recipe which we always ate growing up, I wanted to make a more grown-up 2015 version. Why now? I do believe this is the first pasta salad I posted in the 5 years of blogging and well, I finally ordered Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise. I have been reading about this spiced and yolked version for a few years. A few days ago Amazon sent my order and this weekend I got cooking.

I never tell The Nudge when I am making a new recipe, especially when it means I'm messing with something he already enjoys. If he eats it all without saying something, it must have been OK. If he says something, I hit a home run.

He turned to me and said, "Wow, this salad is really good!"

I had to totally agree. It was creamy, salty, tart, bitter and sweet. Oh, and the Korean Gojugaro added a slight hint of heat. If you love red pepper flakes, you will flip for Korean red pepper flakes. Not as hot as the ones you find in a pizza parlor (they are mostly seeds), but fakes with an intense red pepper flavor with just a light amount of heat.

Actually the whole Asian twist turned this salad into something that, with the addition of chicken or shrimp, makes a light and cool lunch that will travel well.Really, if you are tired of the same ole macaroni salad and ready to try something totally off the charts, make this recipe.

This is definitely a game changer.


Asian Pasta Salad
makes 4 cups

* 2 cups dried cavatappi pasta
* 2 tablespoons minced red onion
* 1 hard-boiled egg white, finely diced (save the yolk for the dressing)
* 2 tablespoons EVOO
* 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
* 1 tablespoon Agave Nectar
* 1 tablespoon minced celery 

* 1 yolk from the hard-boiled egg
* 1 tablespoon Korean red pepper powder (gojugaro) or more if you like heat
* 1 tablespoons white miso
* 1/4 cup Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise
* 1 tablespoon Hellman's mayonnaise
* 2 teaspoons Wasabi Sauce
* 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
* 1 ounce sake
* salt & pepper to taste
* 2 teaspoons minced fresh dill

1. While you boil the pasta, throw in the egg for 8 minutes.
Rinse and drain the pasta and while it is still hot, add the rice vinegar, agave and EVOO. Toss to coat.
2. When the pasta cools, add the onion, celery and egg white.
3. Mix all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and add to the pasta. Mix well. Taste for seasonings and make adjustments.

June 17, 2015

Shrimp and Scallops in a Mushroom Cognac Cream Sauce ♥ Christening my new label "Off the Cutting Board"

Forgive me for not posting a regular recipe in quite a few weeks, and for awhile there I thought I would never post again. I guess I needed a much deserved break. Between cooking for my dad and The Nudge, I was just plum uninspired. All my personal time was spent on my vegetable crate garden and simple grilled dinners.

Not much to blog about and no leftovers for pictures to post.

After last week's recipe contest post's, I found myself with a ton of small zip bags filled with ingredients from recipes that didn't make the cut.

I thought about all the ingredients that just don't get used and all the recipes that I don't post for the many contests I have entered (there are always a few that I thought were not contest worthy in appearance but good enough to eat).
Meet my new label "Off the Cutting Board".

My first "official" leftover creation highlights leftover grilled Creole scallops.

Since The Nudge does not like to reheat fish for lunch, I do and those four glorious jumbo scallops we ate for dinner just begged to be re-purposed. Not enough for a meal by themselves, I just happened to have a half pound of large shrimp in the freezer and along with a few containers of choice vegetables, I made a wonderful sauce for pasta.

This dish was rich in flavor but diapropriate and low on the calories and fat.

Shrimp and Scallops in a Mushroom Cognac Cream Sauce
makes 3-4 servings

* 1 1/2 cups dried short pasta (I used corkscrews)
* 4 large grilled scallops cut into quarters (leftover from last night's dinner)
* 8oz large shrimp
* 1 portabello mushroom cap, sliced into ribbons (from this contest recipe)
* 1/2 roasted red pepper, chopped (also from this contest recipe)
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 tablespoon flour
* 1 cup fat-free evaporated milk
* 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
* 1 tablespoon cognac (brandy will also work)
* salt & pepper
* 3-4 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

1. Set a gallon of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta according to the box directions. Drain and reserve a cup of cooking water.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and saute the mushrooms and garlic until soft. Add the shrimp and saute until they turn pink on both sides. Add the roasted peppers, the scallops and the flour.
3. Saute to incorporate the flour. Slowly add the milk & cognac. Stir to remove any lumps and until it thickens. Add additional milk if the mixture is too thick.
4. Add the pasta and the cheese and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and make any adjustments.
5. Sauce should be flowing, not thick, so add cooking water to loosen it up.
The pasta will continue to absorb liquid until you serve it. Top with chopped parsley.

