Category Archives: Holidays

New Year’s Day Breakfast: Individual Yummy Eggs

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday celebration with lots of joy and good food.  New Year’s Eve is just a few days away and it’s hard to think about more planning after Christmas and Hanukkah.  My vote is for a feel-good Sunday breakfast that is easy to prepare.  We have a family recipe called Yummy Eggs that is deliciously dense with eggs and cheese and always a favorite on weekend mornings.  I have modified the ingredients a bit and use a muffin pan (instead of a casserole dish) to ensure even cooking, with less oven time.  The individual Yummy Eggs are perfect for New Year’s Day breakfast because they’re simple to make (the oven does the work for you) and packed with rich, savory flavors. Along with the eggs, these little treasures are flavored with onions, green chiles, sharp cheddar cheese, fontina cheese, cottage cheese, butter and jalapeño.  And they’re finished off with some chopped chives, sea salt and fresh-cracked pepper. 

To dress up our breakfast plates, I added some fruit skewers tossed with honey and chopped basil (or mint).  We received some pears for the holidays so I used one along with some watermelon cubes.  The pears were too fragile to skewer so next time I will use pineapple chunks or strawberries.  The Yummy Egg casseroles are just as good the next day and reheat well in the microwave (low heat) or toaster oven.  And for a special lunch, add a spinach salad dressed with some balsamic or Italian vinaigrette.

Best wishes for a prosperous and peaceful New Year in 2012.  This has been a wonderful year with much to be thankful for, especially lots of delicious food and readers of my blog posts!   Thank you – I sincerely appreciate your interest, support and encouragement.  For those who like stats, this is my 49th post of the year, and year-to-date Foodie for Two has had over 7,300 views since I started posting in March of 2011. Wow!  Here’s to many more engaging conversations about food next year!  Cheers!

Eat well and share the love!

Individual Yummy Eggs
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two
Serves two foodies plus leftovers, makes 6 individual casseroles

1 tablespoon soft butter, for greasing muffins tins
5 large eggs
1 ¼ cup (combined) grated sharp cheddar and Fontina cheese
1 cup cottage cheese
One 4 oz. can of chopped green chiles
¼ cup finely diced onion (yellow or red)
1 tablespoon chopped Italian Parsley (flat leaf)
1 tablespoon diced jalapeño
2 tablespoons melted butter
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh-cracked pepper
Chopped Chives
Sea Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper

Preheat oven to 375° F and well-grease a 6-muffin pan with butter.

In a medium glass bowl, add the eggs and beat with a wire whisk until eggs are mixed well (about 30 seconds).  Add 1 cup of the grated cheese (reserve 1/4 cup for topping), the cottage cheese, green chiles, onion, parsley, jalapeno, melted butter, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper and stir well to incorporate all the ingredients together.

Add ½ cup of mixture to each muffin tin and top with reserved grated cheese.  Place pan on center rack of oven and cook for 18 to 20 minutes until casseroles are golden brown on top and firm to the touch.

Let rest on the stove top or cooling rack for 2 minutes.  Remove casseroles by running a butter knife around edges and gently lifting out.  Garnish with chopped chives, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.

We had fun at home last weekend and didn’t have to hassle with any Holiday traffic; with over a foot of snow still on the ground, we cut some sled trails on our property and laughed it up! 


Simple Holiday Starters: Crostini Three Ways

When you read the appetizer section of most restaurant menus you’ll usually find crostini or bruschetta, both a delicious treat before dinner.  What is the difference between the two?  Crostini refers to thin slices of bread that are toasted and topped with cheese, vegetables or meat.  Bruschetta refers to thick slices of bread toasted over coals or a grill, seasoned with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and typically topped with a tomato and basil mixture.   I have combined the two and refer to these creations as crostini for simplicity.  The toppings are an easy way to dress up slices of good bread.  Whether it’s for you and your honey, or for a party, crostini make elegant holiday appetizers that can be prepared without much fuss. 
My three holiday crostini toppings are:
1. Olive Tapenade
2. Ricotta, Prosciutto and Pistachios
3. Gremolata & White Anchovies

