KitK Cooking Extravaganza

 

This post is sadly delayed.  Rachel and I spent a glorious couple of days together early in August.  We went to see my friend Catherine Murray of Photo Kitchen perform at Columbus’ Pecha Kucha.  We explored the Columbus Zoo with the Philosopher’s family.  We ate fabulous breakfasts at Skillet and Northstar.  All in all, I would say it was another Karma in the Kitchen reunion success.  And like last time, Rachel and I cooked.  A lot.  I roped Rachel into joining me in the sweaty world of canning.  I ordered extra tomatoes from The Sippel Family Farm to make tomato chutney.  I scoured the local peach and blueberry options to make jam.  And I purchased tons of Snowville milk and cream to make homemade ricotta.  Oh yes.  We stayed busy in the kitchen!

First, we prepped tomatoes for tomato chutney.  We used this recipe as a base, but we significantly reduced the amount of sugar (by half).  Here’s what we ended up doing:

8lbs of tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped (the easiest way to do this is score an X on the bottom of a tomato, drop it in boiling water for a few minutes and then put in cold water.  The skins should pop of easily.  Then remove the core and chop.)  , 2 heads of minced garlic, 2 chopped onions, 1c brown sugar, 1/2c white sugar, 3c apple cider vinegar, 3 limes, zested and juiced, 2T fresh minced ginger, 4t dried hot pepper flakes, 2t cumin, 1c golden raisins chopped roughly by hand, and salt and pepper to taste.  We combined the ingredients in a stockpot and simmered all day.  I think it took about 5 hours for the chutney to finally thicken.  Stir it often, as the sugar will make it scorch easily.  We ladled the chutney into 1/2 pint jelly jars, leaving a 1/4″ headspace.  They were processed in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  We ended up with 12 jars of chutney.

 

Next, Rachel and I prepped peaches and blueberries for jam.  We peeled, cored, and roughly sliced 10 pounds of peaches (save the peels!).  We added 2 quarts of blueberries, washed well.  3 lemons were zested and juiced and added to the fruit.  We added sugar to taste, I prefer a slightly tart and less sweet jam.  So for our fruit, we added about 5 cups of granulated white sugar.  The fruit simmered happily on the stove until thickened.  I used a bit of Pomona’s Universal Pectin near the end to finish firming it up well.  Test for firmness by putting a bit of jam on a spoon and popping in the freezer for a few minutes.  When you have reached your desired firmness, you are ready to can.  We used 1/2 pint jars, placed 1t of bottled lemon juice on top of the jam after leaving 1/4″ of headroom, and processed in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  We ended up with 12 jars and a good sized bowl to go with our dessert that night!

I know you are trying to figure out why you should save your peels.  Well, here goes.  We simmered the peach peels with sugar and water making a simple syrup.  We then combined the strained syrup, fresh mint, sparkling water, a dash of fresh lime, and Middle West Spirits vodka together for a fabulous after dinner cocktail.  You should definitely save the peach peels!

Lastly, we made a batch of homemade ricotta using Smitten Kitchen’s recipe.   Her instructions are so clear and easy to follow, I am not going to retype them for you.  But I am going to insist that you drop what you are doing, grab some local milk, and MAKE RICOTTA CHEESE.  Immediately.  Rachel and I were sneaking bites while the ricotta was still straining.  We just couldn’t help ourselves.  We decided that a piece of bread, topped with a smear of ricotta and some tomato chutney was a fabulous way to begin our dinner.  The play of the sweet and spicy chutney against the creamy goodness of the ricotta kept us reaching for more.  And more.  Happy faces all around that evening.  And into the next days lunch.  And breakfast.  And snack.  And dinner.  Oh ricotta.  You made us so happy!

 

 

 

 

 

A quick glance at the table reveals that I also made my infamous tomato tart.  Now, I bet you wish an invitation to our dinner party had graced your door, huh?

