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May 19, 2011
tags: , ,
by Brittany

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you might’ve picked up on the fact that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day (probably from the ridiculous amount of times I post oatmeal?). No? Well here are two more to pile on to the list: a healthy egg and English muffin sandwich (no scary Egg McMuffin patty in sight) and a breakfast pizza.

Yeah.. I was in a savory breakfast mood this week.

On Sunday I hiked to the Hollywood sign, which is about a 2-hour hike round trip if you take the long way to the back of the sign.

See the sign wayyyy in the background? This was actually taken from a roof a ways away, but you can get a good idea of how high it is. :)

But before the hike, I needed some fuel. Some good carbs, some good protein, and…. well, maybe some cheese, too.

CHOMP!

Healthy Egg McMuffin

serves one

  • 1 whole wheat English muffin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice nitrate-free ham
  • 1 slice Gouda cheese
  1. If the Gouda doesn’t come in slices, slice it first and set it aside. You’ll want it quickly towards the end. Scramble the egg and spray some olive oil in a non-stick pan. Heat the pan to medium so it will heat up a bit.
  2. Toast the English muffin still whole, so the outside is crispy and the insides are hot and doughy-soft.
  3. While the muffin is toasting, place the scrambled egg in the pan and allow to cook fully on one side. Flip and remove as soon as other side has cooked. Set aside.
  4. Lower heat to low. Place the slice of ham on the skillet and let it brown slightly on one side. The muffin should be done by now, so take it out and separate the halves. Fold the egg onto the muffin like you would deli meat and place the slice of cheese on top. Flip the ham and lightly brown the other side. Remove and immediately place over the cheese (so it melts!). Place other half of English muffin on top.

The hike to the top of the Hollywood sign isn’t a tough one, but it’s definitely long. The views, though, are totally worth it. Especially on a day as clear as last Sunday. You could see all the way to the Pacific Ocean!

See the ocean right at the horizon?

The back of the Hollywood sign! One thing I love about rain in L.A. is that everything gets so green afterward. After a long drought, the photo above would have noticeable smog and a lot of that green would be brown. :(

Green things aside, though, we ARE in the middle of L.A. so of course you have something like this right next to you at the top…

On the other side of the peak is Burbank and the rest of the San Fernando Valley. I could probably see my office if I looked hard enough. I love that L.A. has mountains as part of its landscape– I never had that in Florida!

When I came home, my knee was bothering me a bit, so I decided to break in my bag of frozen blueberries. They’re good for you for more reasons than you thought. :)

And now… the not-so-quick breakfast.

PIZZA.

To speed up the amount of time it takes to make this, I actually made most of it the night before. Come morning, all I had to do was preheat the oven while I brushed my teeth, crack a couple eggs on top, and let it bake while I finished getting ready.

The eggs are cracked, yolks spread, and the pizza is ready to bake up in the oven…

I’m really paranoid about breathing near an open gas oven, so I was definitely holding my breath when I took this. Go ahead. Call me crazy.

Done!!

Ricotta and Spinach Breakfast Pizza

serves 3-4

  • 1 batch of whole wheat pizza dough (about 16 oz)
  • 2/3 c fat free or part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 c frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 eggs
  • mixed seasoning
  • a couple pinches of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees if you’re not refrigerating the pizza overnight.
  2. Set the dough on a floured surface to rise for 20-30 minutes. When done, stretch over the floured surface, using a rolling pin if you like. I like my pizza’s shape to be imperfect and non-uniform, so I used my hands.
  3. Spray a pan with olive oil and place the flattened dough onto the pan. With a butter knife or rubber spatula, spread the ricotta onto the dough (use more than the 2/3 if you find it isn’t covering the dough as much as you’d like). Sprinkle desired amount of mixed seasoning on top. Place the frozen spinach on top. This is the point where I would refrigerate it overnight.
  4. Crack the eggs toward the middle and pierce yolked with a fork. Use the back of the fork to spread the eggs evenly around the pizza. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until eggs are no longer runny.

May 13, 2011
tags: , , ,
by Brittany

A grillout with a view.

