Friday Recipe: Fritatta Template

Everyone who cooks has a different approach to making dinner. Some people follow recipes, some have a repertoire of dishes that they rotate, and others just improvise based on what is in the fridge or garden. Most of us probably use a combination of these approaches. 

Myself, I love experimenting with new recipes, but most of the time, I play it by ear. I don't think I ever make the same thing with the same ingredients twice, partly because I'm too disorganized to plan and shop according to plan, and partly because I love food and gardening and farmers' markets. I shop for groceries the way some women shop for clothes: obsessively, impulsively, and aesthetically.

Also, I like leftovers. It's a great relief to have a good lunch for the next day in the fridge before you go to bed at night. This is one of the main reasons why a fritatta is my go-to last minute meal. Here's what I do; you can try it too.
Dinner is served. Now with product placement.

I can't imagine doing this in anything but a cast iron pan. Mine is 10"; I have to use both hands to pick it up. If yours is a little smaller, you could use fewer eggs, or just cook it longer. 

10 eggs 
2 cups of veggies (and/or bacon, sausage, or ham)
1 cup of cheese 
Butter/ olive oil/ lard/ your preferred cooking grease

Onions, summer squash, and potatoes
1. Preheat your cast iron pan. If you want to caramelize onions, remember to keep the heat medium low. If you're in a hurry, crank it and get ready to stir.

2. When the pan reaches your desired heat, cook your veggies/meats in plenty of butter or oil.

3. Meanwhile, scramble the eggs with a pinch of salt and a generous grind of black pepper. When your veggies are cooked, pour in the eggs. Don't stir, just even it out a bit. Turn the heat to low.

4. Wait a few minutes, and add the cheese evenly. It's ok if it sticks up out of the egg mixture a bit; that part will brown nicely under the broiler. 

Add cheese...
5. Let the eggs cook until the bottom is set. The edges will get less wiggly, but the middle will still be very liquid. Preheat the broiler while the eggs cook.

6. When the bottom and edges are set, put the pan under the broiler for 4-8 minutes, until the fritatta is  golden brown, slightly puffed, and feels firm to the touch. Let it cool for a couple minutes, and cut into 6 or 8 slices.

Serve with a salad and some good bread. If you're a small family, the leftovers make a great sandwich for breakfast or lunch.

Suggested combinations:
  • Caramelized onion, bacon, and chèvre
  • Spinach, onion, and feta
  • Broccoli and cheddar
  • Summer squash, onion, potatoes, and chèvre
You get the idea. Maybe you could put your favorite combination in the comments.


Chickie Baby

The bad news is that something's been eating our chickens. I noticed that there seemed to be fewer of them, and my suspicions were confirmed when I discovered a slaughtered hen caught in the fence. It was a pretty grisly scene, and we've been on chicken alert ever since. I thought we had lost five of our dozen hens, until one morning, before milking, Farmer Fin hurried me down the hill. This is what he wanted to show me:
Unbeknownst to us, one of the red hens somehow slipped away, laid an egg, and sat on it for three weeks until it hatched. Celeste is a mommy! She's a good one, too. It's hard to even get a picture of her chick; as soon as I get close, she spirits it away under her wing or into some tall grass. Chickie Baby follows its mother around all day, eating bugs and chirping constantly. Yesterday Celeste brought it up to the chicken yard and showed it how to eat chicken feed, like a chicken.
Chickie Baby is adorable, but its a hard world for a little chick. I hope the rooster is looking out for his baby. I also hope the baby turns out to be a hen.


Adventures of the Very Small

The triplets are three weeks old and summer is in full swing. It's a good time for adventures. Last week, they went out in the pasture with their herd for the first time. 
Taking It All In


Mr. Kitten Chewing on Willow's Milk Face 
The big world is a little overwhelming when one is so very small, but there is so much fun to be had.

Also, the kids made a new friend. Bird, the Cotton Hill farm dog, has been accompanying us to the night-time feeding lately. He is not immune to the charms of soft little animals. In fact, he likes to lick their ears.

Look at that vicious pit bull! The littles were scared at first, but now they like to smell him, too. It's a peaceable kingdom up here on the hill.


Friday Recipe: Goat Cheese Pesto Dip

Lots of parties in the summertime! Pair fresh goat cheese with summer produce for a quick, tasty appetizer to bring to a barbecue or garden soirée. If you have a garden or a friend with a garden, or go to your local farmers' market, you are probably seeing a lot of garlic scapes lately. A scape is the top, or stem, of the garlic plant. They are curly and whimsical!
There were tons of scapes at our market (http://www.delmarmarket.org/) last week, and they will probably be there again tomorrow. Combined with spinach, arugula, or a leafy green herb, like basil or parsley, garlic scapes make wonderful pesto. You can see my arugula hiding beneath the scapes there.

For the pesto, fill the bowl of a food processor with a bunch of scapes and your greens. Add some good olive oil and process for about a minute, until it all begins to come together. Then, add a scant cup of toasted nuts or seeds. If you are a literalist, you should use pine nuts. If you can't afford them, pumpkin seeds work nicely, as do almonds or walnuts. Save a handful for a garnish! Process until a sort of paste forms. Be sure to leave some chunky bits in there; texture is good!

Then, spread four ounces or so of good fresh goat cheese on the bottom of a dish. I used this pie plate because it's glass, but you probably have something prettier, don't you!
Spread the pesto on top of the goat cheese, just enough to cover. Those garlic scapes are pungent, and you don't want to overwhelm! Then, sprinkle the toasted nuts on top. Voilá! Grab some crackers and head out. Don't worry if you're fashionably late; it's summer, and you have goat cheese. Have fun!


Kittengoat Update

In case you were wondering, little Mr. Kitten is hanging in there, thriving even. At two weeks old, he has probably doubled in size - he's at least three pounds now. Mr. Kitten loves milk! He has an overbite! And knobby knees! He mews! Go, Mr. Kitten, go.