But I haven’t even covered dessert yet!  You should know that a meal like this requires a beautiful, tasty, butterfat-laden dessert.  Unfortunately you will have to go without a picture, but trust me, this recipe for a ricotta cheesecake should not be ignored.  The only changes to the directions were made because the recipe made more filling than my pie pan allowed, so we filled two small oven-safe glass bowls also.  We also popped an oven safe bowl filled with water in the oven to produce a nice, steamy environment for our baking dessert.  You should immediately forget everything you ever thought you knew about cheesecake.  Cream cheese has nothing on this heavenly light, slightly lemony dessert.    Perfect for leftovers!  We dolloped some peach and blueberry jam and ate to our hearts content under the stars of an August night.  It doesn’t get much better than this!

Ah Rachel.  Never is my kitchen karma so great as when I have the perfect cooking partner.  It’s comforting to know she’s willing to experiment with me.  Tasting something again and again.  Tossing in a little of this and a little of that until we both find our own recipe nirvana.  We work well together also, Rachel and I.  While I chopped onions and minced garlic for the chutney, she was peeling and coring tomatoes.  While she peeled peaches and washed blueberries, I was at the store for a few forgotten items (ok, ok.  I ran to the store twice in 20 minutes for twice forgotten items!)  What’s great is that cooking is the perfect way to catch up on the last few months.  A phone call here or a gchat there is great, but nothing beats a sweaty, sticky day in the kitchen to learn about new friends, new apartments, new jobs, and old stories.

This is going to be my last post for awhile.  The Philosopher was offered a job at UNC Chapel Hill and I am currently packing up our belongings, getting estimates from moving companies, and selling our collected stuff!  I hope to be back to blogging and cooking by the beginning of October.  Our new city has a year-round farmer’s market that is apparently in the top ten nationwide.  I would certainly say that the south sounds welcoming to me!

Unfortunately, we are also having to say goodbye to our dear friends and neighbors.  While Columbus is a great town for many reasons, the people whose lives have intersected ours have truly made this city our home.  From old colleagues, to new classmates, neighbors, children, doggies, and coworkers, we have been fortunate to have our lives filled with amazing people that have loved us and supported us.  We have many warm memories and many homes that we plan to visit again soon.  A piece of our hearts and our lives will be left in this town and we truly have you all to thank for it.  While we welcome the challenge of forming a new community in NC, we will continue to stay connected to those people who made the Bus our home for 2 years.  Thank you all!  We love you dearly!

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Squash Slaw Crazy

 

I can’t help it!  It all began with the salsa verde and I have now been salsa/taco crazy.  I made that salsa verde for snacking at a backyard picnic, then found myself using the leftovers in fish tacos for friends.

The good thing, is that this taco craziness has led to some creative uses for squash.  We have received abundant yellow squash and zucchini this year in our CSA, but I also ordered extra to make more squash pickles.  It should go without saying that we have had a lot of squash-based meals, have a lot of squash in the freezer, and have had lots of squash baked goods.  I have also begun using squash to make various ‘slaws’ as side dishes or toppings for other meals.  A few weeks ago, I made squash slaw with tomatoes and fresh mint for a picnic at the Franklin Park Conservatory for our anniversary.  Squash provides a fantastic foundation for your favorite flavors.  It’s a great backdrop to the menu’s cuisine for the night.  Tonight, I made a squash slaw to top fish tacos.

Of course you could make chicken, tofu, or beef tacos also.  In fact, I encourage you to try your favorite taco recipe with this slaw on top.  The lovely crisp texture and distinct flavor should compliment your favorite taco stuffing.

