RADISH BROWNS AND OVEN BAKED EGGS

When exploring healthy options and lower carbohydrate recipes I discovered radishes. Yes, that’s correct, radishes.  I only used to use them for color in my fresh salads and a little heated bite. I’ve made radish roses for decoration on a crudite’ plate. I never thought of cooking them and using them as a potato substitute.

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The French use them as a nibble with sweet butter and salt and a nice baguette. Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, has a recipe you can find on the web. https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/radishes-with-butter-and-salt-recipe2-1945613. While I like them this way, cooking them has been a revelation.

My dear friend at  http://thecoastalcrushstyle.com/ sent me an article about weight gain. It got me thinking about carbs and how I could eliminate them. The article was actually very good. You should give it a read! Check it out on Instagram. (see references below)

I love hash browns. Who am I kidding; I love potatoes. One of my favorite breakfast meals is a frittata. I use Ore Ida’s Potatoes O’Brien for that dish and it’s amazing. That is actually where I got this idea from. I must admit, it made me very happy this morning.

I took a large bag of radishes and peeled them. Then I boiled them until they were just easily pierced with a knife. I strained them and returned to the hot pan, off the burner so it would help absorb the moisture. Once they were cooled I diced them into a small dice. I added some banana peppers from our garden and a bit of diced onion. So this morning Radish Browns were born.

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You will want to make sure your diced radishes are dry. The drier they are the less time it will take to brown them. Keep an eye on them and turn them several times to prevent burning and sticking. The end result is wonderful.

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I topped mine with some cracked eggs and stuck the pan under the broiler. I broiled it until the egg whites were set and the yolks were still slightly runny. Watch it carefully, it only takes a few seconds. Of course if you don’t like runny eggs, leave it under the broiler until they suit you.

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When radishes are cooked they take on a potato flavor. You can also roast or bake them. It’s one of those vegies that has a surprising flavor when they are prepared differently. Don’t take my word for it; give this one a try!

RADISH BROWNS AND OVEN BAKED EGGS

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS:

  • 16 oz whole radishes, peeled
  • 4-5 banana peppers, seeded and sliced (can use any type pepper you like)
  • 1/4 medium onion, large dice
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 4 eggs

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Boil the peeled radishes for about 5-8 minutes or until a knife inserted pierces the flesh easily.
  2. Drain and return to the hot pan off the burner to absorb some of the moisture.
  3. Let cool and dice into cubes, as for hash browns.
  4. In a medium skillet that is oven-proof, add the olive oil and heat over med-high heat.
  5. Add the radishes, peppers, and onions and cook until the radishes begin to brown. Turn occasionally so they don’t burn and brown throughout.
  6. Once browned, season with salt and pepper.
  7. Spread the mixture flat and crack 4 eggs in different areas over the top.
  8. Place under the broiler until the eggs are set to the desired doneness.

Note: you can also, whip the eggs and add a bit of milk, and cheese and pour over the top instead of the cracked eggs.

A bit of fresh chopped basil would be good on top with any style egg.

Reference:  http://thecoastalcrushstyle.com/

https://instagram.com/shawnakaminski?utm_source=ig_profile_share&igshid=4mfk6eaf651r

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

 

 

 

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RUSTIC PIZZA DOUGH (thin crust)

Who doesn’t love pizza? I personally don’t know anybody that doesn’t like it. For me it’s all about the crust. Don’t get me wrong, if you don’t have quality cheese and other toppings it’s not going to cut it. However, to paint a good picture, you need a good canvas. Don’t you agree?

Twice now,  we have been invited to friends and have had homemade pizzas. I sort of lost hope that I could ever duplicate a good crust.  But after the last invite I decided to give it another try. What you see here my friends is one of the best crusts I have ever had; including those fancy wood fired restaurants. I think I may have come up with the one that will make you stay home.

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There was another motive for this last attempt. We have a ton of tomatoes. As per usual, they all come off at the same time. My husband loves goat cheese pizza. PHILADELPIA, SHAKESPEARE, and GOAT CHEESE PIZZAS I like it too but there are other flavor sensations I also enjoy. My pizza was a ramp pesto, chopped calamata olives, and burrata. Hot off the grill and topped with fresh basil. Totally AMAZING!!!

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I cut my dough into 4 pieces because I wanted two larger pies. It worked out beautifully. I had two left over, so I froze one, and gave the other to my daughter. Mine was actually cooked on the grill. A thin crust with a major crunch factor and dough as light as air. I even impressed myself with this one.

If you’ve never worked with dough, don’t be intimidated. You really need to give this a try. Mine came out perfect the first time. I did have to add a little more water during the kneading process. I noticed some dry crumbs that weren’t mixing in. If you have to make additions do it sparingly and with patience. Using your Kitchen Aide is pure genius.