With one of these…

Being watched by one of these…

And wearing one of these…

In honor of the  and , I created a baseball-themed cookout, and came by to take photos.

This baseball season marks the 15th season I’ve been a Yankees fan (go ahead, talk your game!!), so all my recipes were named after a few of my favorite players on the current roster:

  • Curtis Grillderson Battered-Up Chicken
  • Veggies Skewered on A-Rod
  • Robinson Cano-la Grilled Potatoes

My Tio Michael gave me the idea for the chicken. At Easter, we were talking about food (if I got my love of cooking from anyone in my family, it was definitely from him), and he mentioned a recipe he’d once found on a message board and modified to make his own. Fried chicken… but not fried. GRILLED. Genius, right? So over a few e-mail exchanges, he guided me through the process of making chicken that tasted like it was fried, yet healthfully (AND TASTILY) cooked up on a grill.

The chicken was battered at home and refrigerated for a couple of hours.

We were all kind of novices when it came to cooking the chicken on the grill, so through some trial and error (Read: BATTER ON FIRE! And I don’t mean that in the baseball sense…), we figured out that covered, indirect heat was the trick to cooking the chicken to perfection. Greasing the grill helps keep the batter on, too.

Poor little charred chicken in the back. :(

You still tasted DELICIOUS!

Next on the grill went the marinated vegetables.

There were carrots, zucchini, squash, and red onions… and some pineapple chunks for a little sweetness.

I steamed the potatoes beforehand, so they only needed to be grilled long enough to get those gorgeous grill marks.

Seasoned and ready to go…

The final product…

The chicken came out SO JUICY. Cooked just perfectly, initially-burned-batter aside. :D

And now for the recipes!

Curtis Grillderson Battered-Up Chicken

 ()

Named after Curtis Granderson, center fielder.

makes one whole chicken

  • one whole chicken, carved into 8 pieces (spare yourself the headache and buy it already carved, the price difference is negligible if there’s one at all)
  • 3 c panko bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 3 c skim milk
  • 3 eggs, whisked until combined
  • 1 T seasoning mix (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute), plus more for initial seasoning
  1. Rinse chicken and season with seasoning mix.
  2. In a large plate, combine the panko and cornmeal. In a large bowl, mix the milk, eggs, and 1 tablespoon of seasoning mix.
  3. Dip the chicken in the liquid mixture and coat in the breading mixture. Repeat once more. Place chicken on a wax paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  4. Lightly grease grill with olive oil. Heat charcoal on grill only on one side of grill. Place the chicken on indirect heat (the side without coal) and cover with the lid. The different sizes will vary in cooking times, so the best way to tell if the chicken is done is to push on it. Too squishy? It’s still raw. Still not sure? No one will blame you if you open it up a bit to check. :)

Veggies Skewered on A-Rod

 ()

Named after Alex Rodriguez, third baseman.

makes 8 skewers

  • bamboo skewers
  • veggies, chopped:
    • 5 carrots (cut diagonally)
    • 5 small zucchini, or 3 large
    • 3 summer squash
    • 1/2 red onion
    • 1 c canned pineapple chunks (reserve the juice for the marinade!)
  • marinade:
    • 1/4 c low sodium soy sauce
    • 3/4 c olive oil
    • 1/4 c pineapple juice
    • 1/8 c Worcestershire sauce (by the way, it’s “wuh-steh-SHEER” or “wuh-steh-SHUR”)
    • 1 T spicy mustard
    • 2 tsp sea salt
    • 1 tsp parsley
    • 1 tsp rosemary
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • 1 1/2 tsp pepper
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp ginger
  1. Combine all the marinade ingredients and chopped vegetables into 2 large Ziplocs and allow to marinade for an hour. Soak bamboo skewers for same amount of time.
  2. Place vegetables onto skewers and place on grill. Turn at least once. Vegetables are done when the onions have softened (and if the tips of them are a little charred… all the better!).

Robinson Cano-la Grilled Potatoes

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Named after Robinson Cano, second baseman.

makes 4+ servings

  • 8 small potatoes (or 4 medium), steamed al dente (if they’re too soft, they’ll break apart on the grill)
  • canola oil
  • salt
  • seasoning mix (I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
  1. Slice the potatoes longways into 1/2″ thick slices. Brush each side with canola oil and season with salt and seasoning mix.
  2. Grill. Flip. Grill. DONE.

