Spanish Breakfast Tortilla

Egg and vegetable breakfast tortilla in pan

Delicious breakfast tortilla ready to be served

When you think of tortillas you probably think of the wraps that are used in Mexican food. This kind is from Spain; a wonderful breakfast dish with a base of potatoes, layers of vegetables, and meat if you want, topped by an egg mixture. A beauty of this Spanish Tortilla recipe is that it’s very flexible— you can use your favorite vegetables and meat, as long as they are layered over the potatoes.

This Spanish breakfast tortilla recipe was taught to me by Martin, a Spanish guy who my best friend in university married. The marriage didn’t last, but at least I always have this wonderful recipe!

Spanish Breakfast Tortilla ( serves 2-3)

4 large eggs, beaten with 2 Tbsp. 1/2 and 1/2 or alternative milk of your choice, plus fresh or dried thyme, chives or whatever herbs you like

sweet and/or Yukon gold potatoes, diced finely

1 medium  onion , diced

1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced ( I use brown Cremini)

1 cup fresh, washed spinach, chopped

1-2 tomatoes, chopped ( I used the last of our home grown tomatoes)

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup shallots finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives* (reserve a few for garnish); if not available green onions are ok

Optional: 1/2 lb. chorizo or any kind of sausage, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

TO DO

(preheat oven to 400 degrees)

1. On stove top, heat oil in large pan that can go into the oven. Add potatoes and sauté until tender and gently browned. Remove pan from the heat.

2. In a separate pan Sauté onions and mushrooms until tender, drain remove from pan and add to a bowl.

3. Sauté sausage, put in separate bowl.

4. Sauté all other ingredients and add to a separate bowl.

5. Put potatoes back on the stove on medium heat.

6. Add vegetables in layers, then sausages.

9. Pour egg mixture over all ingredients in pan.

10. Sauté for a few minutes until eggs are a bit set, then put pan in heated oven for 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve in slices.

We serve with honeydew melon, and a slice of whole grain toast,

Delicious!

Note: * Chives are very easy to grow in pots.

Enjoy!

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Sirloin Steak with Red wine, Shallot and Chive Sauce

Sirloin steak in pan with garlic clovesRecently Rick and I had a delicious steak dinner, including this sauce recipe, that I’d had for many years but had forgotten. I was craving steak, especially as we don’t eat red meat very often; (unless we’re on a trip.) Luckily I found this recipe in a recipe box that I’ve had for about 40 years!

I mentioned this recipe to to a neighbor who requested it. She tried it with great success. I hope you do too!

Sirloin Steak with Red Wine, Shallot and Chive Sauce

1 lb. sirloin steak- 11/2 to 2” thick
2-3 Tbsp. Butter
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup shallots finely chopped ( or onion)
2-3 whole ( peeled) garlic cloves
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives* (reserve a few for garnish); if not available green onions are ok
3/4 cup red wine- (Cabernet or Zinfandel are my suggestion- they also go well with steak)
1Tbsp red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Sizzle 1/2 of the butter and oil in a heavy (cast iron is good) skillet on med high heat.

Cook steak 6-8 minutes per side- (med rare); no turning
Put in warm oven ( 250)
Add rest of oil to drippings in pan
Add shallots, garlic cloves and chives; sauté 1minute
Add wine and vinegar; reduce for 1-2 minutes or so.
Add remaining butter and swirl.
Slice steak, (across the grain); serve sauce in a separate gravy dish or add sauce on top of each serving; garnish steak slices with fresh chives. Serve with brown rice or roasted sweet potatoes and of course, a green salad with vinaigrette.
Note: * chives are very easy to grow in pots or bed
  • Enjoy!

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Curry Spinach Salad

Colorful umbrella and chairs in outdoor patio

Our backyard Cafe!

People at a crowded market in Florence

A crowded Food market in Florence, Italy

Curry Spinach Salad

It’s summer and to me that means salads! This one is my go-to’s for potlucks – a perennial favorite- the recipe is always requested!

I’ve been making it for many years; the recipe I use is from one of my staples—the San Francisco Junior League’s “San Francisco A La Carte” cookbook, published in 1979.

It’s easy, flavorful and the curry dressing adds a taste surprise.

INGREDIENTS (serves 4; I usually double the recipe)

  • 2 lbs. fresh spinach, washed and dried
  • 2 Red Delicious apples, unpeeled ( or any sweet, red apple)
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts,or chopped pecans
  • 2Tbs. Toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh lemon juice
  • Dressing:
  • 2/3 cup mild salad oil ( like canola)
  • 1/2 Cup white Vinegar
  • 1Tbs. Finely chopped chutney- mango is good
  • 1-2tsps curry powder
  • 1tsp dried mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
  • salt-free seasoning/pepper to taste, or 1/2 tsp salt if you like
  • TO DO
  • 1. Whisk dressing ingredients in a container or bowl.
  • 2. Core and chop apples into 1/2” pieces, sprinkle with lemon juice
  • 3. Tear chilled spinach into bite size pieces- discard any tough stems
  • 4. Mix dressing and spinach ( tip- mix this right before serving so it doesn’t wilt too much)
  • 5. Add all other ingredients on top of dressed spinach
  • 6. Serve for lunch by itself with whole grain crackers or as accompaniment for grilled fish or chicken.
  • Or bring to your next potluck!

