Saturday, May 19, 2012

You Name It

Saturday morning is my favorite time to putter around in the kitchen. My alarm clock goes off at 4:50 Monday through Friday (is it any wonder that I'm so looking forward to my retirement on June 22?), so after I enjoy sleeping at least two extra hours on Saturday. Breakfast is light and leisurely, a second pot of coffee is brewed and in nice weather I like to relax on the deck or in the gazebo enjoying all the outdoor sights, sounds and smells of summer.

Mid-morning, I like to do something that's creative, satisfying for the soul and that usually means heading to the kitchen to prepare food for a nice lunch.

The finished product, scooped onto a plate and ready to eat!

I suppose I am a decent cook; it's one thing I really enjoy. But the amazing thing is that I rarely follow recipes for my "creations," and more rarely do I make a dish the same way twice.The exception to this rule is when I bake; I always follow recipes to the letter when dealing with baked goods.

Today I thought about what I'd make, and it sort of "evolved." Pulled out all the things I like to eat: eggs, frozen spinach, cheese, bacon, herbs, onions and I ended up with a dish without a name. It's part casserole, part frittata, part quiche, and was quite good if I do say so myself.

I often prepare something with potatoes but didn't want that heaviness today, as the weather has turned hot.

I started with spinach, thawed in the microwave and layered with Parmesan cheese.

I heated a can of mushrooms (the package of fresh ones in the refrigerator were past their prime!), added a splash of white wine for flavor and added a few springs of fresh thyme. The mushrooms went on top of the spinach.

Four Vidalia sweet onions were cooked in a small amount of olive oil, a tablespoon of sugar was added to expedite carmelization and they were cooked until tender and golden. Baby bell peppers in red, yellow and orange were split and browned in the oil after the onions were removed from the pan and drained. And on top of the rest it all went.

Ah, the next step is where some of you may part ways with me. Fried eggs. Now I would have preferred them poached, but frying them was easier so into the same pan with the same oil six eggs went (only four, as I only have four egg rings).

The eggs go on top of everything else. Four slices of bacon cooked to a crisp were scattered over the eggs and more Prmesan was added. (Do you get the idea I'm mad about Parmesan?)

At this point I thought I needed some moisture, and a white sauce would have been nice. But didn't want to make one and didn't want to add a canned soup because they contain too much salt and fat. What to do? A can of tomatoes! The Italian variety with oregano and basil added. So on top, the half-drained can of tomatoes went. I thought afterward that a bottled spaghetti sauce would have worked just as well.

For the topping I toasted and crumbled two pieces of bread, herbs, lots more Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses and two tablespoons melted butter. Heat in 350 degree oven about 30 minutes or until the topping is crunchy and browned.

And Voila! Lunch was served.

I didn't even bother to make a salad. It was incredibly good and my husband was crazy for it. This is one I'll definitely try again, although I'm sure next time it'll be a little different in some respect.

This is a forgiving recipe. Almost anything could be added, or subtracted. I made it up and it does not have a name, of course. Can you suggest one?

How about you? Do you ad lib in the kitchen or always follow recipes? What is your favorite dish to cook and eat?

If you try this dish, please let me know what you think!

Wishing you a great weekend, what's left of it!

Oh yes, one more thing. I gathered some flowers from the garden late in the afternoon. For me, blue hydrangea is the essence of summer. It was the first flower (although it's technically a bush isn't it? I must ask my sister; she's a hydrangea expert!) I wanted to plant when I owned my first home. There is nothing prettier (to me) than a bouquet of blue hydrangea.


  1. Hello Sanda

    This dish appeals to me very much. I can see where it can be varied and with success too. When I first glanced I was reminded of bread and butter pudding, a favourite growing up in Ireland. "Sanda's Stratti"

    Have a glorious weekend

    Helen x

    1. Hi Helen

      I hope you will try it! Thank you for stopping by and for your comment. Not a bad name suggestion; I like it! A very good weekend to you as well.

  2. It sounds wonderful! Makes me hungry right now. Believe me, my sister is being very modest when she says she a "decent" cook - she's a WONDERFUL cook. It all sounds so good - I could leave off the eggs (are you surprised). After all this cooking, working outside, NOW she's cooking again tonight - spaghetti!

    1. I know you wouldn't use eggs! Spaghetti is a keeper and will feed us several days this week; no cooking for me when I come home from work!

  3. Sounds like dinner to me! I´d have to leave the bacon and eggs out ( I do eat eggs ), and without them, I still think your dish would taste good.
    No, I never follow cookbooks, with the exception of baking, just like you.
    Salads are my thing, as everything can be mixed in one. Easy, quick and healthy.
    Have a good Sunday!!

    1. I know bacon isn't good for us but I dearly love the taste of it. Eat eggs often as well. Need the protein. But salads, as you say, are the best!

  4. Good sounding combination. I like anything better with bacon, so my name would have to be "Better with Bacon American Lasagne". My lasagnes don't always have noodles, sometimes they have squash or tortillas, and sometimes I just use lots of vegetables like your recipe.
    I didnt realize that your retirement was so near. I love mine! It's been over a year now, and I don't miss the income at all. The free time is so worth it. I have so much to do that I can't believe I ever had the time for a job.

    1. Hi Beryl,
      Glad to hear you are enjoying your retirement so much, but then I already knew that from reading your blog. You are a very busy woman and sounds as if you have a blast!


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