Sunday, June 25, 2006

Breakfast Frittata for dinner

Last week I was obsessed with the idea of making a frittata that included all the elements of a Sunday morning fry up: Eggs, bacon, potato, onion... Well, that and I have to use up a number of things in a week before summer vacation.

I have a basic frittata recipe I found long ago in my beloved Moosewood cookbook and have been using it as a base ever since. It was from this I concocted my Breakfast Frittata.

Nerissa's Brekkie Food Frittata

2 tbsp vegetable oil or butter (or combination)
1 large potato, cut into quarters and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced into rings
3/4 cup Canadian bacon, diced small
1/2 cup green pepper, diced small
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
5 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cheese (I used an Italian 4 cheese mix)

Heat oil in large skillet. Saute the potatoes and onion covered, stirry frequently, for about 8 minutes. Once they are mostly tender add bacon and green pepper. Saute with potatoes and onions until the green pepper is tender. Stir in the thyme and garlic. Pour beaten eggs over the sauteed vegetables, tilting the pan to distribute them evenly. Sprinkle on cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pan and cook on low heat for 10 minutes, until the eggs are set and golden on the bottom.

To brown the top of the frittata: If your skillet is flameproof, simply place the frittata under a preheated broiler for about 2 minutes. Otherwise, carefully slide the frittata onto a plate and then flip over, back into the skillet, to brown the other side. Cut in quarters to serve.

Pickled banana peppers go well with this rich dish as does the salad I served on the side.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sea Urchin: A Question

What do you do when you are offered a food that you know is potentially gross but may be the only chance you have to eat it for free? You plunge in and don't look behind you. It was offered during a cultural field trip we had last week. I found sea urchin, which was offered up straight from the ocean, to be pudding-like and tasted of the ocean from which it came. It wasn't offensive as I have found other raw sealife to be. I'm curious about how common this particular experience is and I have a question:

How many of you people out there have tasted sea urchin and how was it served if you did?

not everyone was thrilled with the cultural experience

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken with Bacon

To those who have waited so very patiently, thank you. The end of school and my own health have created situations that waylaid me on my way to relating this chicken recipe to you.

The original recipe for the chicken was here at but, due to lacks of certain ingredients, I adapted.

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken with Bacon, Canadian Style

4 sticks of mozzarella, cut to 1 x 0.5 x 0.5 inches each
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lbs)
1 tsp dried, powdered sage
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 fresh sage leaves
4 rounds of Canadian bacon

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Pound the chicken breasts lightly to an even thickness. Sprinkle both sides of the flattened breasts with salt, pepper and powdered sage. Roll each around a cheese stick, tucking in the ends so the cheese won't leak out (because it will, I assure you!) and secure with toothpicks. Place into a roasted pan, put a leaf on top of each wrap and then cover lightly with a round of Canadian bacon. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the bacon is browned, about 15 minutes.

I served it with roasted Yukon Gold potatoes and Romaine salad simply dressed with French oil and vinegar.

It looks and tastes really nice and yet it takes barely any time.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Confessions in Groups of 5

It was only a matter of time before I got tagged again. Michelle, dear gal that she is, has tagged me for the 5 Items Meme.

It seems I have to mention 5 things in different parts of my life: my fridge, my closet, my car and my purse. Oh dear... I think I'm going to be a bit of a disappointment to those who read this. Read on and perhaps you'll understand why.

5 items in the freezer (technically I've done fridges here so I'll head to the frozen section)

1. lamb shoulder steaks (needed a lot of begging and wheedling to get them here)
2. butter (keep a good supply because they often forget to order more)
3. frozen peas (life wouldn't be the same without peas and need to keep them stocked)
4. smoked tofu ( I still haven't figured out what I'm going to do with them)
5. fish (this IS a fishing village after all)

5 items in my closet

1. blue & pink shirts (I have other colours but these outstrip the others in number)
2. extra blankets
3. Xmas decorations (not much storage room in this apartment)
4. 1/4 of my clothes I'm waiting to fit again
5. lots of dressing gowns and kaftans for some reason

5 items in my car

I don't have a car. Don't need one here.

5 items in my purse

Technically I don't have a purse. It's more like a big wallet. My fiance got disgusted with my use of a fanny pack and bought it for me.
Here's what's in it:

1. money (usually coinage but hey, who's counting)and cards of various kinds
2. receipts and bank statements
3. A small mirror with white tulip on the back (courtesy the Rikjsmuseum giftshop)
4. folding scissors (always handy in the most unlikely places)
5. a hair elastic (again, always handy in case of emergency)

Ho hum... It's my pockets you should really be looking at. A teacher's pockets are her most valued clothing accessory. It can carry

1. notes and notices
2. lip balm
3. chalk, pencils and/or pens
4. stickers
5. confiscated items (I've carried everything from rubber bugs to heelie keys)
and so much more...

I hate this part. I never know who's been tagged and I hate feeling like a Johnny-come-lately.

1. Melissa of Cooking Diva
2. Linda of Kayaksoup
3. Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen
4. Michele of Chef Michele's Adventures
5. S'kat of S'kat and the food

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Italian Potato Torta

I have a big confession to make. I like to eat. For years I was in denial and it caused me a lot of pain. When I finally realized what I was doing to myself, I stopped. It got boring and to anxiety-causing to thinking about all the so-called horrors that eating can cause. Well, except one.

