Saturday, June 23, 2007

For the love of frittata.

While recently debating about what to serve at a big museum brunch, the topic of frittatas, and just how good they are, came up. I have sort of stayed away from frittatas (and other heavily egg-laden dishes) for some time in my quest to eat a little less egg & dairy. Plus, lots o' egg can make me sick at times. :( But, this delectable conversation about the goodness that is a frittata got me salivating.

My friend and I reminisced about a particular Cooking Light recipe that included corn and smoked mozzarella, and was absolutely to die for. I remembered a delectable Giada receipe from my pre-veggie days that included sausage frittata on slices of buttered baguette. I decided it was time to make a frittata. Now, a frittata is obviously the kind of quick-cooking dinner that is best made without the fuss of measurements. So, I used what I thought looked good - I prefer a high vegetable content (I think you could even get away with less eggs), but you should make it however you think works best.
Summer Frittata with Corn, Asparagus, Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella

In a small bowl, whisk together 3 whole eggs and 2 egg whites (or whatever combination of egg : egg whites you prefer) with a healthy pour of soymilk (or regular milk). Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a nonstick pan, saute 1/2-3/4 lb. chopped asparagus, 20 or so grape tomatoes (cut in half), and a cup or so of fresh or frozen yellow corn until the asparagus begins to turn a vibrant green. Add a medium-sized ball of fresh mozzerella, diced, and a small handful of basil chiffonade. Stir the mixture together and add the egg mixture to the pan. Shake the pan to evenly distribute the eggs and vegetables. Cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to set from the bottom, and then place in a 400 degree oven until the top sets. If you like the eggs a bit browned, turn the broiler on for a moment.

When the frittata has set, loosen it from the pan, cover with a plate or cutting board, and invert. Slice the frittata into 8 or 9 square-ish slices. Slice a thin baguette lengthwise, butter the inside, and then cut into 8 or 9 pieces. Place a warm wedge of frittata on each piece of buttered baguette and thank me for sending you to heaven.

I roasted the asparagus that I had leftover and served it up with some of the tomatoes on a healthy bed of baby arugala with my new favorite dressing. Yum.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Blueberry-Lemon Muffins with Coconut Crumbs

I love those glorious mornings when you have the energy (and time) to not just make coffee, but also to whip up a delectable batch of warm muffins (or french toast, or waffles, or other yummy stuff). Sounds cheesy but it's true. I also love a good muffin, and I have to say these are my most favorite muffins that I have made in a really long time - maybe even ever.

I don't know, maybe they just hit the spot today, but there was something about the way that these whole wheat, low fat, fairly low sugar things baked up super moist, light and flavorful (perfect for summer). After I had one, I had another, and then, as I passed by the still-warm muffin pan, I realized that I could seriously eat a half a dozen of them if I wasn't standing guard with a serious dose of self control.

Blueberry-Lemon Muffins with Coconut Crumbs

for the topping:
2 T. flour
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 c. shredded coconut (I used sweetened)
1/2 t. cinnamon

for the muffins:
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour + 2 heaping T. flour
1 1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 T. butter
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. sour cream
1/4 c. soy milk
zest of 1 small lemon (or about 1/2 of a large lemon)
1 c. frozen blueberries, thawed under warm water and drained, or fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place the topping ingredients in a bowl and mix together with your fingers, breaking the butter up into small clumps until the dry ingredients have been incorporated. Set aside.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Mix the sour cream and milk in a liquid measuring cup and set aside.

Cream the butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then add brown sugar and mix until incorporated. Add egg until well blended, scraping down sides of the bowl as necessary. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, mix to combine, then alternate adding 1/2 of the milk mixture, and continue until dry and wet ingredients are incorporated. Add lemon zest and mix in. Toss the blueberries with the 2 heaping T. flour until coated and fold into the batter.

Divide batter among 12 lined muffin cups (for small muffins), and top with the coconut topping (use it all!). Bake for 21-23 minutes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Holy Knitballs!

If you know what is good for you, check out these unbelievable cupcakes at VeganYumYum. I am almost tempted to try them for a Knit-Pic/Pic-Knit, but I know this would never work for me in a million years. Never.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Please forgive me . . . with a slice of rhubarb coffeecake on top.

Dear loving readers,

Please forgive me for my absence of the past six months. I have no excuse, except for the fact that my life became insanely crazy last semester and I lived off of pb & j, grilled cheese, hummus & vegetables, pasta, trail mix, toast, cereal, pizza, and take out. I have started to cook again, and I feel confident that I will continue as I have in the past. I vow today to inform you in the future if, blog-god forbid, I need to take another extended leave of absence.

With loving apology,

p.s. the puppy pic is just a ploy to win back your hearts

Okay, now that that's taken care of, let's move onto this coffeecake. In Wednesday's Dining In section of the NY Times, Melissa Clark included her recipe for Rhubarb 'Big Crumb' Coffeecake, which she designed as a lower-sugar alternative to baked goods with rhubarb that contain copious amounts of sugar to offset rhubarb's tart bite. The bright red stalks at the grocery store have been flirting with me lately, so I decided this would be an excellent way to get them back to my place.

My only substitution to the recipe was the use of whole wheat pastry flour (in both the cake and the crumb topping) instead of cake flour. This certainly makes a difference in the final product, but I think it worked out well, considering I hoped to eat this with my morning coffee and not as a dessert. I was pleased in general with the results (except for the fact that I think I over-baked it by a minute or two), although I think I would make just a couple of changes for the future:

1. I hesitantly purchased only one large stalk of rhubarb that weighed in at just over half a pound, so after trimming, I had just the amount that the recipe called for. I think the cake could stand for almost double the amount of rhubarb, or even better, a half pound of apples, strawberries, or raspberries in addition to the rhubarb. Next time I will try it with apples, as I think this would work perfectly with the hint of cinnamon and ground ginger in the cake.

2. The recipe calls for the crumb topping to be shaped into large crumbs that are 1/2-3/4" in diameter. Although I really enjoyed shaping the crumbs and sculpting my cake into a rocky landscape with towering peaks and deep crevasses (just like the ones I have been watching on Planet Earth), in the end, I don't know if they needed to be so big. I kind of enjoyed the bites with the smaller, dustier, crumbly topping, and I think I will take that route next time. Of course, my opinion might be different here if I had used cake flour.

This recipe, although a tad more labor intensive than simpler crumb cake recipes I have used in the past, was well worth the effort. I was very pleased with the results, which made an excellent companion to my coffee this morning (and my wine last night). This time of year, we all need a little rhubarb in our lives, even if it is not in a pie.