Olive Tapenade
By now you probably know that I have a serious olive addiction.  Not only do I love the rich and creamy black olives but also Castelvetrano olives, oil-cured olives, black Cerignola and green Cerignola olives.  So it’s only fitting that an olive tapenade starts my list.  This tapenade is made with black olives, Castelvetrano olives, garlic, capers, Italian parsley, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.  It has a wonderfully rich, nutty, briny and buttery flavor that satisfies my olive cravings.  I found the Castelvetrano olives in a jar (Mezetta brand) at my grocery store; these and the other varieties can also be found in the olive bar at grocery stores or specialty stores. The tapenade will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

Ricotta, Prosciutto and Pistachios
This crostini is inspired from the restaurant Postino Wine Bar in Scottsdale, thanks to my sister, Cheryl.  It uses ciabatta bread as a base and the flavor combinations are unusual.  To add a layer of flavor, I dress up the ricotta with some lemon zest, olive oil, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  For special dishes like this I use good quality Prosciutto di Parma, which comes from the city of Parma in Italy and has a distinct, rich flavor (San Danielle prosciutto is another delicious alternative).  The chopped pistachios add a salty, nutty flavor for a fantastic flavor contrast.

Gremolata & White Anchovies
Yum – if you haven’t tried white anchovies yet you are in for a real treat.  They are worth the splurge and have a plump texture with a mild fish flavor (nothing like the canned brown ones).  Imported from southern Italy, they are preserved in olive oil and a bit of vinegar; you can find them in your specialty Italian markets (Denver sources: Parisi, Tony’s Market) – any leftovers can be used for a quick sauce with pasta (heat several tablespoons olive oil, add some minced garlic and white anchovies and cook until the anchovies melt into sauce; toss with linguine, or angel hair, and Italian parsley).   Gremolata is usually made with parsley, garlic, lemon zest and olive oil; the herby, garlicky gremolata is the perfect companion to the rich, piquant anchovies on a toasted baguette slice.

There are endless options for making crostini, so have some fun and get creative – add a glass of Prosecco or Champagne and you are ready to toast in the Holidays.  Cheers!

Eat well and share the love!

Holiday Crostini Three Ways: Olive Tapenade / Ricotta, Prosciutto & Pistachios / Gremolata & White Anchovies
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two
Serves two foodies (makes 12 to 15 crostini)

8 to 10 baguettes slices (thinly sliced)
4 to 5 ciabatta slices (thinly sliced)
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh-cracked pepper
Olive Tapenade (yields about 1/3 cup)
15 black olives
8 Castelvetrano olives (pits removed)
1/8 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon capers, drained
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of kosher salt and fresh-cracked pepper
Ricotta, Prosciutto & Pistachios
5 tablespoons low-fat ricotta cheese
1/8 teaspoon lemon zest
Pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated
Dash of extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
Pinch of kosher salt and fresh-cracked pepper
2 to 3 slices of prosciutto di Parma
2 tablespoon chopped pistachios (about 12 pistachios)
Gremolata & White Anchovies
4 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley (about ½ cup packed leaves)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
¼ teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon minced garlic
Pinch of kosher salt and fresh-cracked pepper
4 to 5 white anchovies

Heat oven to 375 degrees F and cut baguette and ciabatta bread into slices.  Place on a sheet pan and drizzle both sides with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and season with kosher salt and pepper.  Bake in oven for 8 to 9 minutes until golden brown.  Let cool before topping.

Olive Tapenade: (4 to 5 slices of bread)
Add all ingredients to a small blender and blend in intervals until smooth; stop motor in between intervals and scrape down sides.  Store covered in the refrigerator – will keep for one week.
Spread 2 teaspoons of tapenade on each toasted baguette slice.

Ricotta, Prosciutto & Pistachios: (4 to 5 slices of bread)
In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, lemon zest, nutmeg, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread one tablespoon of the ricotta mixture on each slice, add a half of a slice of prosciutto (torn into pieces), sprinkle with 1 teaspoon chopped pistachios and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Gremolata & White Anchovies: (4 to 5 slices of bread)
Mix together the parsley, extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Spread 1 ½ teaspoons gremolata on each toasted baguette and top with an anchovy filet.