I have another confession to make. I'm largely of Scottish descent. Short, stocky, easily-gains-weight Scottish descent. This is the same genetics I've been fighting with that partially caused said anxiety and fear of eating and why I'm trying to change my eating habits.

I'm trying to cook lighter and healthier(easy in the summer) but I do not want to resort to eating like a mouse again. I'd rather not give up the flavour and variety. This torta isn't exactly of the lightest variety but it's my first stab at a tasty dish meant to be "light" (from a Cooking Light mag of April,2003).

Italian Potato Torta

6 cups cubed peeled baking potato (about 1 3/4 pounds)*
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
Cooking spray
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced Italian-style tomatoes, drained
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Thyme sprigs (optional)

Preheat oven to 450°.
Place potatoes in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 15 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return potatoes to pan; add flour, oil, salt, and egg. Mash potato mixture with a potato masher until smooth.
Spread potato mixture into a 9-inch round cake pan coated with cooking spray. Combine seasoning, garlic, and tomatoes; spread evenly over potato mixture. Combine cheeses, and sprinkle over tomato mixture. Bake at 450° for 25 minutes or until golden. Let stand 20 minutes. Cut torta into 4 wedges. Garnish with thyme, if desired.

*NB: I think you should not be overly generous on the amount of potatoes. Skimp on them a bit and it may not be as overflowing in the pan as mine was and the seasoning more appropriate.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Hunt for Fridge Room: A Space Oddity

In the beginning there was space. Lots and lots of space. But then Nerissa showed up and stuffed all her food in. Now there is no space. Not a single space.

Okay, I exaggerate but not by much. My fridge is rarely foodless except at vacation time. And even then it's never completely empty. Consider the condiments...

Yes, let's start with the condiments. Some you see here. Some you don't. But I promise you that they are there.

List of condiments

Ketchup, yellow mustard, whole grain dijon mustard, regular dijon mustard, tarragon dijon mustard, 2 wasabi tubes, tamari, Newman's Own Thai dressing, Vidalia onion dressing, Japanese miso dressing, three kinds of miso, mirin, memmi soup base, tartar sauce, black bean sauce, hoisin sauce, mango chutney, three kinds of jam, ponzu, green jalapeno hot sauce, left-over maraschino cherry juice, sauerkraut, kimchee, three jars of tahini, two kinds of natural peanut butter, two jars of almond butter, capers, Hellman's mayo, Miracle Whip Lite, Kewpie Japanese Mayo, green curry paste, red curry paste,molasses, ghee, sun-dried tomatoes in oil, two kinds of maple syrup, El Paso salsa, roasted red peppers, two jars of raw olives in brine, and pickles... lots and lots of pickles. Pickled ginger, tabasco Vlasic dills, regular Vlasic dills (mmm), pickled banana peppers, pickled mango, pickled limes, jalapeno pickles, umeboshi pickles, pickled daikon, ummm... I think that's it. I don't think I have pickled beets anymore. *the sound of banging and crashing and the thump of returning feet* nope, all the beets are gone. *writes it on shopping list* ;-)

Now don't get me wrong. I don't live on condiments alone. I love fresh food and I have plenty of that.

Fresh Foods

Currently in stock are broccoli, snow peas, red peppers, yellow peppers, avocadoes-in-waiting, green onions, baby carrots, celery, baby spinach, radishes, beets, green cabbage, green beans, grape tomatoes, regular tomatoes, zucchinis, English cuke, green grapes, a couple mangoes, a papaya, lemons, ginger and limes.


The dairy department isn't seeing the finest cheeses and yoghurts of late but is still well stocked. Sour cream, marscapone, lite cream cheese, parmesan, monteray jack, swiss, Havarti, smoked cheddar remains, mozzarella, aged cheddar, ricotta cheese that needs to be used up soon, buttermilk, whipping cream, half and half, lite cream, skim milk, processed cheese slices, salted butter, unsalted butter.

Some things don't quite fit into a definite category but they fit into my crowded fridge ;)

Wheat germ, pastry lard, Ribena, bread crumbs, 2 kinds of seaweed, pizza meat pack, pathetic white eggs, yeast, Minute Maid juice, vanilla pods. Bottled lemon juice, bottled lime juice, Pete's Tofu, Fried tofu puffs, udon noodles, Leftovers... of course

Then there are the ones that aren't even edible: umpteen jars of craft glue and a little jar of iodine for school experiments.

Essentials you'll never catch us without:


Pickled anything.
Whole grain dijon mustard
Baby carrots
Bottled lemon juice


Yellow Mustard
Processed cheese slices (<-- ick!!)
Bottled lemon juice

Hmm... that was rather telling, wasn't it! Not a jot of meat in the fridge except the leftover halibut. Very different essentials between the two of us. And I need to cut down on condiments. Really, I do.

Now I don't usually go around shouting out my fridge contents but Sweetnicks is hosting a fridgie tell-all in I'll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours #1. Quickly come join our game so I don't feel like I'm in one of those weird dreams where you arrive naked at work and everyone laughs at you.