RUSTIC PIZZA DOUGH

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 C bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp French grey sea salt
  • 2 1/4 C cold water
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • Olive Oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In the bowl of a Kitchen Aide mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix all the dry ingredients on low until incorporated.
  2. Switch to the dough hook, add the cold water and the honey. Mix on low for 10 minutes.
  3. The dough should be smooth and elastic, it should not stick to the bowl. If it sticks to the sides of the bow sprinkle a little more flour. If it is too dry and the dry ingredients are still not mixing in, add a little more water.
  4. After 10 minutes, remove the dough from the bowl and cut into 4 or 6 pieces and form into rounds. Place the rounds on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and drizzle olive oil on top of each round spreading gently with your hand over the top.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a cold oven with the door closed for 2 hours to rise.
  6. On a work surface sprinkle some flour and remove one piece of dough and flatten into a disc. Using your hands or a rolling-pin spread the dough out into a disc or oval 10-12 inches in diameter (if you cut the dough into 4 pieces your discs will have a larger surface area)
  7. Dust a pizza peel (you can also use some sturdy cardboard) with cornmeal and place your dough on top making sure it slides around easily.
  8. ON THE GRILL: pre-heat and oil you grill generously. Slide the dough from the peel onto the grill and lightly brown on both sides turning gently as it cooks. Remove and top with your favorite toppings. Be careful not to overload as this is a thin crust. Return to the grill and cook to desired doneness.
  9. IN THE OVEN: place a pizza stone in the oven and pre-heat the oven to the highest temp (most ovens will go 500-550. Slide the dough from the peel onto the stone and repeat the steps as for the grill. Finish by placing it under the broiler for a nice charred effect.

* After the dough has risen you can easily freeze it. Just place the dough into a lightly oiled Ziploc or plastic bag and place in the freezer. When ready to use remove it from the freezer and let it thaw overnight in your refrigerator.

* Cutting: I have recently been taught by two friends to use a pair of scissors when cutting my pies. It works really well. Give it a try!!!!

Original recipe found at: https://ciaoflorentina.com

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

 

BAKED EGGPLANT STACKS

Everybody in my household loves eggplant Parmigiano. Our local farm stand had some beautiful specimens so I brought one home. While I like Parmigiano, I wanted to do something a little different. Baked eggplant stacks became my focus.

These stacks are stuffed with a whipped goat cheese and topped with a smoky tomato chutney and caramelized onions. I plan on making a tarragon vinaigrette and having a nice bibb lettuce salad to go with it. TARRAGON VINAIGRETTE

I sliced the eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. I then set up my dipping stations. One bowl was all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper. Next I took two jumbo eggs and some buttermilk and whisked them together. The third bowl was a combination of Italian bread crumbs, panko, and grated parmesan cheese.

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Beginning with the flour I coated both sides of the eggplant slices. Then dipped them into the egg-wash and gently shook off the excess. Last, they were dipped and coated in the crumb mixture. I painted the bottom of a foil lined sheet pan with olive oil, using a brush. The slices were placed on the sheet pan and lightly brushed with olive oil on the top. Baked at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes on each side or until they come out a golden brown on both sides. I set them aside to cool.

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While they were cooling I made my whipped goat cheese. Using a combination of soft goat cheese, 1/3 less fat cream cheese and buttermilk. It was whipped until light and fluffy. I stirred in some chives for extra flavor. Then it was put it in the fridge until time to assemble.

The tomato chutney is cooked on the stove top using a cast iron skillet. When finished cooking I allow it to cool. It then gets stored in a mason jar in the fridge for future use. This chutney is exceptional on lamb burgers and also with eggs.

The caramelized onions were done ahead of time too. Once you have everything prepped the assembly is a piece of cake…..or should I say stack!

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Now all you do is assemble and bake as directed. My mouth is watering just smelling them!

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This might look like a lot of steps but it goes quickly. It is well worth the effort too. One stack is one serving. Have a simple green salad alongside. It’s an excellent meal.

BAKED EGGPLANT STACKS

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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FOR THE WHIPPED GOAT CHEESE:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 oz softened goat cheese
  • 4 oz cream cheese softened, I use 1/3 less fat
  • 1/4 C non-fat buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives

DIRECTIONS:

With a hand mixer, blend the cheeses together with the buttermilk. Stir in the chives. Put in a container and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

FOR THE CARAMELIZED ONION:

Slice one large onion into half moons. Place in a large skillet over medium-low heat and cover with a lid. DO NOT SEASON THEM YET! Check in 10 minutes and turn. Continue to cover and cook checking often. Once they are golden brown, season with  kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Set aside.