First, I used my mandoline to thinly slice 2 medium squash.  I lightly salted the squash pieces and left them in a colander in my sink to drain all the excess liquid.  I stirred the salted squash and shook out the excess moisture a few times over the course of an hour or so .  (You could do this while you are at work.  Just place the colander in a bowl and pop it in the fridge.  When you get home, stir the squash, shake out the moisture, and throw the rest of the ingredients together.)  At about 45 minutes in, I prepped the other ingredients.  First, I thinly diced two bell peppers that were half red and half green from my mother’s garden.  I added the kernels from two grilled ears of corn and then I roughly chopped a generous handful of cilantro.  I tossed them together with the zest and juice of two limes.  I added the squash and mixed all the ingredients together well.  I have found that the salt on the squash is usually enough.  I did add one rounded teaspoon of cumin and a few generous pinches of chili powder to the mix until I found the seasoning to be right for me.  I would recommend using spices from your cupboard instead of prepackaged taco seasoning, as you are unlikely to need the extra salt in the commercial mixes.  Don’t be scared of seasoning by taste, this is an extremely forgiving recipe.  Add some spices, stir and taste.  Is it good?  Stop.  Does it need a little something?  Trust yourself to add a bit more cumin. Or some cayenne. Or fresh hot peppers. Or more cilantro. Or another lime.  Or all of them.  This is your dinner, enjoy it!

I seared a small piece of fresh fish from my local market quickly and warmed up some corn tortillas in the toaster oven.  The juice of half a lime and more fresh cilantro on the fish, and dinner is ready.  I topped my tacos with feta as I could not find queso blanco in my market today.  And when the tacos lost my interest we ran out of fish, my homemade pico de gallo and slaw happily topped my chips and filled my belly.  Personally, my favorite part of squash slaw is its versatility.  I eat it on chips, in a tortilla, with a fork.  This is summer right?  What’s better than the flavor of sunshine and some hard work on your plate?  Plus, you barely have to cook anything.

When the produce is this fresh, life is good.

These are the days to thank my farmers.  Their willingness to toil means I don’t have to.  A few chops and slices in my kitchen is about all it takes.

I hope you are all eating as well as we are!  Happy August, dear readers!

Welcome Back Dessert!

It’s been a long, cold spring.  Well it certainly felt that way without the the three fires of sugar, gluten, and dairy to keep us warm.  We survived and now, we celebrate.  Albeit the celebration is still fairly sugar, gluten, and dairy-free around here.  Or at least very light on those things.  Thankfully, summer produce offers us many scrumptious dining options without much of those heavy hitters.  Peaches have arrived in Central Ohio, which obviously calls for grilling those little treats and topping them with Jeni’s Pistachio and Honey ice cream.  This Jeni’s variety is mildly sweet, allowing the caramelized, peach flavor to shine.  Oh what a glorious time of the year!  This week, our CSA grew to include 5 summer squash!  Call me excited!  It’s time for zucchini bread!

We had a few events this weekend that called for just such a dessert.  Gaining inspiration from David Lebovitz, I tired a gluten-free  and lower sugar version of his Zucchini Cake with Crunchy Lemon Glaze.

First for the gluten-free flour mix.  I ran across this recipe in the NYT recently and have used it for waffles, pancakes, pumpkin bread, and zucchini bread.  It seems to be up to most typical glutenous challenges.  The cornmeal and oat flour offers this blend a nice texture that I have appreciated in my cooking so far.  You may want consider texture when deciding how to best develop your flour blend.  The NYT article further suggests that a ratio of 70% grain and/or nut flours and 30% starches will yield the best blend.  The grain/nut flours include rice, cornmeal, sorghum, amaranth, teff, buckwheat, garbanzo, or almond.  The starches include potato, tapioca, arrowroot, and cornstarch.  With all those options, the combinations seem endless.  As always, I say it’s time to play!  Stop worrying about following recipes and have fun.  Your stomach will likely thank you in the end!

So, using this gluten-free flour blend, I made a zucchini cake.  Here’s what I did.

First, oil and flour (use the GF flour) 2 bread pans, 2 round cake pans, or a bunt cake pan.  Chop 1c of toasted almonds, walnuts, or pecans (I used almonds for my cake).  Grate 2 1/2 cups of zucchini or other summer squash.  I did this by hand, but a food processor would do just fine.  I often find that grating squash leads to lots of liquid.  I say keep it and make sure it gets in your batter.  That is the stuff of gooey, moistness.  In fact, I have been known to freeze shredded squash for winter baking.  The defrosted squash usually has a good layer of liquid that separates.  KEEP IT!

