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
  • Print

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

 

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KETO AIR FRIED BAGELS

You may have noticed I am putting a lot of emphasis on Keto recipes. My doctor told me to stay away from white flour and sugar. In an attempt to do that I am exploring no sugar and no white flour recipes.

I have to say I love bread and pasta. I am learning that there are great substitutions with great flavors. If there is one thing I must have, its exceptional flavor. I am not at all into eating cardboard and / or tannic tasting food. Texture is also a biggy for me. I am giving up things I love!!!  I can only stay the course if I can make them better.

In a previous blog I posted a recipe for a Weight Watchers bagel. I’m Back…..Air Fried Bagels They are amazing and I thought I was in heaven. Sadly, they are made with white flour. So it’s one of those things I have to give up. That’s not to say you do. It’s a great recipe, I highly recommend it.

These bagels are made with almond flour and coconut flour. Believe it or not, they also have cream cheese and mozzarella cheese as a base! I know, hard to believe, but true. This is a version of a Fat Head dough recipe. I lightened it up a bit by adding coconut flour to it. I also cooked them in my Air Fryer. I was so happy with the finished project I couldn’t wait to share it with everybody.

This is a sticky dough and should be kneaded while it is still warm to incorporate air and mix all of the ingredients thoroughly. You will want to measure everything out beforehand so all of the ingredients are at the ready. If you don’t have an Air Fryer, you can cook them in the oven: I have included those instructions.

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Keto Air Fried Bagels

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: intermediate
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/4 C almond flour
  • 1/2 C coconut flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 2 1/2 C shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 oz softened cream cheese
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Everything bagel seasoning or sesame or poppy seeds (optional)
  • 1 egg or egg white, beaten in a separate bowl and set aside

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine the almond flour, coconut flour, and baking powder in a small bowl and mix together.
  2. Beat the 2 eggs together in a separate bowl and set aside.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl, add the mozzarella and the cream cheese.
  4. Microwave for 1 minute, remove and stir, return to microwave and continue to heat for another minute. Remove and stir quickly.
  5. Add the flour mixture and stir together briefly.
  6. Add the beaten eggs and with your hands begin to knead the dough to incorporate air and mix thoroughly. It will form a ball.
  7. Separate the dough into 6, relatively equal, pieces.
  8. Take each ball and roll into a snake, about 7-7 1/2 inches long. Bring the ends together, forming a circle with a small hole, pinch together and repeat with the other dough balls.
  9. If you want to add toppings, take the beaten egg white or egg that you set aside and brush the one side of the bagels and add the toppings of your choice. Turn over and repeat on the other side. *this step can be omitted and they can be cooked plain.
  10. In the Air Fryer: Pre-heat the air fryer at 370 degrees for 8 minutes. Place a parchment round in the basket and spray with coconut oil cooking spray or avocado oil spray. Place 3 bagels at a time in the air fryer basket and cook for 4 minutes on each side. Remove and repeat with the remaining 3 bagels. Set aside for at least 20 minutes to cool before cutting.
  11. In the Oven: Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the bagels on a sheet pan lined with parchment or a silpat. Bake for 6 minutes and check, turn over and continue to bake for another 5-6 minutes or until a golden color is achieved or to your liking. Set aside for at least 20 minutes to cool before cutting.

These are great toasted or plain. Now you can have your bagel and eat it too!!

Nutritional info: 6 servings = 1 bagel per serving

Calories = 231, Total Fat = 18.9 g, Sat Fat = 4.8g, Cholesterol = 79 mg, Sodium = 127 mg, Total Carb = 7.6g, Fiber = 3g, Total Sugar = 1.1g, Protein = 11.3g

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

BREAKFAST BISCUITS (Keto)

In my last blog for Crab Pie, CRAB PIE (KETO FRIENDLY) I mentioned that I needed to cut out white flour, and sugar. I never realized just how much I loved it until trying to get rid of it. I’m not suggesting that you do. I am letting you know, that there are good alternatives.

Both my husband and I love the sausage and cheese biscuit from Hardee’s. We have them maybe, two or three times a year. We’re smart enough to know they aren’t good for us. They are extremely tasty, and filling. After eating one though, I feel like somebody dropped a flour bomb in my gut. Not so good!!!!

I am trying to use almond and coconut flour as a substitute. Is it challenging? Uhh, heck yes!!! But I’m making adjustments slowly. This one rivals our fast food biscuit. I am serious; this was some tasty breakfast. It was so good I felt like I was cheating. And furthermore, they were so easy to make.

You will need small mason jar rings; eight of them to be exact. They are easily found in most department and hardware stores. They are very inexpensive and can be reused again. The other equipment you need is a blender, a sheet pan, olive oil spray, and non-stick aluminum foil.

You line your sheet pan with the non-stick foil. Place the rings on top and spray the inside of them with your cooking spray. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

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Mix all of the ingredients in your blender and pour into the rings! Approximately 2 tablespoons per ring. Put in the oven and bake 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned and set. All ovens vary, so just watch yours closely the first time.

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Let them sit in the rings for about 10 minutes to cool slightly. Take a sharp knife and gently go around the edge to help release the biscuit. Turn upside down and gently push them out of the ring.