FOR THE CHUTNEY:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of grated garlic
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 t Cajun seasoning
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 1 chipotle chili, diced
  • 1 can, fire roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • Kosher salt to taste

DIRECTIONS: In a Cast Iron skillet

  1. Heat the skillet over medium-low heat and saute the onion til soft, stir in the grated garlic, do not allow it to burn.
  2. Add smoked paprika, Cajun spice, and the tomato paste. Cook on low until the paste begins to darken, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and chipotle chili and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and cook for 30 minutes stirring frequently.
  4. Remove the cover and simmer until thickened.
  5. Season with salt to taste. Allow to cool. Any unused portion can be put in a jar and kept in the refrigerator up to one month. Set aside.

FOR THE BAKED EGGPLANT:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 C all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 T kosher salt
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1/4 C non-fat buttermilk,
  • 1 C Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 C panko
  • 1/2 C freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
  • olive oil in a small dish with a pastry brush

DIRECTIONS:

Set up dredging stations:

Bowl 1: Mix the flour and salt and pepper.

Bowl 2: Beat the eggs together with the buttermilk until light and fluffy.

Bowl 3: Combine the bread crumbs, panko, and the grated Parmigiano.

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil and brush over the surface with olive oil.
  3. Beginning with the flour dredge both sides of the eggplant slice.
  4. Dip in the egg mixture to coat both sides, shake lightly to remove excess.
  5. Dredge in the crumb mixture, shake lightly to remove excess.
  6. Place the slice on the greased pan and continue with the rest of the slices.
  7. Using a brush lightly dab the top of the slices with olive oil to assist in browning.
  8. Once complete, place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, remove and turn to the other side and continue to bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.

ASSEMBLY:

  1. Starting with a larger slice, place on a baking sheet, put a dollop of whipped goat cheese on top. Using a slightly smaller slice place on top of the first slice and dollop with another layer of goat cheese. Using a slightly smaller slice than the last, top with a dollop of chutney, and a few of the caramelized onions.  Continue with the rest of your eggplant until all of it is stacked.
  2. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Serve hot!

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Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

SPINACH & CARAMELIZED ONION, EGG CAKE

I am on a kick to cut carbs! Seems the older I get the harder it is to lose weight. Thankfully, when I talk to my gal pals, they all feel the same way. Sadly, some of my favorite foods are carbs. Bread, pasta, sweets…….very unfortunate for me!!

So, while I may not cut them completely, I am going to definitely scale back. This morning was a good morning and our breakfast was huge and delish!! Eggs, onions, garlic, spinach, and a splash of grated Parmesan. I used a couple of spices to kick it up too.

My husband took his first bite and said “this is delicious”. While he is my biggest admirer he is also my biggest critic. I have had some fails and I like to know when it doesn’t work. I would hate to feed something to someone and have them suffer through it. Know what I mean?

This is very similar to a frittata but it was much thinner. Hence the name egg cake! The good news is, it was a nice portion. It could easily be increased. It starts by sautéing some chopped onion, and grated garlic in olive oil. I sautéed the onion until it started to brown and put the grated garlic on top and stirred to mix. You can now add a small amount of salt. As soon as you smell the garlic move quickly to the next step.

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Add the spinach immediately, then the chicken broth. Grate a small amount of fresh nutmeg over the spinach and add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Using tongs, turn it to distribute the spices evenly throughout the mixture.

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Once the spinach is lightly sautéed, pour your whipped eggs over the top. Tip the pan, to spread the egg mixture over the bottom of the pan. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook just until the edges of the eggs appear to be cooked. Remove from the burner and place under the broiler to finish.

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Watch carefully and remove as soon as the mixture is no longer, jiggly ( technical term…haha) and set.

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Oh so yummy! The whole pan is only 6 points. I split it with my hubby and we each had a 3 point serving. I added some fruit on the side. Really a great way to start the morning!

SPINACH & CARAMELIZED ONION EGG CAKE

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 egg whites (I use jumbo eggs)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 C chopped onion
  • 1 tsp grated garlic
  • 3 large handfuls of fresh spinach
  • 1/8 C of chicken broth
  • Nutmeg, freshly grated, approximately 1/4 tsp
  • Cayenne pepper, pinch
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Separate the 3 egg whites and whip together with the whole egg and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil over med high heat and add the onion and saute’ until it starts  to caramelize.
  3. Place the grated garlic on top and blend into the onion, do not allow to burn.
  4. Immediately place the fresh spinach and chicken broth in the pan. Using tongs mix all together and add the nutmeg and cayenne pepper, turn to mix and. distribute the spices throughout the mixture. Reduce the heat to low.
  5. Spread the mixture over the bottom of the pan evenly and pour the beaten eggs over the top, tipping the pan to evenly distribute them over the bottom of the pan. Add salt, and pepper to taste.
  6. Cook just until the edges are set.
  7. Place under the broiler for about 5-8 minutes, watching carefully to prevent burning.
  8. Remove when the mixture is set throughout.
  9. Sprinkle the parmesan over the top, cut, and serve while hot.

