Aug 182014
 

My friend Star came over for dinner and to help us write our wedding ceremony. She’s the officiant and we both have been working on the ceremony and vows for a bit now on our own. It was time to come together and make it all fit.

Since she’s a vegetarian, I wanted to make a recipe that was veggie friendly and that also used up some of the zucchini from our garden. I found a few different frittata recipes and decided to make one of them. I used two different frittata recipes to make my own. I liked the spicy ingredients in this recipe, but I also liked that the other recipe called for ricotta cheese (which I needed to use up).

Zucchini Ricotta Frittata Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 2-3 servings

Calories per serving: 410

From: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/zucchini_ricotta_frittata/

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small zucchini, or one larger one, washed and sliced into thin rounds (about 3/4 pound)

Instructions

  1. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Add the ricotta and Parmesan and beat to combine. Add the salt, freshly ground black pepper, basil and thyme and beat to combine. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch oven-proof stick-free skillet on medium high. When the oil is hot and begins to shimmer, add the zucchini slices. Stir so that the zucchini slices are all coated with some of the oil. Cook, stirring only occasionally (if you stir too much the zucchini won't brown), until the zucchini slices are lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove zucchini slices from the pan with tongs or a slotted spoon to a bowl. Let cool for 30 seconds or so, and then stir the zucchini slices to the egg mixture.
  3. Reheat the skillet. There should be a couple of tablespoons of oil left in the pan, if not, add some. When the oil is hot, pour the egg mixture into the pan. Do not stir it. Reduce the heat to medium. Let the egg mixture cook. Run a spatula along the edge of the frittata, separating the cooked edges from the pan. Let the egg mixture cook until the bottom is golden brown and the top is beginning to set, about 5-6 minutes.
  4. Set the top rack 5 inches from the heating element in the oven. Preheat the oven broiler. Once the top of the frittata has started to set in the pan on the stove top, remove the pan from the stove and place it in the oven. With the broiler on, the door of the oven needs to be open. You can let the pan's handle stick out from the oven through the open door. Cook under the broiler until the top starts to become lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
  5. Alternatively, instead of using the broiler, you can place a plate face-down on top of the skillet. Flip the skillet over to release the frittata on to the plate. Then slide the frittata from the plate back on to the skillet. Let cook for a couple of minutes more until the bottom side gets browned.
  6. Slide the frittata out of the skillet onto a serving plate. Let cool for a minute or two and serve.
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The recipe called for 6 eggs and said it fed 2-3 people. I think it actually fed more like 5 people. We each had a fairly large serving and there were two more servings left over (which I had one for lunch the next day). I put most of the spicy jalapenos on one side of the frittata and used the banana peppers on the other because they are less spicy and that was for Star.

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The recipe called for cooking the frittata on the stovetop for 5-6 minutes. I ended up cooking it for more like 10 I think. It was really jiggly and a little too wet still. This was the first time I made a frittata so I used some of Michael’s experience to figure out when it was ready to be baked. Perhaps using a cast iron skillet is why it took longer…? Who knows.

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It was looking much better. I put it in the oven under the broiler. Again, the recipe called for 2 minutes. I did more like 3-4 minutes. I took it out twice and tested it with toothpicks to see if it was done. It was pretty obvious when it was done. Here was the finished product:

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Star brought over  a loaf of olive ciabatta bread from New Seasons. It’s A-MAZING. Oh my gods, between the three of us we almost ate the entire loaf of bread. I can’t remember the last time I had this bread–maybe a year ago? It’s not something I eat very often and usually when I eat bread it’s the Costco gluten free stuff. So this was quite a treat! I also brought out some of the pickled red onions I made. Star LOVED them. :D

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We sat outside on the deck and listened to the kid’s football (or soccer) game going on in the distance. The crickets were singing nearby and the there was a lovely breeze that cooled down the hot day. I had a glass of the Trader Joe’s Coastal Sauvignon Blanc wine (it’s fabulous) with dinner and lots of water. Dinner was good but Michael and I both agreed that it needed a meat. Chorizo would have been nice. I think diced ham would be great, too. The dish would definitely be better with some salty, flavorful meat in it. Despite that, it was a decent vegetarian meal and Star loved it so that’s what counts.

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After dinner we worked on the ceremony. We ended up getting it done, a rough draft that still needs a little tweaking, but it’s done. One more thing to cross off the to-do list!

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I also printed out a bunch of poems I liked. One of my friends will be reading a poem during the ceremony. I narrowed it down to four and Michael read them all and picked his favorite. The runner up, that I still love, is this one:

TITLE UNKNOWN
~ By Carl Sandburg ~

I love you for what you are, but I love you yet more for what you are going to be.

I love you not so much for your realities as for your ideals.

I pray for your desires that they may be great, rather than for your satisfactions, which may be so hazardously little.

A satisfied flower is one whose petals are about to fall.

The most beautiful rose is one hardly more than a bud wherein the pangs and ecstasies of desire are working for a larger and finer growth.

Not always shall you be what you are now.

You are going forward toward something great.

I am on the way with you and therefore I love you.

