Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Green Chile and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

When my husband and I lived in California we were periodically treated to the offerings of a certain catering company, La Farfalla. Over the years I had the privelidge of sampling several of their offerings. One of the many dishes I loved were these egg and cheese squares with green chilies. Now that I live in Colorado and don't have the opportunity to experience La Farfalla's catering as often, I wanted to try to recreate this tasty egg dish at home. I'm not saying this is "the" La Farfalla catering recipe. I'm sure it's not because the texture is different. After doing a search on the internet I do think it's close. Whenever I make this for church pot luck someone asks me for the recipe.

Green Chile and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
6 tablespoons of butter, plus 2 tablespoons to butter the dish (1 stick total)
10 eggs
1/2 cup of flour (you can use gluten free, if desired)
2 (4 oz.) cans of diced green chilies (or the same amount of homemade "Oven Roasted Green Chilies")
1 pint (16 ounces) of cottage cheese
1 lb (16 ounces ) of shredded cheddar, Monterrey Jack or ideally a 50-50 mix of the two

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Crack 10 eggs into a mixing bowl.

2. Wisk the eggs and add the flour, baking powder and salt to the eggs.

3. Gently fold in cottage cheese just until it is incorporated.

4. Gently stir in the green chilies just until they are incorporated. If you have the time and the inclination I highly recommend making homemade "Oven Roasted Green Chilies." If you are in a hurry the canned chilies taste just fine.

5. Melt the butter and gently stir into the egg mixture.

6. Add the shredded cheese and gently mix.

7. Pour the egg mixture into a buttered 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.

8. Place the casserole in the oven and turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Bake casserole for 35 - 45 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top.

Note: (In full disclosure there are hundreds of similar posts on the internet so I haven't invented anything new) I don't know who originally came up with this recipe.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Oven-Roasted Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Cilantro-Butter Pan Sauce

I have so many cookbooks and magazines. Like many foodies I love them all and can't part with any of them so my collection keeps growing. I do have a favorite source that I turn to more often than any other resource. I turn to it again and again, both for entertainment and knowledge, namely, my all-access-pass to Cook's Illustrated, Cook's Country, and America's Test Kitchen. I always have success with their recipes even if I'm making something for the first time. I also love how they explain why they recommend their methods and the science behind the results. My husband loves pork chops and my go to recipe up until this point has been my "Spicy Pork Loin Chops." The chops in this recipe are only 3/4 of an inch. I had some beautiful bone-in chops that were thicker. I turned to America's Test Kitchen and found their recipe for "Pan-Seared Thick-Cut Pork Chops." Here is my version.

Oven-Roasted Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Cilantro-Butter Pan Sauce
(adapted from Pan-Seared Thick-Cut Pork Chops from America's Test Kitchen)

4 (1"- 1 1/2") bone in pork chops
1/2 of a small to medium onion or 1 large shallot, minced
3/4 cup of chicken broth (I used homemade chicken stock)
1 tablespoon of butter (use a low fat or margarine if you want this to be South Beach Phase 1 friendly)
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped cilantro
olive oil

1. If there is a thin layer of fat along the sides of the chops make a slice through the fat (in a couple of places) from the top of the chop to the bottom in order to keep the chop from buckling. Place the pork chops on a wire rack, salt the top side of the pork chops, and let them stand at room temperature for 30 - 45 minutes.

2. Pat them dry and sprinkle both sides with pepper.

3. Keep the pork chops on the wire rack and place the wire rack on a roasting pan. Place the pork chops in a 275 degree oven for 25 - 30 minutes or until the internal temperature is 120 degrees.

4. Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan until shimmering (you can pan sear the pork chops in 2 batches if necessary).

5. Sear the pork chops 2 minutes on each side to create some flavorful browning.

6. You can also sear the sides for a minute or two.

7. Set the chops aside covering them with foil to keep warm.

8. Pour off some of the olive oil keeping enough for the onions. Add the onions to the pan and stir frequently for 2 minutes.

9. Add the chicken broth to the pan, turn up the heat and scrap up any brown bits incorporating that flavor into the broth.

10. Simmer the pan sauce until it is reduced by about 1/3. Add butter to the sauce.

11. Add cilantro to the sauce.

12. Pour the sauce into a small bowl.  Add the chops back to the pan and pour the sauce over the chops.

13. These chops go well with a side of refried beans.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Keftedes (Greek Meatballs)

I originally posted posted this on March 24, 2009. Since then I have made this recipe at least a dozen times. These Greek Meatballs are a family favorite because of the unique spice combination of dill and cumin. Therefore, I thought updated pictures were in order. As I mentioned in the previous post, I visited Greek Town in Detroit, Michigan several times throughout my "youth."  I probably tasted lamb for the first time in my life at one of the  Greek restaurants in Detroit.  Because of my love for Greek food, I purchased a cook book called The Book of Greek Cooking by Lesley Mackley (HPBooks, 1993).  The recipe from this book that has become a family favorite - Keftedes a.k.a Greek Meatballs.

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Keftedes (my version - adapted from The Book of Greek Cooking)
1 lb of lean ground beef
1/3 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon of dried dill
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 egg
Salt and Pepper
Flour for dusting
Olive oil for pan

1) Soak the bread crumbs in milk (normally I use whole wheat panko to make it South Beach Phase 2 friendly, but I was out at the time of this picture).

2) In a bowl add ground beef, dill, cumin, egg, salt and pepper with the bread crumb and milk mixture.

3) Mix well by hand and form into one large ball.

4) Divide the large meatball in half, those halves in halve and continue until you have 16 meatballs.

5) Roll each meatball between the palms of your hands then flatten. Dredge in flour.  Repeat with all 16 pieces.

6) Heat oil over medium heat, and place the meatballs in the frying pan cooking for 5 minutes or until brown.  Flip the meatballs over cover with a lid and cook five more minutes.  (Make sure the pan still has some oil, if it does not add a couple of tablespoons of water).  Serve with a mixed green salad and tzatziki.

I tried to make homemade pita bread to go with this meal but the pita didn't puff.  They still tasted good but I'm not going to post anything about the time I'll try the pita bread recipe from Smitten Kitchen.


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