Be prepared to be AMAZED! These are truly as good as my Hardee’s biscuit. In fact better, because there is no white flour, no sugar, and little carbohydrates. 2 biscuits make one serving. I can not even tell you how happy these little gems have made me today!!!!!

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BREAKFAST BISCUITS

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 2/3 C almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp swerve (or other erythritol granular sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • cooking spray

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil and place 8 small mason jar rings onto the pan. Spray the inside of the rings with cooking spray.
  3. Place the 6 ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Scrape the sides down to make sure everything is incorporated evenly.
  4. Pour evenly into the rings, approximately 2-3 Tbsp per ring
  5. Bake 12-15 mins. (watch carefully as ovens vary) Bake until lightly browned and set in the center.
  6. Let set for 10 minutes. With a sharp knife gently go around each ring to help loosen the biscuit. Turn over and gently push the biscuit out of the ring.

FILLINGS:

You can use any number of fillings inside. Eggs, bacon, cheese, sausage, etc.

SERVINGS 4, CALORIES PER SERVING 193, TOTAL FAT 16.8, SATURATED FAT 4.6, CHOLESTEROL 109, SODIUM 369 mg, TOTAL CARBOHYDRATES 6.4 g, FIBER 2 g, TOTAL SUGARS 2.1 g, PROTEIN 8.2 g

These are so good who says they just have to be used for breakfast. Oh, the ideas that are running through my head.

Til next time,

Ciao xoxo

Viki D

CRAB PIE (KETO FRIENDLY)

I hope everybody had a wonderful Fourth of July. I know we certainly did. We started it off with steamed crabs and actually ended it with crabs. How fortunate are we???

My sister and brother in law came from Michigan for the holiday. She and I have always enjoyed cooking together. This visit was no exception! We cooked and laughed, and of course had some cocktails.

She isn’t able to get crabs in Michigan without a high price. Stands to reason, when she is here, we try to make sure she gets her fill. My husband scored a bushel of those babies from a local seafood house. If you’re ever in the area you should check them out! Lindy’s Seafood …….. https://www.lindysseafood.com/about

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So the first night, crab knives in hand, shell shrapnel flying, we ate steamed crabs. It was the first of the season for all of us. They were extremely tasty and everybody got their fill.  However, a bushel of crabs for the five of us was more than we could handle.

We gave at least 4 dozen away to the neighbors and still had half of them left. So in the refrigerator they went. Knowing they couldn’t stay there for long and the daunting task that lay waiting. My hat goes off to anyone that picks crabs for a living.  The deserve every penny they get and more. The crabs that were left yielded about 2 1/2 pounds of meat. Three of us picked for about 1 1/2 hours. Seemed like an eternity. Now what to do with that meat???

My friend, a chef, has a crab pie recipe that is incredible. Unfortunately I didn’t have the exact recipe but had a good idea of what was in it. My sister in law and I have been exploring the world of “Ketogenics”. I have to say I am very intrigued. Having recently had a physical and finding out that some of my numbers weren’t as good as they should be, I started doing some diet research.

I am, to say the least, a carbohydrate junkie! Yep, bread, pasta, and sugar are my best friends. The increasing weight and lack of energy however, are my enemies. So I was told no white flour, decrease the sugar and get the fats under control. This crab pie recipe was born out of some of the research and also a desire to have crab pie. I must say, it was just as tasty as I remember and there were minimal carbs.

If you have access to crab meat you really should consider trying this one. I know it will  stay in my summer stash of recipes. I can not wait to try it on my friends. No doubt, they are going to love it too.

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CRAB PIE

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Print

FOR THE PIE CRUST (make two)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 C melted butter
  • 1 C coconut flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 C almond flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 tsp sea salt or coarse sea salt
  • 1 egg, large

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients with the melted butter
  2. Add the egg, and mix into a large ball
  3. Spread into a pie pan with your hands
  4. Pre-bake at 375 for 10 minutes. (use foil over the top to prevent from browning too dark. Mine was a little darker than desired but tasted great)
  5. Fill with crab mixture.

FOR THE CRAB FILLING: (makes enough for two pies)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1LB lump crab meat
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 Tbsp almond flour
  • 1 C mayonnaise
  • 1 C unsweetened almond milk
  • 8 oz. shredded Swiss cheese
  • 8 oz. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp Old Bay seasoning (additional to sprinkle on the top when done)
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped green or red pepper or combination of both

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350
  2. Combine the eggs, flour, mayonnaise and milk. Add the remainder of the ingredients, except the crab, and mix well
  3. Fold in the crab meat and divide and pour the mixture into the two pie crusts. Sprinkle additional Old Bay on top of both pies.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Check after 40 minutes. Pies should be set when finished.

Think Crab Quiche!!!

This was good hot; also good cold the next day! Serve with a nice salad on the side!

Filling / servings 16 = TOTAL FAT 17.5 g, SATURATED FAT 6.7 g, CHOLESTEROL 89 mg  SODIUM 488 mgTOTAL CARBOHYDRATES 6.3 g, FIBER 0.5 g, PROTEIN 13.4 g

Pie Crust per crust / servings 8 = TOTAL FAT 19.3  SATURATED FAT 8.2  CHOLESTEROL 51 mg, SODIUM 327 mg TOTAL CABOHYDRATES 4.1 g FIBER 2.1 g PROTEIN  4.1 g

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
  • Print

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