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

TARRAGON VINAIGRETTE

I adore salads in the summer. They are cool, crunchy, and easy on the waistline. Of course, it is all about the dressing for me. It can be the most beautiful salad in the world. If the dressing isn’t good, it’s just a waste of good vegies.

We have a favorite French restaurant we frequent in Cambridge, Maryland. It is called Bistro Poplar. Honestly, every time I am in there I am transported to another place and time. They have a Bibb lettuce salad with goat cheese and a fantastic vinaigrette. I don’t have the exact recipe but this one comes close. We eat there as often as possible. When I can’t go there, I make this.

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My salad consists of soft, Bibb lettuce leaves. I chop a few chives, and add approximately one tablespoon of warm goat cheese. I have also been known to throw a few toasted pine nuts in there for extra crunch. Drizzle lightly with the dressing and add some salt and pepper. Voila, salad done!

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TARRAGON VINAIGRETTE

  • Servings: 3/4 cup
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Tbsp tarragon vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon, fresh squeezed
  • 1/2 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard, seedless
  • 1/2 C olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pepper, freshly ground

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small mixing bowl combine the first  4 ingredients and mix together.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, while continuously whisking it together.
  3. Add the salt and pepper, taste and add more to taste if needed.

If you’re in the area check out Bistro Poplar. I would definitely call for reservations. You don’t want to miss this one!

http://www.bistropoplar.com/

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

ORECCHIETTE WITH SAUSAGE & BROCCOLI RABE

Aaahhh…..is there anything better than pasta for dinner? I think not! Know what makes it even better? Homemade sausage made by our friends.

We were recently sent some homemade sausage from our friends in Connecticut. Their son, now an avid hunter, brings home all sorts of game. Our friends, in true Italian fashion, make their own sausage. They shipped it to us along with some other goodies. I can not tell you how excited we were to receive it. Tonight, it became part of our dinner.

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I would like to elaborate just a little bit about their son. An American soldier, he was wounded 2 times in Afghanistan and lucky enough to return home. Unfortunately, he suffered from PTSD, or, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He credits his continued recovery to the love of his wife, family, and now, love of hunting.  He was having difficulty when he returned home, and starting shutting himself away. His wife gave him a compound bow. He said he had no idea what to do with it. His wife said “you’re a soldier, you should know what to do.” With that, he started taking walks in the woods and began hunting.  He commented “hunting saved my life. It has such an impact on the human spirit.”

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I personally thank God every day for our military. I thank the military for my freedom. I thank him and his family for the wonderful sausage. This is a very special meal for the Del Grosso household tonight. We send a special prayer and a salute to all those who serve and protect. May God bless and keep all of you!

While I can’t share the sausage with you; I can share the recipe. You can use any type of Italian sausage that you like. Typically I would have used a lean Italian  turkey sausage. If you have a favorite then use that. Whatever type of sausage you use, this dish will be wonderful.

Orecchiette is pasta. It’s name means little ear and is indeed shaped like an ear. It is pretty easy to find in most groceries. You can find it online at Amazon.com. If you are lucky enough to have an Italian market they will have it.

Broccoli rabe is also called rapini. Broccoli rabe has a slightly bitter taste. The crowns, leaves, and stems are all edible. It is in the same family as the turnip. If you can’t find broccoli rabe you can use kale. Remove the leaves and discard the stems. Cook it as instructed for the broccoli rabe.

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ORECCHIETTE WITH SAUSAGE AND BROCCOLI RABE

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large bunch of broccoli rabe, washed and 2″ trimmed off the stems
  • 1 lb lean Italian sausage, removed from casing (your favorite brand)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 10 oz orecchiette
  • 1 cup fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut the washed broccoli rabe in quarters. Bring a large pot of water to a full boil. Add the broccoli rabe and let cook for 1 1/2 minutes, remove to the side with a slotted spoon. DO NOT DUMP THE WATER.
  2. Bring the water back to the boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. (Al-dente works well here, about 8-9 minutes) Drain.
  3. In a large deep saute’ pan, brown the sausage on medium heat, breaking it up into small pieces. When completely cooked remove and set to the side.
  4. Add olive oil to the pan and add the garlic. Cook until fragrant, DO NOT BURN! This step will take seconds.
  5. Return the broccoli rabe to the pan, mixing well with the garlic and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 1 minute.
  6. Return the sausage to the pan and mix well.
  7. Add the drained pasta to the broccoli rabe and sausage. Reduce the heat and stir for about 30 seconds.
  8. Add the chicken broth, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes (if using). Adjust the salt and pepper and toss another minute so that everything is mixed well and coated in the sauce.
  9. Remove from the heat and divide into 6 pasta bowls.

Additional grated cheese can be added if desired.

Til next time

Ciao xoxo

Photo courtesy of: Barbara Migliaro

Photography: Joseph and Vickie Del Grosso