Ok, rant complete.  Now on with dessert.  Next I sifted together the dry ingredients:  2c GF flour, 1t baking powder, 1/2t baking soda, 1t salt, 2t cinnamon, 1t ground ginger, and 1/2t nutmeg.  In a separate mixing bowl, I creamed 3 room temperature eggs (if you want to go egg-free/vegan, use 3T ground flax and 1/2-3/4c water) with 1 1/2c sugar and 1c safflower oil.    I beat these together for about 3 minutes on a medium setting.  I added 2t of vanilla and began to slowly add the dry ingredients until they were all well incorporated and mixed an additional 30seconds.  Stir in the nuts and zucchini.  Spread into your pan(s).  I made 2 bread pan-sized loafs and they baked for 50 minutes at 350.  I began checking them at 40 minutes, if you opt to make a 2 cake pans, you may want to check fairly early also.  When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, pull the pans out and let them cool for about 10 minutes.  I would suggest you place a cookie sheet or some foil under your cooling rack to collect the best part of this recipe.  The glaze!

Remove the cakes from the pan and mix together 1/4c freshly squeezed lemon juice (this was about one lemon for me), 1/3c granulated sugar (that’s the regular stuff), and 1c powdered sugar.  Mix until well incorporatedand brush over the top of the cake, allowing it to run gently down the sides.  Allow your cake too cool at least until the glaze has hardened.  The crunchy exterior is the best part!  The lemony glaze is so bright and vibrant!  It really makes this cake sing!

Serve on your patio to your friends/neighbors/[family members] while watching your dog attack the neighbor’s boxer puppy.  Smile.  That’s summer.

Inaugurating a New Kitchen

Hello friends… I haven’t posted in a while, partially because I am the delinquent child in this blog relationship.  But also because in the last month or so I have picked up all of my belongings and carried them to a new home.  I’m still in the city of Chicago, but I’m now inhabiting a place with a spacious kitchen.  This is a huge relief and something I was looking forward to as soon as I set foot in my previous apartment.  I tried not to complain about it too much, but I had a galley kitchen with basically no counter space to speak of.  It was a hallway leading to what should have been an actual kitchen.  Sigh.

Now, however, I have a lovely kitchen with lots of space to cook.  It’s beautiful.  Another new thing that’s begun recently is a CSA I’m sharing with a friend of mine.  As I’m sure most of our readers know, this spring was unusually cold, so a lot of the yield thus far has been in the way of lettuce.  It’s weird to have so many different types of lettuce just kicking around.  I’m not a huge lettuce eater, but I obviously eat it more when it’s being delivered to me on a weekly basis.  We are starting to see a transition out of all lettuce and into heartier stuff, such as snow peas, turnips, green beans and cucumbers.

Not that cucumbers are hearty.  We were really hoping for a lot of dark leafy greens, and really I chose this CSA because they promised kale.  I wanted a bunch of kale every week, at least, if not 2-3 varieties.  Alas, we work with what we’re given, the motto of CSA subscribers everywhere.  Luckily, turnips mean turnip greens, which aren’t kale, per say, but are nice sauteed and are good for nutrients.  For a quick dinner, I sauteed turnip greens in olive oil and salt, laid them over some polenta and fried up a chicken sausage for the side.  I also roasted turnips, garlic scapes, onions and a non-CSA sweet potato in the over with garlic and herbs until the veggies were soft and munched on it quite happily.

Sweet potatoes tend to sneak their way into a lot of impromptu meals, but one situation in which I’ve found them particularly useful is in the creation of frittatas.  I posted before (as part of the donut post) about a frittata I made back in March. I used a recipe then, but decided this time that it wasn’t even necessary.  There are two tricks to a delicious frittata I have learned in my experiments.  Browning thinly sliced potatoes in the pan (sweet or otherwise) and leaving them there as a crust adds a good foundation to the dish.  When you bite into it, you get the eggs and cheese and fillers on top, and then there is that constant golden brown potato in every bite.  Very satisfying.  Sweet potatoes are my choice because not only is it golden brown, it’s also a little creamy and sweet to boot.  Who is turning down golden brown, crispy, creamy sweet vegetables?  Not me.

