Baked Cast Iron Skillet Frittata

I love breakfast food. I love cooking breakfast food. I had my first frittata years ago at Jine’s Restaurant on Park Avenue in Rochester, NY and I have been obsessed with creating my own variations ever since. I would like to think that a few of my creations measure up to what I enjoyed all those years ago.

I decided to look up the definition of “frittata” as part of my research and here is what I found:

~Frittatas are cooked in a cast iron pan or oven-safe skillet because they are started on the stovetop and then finished in the oven. And, unlike omelets, frittata fillings are mixed in with the eggs in the pan rather than folded in the center. Large frittatas are cut in slices and served.

Kelli Foster Kitchn

~an Italian dish made with fried beaten eggs, resembling a Spanish omelet.

Google

I breathed a huge sigh of relief that my cooking method fit the definition! Ha!

I have tinkered with this for years and I have finally found a method that works for me every time.

First, I put my cast iron skillet in the oven and heat it up to 380 degrees. While that is warming up, I do my prep work of chopping up and sauteeing all of the veggies before I put anything in the skillet. I use different vegetables depending on the season, and what is in my fridge. I almost always use a potato. I cut up the potato into small cubes, and then place in a microwave safe bowl with enough water to cover the potatoes. I cook them for about 4 minutes on high and then drain the water. Before transferring them to a frying pan, I usually lay them out on paper towels to absorb as much of the excess water as possible. I saute the veggies in a frying pan and do not use the cast iron skillet, which is still warming in the oven, ready to cook the entire frittata.

When all of the vegetables have been cooked, I set them aside on a paper towel for a few minutes to drain off some of the oil/grease.

The next step is to prep the eggs. The number of eggs depends on the number of people  I am serving. For two hungry people, I will use 4 to 5 eggs.

I usually add some milk fat (half & half, sour cream) to the eggs, and when I did some research to find out if there was any science behind that idea, I was left with nothing that definitively proved it helped with texture or taste. I found more articles and opinions that said to NOT add any additional moisture, at all.

I beat the eggs super well and add salt and pepper. After the eggs are whipped up, I then add the vegetables to the egg mixture. I don’t normally beat or mix this mixture. I just put it all in the same bowl.

Right after I add it all to the bowl, I get the hot skillet out of the oven and spray it with cooking spray. My skillet is really well seasoned (I probably don’t need to do this, but I have NEVER had anything stick when I add this step). I then dump the entire egg/veggie mixture into the hot skillet and use a wooden spoon to make sure everything spreads out somewhat evenly. Then, I put it all in the oven. I check it after about 5 to 10 minutes. Once the top feels somewhat firm, I will add some cheese. I check back in about 5 minutes or so to make sure the cheese is melting. Once it all looks melty and delicious I take it out of the oven and slide it out of the pan onto a large wooden cutting board.

I let it rest for a few minutes and then use a pizza cutter to slice it into pieces.

Mangia!!!

Ingredients: This will all vary based on what I have in the fridge and the time of year.

  • 4 – 5 cage free organic eggs
  • Sausage or bacon
  • ¼ of a medium onion – chopped
  • Grape tomatoes halved
  • Mushrooms – sliced
  • 1 medium-sized russet potato – cubed and microwaved (see directions above)
  • Baby spinach
  • Broccoli

Roasted Beet Salad

Being able to cook for friends and family is a way of sharing part of myself and one of the ways I show love. It is one of my favorite things to do.  So, when I was invited to a dinner party recently, and I asked my friend what I could bring. He said, “make something delicious.” Game on!

I love a good beet salad. There is something so satisfying about the way all of the different flavors and textures come together. The arugula adds some subtle spice, the goat cheese is mellow and smooth, the nuts add some crunch and salt, the vinaigrette some zest and the beets complete everything in such a unique way. If you haven’t had a beet salad, I suggest you try this recipe. It is excellent!

I searched for a while before settling on this specific recipe from Ina Garten aka The Barefoot Contessa. It was super fun to make. Especially when my fingers looked like I butchered an animal as I was peeling the roasted beets. I shopped around for some good locally sourced organic beets. I found them at the food co-op in Rochester called Abundance. They were awesome! I roasted them exactly the way the recipe suggested and they came out great!

