Back-to-school breakfast frittatas!

I love spending 3-4 weeks in the US during the summer holiday. I spend most of my time with family and friends mostly enjoying all my favorite Portland spots for beers, meals and dessert. But Mom and Dad’s house is one of the best “restaurants” in town!

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Thanks to my brother D for fishing and catching some beauties this season, we were able to enjoy a lot of fresh fish on the grill. And thanks to my Dad, and his trusty smoker, we also continuously snacked on smoked steelhead!

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Paired with fresh veggies from my Mom’s garden, we ate like kings and queen this summer!
But the time has come to head back into the classroom and start preparing for the new school year. The summer was refreshing and full of tasty treats, but now we must get back into daily routines.

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After a summer living alarm free, Monday morning is already on the horizon! And that means the alarm will go off and I will grudgingly get up for my morning run. But I won’t have to think about breakfast because I will be prepared with these mini frittatas! They are super easy to make and you can add whatever ingredients you want! I made these with mushroom, garlic, green onion, fresh rosemary and a dollop of goat cheese. My flat smells amazing and now I feel one step ahead of myself… Come on people, it’s time to get prepared! Enjoy

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Mini Frittatas
First, choose your ingredients…
I chose 10 small mushrooms, 1 green onion, 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped and a bit of goat cheese.

Second, decide your number of cups…
For 6 egg cups, I used 6 eggs and 1 tablespoon soy milk.

While the ingredients were sautéing, I greased the muffin tins with PAM spray. Then beat the eggs and milk together. Place the ingredients evenly in the desired number of cups and pour the egg mixture to fill cups almost to the top… Leaving a little room for rising!

Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on your number of cups and ingredients.
When Mini frittatas are finished baking, let cool for 5-8 minutes then remove from the pan! Eat fright away or freeze them for later…

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Gluten-Free Spinach and Mushroom Egg Bake by Allison

There are so many beautiful cafes in Prague to enjoy breakfast in while you sit, savor and soak in your surroundings with friends or family. But sometimes a homemade breakfast in the comfort of your own home is what you’d like to offer your newly arrived guests from overseas after a long journey. Aromas of steaming hot double-shot coffee brewing in the french press and a pot of black or green tea steeping in a beautiful Polish pottery teapot await for thirsty guests.  The egg bake is cooking away in the oven while we enjoy greek yogurt with homemade granola and fresh fruits of the season, apricots, cherries and strawberries. One word, delicious.

 

There’s nothing like farmer’s market eggs or homegrown eggs in your own backyard. They taste better, they are fresher and it feels good to support local farmers at the same time. I try to only buy my eggs from the farmer’s market and especially for this recipe.

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Gluten-Free Spinach and Mushroom Egg Bake by Allison

Ingredients

Fresh mushrooms (1 large container or approximately two 1/2 to three cups of sliced mushrooms)

200 grams of fresh spinach

2 Tbsp. butter

2-3 cloves garlic

2 small onions

fresh thyme springs

12 eggs

2 cups grated cheese (can use cheddar or gouda or a smaller amount of parmesan)

1/2 cup of milk or cream

1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 185 degrees Celsius.

First melt the butter in a large frying pan/wok, then add the chopped onion and cook on low until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add garlic to the pan after cooking onions for 10 minutes and stir frequently to prevent from burning. Turn up the heat to medium and add mushrooms, thyme leaves and salt. Cook until the moisture in the bottom of the pan has cooked off, about 10 minutes or so. Then add fresh spinach in 2 handfuls at a time until it wilts and cooks down, continue to turn and stir. Remove from heat and in a large bowl crack 12 eggs and add in the milk and grated cheese. Beat mixture with a whisk until blended, be careful not to over beat. Add in the mushroom, onion and spinach mixture and stir gently. Pour into a large 9″ x 13″ pan and bake uncovered for the first 25 minutes, check frequently to see if the top is getting brown and cover with foil when you’ve reached the desired color on the top of the egg bake. Total baking time should be around 40-45 minutes depending on your oven. Serve warm and enjoy!

