Grocery Store Sins And A Frittata For Two

Breakfast Frittata for Two

Forgive me, follower(s), for I have sinned. I went to the grocery store today hungry. Very hungry. Like right out of the gym, no breakfast hungry. Always a bad idea.

What happens when I go to the store hungry, is that I get something in my head that I have to eat. Usually it’s something super fattening like a three-cheese grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and tomato smothered in butter and fried until crisp on the outside and oozy on the inside. Yum.

Images of flavorful, fattening foods fill my head. I think of entire meals that I want to prepare and snack through while I’m cooking. My stomach screams for carbs and sauces and cheese and salt.

As I entered Food Emporium, the voices took over and I knew there was no way to escape.  At first I wasn’t sure what the voices were saying…Then they got louder and louder…’Frittata…’, ‘Frittata’ they called to me.

I had to make one. Had to. And I googled hoping to find a healthy, smaller solution to the traditional dish.

But every frittata recipe I found called for like a million billion eggs and fatty meats like sausage and bacon and russet potatoes and heavy cheeses and a brunch party of 8.

There were not – as you might imagine – seven additional people coming to brunch at my apartment today. Nor did I want to max out my daily targeted caloric intake with meats and potatoes and fattiest of cheeses.  Thankfully, paring down is what I do and if I wanted a frittata, damnit! I was going to find a way!

Sweet and Petite Frittata with Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli (Serves 2)

1. Peel about 1.5 inches of a medium sized sweet potato and slice in half. Then CAREFULLY slice the halves very thin on a mandolin – or with a knife.

CAUTION: the mandolin is a tool of death. I lost the top of a finger last year – shaved it right off – had to throw out those yellow squash. So, Please! Use the gripper/hand protector thing and go much slower than you think you have to…

Tool of death mandolin

Tool of Death

2. Slice about 4 small florets of broccoli into bite size pieces

Thinly Sliced Sweet Potatoes and Chopped Broccoli

Veggies Prepped

3. In a non-stick, oven safe 10inch fry pan (I used my All-clad one), heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium to med/high heat. Add the vegetables and saute until softened – about 6-8 minutes

Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli

Veggie Saute

4. In a bowl, whisk together three eggs and 1/4 cup of milk. I used 2% – but, really whole milk would be more delicious…just sayin’

Krazy Mixed Up Salt

This stuff is the bomb

Add salt and pepper to taste – I used about a tsp of Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt – because it has all the good stuff – like one stop spicing.

5. Once the vegetables are softened, pour the egg mixture over the vegetables

6. As the egg mixture starts to dry, gently push them in toward the center of the pan with a spatula  and allow the wetter mixture to flow out to the edges

Frittata for 2

Pulling edges in

7. Once the mixture looks dry – add 1/4 cup of Mozzarella Cheese – sliced or shredded. I didn’t feel like getting out my shredder, so I sliced pretty thin to ensure melty-ness.

Frittata For Two with Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli and Cheese

Add the cheese

8. Pop the pan into the oven and bake for 10 – 12 minutes until golden brown

Breakfast Frittata for Two

Frittata Post Oven with Melty Goodness

9. Allow to cool for about :05 mins, garnish with fresh, chopped parsley and then transfer to a plate, slice and serve

Breakfast Frittata for two

Final Frittata

The frittata is a very versatile dish. Really, you can put anything you want in it – within reason. And, you can make it for a large brunch, for just you or, of course, for two.

I got lucky today. When shopping hungry in the past, I’ve come home with bags of expensive food stuffs that were more than I could ever consume.

Today, I beat the hunger pangs and emerged from the grocery store with just two bags of pretty much essentials and a bill of only $25.  I escaped a potentially disastrous and calorie hazardous situation. And, enjoyed a delightful brunch to boot.

Have some Banana Bread, Robert Pattinson

A friend asked me recently why emotional stress has such a strong effect on one’s physical well-being. Break ups tend to bring on intense stomach pains and dramatic weight loss. Many therapists would argue that any emotional distress has a profound impact on one’s personal well-being. How well you sleep, perform at work, socialize, exercise etc are all intimately tied to your emotional health.

Thus, comfort foods; the only things we can eat when we can’t eat anything.

When I was little, my mother used to threaten us kids with jail time. Seriously – jail time. This was before the invention of the ‘time out’. We were told that we would be sent to jail where they only served bread and water. I thought; ‘Whatever Mom! I WANT to go to jail because bread is my favorite food!” It still is. Whenever I’m sick or sad, I crave bread – generally toasted and then slathered in butter. (When on the distress diet, I’m not worried about caloric intake). From the moment I can smell it heating – It starts to make me feel better.

This morning, Robert Pattinson fresh off his break up with Kristen Stewart, was on GMA. It was just his second public appearance since the split. And he seemed OK. Like Edward, in Twilight, he was relatively serious, put together and poised. Though he did joke with George Stephanopoulos about his Cosmopolis costar, Paul Giamatti’s, huge fan following in Brooklyn Heights. If you had been living under a rock lately and you were watching Robert this morning, you really wouldn’t suspect that anything had happened. You’d have no idea that he, the world’s sexiest vampire, had been cuckolded. And, making it worse, it had all played out in the tabloids. You wouldn’t know anything…

Anything except that…he looked a little thin.

So, I got to thinking  how I could help and thought I might send him some Banana Bread.

Here’s a simple recipe I found online and tweaked just a bit:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9×5 in loaf pan. You should really have a pretty colored one – I think bright colors can also help in treating a broken heart.

2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, 1 tsp baking soda an 1/4 tsp of salt.