June 14, 2015

Stacked Pasta Salad with Herbal Caesar Dressing ♥ Safest Choice Eggs Lean & Light #Sponsored Recipe Contest

Right outside my home office is a large deck where I have assembled a crate and container vegetable garden.
This year I went all out and planted zucchini, cucumbers, pole beans, eggplants, 3 kinds of peppers, 30 broccoli plants, a bucket of Swiss chard and thumbelina carrots.
All great veggies, but what I look forward to mostly to this year, is three types of heirloom tomatoes.

“I received coupons for free samples of Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

Back in the day, I was all about the Caesar salad, so much so that, on our 5th Anniversary (wood), I was gifted a large single piece wood bowl just for making that salad.
With the risk of Salmonella outbreaks world-wide, my bowl went into storage and I traded it in for Caprese Salads (fresh basil, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes).

While I make a mean Caprese salad, when I eat out at my favorite Italian restaurant, the salad of choice is always a Portabella e Pepperoni Arrostini (a salad made with Italian herbs, marinated grilled portobella mushroom, roasted red peppers with fresh mozzarella in a balsamic vinaigrette).

Why not combine the best of all three and with Davidson's Safest Choice Eggs, my version is easily doable and wildly delicious.

If you are concerned about using a raw egg, Davidson's Safest Choice Eggs are pasteurized. They cook and taste just like the eggs we were all brought up with but without all the worry of Salmonella.
I just love all the innovations in the food industry of today, from organic to eradicated milk and now the elimination of food-born bacteria.
If you like runny poached, sunny-side-up, or soft-boiled eggs (I love them all), switching to Davidson's pasteurized eggs would be a good precautionary measure especially with larger and larger occurrences of Salmonella poisoning.

So, if you are cooking for young children, an elderly person, or someone with a weakened immune system, say from cancer therapy, HIV, or some other cause, pasteurized eggs can add a level of safety that may make everyone more comfortable.

Always thinking of dinner party presentation, I added fresh pasta sheets to create layers. I used no boil lasagna sheets and cooked them in simmering salted water for 6 minutes. Rinse and dry.
Three layers makes a perfect appetizer.

One large portabella mushroom cap and one large roasted red pepper proved to just enough for 4 servings. The mushroom added a meaty texture while the roasted pepper, the sweet component. 

The second layer consists of prosciutto and fresh mozzarella. A perfect combination on it's own, it added a salty and creamy combination, yum!!

The top layer took center stage for the roasted tomato slices spiked with a Balsamic Vinegar glaze.
A small disk of mozzarella anchors a sprig of fresh basil and a final chiffonade spreads the basil love around.
No knives required, so it also makes a perfect addition to a Brunch buffet.
Best served at room temperature, this salad guarantees to impress.

I love that this can be assembled in advance and stored in the fridge, just let it rest on the counter at least 1 hour before eating.

Stacked Pasta Salad with Caesar Dressing
makes 4 servings

Herb Caesar Dressing
* 1 Davidson's Safest Choice egg
* 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
* 2 garlic cloves, chopped
* 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
* 4 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (choice of parsley, chives, lemon thyme or verbena, oregano)
* 2 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar
* 1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
* juice of half a fresh lemon
* 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
* 1/2 cup EVOO + 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* Freshly cracked black pepper
* 12 (4") squares of fresh lasagna, cooked and drained
* 2 medium tomatoes
* Balsamic glaze
* 4 slices prosciutto
* 1 large portabella cap (about 6-7"), brown gills removed
* 12 thin slices fresh mozzarella + 4 (2") round slices (use a cookie cutter)
* 1 large roasted red pepper or 4 small, sliced
* 4 basil leaves, chiffonade or thin slices
* 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
* Olive oil spray
* salt and pepper

1. Place all the ingredients except for the Romano cheese, into a blender and puree to emulsify.
 Stir in the cheese. Check for seasoning and make any adjustments.
2. Preheat the oven to 450° and on parchment paper, arrange the tomato slices and the mushroom cap.
Spray the mushroom cap with olive oil spray and salt and brush the tomato slices with the dressing.
3. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove and cool.
4. Boil the pasta in salted water for 6 minutes. Remove and place on wax paper.

