I recently challenged myself to de-clutter my life and started by going through at least one drawer, closet, cupboard or shelf each week, getting rid of what we don’t use.
For the past two weeks, this project had me immersed in over 200 food and wine oriented magazines saved from 1998 to present. I’d kept them arranged by season for seemingly easy access to seasonal ideas; but haven’t used them in a while, so thought it time to do a purge. I went through each, pulling out recipes, tips, or stories I wanted to keep…there were several…I am making good progress, am almost done.
What has been most interesting was seeing if the predictions these journals made 5 – 10 years ago came true. There were many forecasts about up and coming hot chefs in America, identification of food trends, and restaurant and wine critiques.
Several of these chefs are now seen on various food shows. As far as food trends, a couple key ones stand out as “building momentum” over the past ten years. They include the “small plate – small bites” movement; and use of molecular gastronomy in developing interesting, powerful flavor experiences. I think both these trends can directly apply to the development of creative dishes for thoughtful, appealing, satisfying (yet non-filling), contemporary afternoon tea menus. Funny how new ideas and methods can revitalize old traditions.
While flipping through a 2004 Gourmet Magazine, the below recipe caught my attention. An individual frittata. I love using muffin tins (molds) for two reasons…portion control and ability to individualize each – developing small plates of foods. It struck me how this simple tool, available in most homes, continues to offer versatility in creating unique savory and sweet individual items. While I love this recipe, I was a bit amazed when it said to use a nonstick muffin pan with 6 (1 cup) muffin cups – that is a giant muffin size. My tins are smaller, either holding 1/3 cup or less…over the years guess I’ve been downsizing my tin sizes. I made this flavorful recipe for a quick, light dinner.
I was inspired to make these individual frittatas…
I adapted Gourmet’s recipe a bit, using mostly egg whites in my prosciutto encrusted frittata.
Here is the Gourmet recipe: Special equipment: a nonstick muffin pan with 6 (1 cup) muffin cups (I used a pan with 12 (1/3 cup muffin cups)…a great size.
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium zucchini (1 lb. total) – halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/8 inch slices
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup fresh minced chives
1 1/2 ounce grated Pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano
10 large eggs, slightly beaten
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat oil in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat, then saute zucchini with salt and pepper, occasionally stirring, until just tender (about 4 minutes). Let this cool a bit. Whisk chives, zucchini and 1/2 the cheese into the eggs. Divide mixture among oiled muffin cups and bake until puffed and set. About 14 minutes for the large cup tins. Remove from oven, sprinkle with rest of the grated cheese and place under a broiler until browned, 1 to 2 minutes.
Below are a few of my favorite muffin tins…the square mold in interesting and one I use for savory and sweet cakes.
Going through these magazines inspired me, I have a list of several recipes I plan to use in the near term…most trending towards small plate sizes. Will be using my various molds and muffin tins for many. Try it. Things cook quicker in individual sizes, so watch your timing.
The magazines I rifled through included: Bon Appetit, Gourmet ( you should see mine from 1976 -78, I am not getting rid of those), Wine Spectator, Food and Wine, Martha Stewart Living. Will share some of my “finds” in future posts.