Kale, Arugula and Red Onion Quiche

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Wanna know my favorite thing about quiches? They’re one of the only egg dishes that makes for a fantastic leftover. Wanna know my other favorite thing about quiches? They are great for breakfast, lunch, dinner AND snacks! Feel free to play with the ingredients in this recipe, its meant to use your favorite combinations. I like an artichoke, feta combination and a caramelized onion, sausage and sage quiche too. A rule of thumb is to keep the filling ingredients (minus the cheese) to three or less. This way, it doesn’t overpower the egg mixture and make for a chewier quiche. The recipe below is a healthy version of a quiche. Most recipes use heavy cream, but I substituted skim milk in this one which came out healthy and delicious. Enjoy!

Kale, Arugula and Red Onion Quiche

1 store bought pie crust, defrosted

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups of kale, stems removed and roughly chopped

1 cup of arugula, roughly chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/2 cup of grated parmigiano reggiano

1 cup skim milk

3 eggs

1 pinch of red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat your oven to 350. Add your olive oil to a large saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Add kale, arugula and onions, cooking down for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute and a half. Season with salt and pepper and set aside, off of heat. In a separate bowl, combine cheese, milk, eggs, and red pepper flakes. Whisk to combine. Once cooled, add the kale, arugula and onion mixture and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange your pie crust in a  greased pie pan, trim the extra edges and pour in egg mixture. Cook in oven for 20-25 minutes until eggs are set.

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Balena

So glad I finally got to try Balena in Lincoln Park! I have been meaning to try this place for a while, so 5 friends and I went to check it out last week. Chris Padel, the restaurant’s head chef, was in the running for a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant; that’s some serious stuff! Balena was also nominated for Best New Restaurant in the Chicago Foodie’s Bible- Time Out Chicago. I always trust the food writer’s opinions in that magazine and that was the big reason I was so tempted by this restaurant’s tantalizing menu.Image

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Balena means “whale” in Italian, and after feasting on these delicious menu items, I think we all felt pretty whale-like…(but well worth it).

We started with two pizzas. The first, and all around favorite of the two, was the Spicy sausage pizza with red onion, tomato and mozzarella. The crust was so fresh and all of the ingredients melded perfectly together for a cheesy, spicy, warm slice.

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The second pizza was the brussel sprout pizza with pancetta, pecorino and red onion. It had a salty/lemony flavor with the crisp leafy texture from the sprouts. Still a really good pizza, but nothing compared to the spicy sausage which was scarfed down by the table within 10 minutes. The brussel sprout pizza had two slicing remaining. The winner was clear.

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Everyone got their own pasta dish for the main course. I like how the pasta dishes weren’t humungous like most Italian eateries. I was happily able to eat every last bite of mine. The most popular dish at the table was the Tagliolini Nero which was an ink pasta with crab, sea urchin and chili. Three people at the table ordered it! This dish reminded me exactly of the pasta I ordered at RPM Italian and I have to say, RPM take the cake on that one. Everyone at the table really enjoyed Balena’s Tagliolini Nero, for me, it was my least favorite.

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I ordered the Orecchiette based off of the waiter’s heartfelt recommendation for it. I was very impressed! This dish came with kale, lemon, chili and toasted breadcrumbs that added some great texture on top of the creamy sauce. I only let one person at the table take a taste and I ate all the rest!

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The last thing I tried was the Rigatoni with pork ragu and porcini mushrooms. Mushrooms are probably the only food I do not enjoy so I poked at the pasta and pork sauce which was really delicious.

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Everyone really enjoyed their dinner at Balena, I hope to go back soon and try some more of their amazing-looking pizzas!

Chicago Restaurant Week – Frontier

We went to another Chicago restaurant week spot last Wednesday – Frontier! This place’s menu caught my attention right away because of the interesting and exotic types of food they offered. And also because their restaurant week menu featured a gourmet s’more, one of my all-time favorite desserts. This place was in the Wicker Park area of Chicago, a bit of a trek from where I live, but definitely worth the distance. Going with three people was perfect because we all ordered different things to cover all the options on the menu. Here is what we ate and enjoyed:

Kangaroo Chili (told you it was exotic!) This was served with marrow bones, cheddar cheese and creme fraiche. Who knew kangaroo would be this tasty?

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Antelope Meatballs with gouda and gnocchi. Probably my least favorite of the appetizers, but at least I got to try antelope once in my life. It had an “interesting” texture to say the least.

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Duck tacos…phenomenal! Hoping more of my future tacos can include duck.

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Some of the other appetizers options on their regular menu included some crazy dishes such as gator ribs, elk shepard’s pie and duck heart.

Moving onto the entrees….The first is what my friend ordered. The wild boar with sweet potato puree, campfire marshmallow, and blackberry BBQ sauce. Yum!

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My other friend tried the banana leaf salmon with black rice. This was awesome and tropical/coconutty tasting. and my second run in with black rice in one week…no complaints!

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The entree that I ordered was the Amish chicken and this was to.die.for. Every component from the bourbon sauce on the chicken to the creamy 5 cheese mac and even the watercress salad was amazing. The entire table agreed it was the best part of all our meals.

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And to highlight the mac and cheese one more time since it was THAT good.

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Last but certainly not least was the Gourmet S’more with a homemade graham cracker, honey marshmallow and bourbon chocolate. So tasty but definitely strayed from the familiar taste of a campfire s’more.

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I would (and already have!) recommend Frontier. The place has some really good food and I will make my way back there in the near future to try some more. They even offer a whole roasted pig for $500! If my dream of winning the lottery comes true I’ll treat you all to that pig and more at this place.

Mango and Avocado Salmon

 

I made this salmon for dinner last night for my sister’s 16th birthday! While the flavors and ingredients in this dish are very summery, I was actually able to find really fresh mango and avocado to make the salsa topping taste how it should. And it gave me an excuse to use the grill for the last time before the dreaded Chicago winter hits us.

Mango Avocado Salmon

For the salsa…

1 mango, diced

1 jalapeno, minced

1/2 red onion, minced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tomatoes, diced

1 lime, juiced

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 avocado diced for topping

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

For the salmon…

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 pinch of pepper

Salmon fillets

combine marinade ingredients and let salmon refrigerate for one hour.

Heat your grill to medium and place salmon fillets on foil. Cook for 20 minutes or until fish is opaque.

Serve with salsa topping and enjoy!!