Red Quinoa, Pepper, and Spinach Egg Bake

I like making “egg bakes.” They’re not frittatas, not Spanish tortillas. Just a bunch of stuff mixed together and baked. You can make them as healthy or fattening as you like. I usually opt for the healthier versions, like this one.
I started by sautéing a yellow onion in a little olive oil. After a few minutes, I added a sliced pepper and let this cook a bit. Not too much- 5 more minutes or so.

Meanwhile, I made some red quinoa. Quinoa is simple- one cup rinsed quinoa to 2 cups boiling water. It takes approximately 20 minutes simmering on low and it’s done. A complete protein in a super cool ancient grain.
I beat 8 farm fresh eggs and added 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil.
Then I mixed it all in a bowl, added some fresh ground pepper, 1 cup grated white cheddar cheese, and some chopped fresh spinach.
Then into the oven at 375 for 40 minutes or so. Covered for the first 30 minutes, then uncovered to let extra moisture cook off.
Then I let it cool a bit. Serve it with toasted bread, extra cheese, sliced tomato… whatever you like.
It’s a great meal and is also great the next day, so I like to make egg bakes when I anticipate being too busy to cook dinner the following day. The possibilities are endless. What combinations do you like in egg bakes?

Fall Harvest Veggie Soup

Fruits and veggies just taste better when they’re fresh, local, organic, and seasonal. That is the bottom line. I can pretty much guarantee that this soup would not have been so incredibly delicious had I purchased the ingredients at the store… especially in the middle of January.
But… that day will come. Right now, though, I will be savoring every last bite of my Fall Harvest Veggie Soup.

It was quite easy- Into a large stock pot went the following ingredients in the following order, allowing a little time in between each ingredient to bring the broth back to a boil:
  • 1 quart water (bring to a boil)
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 4 cups grilled, blended tomato puree
  • 4 carrots, quartered and chopped
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into pieces approximately the same size as the potatoes
  • 1 pound red fingerling potatoes, cubed
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms from Hazel Dell
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
After this cooked for 45 minutes or so, I added a couple teaspoons of sea salt and some Smoked Spanish Sweet Paprika that I bought from Savory Spice Shop.
I served it with some bread and mozzarella cheese. It was really, really good soup. I’m glad I have some leftovers.

Ratatouille

I, like a lot of Boulder residents, read The Daily Camera– our local paper- online. I saw this recipe in August and recreated it it exactly. This simple, fast dish had me so impressed that I made it again.
The second time was just as great as the first, and led to a conversation about how such a simple dish can have complex, developed flavors. Fresh, seasonal produce is the key to an absolutely delicious ratatouille. It is the time of year to make ratatouille, so let’s all head out to our gardens or local market, gather these ingredients, and savor some seasonal veggies.

Ingredients:
  • 1 small eggplant, un-peeled, cut in 1/4 in dice
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 1 pound zucchini, quartered and sliced
  • 1 red pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1 green pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1 cup onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 TB finely chopped garlic
  • 6 plum tomatoes, 2 beefsteak, or 2 large heirloom tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut in large dice
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 4 TB fresh basil, coarsely chopped
Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. Add the eggplant, zucchini, and peppers, and stir continuously for 4 minutes or so over high heat to ensure the pieces cook evenly.
Add the tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper and stir to blend. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or so.
Remove the bay leaf and stir in some of the basil. Use the rest of the basil as garnish. Enjoy.

Pizza Four Ways

Why make one large pizza when you can make four small pizzas? Mix it up a little…
The four I made, from left to right, are:
  • Turkey Meat Sauce and Green Pepper
  • Shrimp with Roasted Garlic Oil and Green Pepper
  • Caramelized Onion, Apple, and Blue Cheese
  • Roasted Garlic
For all of these, I followed my Pizza Dough recipe, in which I altered the flour content in following way: 2 cups unbleached white flour, 1.5 cups whole wheat flour. Also, I rolled each crust super thin and baked them at 425 on a pizza stone for approximately 5 minutes each. They will take more time if they are not incredibly thin, so be mindful of that.
I had some leftover Turkey Meat Sauce (which was actually chopped meatballs in sauce from my Turkey Meatballs in Homemade Sauce recipe) , so I spread that on some dough with sliced green pepper.

I roasted garlic for my Roasted garlic flatbread-style pizza, and used the oil as a base for the shrimp pizza. I spread some oil, put on some chunks of shrimp, green pepper, salt, and pepper.
My favorite pizza of the four was the caramelized onion, apple, blue cheese combination. This needs to be planned out a bit because it can take 30 minutes or so to slowly caramelize onions. I spread them out on the crust, covered the pizza in apple slices, and then some Oregon blue cheese crumbles. Delicious. If you aren’t familiar with caramelizing onions, the first part of my Caramelized Onion Butter recipe can explain that.
My roasted garlic flatbread is really simple. Just add some roasted garlic and its oil to the rolled out dough. Salt and pepper, bake, and dive right in. If you want to review roasting garlic, follow my recipe for Roasted Garlic Spread, but skip the part where you make it a spread. Or, make a roasted garlic spread… whichever way you prefer.

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