Thursday, December 31, 2009

Breakfast Fritatta

Traditionally, Christmas morning at our house meant breakfast in the midst of opening packages.  We'd eat pull-apart cake, sometimes called Monkey Bread, with juice and coffee.

The night before the kids would shake pieces of biscuit dough in a brown paper bag filled with a mixture of brown and white cinnamon sugar and chopped nuts. Did this put visions of sugarplums in their heads. No. They simply piled the pieces into a tube pan and I added melted butter.

In the morning, the dish was placed in a pre-heated oven and when baked, inverted onto a serving plate.  The golden sticky cinnamon bun-like breakfast bread was torn apart by little fingers. Looked pretty and was caramelly luscious, but rather messy.

Toward the end of the gift giving extravaganza, I would sneak into the kitchen and bake a quiche or sausage strata, also prepared the night before,and serve with fresh fruit salad and Mimosas.

This year however, Laura, at 18, remained the only child at home.  She preferred to start the morning with a half bagel and later, when it came to eggs, asked if I could make something without a lot of cheese. Eighteen year old girls like to look good in those skinny jeans.

When shopping earlier, I'd received a flyer at The Fresh Market featuring a breakfast fritatta. The recipe sounded tasty and quick, except it included ham cubes and broccoli.  Laura does not eat pork or broccoli. Instead I whipped it up Christmas morning, substuiting cooked ground turkey.  The stovetop-to-oven concoction smelled delicious and came out with a nice golden brown sheen.  The taste was similar to a quiche, but lighter, no heavy cream or extra calories in a crust.  A healthier choice.

From now on, when I have overnight guests I will prepare this yummy fritatta.

Below is the simple recipe with easy clean-up-only a skillet and one bowl. And, by the way, leftovers are just as delicious the following day.

Breakfast Fritatta
Recipe from The Fresh Market and modified by Debi Lander

¾ cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp. Butter
8 eggs
¼ cup water
¼ cup Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves from stem
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
1 cup fully cooked turkey sausage or ham, cubed
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (I bought mine shredded)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large oven proof skillet over medium heat, sauté mushrooms, onion, tomatoes and pepper with butter until tender.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat eggs, water, mustard, thyme, oregano and garlic salt until foamy.  Stir in meat and cheeses and pour over vegetable mixture in skillet.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until eggs begin to set around edges.  Place entire skillet into preheated oven nd bake 20-30 minutes or until eggs are cooked through.  Slice and serve immediately from skillet.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Thanksgiving: Pickled Watermelon Rind and Herbes de Provence

Thanksgiving brings the tantalizing aroma of down-home cooking: the woodsy blend of sage and thyme in the bread stuffing, the sweet scent of cinnamon and nutmeg in the pumpkin pie and the I-can't-wait mouth watering smell of a roasting turkey.

The no fuss, tried-and-true menu creates a traditional hit and this year was no exception. My sister-in-law brought sinful sweet potato casserole and pecan pie, along with fabulous yeast rolls made by her neighbor in Huntsville, Alabama. My ninety-year-old Mom made the cranberry chutney and green bean casserole. Since I purchased herbes de Provence in France, I used them to flavor the stuffing and sprinkle on the outside of the bird.

One of my family's favorites is found in the relish tray-- pickled watermelon rind. Yes, everyone agrees it is a perfect addition to turkey dinner.  I've never attempted to make it, why would you when the store-bought bottle is so terrific? Take my word on this one -- just try it and savor the yummy flavor.

My three-tiered server was stacked  with pecan, pumpkin and apple pies.  I hadn't made apple pie in quite a while and will claim a blue ribbon.  I think the mix of granny smith and gala apples did the trick.

Earlier in the week I made another annual dish, my grandmother's mushroom soup, featured in an earlier blog here. We lunched on it for a few days and now I am working on the turkey noodle soup.  Once again my house smells like Thanksgiving Day.  And that is a welcome thing.