Monthly Archives: August 2013

Stuffed Portabello Caps

Mushrooms remind me of fall. They seem like a “back to the earth” kind of food for me. Isn’t that sort of what fall is? The leaves fall off the trees. Our gardens whither away. The grass goes dormant. But it’s all sort of going back to the earth to nourish nature for us so we can have another beautiful spring and summer next year.

 I love mushrooms, but we don’t eat a ton of them because they are firmly on the food black list of one child. He can’t even stand the smell of them cooking. It doesn’t seem fair to torture someone by making them often.

I saw some portabello caps at the store last week and I decided to try my hand at stuffing them. This is another recipe that has limitless variations. I have lots of plans for future versions! I’m not going to reveal my ideas now. I’m going to save them for future posts, so if you love mushrooms, you probably want to check back from time to time for updates!

Stuffed Portabello Caps
6 portabello mushroom caps
1 cup chopped spinach (thaw it if it’s frozen and squeeze out the water)
1 egg
1/2 shredded cheese
2 tbsp chopped green onions OR two crushed garlic cloves

1. Place the mushroom caps smooth side down on a prepared baking dish
2. Combine the spinach and other ingredients.
3. Spoon onto the upside down caps.
4. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

I served these (to myself) sprinkled with Parmesan and accompanied by some grape tomatoes I got from a coworker. Doesn’t my plate look happy?


Caprese Baked Eggs

This post is another homage to my wonderful friend Jen. She is a very clever woman. She has a terrific blog (The Whole Bag of Chips) on which she features a lot of lowfat recipes that are tasty and easy. I met her (sort of) at the FIRST Kids’ State Dinner last August. Today, the first day of school for her kids, was our friend-iversary. There are days when I honestly don’t know how I’ve gone so long without her in my life. I love her dearly.

Last month, Jen posted a recipe for Baked Eggs and people went bonkers for it. It started showing up in news feeds all over the place. How it got in them was a real summer mystery.

At some point, the recipe must have shown up in my news feed because, this weekend, my husband asked me to make them. Truly a bizarre event. I had some mozzarella and pancetta and I thought, instead of the ham and cheddar Jen used, I would modify the recipe and add those ingredients, along with some chopped Roma tomatoes and I came up with Caprese Baked Eggs.

Caprese Baked Eggs
12 eggs
chopped pancetta
12 slices of fresh mozzarella
2 tomatoes chopped and mixed with fresh basil

1. Prepare a muffin tin by spraying it well with cooking spray and preheat the oven to 350.
2. Put some chopped pancetta on the bottom of each cup of the tin.
3.  Add a tbsp of chopped tomatoes on top of the pancetta.
4. Next, add the slice of mozzarella.
5. Finally, crack an egg into each muffin cup.
5. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until the yolks are cooked to your liking.

My family had them with toast. I had extra tomatoes. They were delicious. And as Jen said in her post which I encourage you to click here to read (in case you missed the first link), they were a very easy weekend breakfast.

I’m not sure how they would taste reheated, but I’m guessing, probably not great. I can report that the one egg we had left was excellent cold.

Of course, this is another item that has many great possibilities. Meat, no meat. Cheese, no cheese. Think of a tiny omelette in a cup that you can customize for everyone in your house. So fun!


Easy Chocolate Flan

Recently, my friend Jen of the blog The Whole Bag of Chips was asked by her middle daughter to make flan. Coincidentally, my youngest child who is approximately the same age has been nagging me to make Creme Brulee. Why these children suddenly both need European custard desserts is beyond me. They are alike in many ways. There are times when Jen is talking about her daughter and I could literally tell the same story about my son.

This blog post by Jen was definitely going to present some issues for me. She posted it the Friday before school starts. My son follows her blog religiously. It may be the only reading he did all summer. I already had a million things to to do. Back to school groceries needed to be purchased as well as last minute school supplies, laundry, packing of backpacks, preparing the Last Supper, etc. Flan was not really high on my list of priorities. It got moved up. Ugh. Fortunately, Jen’s recipe was very easy. Click on the link to read her post and see the original recipe.

I was encouraged by other family members to perhaps make flan that was not just plain flan. So, I improvised and added some cocoa powder and came up with a delicious Chocolate Flan.