The other trick, or it might be essential depending on how technical you are being about your frittatas, is to finish it off in the oven.  For this you will need a pan that can be put in the over.  Generally, these are anodized and don’t have plastic on their handles.  So when you finish the frittata on the stove, usually by adding a generous layer of cheese, you can just pop the whole thing in the oven to brown on top.  The only truly aggravating thing about creating frittata is that it takes a long time.  To slice the thin potatoes, to brown the potatoes, to prep and sautee the other veggies, to mix the eggs, to get the whole thing together on the stove and then to brown it in the oven takes some serious cooking time. However, I have found the process to be worth it, 100%, each time I have concocted a frittata.

Something I did this time, was take the frittata and flip it onto my large wooden cutting board to cut it.  This saved the integrity of my pan a little, made sort of an interesting serving dish, and made me feel pretty skilled for being able to deftly flip a large pan full of food onto another surface without destroying it.  My roommate was impressed anyways.

In other non-frittata related news, I recently discovered a way of making my gluten, yeast, dairy, egg free BFF a real chocolate cake.   This is how it went down.  I said I would have her and her boyfriend over for dinner.  Knowing the constraints this would put on my menu choices, I chose pork roast, roasted root veggies, and corn on the cob (something I know she likes).  We were talking online day of and she was lamenting about how she would never be able to eat real cake again, and it struck me that my mother had made eggless cakes for our family growing up all the time, because my father was allergic.  It was called a screwball cake, probably because the recipe sounds kind of crazy.  Since GF folks are pretty numerous and pretty vocal, there are some decent GF baking flours on the market.  So I picked up a bag of GF baking flour, and I baked her a cake.  So, for those of you who battle dietary restrictions including, gluten, dairy, yeast, and/or egg, here is a recipe for you to have your cake and eat it.  All of it.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Mix 3c flour (GF if necessary), 2c sugar, 1/2c cocoa, and 1/2 tsp salt in a large bowl.  You might need to sift the mixture together, as GF flour likes to clump a little more than wheat flour.  Once it’s all combined, you make three holes in the mix.  (Nothing fancy, just dig out three holes equidistant from each other.)  In one hole, put 2tsp baking soda, in the next hole put 2tsp white vinegar, and in hole #3, put 1c oil (it’s not all going to fit in the hole, relax.  This deviates from the recipe a little, but I throw a little vanilla in at this point too, with the oil, or before the oil in hole three.  Then you pour 2 cups cold water over the top of everything, and mix it all together.  Pour into a 9×13 ungreased pan and bake for 45 mines.  Voila, gluten free, egg free, dairy free, yeast free cake!  I made a topping with powdered sugar, almond milk, and cocoa to pour over the top.  It was a hit with my friends for sure.

Garlic Scape Pesto Times Two

I have been back from the UK and still feel unprepared to write about the trip.  I thoroughly enjoyed the time with new and old friends.  I saw amazing sites and took some pretty good photos.  I ate a lot of potatoes and fish and pork [gasp!].  The trip was the perfect balance of sight-seeing and relaxing.  Look forward to some words about the UK shortly, but for now I must move on to other timely topics.