Isn’t that wonderful? Still love it. We ended up choosing something else for my friend to read. TBD. Star is Najavo and we are including a Native American blessing in the ceremony as well as some other elements that mean a lot to me. Michael seemed more interested in the words, as I was more interested in the symbolism, and he picked out things he liked for the vows from various print out examples. I liked all the ones he picked, as well as a few others. Despite what he says, there will NOT be the words “obey” in our vows. :P

On Sunday I went to yoga and then spent some time in the yard pulling weeds (god it’s been never ending this summer!). After that we went to Cartlandia for lunch. I got a buffalo chicken wrap in a spinach tortilla from the Good and Evil Wrap. I love that place and was craving it lately.

lunch

SO GOOD. After lunch we had a dance lesson. The DJ we hired for the wedding also teaches dance. I brought the shoes I am going to wear for the ceremony (my grandmother’s shoes) and also my favorite pair of heels just in case. They had converted their garage into a dance studio. It was pretty nice. The private lesson was an hour and we got a discount due to hiring them for the wedding.

I have some dance experience. I took ballroom dancing classes but it was over a decade ago. At that class I learned the basics of ballroom dance–tango, salsa, box step, etc. I remember it being hard and a  really good workout. I was hoping some of that would come back to me once we started but…not so much.

dance

Lynn and her husband Mark taught us how to dance to our first song and showed us a few choreographed moves. It was so hard! It just didn’t come naturally like I thought it would and I felt like Michael and I were out of sync often. I also noticed that *I* try to lead too much. It’s just not in my nature to follow. LOL. We spent an hour with them and when we switched partners and I danced with Mark or even Lynn, I was impressed with how good they dance. I also noticed that I danced better with them because they were confident leaders. I think Michael and I need a LOT of practice still!

We may end up doing the typical prom dance sway if we don’t practice…

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Aug 122014
 

I wanted to take full advantage of the lovely summer weather instead of being cooped up in the gym. When I got home from work I went for a run at the track nearby. It was sunny, not a cloud in the sky, and around 87 degrees. A little on the hot side for running outdoors, but I was committed. I filled my running water bottle with half Gatorade and half water (that seems to work well for me in hot weather).

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I love the track in the summer time. It’s not very crowded, it’s easy on the knees, and it’s close to home. The five minute walk from the house was my warm-up and then I got right into it. I am always a little slower than normal (and I’m already slow) when it’s hot out but that’s ok. Not trying to set any records here! I turned on Pandora and one of my favorite new songs popped up.

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I’ve come to the conclusion that music makes a HUGE difference with my running. If the right song comes on with the right beat/pace, I notice that I am a little faster, my form is a little better, I have more endurance and I’m lighter on my feet. I wonder why the perfect song can make such a difference? I guess maybe your feet just start to run to the beat.

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The far side curve of the track was completely shaded from the trees so I used this section of the track for walking. I cooled down a little bit, my heart rate reduced and then when I was back in the sun I was ready to run again. I ran for a little over 35 minutes and then decided to head back to the house. I walked to cool down and when I got back in our yard I played ball with Bella for a few minutes while my heart rate got back to normal.

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She was SO happy to play ball! Her favorite thing ever. It took a little bit for my heart rate to lower. I guess it was the heat? Anyways. She continued to show off and be totally adorable:

bell1

2.86 miles and 413 calories burned. Here are my stats, complete with a Bella photobomb:

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Read this hilarious article: 22 Words That Have A Totally Different Meaning When You Are A Runner. I had to laugh at some of those–especially the tan one. I’ve got super awesome (ugly) tan lines that I have to get rid of before the wedding!

After that I met up with my friend Sam for an early-ish dinner/snack at The Brooklyn House in SE Portland. I had never heard of it but when I searched for  restaurant that was kind of a middle point between us this popped up with great reviews. It was a cute a little house next to that German grocery store that everyone raves about (and I still haven’t been there) off SE Powell. They had an adorable outside patio that was partially shaded and that was perfect for us. It was quiet and comfortable and we had the patio to ourselves.

I got an iced tea that was lovely and the waitress, also named Lisa, who was very friendly and prompt, brought out a little simple syrup instead of traditional sugars for the tea for easier mixing. It just needed a teeny bit of the syrup. The tea was wonderful. Sam and I ended up ordering three appetizers and sharing those. The first was their “nibble plate.” It was a basket of large, warm, fresh out of the oven, buttery crostini with four “dips.”

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There was an olive tapenade that was to die for, tzatziki sauce, a white bean puree and a little bowl of Mama Lil’s Peppers (my favorite!). The crostini was perfect. Sometimes you get crostini in restaurants and it’s so hard you feel like you are going to break your teeth trying to eat it. This was not that!

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We also shared the grilled cabbage. They must have blanched the cabbage before grilling it because all the bitterness of the cabbage was gone and instead it had a smokey flavor. The texture was perfect. It came with a lemon aioli sauce on it and my one complaint of the dishes was that the lemon aioli didn’t have much flavor. Despite that everything tasted great and the presentation was gorgeous!

The last dish was the roasted carrots in brown butter sauce. I did not get a photo of that, sadly, because I was too busy eating! The carrots were probably my second favorite dish next to the dips. The carrots were perfectly prepared–a slight crunch was still soft, the butter flavor was rich and there was a hint of salt every once in a while. The carrots were amazing. Loved them! Overall it was a great meal and I’d like to go back and see what else they have. Their entree menu was very limited but the appetizers were vast and they all sounded so good. I will definitely go back here!

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