 

  • Enjoy!

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Summer Salad with Grilled Eggplant, Tomato and Avocado

 

Grilled Eggplant, Tomato and Avocado salad on plate

Delicious Summer Vegetable Salad

 

Fresh Vegetable Summer Salad

Recently we had a warm and inviting evening, (it’s often cool and foggy); we decided to grill vegetables. We had several eggplant pieces left over, but not enough for a full portion for each of us for dinner. (Actually, from now on, I’ll grill extra vegetables just to make this salad.)

I put together this simple, fresh and tasty salad, using tomatoes from the local Farmer’s Market , as we don’t grow great tomatoes at our house; Santa Cruz in summer is not very hot or sunny, a ripe avocado–a staple in our house. Just slice all the veggies, sprinkle lemon on the avocado, make dressing with olive oil and Balsamic vinegar, (for 2 individual salads use approx. 1/3 cup oil to 2-3 Tbsp. vinegar); chill for 1/2 hr. before serving.

If you have fresh chives, parsley, cilantro, or basil, cut pieces of your favorite on top and serve!

Easy, low carb and very delicious!

Grilled Sable Fish with Daikon spear

Grilled Sable Fish with Daikon spear –in Japan

plate of roast chicken and brown rice --

Roast chicken and brown rice — in Argentina

INGREDIENTS (makes 2 individual salads; increase the amounts as needed for more servings)

  • 8-10 pieces of leftover grilled eggplant–(you can use any grilled vegetables of your choice)
  • 1 avocado
  • ]2-3 tomatoes-again, any kind of your choice
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • Chopped herbs –your choice (I grow chives all year round so that’s what I use)
  • salt-free seasoning/pepper to taste
  • TO DO
  • 1. Whisk dressing ingredients in small bowl.
  • 2. Wash and slice tomatoes, slice avocado and sprinkle with lemon.
  • 3.  Arrange vegetables on plates
  • 4. Add dressing to each serving. Let flavors meld for about 1/2 hour.
  • 5. Serve for lunch by itself with whole grain crackers or as accompaniment for grilled fish or chicken. (See, I said this was easy!)
  • Enjoy!

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Knife Skills! A Class on Using Chef’s Knives Properly

Man and woman using chefs’ knives

Knife Skills! How to use knives properly

Learning how to improve my Knife Skills is one of the best things I have done as a cook.

Learning to properly use knives, especially chef’s knives, is a skill that every cook can use. I just returned from a long trip to Italy and France (plus a few stops in the Western Mediterranean). I’ll report on some of the places and foods in subsequent posts, but I thought this would be a good return info post as it’s a topic that’s so useful for all cooks.

The class was held at a local kitchen store in Santa Cruz, Toque Blanche, http://www.mytoque.com, a comprehensive source of all kinds of kitchen items, including a very good stock of knives, with a full range of types and brands. They also professionally sharpen knives for a reasonable fee.

5 Main “Never Do” Points

You may know these but they’re a good reminder:

1. Never put chef’s knives in the dishwasher; (most chef’s knives have wooden handles and the blades can be damaged).

2. Never use the blade to scoop anything off a cutting board- use the back of the knife.

3. Never use a chef’s knife on plastic or glass boards (they dull the blades). Composition/wood boards are best.

4. Never chop bones with a chef’s knife —it can chip the blade; (use a cleaver instead).

5. Never leave chef’s knives in a wet sink- some blades may rust. Wash and dry your knives after use.

Sharpening vs. Honing

Honing: This confused me for a long time. Actually, honing is the action using a honing stick or wand that is recommended every time you use a chef’s knife; just 2 or 3 slides on each side of the blade at approximately 15 degree angle will reform the metal. (I used to do this at a more extreme angle but have learned that is not correct). Some honing sticks have a guide that shows or guides the proper angle.

Sharpening: Sharpening is only necessary once or twice yearly. It is a process of grinding the blade and thus takes off some of the metal. It can be done with commercial sharpening equipment you can buy, or by professional knife sharpeners.

There are many types of chef’s knives, including stamped (blade is cut from a piece of metal and stamped out); forged, (made from a single bar of metal, heated and then pounded into shape- typically heavier and more sturdy then stamped knives, and has a wider lip, called a bolster, on the end of the blade where it meets the handle), Japanese knives (including Santoku, Gyuto), which have a different shape than Western chef’s knives. Chef’s knives range in length too, typically from 8” to 11”. My brother gave me the 11” ( Wusthof, a good brand made in Germany), which intimidated me at first but now I appreciate the length as I know better how to use it’s leverage for chopping.

Another important tip is to hold a knife by the bolster- and make sure you “claw” your other hand as you chop.

Holding a knife near the bolster

Properly holding a chef’s knife by the bolster ( the wide part between the handle and the blade)

 

 

This is just an overview of best knife practices- and that’s the main thing- practice!

