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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Italian Fritata

I love making frittatas for breakfast because they are easy to make and very versatile. I enjoy making this Italian frittata for guests at our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast because it is not only healthy and delicious, it is colorful and beautiful when it is served.

A frittata is really just a flat omelet that is baked in the oven. Some people start them on the top of the stove in a large skillet and then finish them off in the oven. I prefer to put all the ingredients into a baking dish and bake it in the oven. That just seems to work better for me when I am making breakfast for any number of people. I do prepare two smaller dishes rather than one larger one because they bake in less time and I am sure of having them bake all the way through.

This recipe serves 4. You can use many types of vegetables in the frittata, you just need to make sure they don’t release too much liquid. Roasted vegetables are wonderful in this. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cooking time varies depending on the size of the frittata. You want it to cook through so that the eggs are set and do not ooze or jiggle.

 
Ingredients
4 shallots peeled and sliced into thin slices,
1 cup baby bella (brown) mushrooms, sliced,
4 small tomatoes ( I use Campari or Roma tomatoes) sliced and seeded,
1 cup fresh Spinach loosely packed,
4 to 6 large fresh basil leaves, torn,
6 to 8 eggs, depending on the size of the eggs,
Lemon pepper (I use Trader Joe’s blend) to taste ( about ½ teaspoon),
Sea salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon),
¼ to ½ cup cheese,
1 Tbls. Olive Oil,
1 Tbls. cold water,


Slice the tomatoes, remove the seeds, and drain on paper towels. This can be done ahead. In a small skillet at medium temperature heat olive oil. Add shallots and cook until translucent. Add cold water to caramelize. When done,  remove from skillet and set aside to cool. Use the same warm skillet to cook mushrooms just until they release their juices. Remove from skillet and set aside to cool.

Spray a baking dish with cooking spray (I use canola oil or olive oil spray). Layer the shallots, mushrooms, spinach, basil leaves, and tomatoes. Sprinkle the cheese over the layered vegetables. (You may do 2 layers like this if you would like a thicker frittata.) Beat eggs with sea salt and lemon pepper and pour evenly over vegetables. (Vegetables may not be completely covered.) Bake until set. Take out of oven and let set for about 5 minutes before serving. It is ok if it sets longer as this is also good at room temperature. Cut into portions and serve.

We serve this frittata with turkey sausage or bacon and either potato gratin or mini-muffins….Enjoy!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Recipe For Cool Summer Melon

On a warm summer morning, what is more refreshing than chilled, fresh melon? Weather permitting we like to serve breakfast al fresco. At our Sandwich Bed and Breakfast, we have a lovely patio with umbrella-covered tables where guests enjoy sitting outdoors to dine in full view of goldfinches having their early morning thistle seeds, the dish-plate sized hibiscus blossoms in full bloom, and the blue hydrangeas that are so prevalent on Cape Cod.

I like using a variety of melons in this fruit dish. Most grocery stores carry cantaloupe, watermelon, Crenshaw, and honeydew melons.  In some areas of the country, you may find other seasonal varieties.  The more different colors you use, the more colorful this dish will be. I use a melon-baller to cut perfect small melon balls. Most melon-ballers come with two different sized balling tools. I like to use the smaller one but the larger will work just as well. I then toss the melon balls with a little bit of honey. I think the honey really brings out the taste of the melon.

I serve the melon balls in crystal compote with a topping of plain Greek yogurt whipped with a little bit of lemon curd and with a dollop of lemon curd on top. I use 2% Fage (pronounced Fa-yeh) as I find fat free yogurt to be a little bit chalky tasting. I also prefer sweetening yogurt myself so that I know what is in it. I also use Trader Joe’s Lemon Curd. It is really beautiful. I chill it before using it.

Melon Balls with Greek Yogurt and Lemon Curd
4 Servings
½ Small Cantaloupe
½ Honeydew Melon
1 small slice seedless watermelon
A drizzle of honey
1 cup Greek yogurt
3 to 4 tablespoons lemon curd
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Ball the melons using the small end of the melon-baller. Drizzle with a little bit of honey and toss together. Whip the lemon curd and lemon zest into the Greek yogurt and store in the fridge until you are ready to use it. Place the melon balls into a fruit compote or bowl and top with the yogurt. Put a dollop of lemon curd on the top.

Option: You can sprinkle with blueberries or cranberries for more color. The yogurt and lemon curd topping also works really well with berries.

If you have lots of people coming for breakfast, brunch, or are using this as dessert with dinner, you can cut the melon balls the night before and mix the topping and just store it in the fridge until you are ready to use it. You family and friends will love melon served this way.  Enjoy!

Jan Preus, Innkeeper, Chef, and Artist in Residence at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, Sandwich, Cape Cod, MA

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cape Cod Bananas

Breakfast at our Sandwich Bed and Breakfast always includes fresh fruit served in crystal compote. I enjoy experimenting with different ways to serve fresh fruit. Summer is really wonderful because of all the seasonal fruits that are available. Fall offers an abundance of fresh apples. Winter is a bit more challenging but, with today’s growing technology, quite a variety of fruit is always available.

I like including cranberries in fruit dishes because they are grown in bogs on Cape Cod. They are the ingredient for which this dish is named. Sometimes when guests remark that they didn’t know bananas grew on Cape Cod, Charlie jokingly tells them that we grow the bananas in the back yard.

The cranberries I like to use in this dish I get at Trader Joe's. They are orange flavored cranberries and I think they add another layer of flavor to this delicious dish. However, you can use any kind of dried cranberry.

For the topping, I use low-fat Daisy sour cream, but any kind will do. It is best to use one with a small amount of fat as the fat-free is a bit chalky tasting. I have also tried to use yogurt instead. Regular yogurt does not hold up to having honey whipped into it as well as Greek yogurt does. Again, use low-fat instead of fat-free. You can also use half sour cream and half Greek yogurt. That works quiet well. After you have made this dish a few times, you will be able to judge just how much honey and orange juice you like in the topping.

This is a wonderful, healthy dish that can stand alone for breakfast, lunch, or a snack. I use small servings of it for breakfast at the Inn because we follow Cape Cod Bananas with an egg dish.

Topping

½ cup low-fat sour cream,
2 Tbls. honey (or more if desired),
1 Tbls. orange juice (I use fresh squeezed),
½ tsp grated orange peel – optional.

Mix well, cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight. (This is still good if you do it the morning you want to serve it and it will hold in the fridge several days.)

You will need:
1 banana per person,
Orange chunks ( I slice oranges in ½ inch discs, then remove the peel and cut into chunks.)
Dried Cranberries,
Granola – I use Cascadian Farms Organic Honey Oat Granola.


In the morning:

Slice half a banana into each serving dish and put in some of the orange chunks and a few cranberries. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the topping over the banana-orange mixture. Sprinkle with a small amount of granola. Add the rest of the banana, a few chunks of orange, and a few cranberries. Add another tablespoon of the topping and Sprinkle with granola.  Top with a few cranberries. Serve immediately so that the granola does not get soggy.

I hope you will try this dish and then experiment with it to make it your own…Enjoy!


Jan Preus, Innkeeper, Chef, and Artist in Residence at the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center, 118 Tupper Road, Sandwich, Cape Cod, MA