Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I've been on a creative salad kick. Practically every night lately, I've been making my own salads at home, where I keep experimenting with different fruits, vegetables, nuts, cheeses, and other toppings to mix in. My current obsession is thinly sliced apple, dried cranberries, feta cheese, carrots, celery, and my friend's homemade spicy challah croutons all on a bed of romaine lettuce and a dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Maldon sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. So far so good, right? Well, the only thing missing from this salad craze is the word "comfort." As delicious as these salads are, they aren't comfort food and I'm not sinking my teeth into something soft or chewy or substantial.
The perfect addition to a main course salad is a little slice of quiche or...this miniature chile frittata! The recipe comes from the Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, a place I remember fondly for its beautiful gardens. It's so easy to make these I'd wager just about anyone could do it. There's very little technique involved, aside from, perhaps, identifying when they're done baking.
This frittata is a dairy frittata, stuffed to the brim with Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses and cottage cheese. If you're making this for a dairy Shabbat (because yes, dairy meals are awesome!), it would go great with a salmon main course. You stir in diced green chiles, which, just to clarify, are NOT very spicy, and there are five eggs, but to cut down on the unhealthy factor, I used Egg Beaters for three of the five eggs. Worked like a charm! The result is an adorable, fits-in-your-hand mini frittata with flecks of green and red and a golden hue from the cheese on the surface. Best of all, it screams "comfort"!
Miniature Chile Frittatas
Recipe adapted from Tastes, Tales and Traditions, presented by the Palo Alto Auxiliary For Children
Makes about 40 mini muffin-sized frittatas or about 16 regular muffin-sized frittatas
1 cup small curd cottage cheese
5 eggs, beaten (I used 3 Egg Beaters eggs and 2 regular)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (I substituted a few drops of Tapatio hot sauce instead)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 (4-ounce) cans diced mild green chiles, drained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese or a mixture of Monterey Jack cheese and Cheddar cheese or lite shredded cheese mixture
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Blend the cottage cheese in a food processor or mixer until smooth (I actually left some lumps; it doesn't matter).
Add the eggs, flour, cayenne pepper (or hot sauce) and salt. Do NOT add the baking powder yet. Beat until well blended.
Stir in the butter, chiles and cheese.
Chill, covered, for 2 to 24 hours before baking. I waited about 3 hours and the mixture was perfectly thickened and set.
Line the muffin pan with paper liners or spray the muffin pan directly with Pam. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add the baking powder to the chilled mixture and mix well.
Spoon 1 tablespoonful of batter into each muffin cup if using a mini muffin pan; fill 3/4 full if using a regular size muffin pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes for miniature muffin pan, 20 to 24 minutes for regular size pan, or until frittatas are puffed and golden brown. Let stand until slightly cool; run a sharp knife around each frittata to loosen. Serve hot or at room temperature.
If you want, you can bake the frittatas ahead. Just cool completely before wrapping tightly. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Reheat in a preheated 350-degree oven for 5 to 8 minutes.
Step-by-Step in Pictures
Mix the cottage cheese until you get rid of most of the lumps...
Add the eggs, flour, cayenne, and salt...
Beat until well blended...
Add the butter, cheese, and chiles, then chill, covered, for 2 to 24 hours...
Take the mixture out of the fridge and stir in the baking powder...
Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full...
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes...
Let cool, then enjoy!