I bought organic arugula at Wegmans and used all organic products to make the dressing. I would say it came out pretty damn good!

Click here for the complete recipe.

Another great thing about using fresh beets is that you can cook and serve the greens as a delicious side dish. I used the recipe linked here.

Let me know what you think!

 

 

Naan Pizza

I love all kinds of pizza! When I have time, I enjoy experimenting with different kinds of dough and trying different sauces, toppings, spices, crust thickness…I could go on and on. But, sometimes I just want something simple, quick and tasty. That’s when I go to the naan pizza. Naan is a simple flatbread that is served with Indian food.  I purchased naan bread at Wegmans, Aldi and Trader Joe’s. The Trader Joe’s naan (available in frozen or fresh, and garlic or plain) is the most similar to what I had at an Indian restaurant.

Another reason why I love making naan pizza is that they are family-friendly and party-friendly. Make your own pizza parties get super easy using naan bread as the crust. I usually keep it pretty simple in terms of toppings. I use jarred sauce or tomatoes, fresh veggies that I have on hand. If you are using fresh vegetables, it might be worth a little extra time to do a quick saute before putting them on your pizza. Depending on the vegetables you use, they excrete moisture and make your pizza wet and soggy. The texture of the vegetables can remain crunchy if they don’t have a chance to pre-cook. I will cook and drain them on a paper towel to remove some of the oil. I like to use fresh mozzarella cheese when I have it as well as regular shredded mozzarella. I always top the pizza with some a combo of parmesan and romano cheese. You can use the naan bread to make breakfast pizza (this will be another post). For this pizza, I am using a simple strained tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, dried oregano, olives, grape tomatoes and mushrooms with a sprinkle of parmesan and romano cheese on top.

I start off preheating the oven to 425℉. If you are using a pizza stone, it’s always good to let the stone get hot before using it. I like the crust to be somewhat crispy, so I use a pizza stone and I put the naan on the stone for a 3 – 4 minutes to pre-cook.

I construct the pizza on a large wooden cutting board. This allows me to easily slide the pizza into the oven and onto the hot stone. You may find it helps to use a spatula to slide the pizza around on the stone if you want to cook more than one at a time.

I am not a “time specific” person. The cooking time will vary based on how I want the pizza cooked. Sometimes I like it well done and crispy, sometimes I want it softer. I check the pizza frequently after about 5 – 6 minutes or so. The cheese can get burned quickly if you don’t pay attention.

All told, it takes about 30 – 40 minutes from preheat to table. This is a tasty, customizable, simple, quick meal that I have really enjoyed making and eating!

Do you have any simple pizza recipes or ideas? Share away!

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Faro’s Eggplant Parm Sub

I stumbled onto this sub a few years ago and I tell anyone who will listen to me about it. Faro’s Pizzeria is a locally owned pizza shop on South Main St. in Canandaigua. The owner, Faro, makes an excellent thin crust NYC style pie and he is a super nice guy. I love the small town feel when I am greeted by name as I walk in. When he isn’t too busy we talk shop and I share stories from when I managed my cousin’s shop in college. He also serves one of my favorite subs EVER!

I am a sucker for good eggplant. I am also a sucker for a good hot sub. This is both! There are so many things I love about this sub. It’s served open face and it’s so big they have to put it in a medium pizza box. The cost is so ridiculously reasonable. With tax, it’s $8 and change and I can eat this thing for 3 days, no joke!

It’s always cooked to perfection. It’s hard to make a hot sub and get it just right. There are lots of variables that can impact the overall quality and taste. Too much sauce and it’s mushy, too much cheese and you can’t taste the eggplant, overcooked and it you get that charred flavor. I have yet to get a sub that has any of those issues.

If you are in Canandaigua and you are looking for a great hot sub to share with a friend or to eat for a few days, I would highly recommend this sub. And, while I am recommending things, Faro’s also has calzones that are delicious, huge and reasonably priced!

Side note: I stopped in to grab a pizza the other day. Faro knows I love the eggplant parm sub, so he offered to make me a pizza with eggplant on it. Looks like my next pizza will be an eggplant parm special!!