To Assemble:
Slice the mushroom cap into 12 slices.
Slice the pepper into thin ribbons.

Place 3 slices of mushroom on a pasta sheet. Top with 1/4 roasted pepper ribbons.
Place a sheet of pasta with the point clockwise from the first sheet. Cover with 1/4 of the prosciutto slices and then two slices of mozzarella.
Place the third pasta sheet clockwise for the second sheet and top with tomato slices and a disk of mozzarella. Place a sprig of basil into the cheese and drip a few drops of the Balsamic dressing over the tomatoes.
Drizzle a tablespoon of Caesar dressing over the stack and serve additional on the side.



June 11, 2015

Sweet Egg & Sun-Dried Pesto Bread Muffin ♥ Safest Choice Eggs Lean & Light #Sponsored Recipe Contest

In many Asian homes, breakfasts are not quite like ours, but lately, just like the Italian American dishes of our childhood, many Asian dishes have been tweaked to combine the best of both worlds.

Nothing is more relevant than Korean food. During the Korean war and many years after, Americans stationed in Korea had a profuse influence on food. Today, Korean foods are all the rage and Mom & Pop Korean restaurants can be found in even the smallest strip malls across the American landscape but unlike Vietnam, Cambodia and mainland China, there were already many  familiar American ingredients in a Korean's diet.

“I received coupons for free samples of Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

I, like many, are enamored with Asian foods, and while there are some ingredients I will not eat, the majority of Korean dishes have caught my attention with their easy to source ingredients.
I combined America's love of On-the-Go Breakfast foods with a Korean and Italian influence to create a Light & Lean Sweet Egg & Sun-Dried Pesto Bread Muffin.
Sort of a Savory/Sweet Muffin with an egg baked into it.

If you are concerned about a soft cooked egg, Davidson's Safest Choice Eggs are pasteurized. They cook and taste just like the eggs we were all brought up with but without all the worry of Salmonella.
Don't you just love all the innovations in the food industry of today, from organic to eradicated milk and now the elimination of food-born bacteria.
If you like runny poached, sunny-side-up, or soft-boiled eggs (I love them all), switching to Davidson's pasteurized eggs would be a good precautionary measure especially with larger and larger occurrences of Salmonella poisoning.

So, if you are cooking for young children, an elderly person, or someone with a weakened immune system, say from cancer therapy, HIV, or some other cause, pasteurized eggs can add a level of safety that may make everyone more comfortable.

While the Koreans use an oval pan, my Texas Muffin Tin proved to be quite adequate and the edges browned to a crisp crunch, the eggs stayed soft as the bread baked up and around them and were done in 15 minutes. A complete yum all around!

A wonderful balance of crunchy, sweet, savory, eggy, salty, spicy combination of flavors.
As with most baked goods, they tasted even better the second day and 4 days later.

If you have 30 minutes and would like to save money, time and eat a better breakfast, and can use a blender, you must try these. While I kept it simple, one could add chopped ham, peppers, hash browns or bacon.

Do not leave out the pesto, please but if sun-dried isn't your cup of tea, use your favorite flavor.
It's all good.

To store: Wrap individually in wax paper and then use your favorite container. Mine fit well into a rectangular food container, making it easy to grab one and go.
To heat: In a microwave (wrapped in a paper towel) on high, one minute should heat the bread without cooking the egg.
In a toaster oven: Toast for 3-4 minutes on an oven-proof tray.