Week 6 of our CSA offered this beautiful bounty.  In the back is another huge head of lettuce.  The lettuce this year has often been larger than my head, requiring only a leaf or two for a side salad.  Fresh and crisp.  Delish.  Moving forward, is some beautiful rainbow swiss chard which was turned into a caramelized onion and chard fritatta for breakfast with yoga friends yesterday morning.  A bunch of beets are near the front.  The greens were braised in stock, shallots, and garlic and served with the roasted beets as a side dish one evening.  A few sprigs of basil are tucked in the front.  They served as back up to the main stars of this week.  See those curly garlic scapes in there?  They were one of my favorite CSA arrivals last year and I have eagerly awaited their return this year.  Here’s a shot of them up close.   My understanding is that cutting the tops, or scapes, from the garlic root, encourages growth.  I am happy to foresee gorgeous heads of garlic in my summer and fall shares and enjoy the more gentle flavor of scapes today.  Last year, I discovered garlic scape pesto.  This week, I made a batch with the fresh basil, scapes, cashews, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

As with many things, pesto-making requires no formal recipe.  Each batch should be as unique as the individual mixing it up.  I put about 6 garlic scapes, 15 leaves of basil, 1/3c of cashews, a dash of salt and pepper in the food processor.  I drizzled in olive oil until an aromatically lovely sauce formed.  After tasting, I realized I had quite a garlicy pesto.  I decided that a gentle heating would help cut some of the spicy garlic flavor.

For the first night, I baked slabs of tofu in the oven.  You could pay fry them on the stovetop, but I was roasting beets at the same time and when the summer temperatures rise, I try to use the oven as little as possible and to maximize the energy expenditure when I do turn the dial on.  I popped tofu slices in an oiled baking pan at 400 degrees.  After 10 minutes or so, I flipped the slices and browned on the other side.  I topped the slices with a dab of pesto and popped back in the oven for an additional few minutes.  The additional heat was perfect.  The pesto was still fresh and clean, but the bite of the raw garlic was tempered.  It was a lovely main dish.  I suspect roasted or grilled chicken or fish would be lovely this way.  Try it and let me know!

Later that week, I made gluten-free pasta and tossed it quickly in a warm pan with the rest of the pesto.  The second meal was lovely.  Fresh like a warm spring June evening.  A fresh salad, glass or two of pinot grigio, and the conversation of friends is the perfect way to compliment this meal.

As our tomato and pepper plants are hanging heavily with future meal prospects, we eagerly await Tuesday’s CSA share.  Zucchini and yellow squash should arrive soon, right?  How are you enjoying the fresh produce of the season?

Time for a Journey

I would love to tell you about the lovely cooking that has been going on in my kitchen, but this pile suggests where my time and energy has been focused for the last week or so.  It’s funny, I kept saying, “As soon as I finish my culminating project, I will have a ton of free time.”  Hmm.  Maybe not.  Mid-May arrived, my project was completed, reviewed and stamped with those approval marks that stressed me out for months.  But somehow my free time never arrived.  Of course, I still had two classes.  So then I said, “As soon as I get these projects done, I will take time to breathe!”  Again, projects were submitted early, grades were posted and I found myself still spinning through my days.  As my graduate school commencement is now less than 24 hours away, you would expect me to be blogging the words of freedom and relaxation.  Instead, I am running about, seeing dear friends from out of town, washing clothes, buying last minute items, applying for just one more job, running.  Running.  Running.  But all is good.  The running will end shortly and I will happily find myself running to the airport to catch a flight to London.  The Philosopher and I have been saving pennies for two years and now for the opportunity to travel for our “honeymoon”.  We planned this trip quickly and I still can’t completely report our itinerary.  We are meeting more dear friends across the pond for some time sightseeing in the city and relaxing in a cottage in Wales.  Please, don’t feel sorry for me.  While the burden of drinking a cup of coffee on our balcony overlooking the mountains will be difficult, I will try to find a way to enjoy myself.  Afternoons hiking the countryside will be taxing, but I am certain I will pull through.  Seeing old friends and meeting new ones will inevitably leave me talking all night long, but I will survive.  Somehow.  I hope to have some wonderful pictures and stories to share when I return.

In the meantime,  I promised to share CSA news every week.  Here are some lovely pictures of some of this week’s goodness.  We received carrots, green onions, salad greens, leaf lettuce, and kale this week.  The recipe of the week for the CSA could be titled “The Five Thousand and Fifteenth Thing to Do with Kale”.  But let’s just call it lovely.

