Monday, January 13, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Bread

1/3 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 apple, peeled and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside. Beat white sugar and butter together in a bowl using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated; add vanilla extract.

Combine flour and baking powder together in another bowl; stir into creamed butter mixture. Mix milk into batter until smooth. Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Next add half the apples and half the brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Lightly pat apple mixture into batter.

Pour the remaining batter over apple layer; top with remaining apples and add more brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Lightly pat apples into batter; swirl brown sugar mixture through apples using a finger or spoon.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Spinach Frittata with Bacon and Cheddar

Spinach, Bacon & Cheddar Frittata
Photo © Danilo Alfaro
  • 8 eggs
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ lb fresh spinach, rinsed, dried and torn into roughly 1-inch pieces
  • 8 slices bacon
  • ½ large onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • Kosher salt, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.

  2. Cook the bacon in a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. When bacon is crispy, remove it from the pan, drain on paper towels and set aside. When it's cool, roughly chop it into ¼ inch pieces — or just crumble it up.

  3. Reserve about 2 Tbsp of bacon fat, then add diced onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until it's slightly translucent.

  4. Turn off the heat under the pan, then add the spinach pieces and stir with a wooden spoon for a minute until the leaves are fully wilted.

  5. In a glass mixing bowl, thoroughly beat the eggs until nice and frothy. Add the milk and stir until combined. Season to taste with Kosher salt.

  6. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet, and sprinkle the bacon pieces in as well. Give everything a stir to distribute the ingredients evenly. This is the last time you're going to stir, so get it all out of your system now!

  7. Turn the heat under the skillet back on to about medium and cook for about 5 minutes or until the egg begins to set. No stirring!

  8. Add the grated cheese, sprinkling it evenly across the top, and then transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until the eggs are fully cooked.
Makes 4 wedge-shaped portions of frittata.

NOTE: If you don't have an oven-safe skillet, you can pour the egg mixture into a baking dish and add the cooked onions, spinach and bacon as well as the grated cheese, and just bake the frittata in that dish. If you do it this way, add 5 to 10 minutes to the baking time and check to make sure the egg is fully cooked before serving.

Italian BLT Pinwheels

  • 4  oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2  cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4  cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 6  slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled
  • 3  spinach- or tomato-flavored flour tortillas (9-inch diameter)
  • 1  cup chopped seeded Italian plum tomatoes (about 3 medium)
  • 1 1/2  cups shredded romaine lettuce
1- In small bowl, mix cream cheese, mayonnaise and sun-dried tomatoes until well blended. Gently stir in bacon.
2- Spread mayonnaise mixture evenly over tortillas. Top each evenly with plum tomatoes and lettuce; roll up tightly. Wrap each tortilla roll in plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 hour.

3- To serve, with serrated knife, cut each roll into about 1-inch-thick slices.

Ham and Sweet Potato Soup

  • 2 lbs. fully cooked ham (leftovers from a spiral ham works great)
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed in 1-inch pieces
  • 1-15.5 ounces can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

  1. Place ham in a large soup pot and add 8 cups of water to make stock. Bring the water to boil and then to a low simmer for 2 hours. Turn the heat off and place a lid on the pot. Allow the stock to rest overnight.
  2. The next morning, remove any top layer of fat. Remove the ham from the stock and chop and shred the meat in 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer the ham back to the pot.
  3. Heat the stock pot on medium-high heat.
  4. While the pot is heating, heat the oil on medium heat in a frying pan. Sauté onion and garlic for 5 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Season with thyme, salt, and pepper.
  5. Add the onions mixture, sweet potato, and black beans to the stock pot.
  6. Allow the soup to come to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook the soup for 20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.
  7. Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
  8. Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach leaves. Stir the soup with a long wooden spoon for 10 seconds until the spinach is wilted.
  9. Serve immediately.