About Frigidaire’s Stain Games and Save the Children:

For every hit you make in Frigidaire’s Stain Games, Frigidaire will donate to Save the Children’s projects in the U.S. In addition, you can enter to win an Affinity washer and dryer from Frigidaire. Free appliances. Helping kids around the country. It’s a win-win… something that can be achieved in life… but NOT in baseball. :)

For more information, or to take a swing, visit .

May 12, 2011
tags: , ,
by Brittany

The latest food photography project, courtesy of the ever-talented .

I love tacos.

And I love Cuban food.

And– other than its appearance in a theme song for a certain kids’ TV show– I’m a big fan of the phrase “best of both worlds.”

So… I made Cuban tacos!!

Instead of the traditional seasoned ground beef, I made picadillo (pronounced “peecah-DEE-yo”) with ground turkey.

There are several ways to make picadillo (usually with ground beef, though), but almost all contain some kind of tomato base, wine, chicken stock, onions, garlic, and peppers. Some recipes also have cinnamon, raisins, olives, and huge array of savory spices from cumin to oregano.

But, most importantly, lots of onions, lots of peppers, and lots of garlic.

It might look like a lot, but the onions and peppers cook down quite a bit. And the extra flavor adding into

Ingredients!

My rule #1 when cooking: when in doubt, add some wine. :)

Simmering the turkey, allowing the sauce to reduce.

See? The onions cooked down a lot!

Topped with some gouda, avocado cream (recipe below), and fresh cilantro.

Cuban Picadillo Tacos

makes about 8 tacos

  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/2 green pepper, 1/2 red pepper, seeds removed, chopped*
  • 1 1/3 lb ground turkey
  • 1/3 c green olives, sliced
  • 1/4 c chicken stock
  • 1/4 c white or marsala cooking wine
  • 3/4 c tomato sauce
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • olive oil, for sauteeing
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • corn tortillas
  • gouda cheese, sliced thin
  • fresh cilantro
avocado cream:
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 c non-fat Greek yogurt
  • splash of lime juice
  • salt, to taste
  1. Sautee onion, pepper, garlic, and bay leaves in olive oil over medium-high heat. Continue until onions begin to become clear.
  2. Add in the turkey, brown slightly, and then add in the sauce, wine, chicken stock, olives and spices. Bring to a slow boil and reduce heat to medium low and cook covered for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove cover and cook for another 15 minutes, or until liquid reduces.
  4. Puree the avocado, Greek yogurt, salt, and lime juice.
  5. Put in pastry bag (or Ziploc with a small hole cut in the corner) and use as a topping over the tacos. Add fresh cilantro on top.
*Once the seeds are removed, you can freeze the other halves of the peppers for later use. No need to waste them!

And now on to dessert!

I made Guava Cream Cheese Crisp in individual ramekins.

The crust/crisp topping had a little something extra to give it a tropical twist… COCONUT!!

There’s more than enough butter in the crust/crumble to not have to grease the ramekins. Just flatten it in!After the crust is flattened in, layer the sweet cream cheese and the chopped guava and sprinkle plenty of crumble on top. Don’t forget to rinse the seeds out of the guava!

Off to the oven!

Guava and Cream Cheese Crisp

makes 3 servings

  • 1 large can guavas, drained and seeds removed
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1/4 c + 2 T sugar, divided
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T butter, melted
  • 2 T shredded coconut
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 2/3 c non-fat or light cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, 2 T sugar, brown sugar, and coconut. Gradually mix in butter, combining until a crumble is formed.
  2. Flatten crumble in the ramekins with the back of a spoon.
  3. With an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, 1/4 c sugar, and cinnamon. Divide cream cheese mixture evenly among the ramekins as the next layer.
  4. Add in about 2 guavas worth of the chopped guava in each ramekin as the next layer.
  5. Top the ramekins with the crumble to your liking. Bake 15-20 minutes, until mixture inside is bubbling.