— lab@56

Tag "cheese"

meatball slider with pretzel roll

We don’t usually go out on Valentine’s Day because there’s nothing better than home cooked meal over a good glass of wine. Over the years, I started to realize that I don’t have to cook 5-star restaurant look-alike to impress Mad Scientist. I just happened to be a huge fan of finger foods, and with a bit of creativity, sliders can be a bit upgraded and still served on occasions. And trust me, there’s nothing better than home-baked pretzel, even if there’s no meat in between.

I served this dish at a party once without mentioning the cheese was stuffed inside. I’m happy to say that it kept friends’ interests in foods for a while; the first bite out of the slider was this heavenly cheese oozing out of the meatball, and it was a warm surprise. Having a cheese in the center prevented it from drying out like rubber and stayed edible unlike regular cheese burger sliders.

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One of my obsessions is the muffin pans. Its versatility is endless – I use it for baking but also for cooking in general – on rare occasion, as a shape holding container for my steamed pork buns. It also seem to keep my potions in control and I can carry my own food on the road; avoiding to stop by my favorite deli to get that awesome egg sandwich in the morning and thinking after… What’s in this thing??? So a few years back, I started to make eggs in the muffin pan. I think it might have been very popular method to cook small meals in the muffin pan by then, and it was a natural flow for me to experiment.


frittata [frih-TAH-tuh] An Italian OMELET that usually has the ingredients mixed with the eggs rather than being folded inside, as with a French omelet. It can me flipped or the top can be finished under a broiling unit. An omelet is cooked quickly over moderately high heat and , after folding has a flat-sided half-oval shape. A frittata is firmer because it’s cooked very slowly over low heat, and round because it isn’t folded. ~ Herbst, Sharon Tyler and Ron Herbst. The New Food Lover’s Companion. 4th ed. New York: Barron’s, 2007. Print. p. 276

Frittata, what I call a cousin of an omelet, comes from the derived Italian word, friggere, which means to fry. So it should be “fried” not “baked.” This explains why it usually made in the frying pan/skillet with oil requiring flipping. I broke that rule by baking but with a generous amount of oil in each cup of the muffin pan to create similar environment as “frying.” The essential main ingredient is eggs, usually many of them. By mixing other ingredients, such as herbs, veggies, cheese, and meats, it creates totally different experience to the egg eating. And it becomes this gorgeous all-in-one meal. Well, hello, eggs.


I made Frittata with different veggies in the past although there’s one ingredient that I always came back to, Spinach. I grew up with a lot of them as my mom used to say I can’t be like the Popeye the Sailor Man if I don’t eat them. The best combination I’ve found was the spinach and artichoke, which seems to be getting rave reviews around me, and have been expanding my experiments around those two ingredients. Past couple of years, I’ve included caramelized onions, and more recently, pancetta. As a bacon lover, I used good amount of bacon with no reservation for a while but I ran into the problem when I used this fancy-pants bacon with a strong hickory flavor. I felt like throwing a tantrum. So substituting to pancetta gave me the pork flavor without the smokiness of the bacon that often has, without sacrificing the taste.

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We used to have appetizers as a dinner once a week. We had three to five small-portion appetizers on a coffee table, sit on the couch, eat and watch a movie of our choice. It’s fun, especially on a rainy or foggy day. It’s even better if it’s Sunday evening when we try to squeeze in every bit of relaxation to prepare for the week. When Mad Scientist suggested we’d do an appetizer night, I was excited but didn’t think too much. A couple of hours later, a bit of panic. What do I have in the fridge? And there they were, a couple of zucchini are sitting quietly in the veggie drawer in the fridge, calling to be used. It’s not in the season, but hey.


Last year around this time, I ran into Zucchini Fritters recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I sat on trying this recipe. It’s not because it didn’t look good but specifically because I still have that side of me that is apprehensive of using green stuff. Overcoming them was easier than I thought with a little help from the cheese. But the sound of the word, Fritter, couldn’t have been more appealing. As the name goes, the fritter technically is “anything fried.” Even shrimp tempura is a fritter. Who would’ve thought of that, especially to a person who grew up with many tempura in her life time. (I admit, I thought tempura was its own category.)


I made zucchini fritters many times ever since then. Each time with different methods of shredding, different cheeses, flours, and frying oils to list a few. I find that we liked shredding zucchini with a cheese grater as the dish melted in our mouth. The one shredded with a food processor provided more heartier feel to it, and I prefer to use this method when serving as a meal.

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