GF Pork Tenderloin with a Rosemary, Mushroom, Caramelized Onion and Red Wine Reduction Sauce by Allison

Sundays sometimes call for a “Sunday Roast” as some of my British friends would say and I would have to agree! A piping hot meal with hearty and bold flavors feeds the soul as we gear up for the week ahead. Now while my “Sunday roast” doesn’t include mashed potatoes or gravy I think you’ll really enjoy it! I often set aside more time to cook on Sundays and cooking is so much more enjoyable when you’re not doing ten other things at the same time! So take some time to cook to enjoy and savor the flavors of whole food.

GF Roasted Pork with a Rosemary, Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Red Wine Reduction Sauce

Ingredients

4 pound pork roast
fresh rosemary springs (about 3)
Salt
Pepper
Red table wine
2 medium onions, sliced

Sauce

Coconut oil or butter
2 large onions, chopped
1.5 pounds of sliced button mushrooms
Fresh rosemary sprigs ( about three)
Red table wine, reduced
Juices from the pork

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and sear the pork tenderloin on each side over high heat for 2-3 minutes per side depending on the thickness. This process helps keep the meat juicy during the baking process. Place in a large baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Remove rosemary from the stem and place on top of the roast. Pour about a cup and a half to two cups of red wine in the bottom of the pan and add sliced onions in the wine and around the pork roast. Cover with foil and cook approximately two hours or until the meat thermometer reads 155 degrees Fahrenheit, let rest for 10 minutes before you slice it.

After the pork has been cooking for a little over an hour, you can start the sauce! Reduce two cups of wine over medium low until you have about 1/3 of a cup. While you start reducing the wine you can chop onions and add them to a frying pan to begin caramelizing over medium heat. Slice the mushrooms and add them after onions begin to brown a little bit, about 10-12 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp salt and stir mixture, cook another 5-8 minutes and add rosemary leaves ( I like to cut them with a scissors and add them right in after I take them off the stem). Add reduced wine and let simmer on low. When the pork is finished, add the juices and onion from the baking dish to the sauce and let simmer until desired consistency ! Slice pork and serve with sauce on top! Enjoy!!

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Let’s get wild with rice and mushroom soup! By Nikki

fresh ingredients for fresh soup

fresh ingredients for fresh soup

If you are a Prague Basket reader who currently lives in Prague, you will understand when I say winter has taken a turn… not for the worse, but to a stand still! If you read from other places in the world, let me paint you a quick picture: this morning, we woke up to melted snow, streets glistening with the shimmer of a light rain, and a temperature that seems like Spring should be here tomorrow. But the weather reports say there will be more cold temperatures and another snowfall in our near future… it is like a weather yo-yo and it is only the last day of January.

Initially, when I saw the weather forecast for this week, I thought to myself, “oh no, we still have one more winter soup to feature!” But then as I sat on my couch for two days, feeling sorry for myself because of a head cold… I suppose it was fitting that I had to make soup for this post- despite the warmer weather.

Wild Rice and Mushroom soup

Wild Rice and Mushroom soup

The “wild” thing about this Wild Rice and Mushroom soup is that I made it vegetarian… usually I prefer to use a chicken stock in my soups, but for my vegetarian friends, I had to try this out in it’s pure veggie form. Well, guess what? I wasn’t disappointed! Despite my stuffy nose, my taste buds danced at the bursts of thyme, the remnants of the white wine, and the softness of the cooked mushrooms. Complimented with firm, cooked wild rice and the tangy flavor of the sour cream this soup is a new favorite. Now, I am not interested in skipping over seasons but I can imagine using this recipe during the Czech mushroom season in the late autumn… oooooooh, that is already tasting so good in my imagination.. can you tell I am “wild” about this recipe!?! Enjoy…

mushrooms, mushrooms, in the pan

mushrooms, mushrooms, in the pan

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

adapted from Oh My Veggies

 I can imagine using this soup recipe during the late fall mushroom season in the Czech Republic – yum!