Enjoy til next time!

Knife skills class- people using knives

Knife skills class- people learning to use knives properly

 

 

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German Tangy and Sweet Red Cabbage

Bowl of Red Cabbage made with sugar and vinegar on a mosaic table

My Grandma’s Sweet and Tangy Red Cabbage (Rote Kraut)

After going to Nevada City to join Rick’s daughter and boyfriend and his family, we had Thanksgiving 2 at our house with my son Alex, his girlfriend Shannon, and my son-in-law’s parents. (My son-in-law is in the Navy, stationed in Japan, with my daughter and our two grandkids).

We had a lot of fun and one of the highlights was making authentic German red cabbage. Actually, it was my son’s request–but as I was limited in time and space, I asked him to bring the chopped cabbage. He did and I was happy to make the recipe. It’s very easy. The trick for the best results is to use no water, just red wine and red vinegar for the liquid. Also it does take a few hours to cook to the right tenderness and flavor, but is just as good if made in advance and reheated. In fact, that’s my favorite method.

When I have had red cabbage at most German-type restaurants I find it too sweet. The way my Grandma made it it is on the tangy side, with just a hint of sweetness, from the apples and sugar, (in this case, Xylitol. ( If you’ve been following my blog, you know that’s my preferred sweetener for low carb sweetening.) It’s such a great way to enjoy a dish that’s not often served, that is low carb, low calorie, and is full of flavor, fiber, and nutrition *.

 

Dining table with my son and his girlfriend at the end

Thanksgiving2–my son and his GF at our table

GERMAN TANGY AND SWEET RED CABBAGE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 red cabbage (size–your choice) this recipe is for about a 1-2 lb, cabbage
  • 1-2 apples,  sweet/tart, such as Pink Lady, or Pippin, cored and chopped (I do peel them, but leave some peel on)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (the butter gives a smoothness to the result)
  • 1 cup dry red wine (use more if the cabbage is drying out)
  • 1/2 cup good quality red wine vinegar
  • 2-4 Tbsp. Xylitol –to taste
  • Salt or Salt free seasoning–to taste

TO DO: (serves 4-6 as a side dish or 2 with leftovers)

1. Remove cabbage outer leaves and inner core; chop cabbage into approx. 2 “ pieces

2. Core and peel apples, and chop into approximately 1/2″ pieces

3. Add all ingredients into a Dutch oven or 4 qt. pot.

4. Cook on stovetop for approx. 3-4 hours, tasting for sweet/tangy balance and tenderness

That’s it!

Serve as a side dish; and, as we usually have, a crisp green salad with a tart, lemony vinaigrette–see previous Salad posts for the vinaigrette recipe: https://wordpress.com/post/type2delicious.com/1075

Enjoy!

*https://www.livestrong.com/article/272966-red-cabbage-nutrition-information/

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IT’S DRIED PERSIMMON TIME!

Delicious Dried Persimmons

It’s definitely fall here in Santa Cruz- although it’s the start of winter in much of the country. Here we don’t get the glorious fall colors of my native Ohio, but we do get gloriously colored fall produce, like the Persimmons. You probably know there are at least two common varieties of this fruit—Fuyu, which can be eaten right away, and Hiyachi, which need to be completely ripe and mushy before eating or cooking in most ways (otherwise they are very astringent, due to their tannin content). However, there’s a great way to use either of these persimmon varieties, especially when not quite ripe- dried persimmons!  That’s the beauty of drying persimmons—it’s actually better when they’re firm. And the astringency somehow goes away.

It’s quite easy—just slice them, put the slices on cookie racks, bake slowly, and Voila—A yummy and healthy snack! Rick also discovered that the dried fruit can be added to hot tea- another delicious way to enjoy them.

INGREDIENTS/Supplies

Persimmons- any variety, especially when still firm; (one tip- drying persimmons takes a lot more than you think- they do dry up!)

Spray oil (your choice- I use TJ’s spray canola oil)

Baking racks- such as for cooling cookies

Cookie baking pans (optional)–you can put the baking racks on top of the cookie sheets/pans if you like, or add the baking racks directly on your standard oven racks.

TO DO ( preheat oven to 180-200 degrees F

1. Cut off stems and Slice persimmons approx. 1/4” thick

2. Spray baking racks lightly with oil

3. Lay persimmon slices on racks so that each slice is touching the rack

4. Bake for 1 1/2 —2hrs. , check if no longer sticky. If they are, bake for another 1/2 hr. (another method is to bake in 100 degree oven overnight- I discovered this by accident as the oven was still hot and I’d left the racks in overnight. I’ve had success with both methods).

Enjoy!

Sliced fresh persimmons on a green cutting surface

Sliced Fresh Persimmons

Sliced fresh persimmons on baking rack

Sliced fresh persimmons on baking rack

Rick eating a dried persimmon and holdin a tea cup with one in the tea

Rick enjoying the results

Cup of tea with dried persimmons in it

A  cup of tea with persimmons in it.

 

Health Benefits of Persimmons

 

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