Kale with Indian Spices

In a deep skillet or wok heat oil and gently warm minced garlic and 1/2t mustard seeds until the seeds begin to pop.  Add 1T turmeric, 1T ground coriander, 1/4t cayenne (more or less to taste), 1T cumin., and a few pinches of garam masala.  Warm the spices until fragrant.  Add a large bunch of kale cut into 1-2″ pieces.  Add one small can of crushed tomatoes (I added one half of a large can) or use a few fresh tomatoes and one can of coconut milk.  Cook until thickened over medium-low heat (about 5-10 minutes) and serve over quinoa or rice.  I added chopped fresh green onions to the top.  This is an absolutely lovely way to eat kale.  Warming, yet refreshing.  Add a can of  garbanzo beans or some fried tofu to make it a one pot meal.

I wish everyone a lovely couple of weeks.  There will likely be no update until I return to The Bus as I plan to leave technology on this side of the pond.  Enjoy yourselves and eat well!

A Season to Grow

Both Rachel and I have shares in CSAs this year.  I had a great experience last year with the Sippel Family Farm, you can read about my year in food throughout the blog and check my financial analysis of our decision to purchase a share here.  My farmers began delivering produce last week.  Unfortunately, due to class and work schedules, this was our first week of harvest.  This summer, I am going to try to update you weekly on the produce I receive and recipes that I invent from the produce.

So here goes.  This week we received a HUGE head of beautiful leaf lettuce, a bag of spinach, a head of escarole, and green onions.

Tuesday night I did what became a norm last year, sauteing veggies together in a skillet and enjoying the beauty of the harvest.  Escarole, ground turkey, green onions, salt, and pepper braised together happily, then rested atop a helping of quinoa, and filled excited bellies as the first flavors of Ohio reached our excited lips.  This week we have happily eaten many lovely things filled with that head of lettuce.  Oh lettuce wraps.  You make a fabulous lunch.

Tonight I used another favorite CSA produce cooking method.  I made a frittata.  You don’t hardly need a recipe for frittatas, the best part is throwing lovely ingredients together and cooking for a short while on the stove, then covering with lightly whisked eggs and popping it all in the oven.

If you are a recipe-follower, here’s a basic guideline to brinner at our house.  First chop potatoes and toss with a generous amount of olive oil.  Top with paprika and kosher salt and pop in a 400+ degree oven.  Tonight mine was set at 425.  Forget about them while you chop some veggies.  I tend to stir potatoes every 10-15 minutes while roasting.  They will likely need ~30 minutes in the oven, depending on how big your chunks are.

Choose a large, oven-safe skillet.  Chop 1/2 of an onion (or throw the whole thing in if you want more onion and less other veggies)  and saute in oil until translucent.  Add asparagus from your mother’s garden cut into 1″ pieces and cook another 2 minutes.  Add spinach and 1-2 tomatoes and cook until the spinach has cooked down.  In the meantime, scramble ~8-10 eggs.  I had 5 leftover egg whites in my fridge from a previous cooking experiment, I added 4 more whole eggs.  Add coconut milk (or a milk of your choice), salt and pepper.  Whisk together well.  When veggies are ready, turn off the heat and top the veggies with the eggs.  Pop in the oven on a middle rack (move the potatoes down, if you have to).

Check the fritatta periodically and remove when the center has set fully.  Run a knife around the edges to gently loosen from the skillet.  Place a plate over the pan and flip onto the plate to serve.  Add a sprinkling of chopped green onions and serve.

Those of you allowed to have cheese should never hesitate to add a handful to the frittata before popping in the oven.  You should also consider this a great opportunity to eat hot sauce.  As you can see, my frittata got a little brown around the edges, which prompted The Philosopher to excitedly state, “That’s ok, it looks like pizza!”  I am not exactly sure it tasted like pizza, but brinner has always been one of my favorite surprises.  I am pretty sure that only good things come from eating breakfast at dinner time.  Especially when the ingredients are local and the farmers have become part of your community.

That’s comfort food.