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 c. celery, chopped
1 c. carrots, chopped
1 medium shallot, chopped
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
salt + pepper to taste
1/3 c. white wine
1 tsp. dried thyme
4 c. vegetable broth
1 c. cooked wild rice
3/4 c. reduced-fat sour cream
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Prepare rice according to directions on the package… this could take up to 1 hour!
  2. Heat olive oil in bottom of a medium soup pan on medium heat. Saute mushrooms, celery, carrots, and shallot until softened approx 5-7 minutes.
  3. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add white wine and thyme; increase heat to medium-high and cook 2 minutes more. (The flour might stick to the bottom of the pan but will release itself when soup broth is added later.)
  5. Add broth to pan and bring to a boil.
  6. Add cooked rice to the soup and stir in sour cream and parsley.
  7. Let simmer together for 5 minutes. You may need to use a whisk to mix up the sour cream- I did!
  8. Ladle into individual soup bowls and enjoy with a warm piece of bread slathered with butter- yum!

Mushroom, Mozzarella and Cranberry Salad by Allison

The crisp fall air hit my face as I opened the door to leave my apartment building Saturday morning. Coffee was calling my name. Not just any coffee though, gourmet coffee from my favorite coffee shop just down the street at Muj Salek Kavy. A cappuccino from this coffee shop is like no other, it is dark and sultry like rich chocolate velvet and starts the weekend off right. My taste buds were awakened upon the first sip of my heavenly beverage and I started to make a list of what I wanted to purchase at the Karlin farmers’ market in my iPhone. I typed a few items into a note and then deleted it. Fresh herbs, well yes most definitely; eggs, for sure; fruit, yes please; veggies abound. A list was not needed after all as I just wanted to see what struck me and inspired me at the market. A stroll down Krizikova while soaking up some vitamin D from the sun while reflecting back on the week and looking forward to the days ahead made me stop and appreciate the moment. As I approached the market, I watched as many people took delight in carrying their baskets full of fresh produce or pushing their child in a stroller and talking to vendors and purchasing local goods. As I entered the market, I walked around and spotted a small wooden stand overflowing with mushrooms.

I came across this mushroom vendor and for those of you who live in the Czech Republic, you know it is mushroom season and may have already been mushroom hunting yourselves. I’ve had the adventure of mushroom hunting with my friend B before and we got a few mushrooms here and there which was really fun, but I’d like to go again and really hit the jackpot! This vendor was was so kind and helpful. I was asking him whether the large mushrooms were the best for soup, salad or sauces and a tall, kind gentleman who was sitting to the side popped up and translated everything the vendor was saying. “Just eat them raw. You will get the most vitamins and nutrients from slicing these and putting them in a salad.”

So I placed several handfuls of large mushrooms below in a bag and handed them over to the mushroom vendor. I handed him the money and the gentleman that translated for me earlier said, “Next week, he will have different mushrooms and they will be really good for soup!”. I said, “I’ll be back!” and thanked him for his kindness and help.

After I saw this green leaf lettuce, I knew it had to come home with me for the mushroom salad as it was crisp and buttery.

Mushroom, Mozzarella and Cranberry Salad

Ingredients

Green leaf lettuce

fresh mushrooms, sliced

dried cranberries

fresh mozzarella cheese slices

roasted beets, sliced

roasted almonds (optional)

Dressing:

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp olive oil

I tsp apple cider

a few drops of honey

salt and pepper to taste

Combine and enjoy!