Sweet Egg & Sun-Dried Pesto Bread Muffin
Makes 6 large muffins

* 3/4 cup all purpose flour
* 2 large eggs, whisked
* 1/2 cup your favorite butter substitute
* 2 - 3 tablespoons sugar replacement (depending on your preference for sweet
* 1/4 cup fat-free evaporated milk
* 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
* all natural butter spray

* 6 Davidson's Safest Choice Eggs
* 4 tablespoons sun-dried tomato pesto
* chopped ham, bacon, peppers or potatoes, optional
* 2 spring onions, minced
* chopped parsley, optional
* salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400°.
Meanwhile, spray a Texas muffin tin with butter spray.
In a blender or a large bowl, mix first 7 ingredients until smooth.
Pour mixture evenly into six muffin cups and break one egg on top of batter.
(I use a small bowl in case of breakage)
Spoon 1 teaspoon of pesto on each side of egg. Additional fillings can be spooned opposite the pesto.
Season with salt & pepper, parsley and onions.

Bake for 14-15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool before storing or eat them immediately.



June 10, 2015

BBQ Pickled Eggs ♥ Safest Choice Eggs Light & Lean Recipe Contest #Sponsored

Ever walk into a BBQ joint and spot large jars of pickled vegetables, eggs and pigs feet?
I admit I have always been curious as to what a true blue pickled egg tastes like but never had the courage to try in front of people.

Davidson's Safest Choice Eggs was this month's sponsor of a recipe contest to create Light & Lean dishes.
Davidson's eggs are pasteurized, so they are free of Salmonella without changing the flavor and nutrition. Afraid to eat poached or sunny side up eggs, make homemade aioli or a traditional Caesar Salad? Not any more.

Where to find Davidson's Safest Choice Eggs? Visit their web site, type in your zip and find out that they are probably stacked right next to the ones you already are familiar with.

"I received coupons for free samples of Davidson's Safest Choice Eggs mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time."

In my house hard boiled eggs (boiled for only 8 minutes) don't last but a few days, whether I make them into a salad, deviled eggs or simply serve them with salt, pepper and mayonnaise, to be eaten right out of hand.
The Nudge will eat them bare, but I like my eggs with condiments and there are times when an egg with condiments is not possible.

Thinking about those large jars of eggs in BBQ joints gave me the idea for this recipe. Marry the two.
Pickled but with BBQ spice. I wasn't sure exactly how it would work but I do know that vinegar anything plays well with slow cooked fatty meats.
I had to be on the right track.

The whole process of making these eggs took a whole 15 minutes. Once done, the eggs and marinade are packed into a well cleaned container (I prefer glass) and into the fridge for a few days or weeks.

Not just as BBQ side, these super flavorful eggs can be used as you would use a basic hard-boiled egg . No more boring lunches or snacks.

I set aside 4 eggs to make a simple egg salad platter. I ran them through my egg slicer and added a tablespoon of mayo, a teaspoon of spicy mustard and some sriracha.
Served in lettuce cups made this low carb and I added a chopped tomato for sweetness.

A great idea if you want a light and lean lunch.

Last weekend I used the last 6 for a platter of deviled eggs.

They disappeared in 10 minutes and while everyone tried to guess "the secret ingredient", when they finally asked, I told them "just my usual low fat mayonnaise". They didn't buy it. Soon as I told them my secret, I knew I would be sending out email's.

While most marinades tenderize, on eggs, the pickling process produces a firm egg, making it the perfect delivery system for stuffing.

If you are like me, you prefer your hard boiled eggs on the soft side. Not to worry, Davidson's eggs boiled perfectly. I tried a 4 minute, a 6 minute and an 8 minute egg.
Perfect every time.

Spicy BBQ Pickled Eggs
makes enough marinade for 6-8 eggs

* 6-8 Davidson's Safest Choice Eggs, hard boiled
* 1 cup cider vinegar
* 1/2 cup water
* 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
* 1 teaspoon pickling spice
* 1 tablespoon hickory BBQ spice blend
* 16 dashes chipotle hot sauce
* 1 teaspoon bitters
* 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke

Boil everything except eggs in a saucepan for 5 minutes. In a sterilized bottle (water bath or dishwasher) place the hard boiled eggs and pour over the pickling mix.
Add a weight to keep the eggs submerged or they will float.
Cool and place in the refrigerator for a minimum 2 days for up to two weeks.
Remove the eggs from the marinade and store in a container for up to 1 week.