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Posts Tagged ‘spinach’


Individual Bread Puddings - Meatballs&Milkshakes

Bread pudding is the perfect way to use up leftovers, whether it’s vegetables from last night’s dinner, bacon from yesterday’s breakfast (who has leftover bacon?!), or bits of cheese after that party. The important thing is to have some flavorings like onions, garlic, and herbs along with cheese and eggs to soak into day old bread and bake up into a lovely custardy breakfast. I like to make them in single servings or in cupcake pans so that I can take them with me on busy mornings. They also freeze well and you can heat straight from the freezer in single servings.

Individual Bread Puddings

5 eggs

1 cup milk

2 cups day old bread, cubed (small if making individual servings, they have to fit in the muffin cups)

1/2 cup grated cheddar

1/2 cup grated asiago

1/2 onion, minced (or leftover)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup spinach, chopped (or leftover)

1 cup mushrooms, sliced (or leftover)

1 cup white wine

2 tablespoons sage, minced

Parmesan cheese for grating

Saute the onion, garlic,sage,  and mushrooms in a couple tablespoons olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the spinach and allow to wilt. Add the white wine and allow the alcohol to cook off, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

Meanwhile, in another bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper, and add in the cheddar and asiago. Add in the bread along with the vegetable mixture. Make sure the bread soaks up a lot of the liquid before cooking. Pour into lined muffin pans, individual ramekins, or a large baking dish. Top with grated parmesan and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes if using muffin pans and up to 45 minutes if using a baking dish. Make sure they have started to brown and puff up, to know they are done.

Individual Bread Puddings - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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I love citrus in my salad, and I’m not really big on salad in other variations. So, that means we eat a lot of citrus vinaigrette. A bright, colorful salad on the side of something delicious and indulgent balances and rounds out the meal. This salad is a sicilian favorite, combining blood oranges and olives. If I liked fennel, a little raw fennel shaved on the salad with a mandoline would be a nice touch.

Blood Orange and Olive Salad

1 orange and 1 blood orange, supremed

1/2 cup olives like Gaeta or your favorite, sliced

3 cups spinach

1 lemon

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (optional)

To make the vinaigrette, combine the juice of the lemon, olive oil, honey, and salt and pepper to taste and whisk together. Supreme the citrus by slicing the top and bottom off the peel, running your knife along the side all the way around to remove the peel and all white stuff. Slice on either side of each segment so that you have citrus segments without any white. Squeeze the juice out of remaining bits.

Toss the spinach in the vinaigrette and add in citrus segments and olives (and pine nuts if you are using them).

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Seared scallops are one of my favorite things, and I make them a lot. My recent favorite was the scallop crudo I made a couple weeks ago, it was amazingly delicious and will definitely show up on a dinner party menu soon. Today I picked up some at the farmers market, and made a quick lunch. I already had the piquillo pepper sauce left from a previous dinner and some baby spinach that I needed to use.

Seared Scallops over Spinach with Pine Nuts

1/2 pound scallops, dried and seasoned

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 bag baby spinach

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 handful toasted pine nuts

Sear the scallops in a hot pan with half the olive oil. Once they start to brown (about 4 minutes), flip to finish on the other side for another 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the garlic and spinach in the remaining olive oil in another pan. Add the sherry vinegar and some salt to season. Cook for a minute and add the pine nuts. Remove to a plate and arrange the scallops over the top.

Piquillo Pepper Sauce

1 cup piquillo peppers (a spanish sweet red pepper roasted and canned or bottled)

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend. Taste to make sure the seasoning is correct, depending on the amount of salt in your peppers, you may need to add more or less.

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A couple years ago I came across a recipe for savory bread pudding and tried it out. Ever since, it’s been my go-to dish for using up leftovers in the fridge. There are endless varieties that you can make, and it’s actually better if you make it the night before and let it sit. All you have to do is pop it in the oven and breakfast is ready. It can easily be made in large quantities for groups, and it’s always a big hit. You can use whole eggs, egg whites, or a mixture depending on what you have. I had a couple egg whites leftover from making ice cream so I threw those in. You can also use any hard cheese, I happened to have some leftover manchego from the grilled corn I made earlier this week. And you can always add bacon to take it over the top.

Mushroom and Spinach Bread Pudding

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 eggs and 3 egg whites

2 cups crusty bread, cubed

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

1/2 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon rosemary, minced

1/2 cup frozen spinach, drained by squeezing in towel or paper towel

1/4 cup Marsala

1 tablespoon marjoram or oregano, chopped

1 tablespoon chives, chopped

1.5 cups grated cheese (cheddar, manchego, and parmesan)

salt and pepper

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and rosemary and cook until softened.

Add the spinach and cook through a minute. Add the Marsala and continue to cook until the wine has cooked away.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and add salt and pepper. Add the bread and allow it to soak in. Once the mushrooms have cooled a little, add them to the mixture along with the rest of the herbs and a cup of the grated cheese.

Stir to combine and pour into a baking dish. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until the top gets browned and crusty.

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Risotto is much easier to make than most people think. I sometimes even skip warming up the liquid, because it doesn’t make that much of a difference if I’m in a hurry. I recently was in Los Angeles and Colorado, and had trouble finding arborio rice in regular supermarkets. I’m hoping that was unusual because the rice makes such a difference. Definitely seek out arborio rice for risotto, it’s the only way to get the creamy texture you’re looking for.

And the leftover possibilities are just as delicious (if you can manage to leave leftovers): risotto cakes and arancini. Roll them into balls and dip in breadcrumbs. For risotto cakes, flatten them out and saute in olive oil. For Arancini, dip in egg before the breadcrumbs and then shallow fry them.

Risotto with Spinach, Lemon, and Bay Scallops

1/4 onion or a shallot, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup frozen spinach or sauteed fresh spinach

1 cup white wine

1 cup chicken stock or water, heated to a simmer

1 cup arborio rice

1 lemon juiced and zested

2 tablespoons basil, torn

1/2 pound bay scallops

3 tablespoons olive oil

Saute the onion in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with a pinch of salt. Add the garlic and saute until softened. Add the rice and let it toast for a minute or two. Deglaze with the wine. Add the stock or water in small increments so that the rice has some liquid but isn’t covered. Stir occasionally until the rice is almost al dente. Add the lemon juice and zest and the spinach. Add the scallops and cook for the final minute together. Off the heat, add the basil and the rest of the olive oil.

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