Emptying the Fridge Again – Garden Lasagna by Nikki

Garden Lasagna

This summer has been busy- very relaxing, but busy! In between traveling adventures, I visited the River Market again with my Czech basket, filling it up with fresh yellow and red tomatoes, basil, Swiss chard, and of course, fresh lasagne noodles. I get so excited when I visit the market and find a new vendor or variety of fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruit! On this particular sunny Saturday, I found red, Swiss chard. Knowing I would soon be traveling and needing to keep the fridge sort of empty, I still couldn’t resist purchasing the ingredients to make a summer version of lasagne.

summertime foods

The best part about this particular lasagne was sharing it with two friends who appreciated a hot meal before we all traveled to Croatia. As I have said before, I love cooking, and as a cook, I believe there is nothing more satisfying than sharing a meal with friends and loved ones.

mmm… fresh and tasty

Garden Lasagne

I modified a recipe by The Pioneer Woman

Note: I substituted the zucchini for red, Swiss chard, a yellow pepper for the red pepper, used a green onion instead of a yellow and also added fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

ingredients chopped and ready to go..

Saute the veggies in olive oil just until tender…

Simmer veggies with 1 can of whole, Italian tomatoes

Layer fresh noodles, ricotta mixture, and veggie mixture- top with parmesan cheese and fresh basil!

Zuchinni Boats by Nikki

Full of goodies!

Last week, I over filled my basket at the Farmer’s Market. Normally, this is not a problem especially when it is stuffed with so many colorful, seasonal fruits and vegetables. However, when you are traveling in and out of the country during the summer, you really need to remember that filling the fridge before the next journey is not a wise thing to do! So, on the eve before my week cycling trip I invited a friend over for dinner. We called it the “empty-the-fridge” dinner! I used the remainder of my summer veggies from Wednesday’s market visit, leftover rice and a variety of cheeses to over-stuff this large, locally farmed zucchini!

summer vegetables + fresh herbs = “empty-the-fridge” dinner!

This is a very simple recipe that is full of vitamins, naturally healthy foods, and looks colorful on your plate! Serves well with warm bread and butter… sometimes I substitute the rice for quinoa, and I have been known to make this recipe with leftover Bolognese sauce too! Enjoy!

Stuffed Zucchini a.k.a Zucchini Boats

Veggie Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Ingredients:

2-3 medium zucchinis, halved lengthwise with the middles scooped out

1 ear of sweet corn

1 small red bell pepper

1 small yellow pepper

1.5 cups chopped, fresh green beans

3-5 mushroom caps, sliced

1/4 sweet, yellow onion, chopped

1-2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 teaspoon

3 tablespoons tomato paste

fresh herbs of choice (I used cilantro and green onions)

cheese for topping (parmesan, shredded mozzarella or cheddar are best!)

Optional: 1/2 cup cooked rice, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, or 3/4 cup browned, ground beef or turkey

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to boil. If using rice or quinoa, follow cooking directions on package and prepare now.

While waiting for water to boil, chop all veggies and place into a steamer basket in a saucepan with 1/4 inch of water in bottom of pan.

Using a sharp knife, cut the kernals off the corn cob and place in the steamer basket with other veggies.

When water is boiling, place zucchini into pot and par-boil for 8-10 minutes- just until Zucchini begins to glisten. When finished, place upside down on a baking rack over the sink to allow the zucchini to drain for 10 minutes. PREHEAT oven to 185 degrees C or 350 degrees F.

While zucchini is resting, steam veggies just until crisp. Be careful as steaming too long will cause veggies to get mushy in the oven later. At the same time, quickly saute the onion and mushrooms in teaspoon of oil until tender. If you are using ground beef or turkey, now is the time to begin browning it.

Combine all cooked ingredients into a medium bowl. Add the chopped fresh herbs, oil and tomato paste. Mix together until ingredients are covered with sauce.

Pat the zucchini dry with a paper towel. Place in a non-stick baking pan. Fill zucchini with the veggie/rice/meat mixture. Sprinkle cheese on top. Cover with tin foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove tinfoil and bake for another 3-5 minutes to allow cheese to brown a little.

Let cool for 5 minutes then serve and enjoy!