3. In a second bowl, combine 1/2 cup of softened butter with 3/4 cup of brown sugar. I like to use the darker, but either is fine.

4. Gently beat two eggs and stir into the butter/sugar mixture. Add 1 tsp of vanilla. Add 2 – 2 1/2 cups of mashed over ripe bananas. Whenever I have an aging banana, I peel it and put it in the freezer and defrost when I’m ready to make banana bread.

5. Combine the wet mixture with the dry ingredients and stir just until the mixture is moist. (You can add walnuts at this point…but you also may be too sad to chew hard nuts and can leave them out)

6. Pour the mixture into your pretty colored loaf pan and bake for 60-65 minutes.

7. After about 10 minutes, you should be able to easily flip the loaf pan and release the banana bread. Serve it warm and slather it with butter. Go ahead – you’re thin and sad…

I don’t know Robert Pattinson personally but we’ve all been through a break up or two and I felt for him over the past weeks. And, I’m not a Twi-hard, but thought (besides the weight) he looked pretty good. I do hope he’s OK and getting through it. I’d like to see him eat more. Now, if I just knew where he was staying so that I could deliver the bread….and reassure him that this too shall pass and there will, no doubt, be a New Moon.

Gold Medal Egg Cups for the Fab 5

My niece and I stayed up until after midnight last night to cheer on the US Women’s Gymnastics team as they made history earning the first team gold since 1996.

Last night’s victory was amazing – but not quite as suspenseful as the evening we watched as the US women clinched the gold in 1996. They were leading Russia as each team entered its the final rotation; Russia on floor and the US on vault. Then, disaster struck. It’s as if the team fell apart the second they saw the vault. First, Shannon Miller stumbled and missed her landing, then Dominique Moceanu missed as well. With two missed vaults for the team, the last athlete, Kerri Strug, had to make her vault in order to even have a chance at the win for the US. The weight of the team was on Kerri and Kerri wasn’t known as the athlete who could put it all together and perform under great pressure…. As she prepared for her first vault, the eyes of 60,000 in attendance and the entire country were on her.

She missed. Kerri Strug missed her vault twisting her ankle and landing on her bum.

Kerri fell – badly – and appeared injured. She had one last chance and had to make it. There was no question as to whether she would do her second vault – the only question was how? On a badly injured ankle, while Bela Karolyi screamed ‘You can do it, Kerri! You can do it!’ from the sidelines, Kerri Strug attacked and stuck her second vault. She earned a score of 9.712 and sealed the gold medal for the US women – the first Team Gold for the US ever!

That night is as etched into my memory as the night that Mary Lou Retton captured the first ever gold in the All-Around at the 1984 Olympics with a vault that earned a perfect 10.

This morning, in honor of Mary Lou, the 1996 and 2012 US Women’s Gymnastic Teams, I made Gold Medal Egg Cups for my niece. This is an tweak on Rachel Ray’s Green Eggs and Ham….

Here’s what I did…

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees

2. lightly butter a muffin tin….use the standard size, a Texas Muffin Tin is too large

3. Cut the crusts off of 12 pieces of bread – white works best here

4. Carefully line each cup of the tin with one piece of the bread

5. Add a few shavings of a favorite cheese to each cup. We used cheddar this morning, but any melty cheese will work

6. Carefully crack one egg into each cup

7. Top each egg with a little salt and pepper and gently add a few more shavings of cheese

8. Bake for :15 minutes until eggs are set. At :15mins the yolks should still be runny.

My love (or obsession) with Olympics Gymnastics runs deep. My niece wasn’t even born when Kerri Strug vaulted the US Team to gold. Thank you 2012 US Women’s Gymnastics team for giving me a gold medal moment with one of my favorite people on the planet!

Happy Pixies in My Kitchen

By far my favorite thing to cook when I was little was Ronnie Rooster’s Cinnamon Toast. I got this recipe from my very first cookbook: The Happy Pixies’ Cookbook. The recipe was exactly what one might think it would be, but I still followed the directions – carefully pre-heating the oven, placing white bread on a cookie sheet, smearing each slice with softened butter (this was pre-microwave, when butter had to be softened by leaving it out on the counter and then…waiting), sprinkling with brown sugar and then sprinkling again with cinnamon.

In just a few minutes under the broiler I had perfectly toasted, buttery, sugary delights!

I made the Ronnie Rooster Cinnamon Toast all the time and often tried different takes on it. If we didn’t have brown sugar, I found that regular sugar worked nicely as well. If you lightly toasted the bread without anything on it first and then added the butter and toppings, the heat of the toast would help to melt the butter and you didn’t have to wait for it to soften on the counter. I even got a little indulgent a few times and did a second layer of butter/brown sugar/cinnamon and re-toasted.

Sometimes getting a recipe right is like working your way through a maze where the dead-ends are just dishes that aren’t yet perfect. And, even though I had strayed from the original recipe, I always kept the book out while preparing the toast.

Everyone has her own comfort food – the one thing she craves when feeling down. For me, that was always Ronnie Rooster’s Cinnamon Toast.

There are things you need if you want to create in the kitchen and there are things that you just don’t really need anymore. I gave away almost all of my cookbooks last year as part of the downsizing of my life. If I need a recipe, I can find it online. Actually, I can find 1,000 variations in most cases. And, living in a small apartment, I love that the Internet doesn’t take up any physical space.

I know by heart how to make Ronnie Rooster’s Cinnamon Toast. And yet, when recently sorting through what to keep and what to give away, I decided to keep my tattered copy of The Happy Pixies’ Cookbook. I like knowing that there are always happy pixies in my kitchen.