Chocolate Flan
1 cup sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can non-fat evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
heaping 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa

1. Preheat oven to 350. Heat the sugar on medium low until it has completely melted and turned nice and golden brown. It’s going to take a while. Be patient. Don’t leave it no matter how badly anyone claims to need you. The sugar needs you more.
2. After the sugar has melted, pour it into a nine inch pie plate and twist it around to get as much as you can all over the bottom and sides. I didn’t do a great job with this. In fact, I did a terrible job. I didn’t realize I was supposed to get the melted sugar on the sides. Oh well. This turned out not to be an issue.
3. Combine the rest of the ingredients and mix well so there are absolutely NO LUMPS of cocoa.
4. Pour the milk mixture on top of the sugar in the pie plate and bake for at least an hour until it’s set. Mine actually needed an extra ten minutes. It looked too wiggly to be ready.
5. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edge of the pie plate.
6. Cool for 20 minutes.
7. Put a plate upside down on the pie plate and carefully flip it over. It should flop right out on the plate. If not, my friend’s daughter recommends giving the pie plate a good smack. I was ready to but it wasn’t necessary.

The flan turned out great! We all tasted it hot out of the oven. Four thumbs up. I predict it will be gone by morning, or in the very least, by dinner tomorrow. Are you supposed to serve Flan with ice cream? I have no idea but it sounded good to me! I was not disappointed.

I don’t usually buy evaporated milk or sweetened condensed milk but I may add them to my list of pantry essentials. They keep forever, and this is a really easy and fancy looking dessert to make guests, should you make last minute plans to have some for dinner. It’s not too heavy or terribly sweet.

And about that list I mentioned earlier? It also included making something special as an after school treat for the first day of school. Problemo solved.


Fried Tofu

By Friday, who has any energy to cook dinner? And tonight, I wasn’t really in the mood for our usual pizza. It was just the little one and me. That means there was a lot more flexibility in our food choices. We don’t actually have to have any meat. Breakfast food is perfectly acceptable. And, best of all, we can have tofu! So, we took all of these ideas and combined them into one fantastic dish. Fried Tofu! Think of this as a version of fried rice with no rice, or, if you’ve ever had it, fried matzoh, only, no matzoh.

I’ve been instructed to let everyone know that an 11 year old child made this meal. He cut everything, cooked everything, broke the eggs like some sort of master chef IN ONE HAND! He even checked the position of the chopsticks on the plate before I took the picture.  It was very fast and tasty. He did a great job!

Fried Tofu (Two Servings)
1/2 lb tofu, cut in cubes
2 green onions, chopped
4 slices turkey bacon, chopped
3 eggs, beaten with a little milk

1. Slice the tofu into 1/2 thick pieces and place on a clean dish towel or paper towels. Cover with the same and put a plate or cutting board on it. Leave it like this for ten minutes. This will help remove some of the moisture so it will cook faster.
2. After ten minutes, cut in cubes and cook on medium high for 15 minutes until golden brown.
3. Turn the burner down to medium and add the onions and bacon. Cook for five minutes until the onions are a little translucent.
4. Add the beaten eggs and cook for three or four minutes until done.

This is one of those incredibly versatile meals that you can customize according to all the tastes in your home. We decided to add green onions and turkey bacon. Yes, I know I said I was happy to not have meat. But there it was, staring me in the face. I had salad for lunch. I was a bit hungry. We’re actually quite low on veggies right now. I may have some frozen corn but that didn’t sound good to me. So we kept this quite simple and it was just right.


Homemade Olive Oil Mayonnaise

I’m seeing lots of chicken and salmon and tuna salad recipes floating around. What I’m not seeing is any homemade mayonnaise to compliment all the fresh ingredients in these delicious summer dishes.

Mayonnaise is really insanely easy to make and there is a really good chance that you have all the ingredients for it on hand. I have no idea why you don’t have to cook it. My guess is that it has something to do with the acid in the vinegar doing something to the egg. I’m here to tell you that I’ve made this mayo several times and, well. I’m here to tell you about it! The taste of this mayo will vary, depending on the kind of oil you use. The lighter and fruitier the olive oil. the lighter the flavor of the mayo.

Homemade Olive Oil Mayonnaise
1 egg
1/2 tbsp vinegar (any kind will work but I wouldn’t use balsamic. Think light in color.)
1/2 tbsp mustard
dash of salt
1 cup olive oil

1. Place everything but the oil in a blender and blend until just combined.
2. SLOWLY add the oil while the blender is on. Keep it on as low as possible so it doesn’t splash out of that little hole in the lid.
3. Mix until it reaches the right consistency. You may have to scrape down the sides of the blender once or twice.

This mayo will not last as long as the store bought kind so plan on using it fast. You’ll end up with about a cup so you should be able to use it up within a few days.

You can add herbs to this to vary the taste. Just make sure whatever you add doesn’t have a lot of moisture because it may mess with the consistency of your mayo. I’ve made some very good Basil Mayo. I could see adding some hot pepper to this for a zesty mayo to go with a southwestern style chicken salad.

Tonight, I plan on making some Salmon Salad with the leftover grilled salmon from last night with some grilled veggies. It’s going to be great!