Grilled Baby Zucchini and Potato Tart

As many of you know, I am working through the final semesters of my Master’s degree. I am a proud student at Teachers College, Columbia University-and will graduate with a Masters in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. It’s been a ridiculously long road (6 years already?), but one I truly enjoy. I am a bit of a science geek, so the combination of food and science is a natural pairing. I will share with you though, when I was interviewing for acceptance into the program, I asked if they might tar and feather me. At the time I was a full time wedding cake baker and a certified Sommelier. Thankfully they have not, and I do like to believe that my love of food and cooking adds another dimension to my studies.

We now have come to the end of the semester and this week is finals week. All projects are coming due, and just like I did during my undergraduate work, I find myself in the classic mode: sweats, plates and cups stacked on my desk, coffee but no milk, and a vague recollection of what fresh air and sun are like.

After an hour or two of compiling research, my brain starts to get sluggish. So, I naturally up myself from my desk and toddle into the kitchen. This was a little beauty I came up with during one such refresher moments, a healthy and hearty frittata like tart.
A layer of reduced fat cheddar and potatoes, grilled zucchini and grilled onions all coddled in a eggy mix. I adjusted the egg ratio to include more egg whites, which, in addition to boosting the protein, was the surprising bonus of a fluffier than usual tart. What’s also fantastic about this dish is it reheats beautifully- so one dish, many meals. I just add a green salad on the side, and my life is complete, and now, so is my semester.
Grilled Zucchini and Potato Tart
serves 6
3 medium/small potatoes, peeled and sliced into .25″ rounds
7-8 baby zucchini, sliced longways
4 slices of red onion
4 large eggs
3 egg whites
1c reduced fat milk
2c grated reduced fat sharp cheddar, grated
2 cloves garlic
1 small yellow onion, minced
small bunch of fresh oregano
Preheat oven to 350˚ and grease a  7″x12″ baking dish, or something comparable.
In a mixing bowl beat together the eggs and the milk. Add the garlic and let set it aside.
Using a stovetop grill pan, cook the zucchini for a minute or two, just to get a little char and grill marks on them. This adds a little umami accept and makes the dish so pretty.
Start layering the dish by first placing the potatoes as evenly as possible. Then sprinkle on the cheese and the oregano. I tossed on a pinch of salt and pepper here too.
Then carefully pour the eggy mixture over the top. Arrange the zucchini and the onions as you like. Place the dish onto a baking sheet and into the oven she goes.
Test after 45 minutes for doneness, but it should take closer to an hour. The eggs should be set and the dish a pretty golden brown.

Sunday Supper- Incredibly Easy and Delicious

Roasted Tomatoes with Israeli Cous Cous and Goat Cheese

OK kids, this is my down and dirty super fabulous Sunday “It’s been a long week and I’m gonna sit and watch me some serious TV” meal. So easy I’m not writing a recipe, I’m just gonna let her rip.
Take a 28 oz can of Fire Roasted tomatoes and pour into a medium sized backing dish (this is 8×11 or so). Crush tomatoes with fingers right in the pan. Conversely you can used chopped tomatoes. Mince up 3 cloves of garlic and stir in. Grind in some fresh black pepper. Scatter around 1c of Israeli cous cous, uncooked. Then top it off with goat cheese. You can use ricotta here, but the goat is better.
Slide into a preheated 350˚ oven for about 40 mins. It’s ready when the liquid has been mostly absorbed and the cheese is beautifully browned. Sprinkle with some fruity olive oil and toss on some fresh parsley.
Serve with grill toasted baguettes that have been brushed with Olive Oil and a glass of crisp vegetal Sauvignon Blanc.
It’s tangy, garlicy, sweet from the tomatoes- and the smokey crunchy oily toasts are divine.
The fiancee and I usually set the platter between us and dip in with the bread until it miraculously disappears (don’t know how that happens, but it does, every time!)
That’s it! One pan- leave it to soak- and call it a night.

Quinoa You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

Who can help not being a Heidi Swanson fan? Such a cool person who makes cool food and takes cool pictures of them. And the food is vegetarian! 

Along with her other drooling fans I bought her latest book, Super Natural Every Day. There are many things in there that I tagged for later consumption, but the thing that really caught my eye were these quinoa patties. 

As an educated nutrition person I know the value of those power packed quinoa grains, but I’ve never been really able to get my mouth around them. When making a salad akin to cous cous, it always seems too dry, to fluffy, too difficult to get a hearty bite. Do you know what I mean? I just… can’t… get to them. 

So naturally I have several bags of them in my cupboard. I look at them from time 

to time and their mere presence allows me attitude of self righteous healthiness, 

but actually cook with them? hmm… not so much. Needless to say they have 

remained smooshed into the corner wall. 

But these are a completely different story. In fact, they are even better than I imagined! 

While making dinner the night before, I cooked off the quinoa and then stored it in the fridge over night. The next morning for breakfast I made these. Yep, breakfast. I adapted the recipe a bit to accommodate some odds and ends in my fridge and they are deeeeeelish! Even better is the fact that the batch made 12 of these babies. Two I ate right away- the crusted grains all crunchy, a bit nutty, yielded to softer aromatic flavorful centers. (Now this I could sink my teeth into). Then 4 went into the fridge for near future consumption and the rest into the freezer. 

I can see breaking these up and tossing into a salad or just reaching in and grabbing one for a snack. 

Lots of protein, lots of fiber and tons of deliciousness.

Below is my version- For the original it’s best to buy the book. It’s worth having it on your shelf.
Quinoa, feta and red scallion patties
2 1/2 c cooked and cooled quinoa (1:2 grain to water-rinse before adding water and simmer until tender ~ 10 mins- the gains fluff and release white curlicues)
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 small yellow onion minced
3 stalks of red scallions minced with greens
a generous handful of crumbled feta (about 2 oz)
1 c bread crumbs
4 whole eggs, beaten
oil to sauté them in (about 2T)
Heidi talks about managing the moisture content by adding/subtracting bread crumbs or water, but I didn’t have an issue with this at all.
Place all ingredients into a good size bowl and stir thoroughly to combine. With hands grab a small handful and press into a tight ball. Then pat and coerce into a patty shape.
In frying pan add just a small amount of oil, no need to drown them in oil- On medium heat fry one side until they are crisp and golden and then flip. It’s important to heat them thoroughly to cook all that egg, so keep that flame reasonable.
And then try and keep your hands off of them.
You can that see I didn’t add any salt, but that was due to the feta. Heidi’s recipe calls for grated Parmesan, which is also salty- so take a taste and season accordingly. BTW, I didn’t use salt in my quinoa preparation either.