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Easter Foods and a Vegetable Frittata

21 Mar

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My son recently told me that he likes Easter more than he likes Christmas. This was not entirely surprising to hear, since the kid, as I may have mentioned before, has a thing for rabbits. The thing about my son’s relationship to Easter is that, while he loves bunnies, he is not in any way interested in eating bunny-themed treats. Just as in the case of the aforementioned carrot muffins, things shaped like bunnies are, according to him, “too cute to eat.” Chocolate eggs are fine, but, as evidenced by the pile of animal-shaped chocolates we have had sitting on a kitchen shelf for two years now, chocolate bunnies are off limits.

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What is not off limits, thanks to the preponderance of egg-related art projects that come along with Easter, is food made with eggs. Lots and lots of eggs. Whether you are decorating hard-cooked eggs, making cascarones, or creating your very own Easter egg tree (no, seriously, click on that link and behold the glory of a tree decorated with 10,000 individually decorated Easter eggs, and then sit back and dream about the type of omelet that family could make with the insides of those 10,000 eggs that they blew out one at a time), you’re likely to find yourself with a few eggs sitting around this time of the year.

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Though you may not have to think up as many egg dishes as the Kraft family of Germany, chances are you’ll have a few eggs at your disposal this Easter. This is where I come in to help. For the next week or so, it’s going to be all eggs, all the time, or at least until Easter passes and we can all go back to focusing on what we normally focus on around here, which is to say: cake and salads, because that seems to be the theme as of late. (Not at all related, by the way.)

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We’ll start here, with the simplest of egg dishes. A frittata is like a delicious compost pile for all of your refrigerator leftovers. Throw in a bit of this, a bunch of that, stick it in the oven, and moments later you’ve got yourself one delightful meal. The frittata I feature here is comprised of half of a leftover baked potato, the last ribs of a sliced onion, and some day-old garlicky sautéed kale, all topped off with a nice lid of shredded Parmesan cheese. Suitable for any time of the day, it’s a two-part winner for your leftovers and your tummy. Everyone wins.

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Last Year: Chocolate Swirled Bread–another great entry in the cake-as-bread category

Vegetable Frittata

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

¼ cup thinly sliced onion

½ cup diced, cooked potato

1 cup leftover cooked greens (chard, spinach, greens, what have you)

4 large eggs

salt and pepper to taste

dash of good hot sauce (Tapatio, Tamazula, and Cholula are all good candidates)

¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven’s broiler. Arrange an oven shelf in the highest position.

In an ovenproof skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onions, and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes, stir to combine and heat through, then add cooked greens. Stir to combine, the reduce heat to low.

In a small bowl, combine eggs, salt and pepper, and a dash of hot sauce. Whisk with a fork until eggs are combined. Add Parmesan cheese, and stir to combine.

Pour eggs over vegetables in skillet. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, coax any egg run-off back towards the vegetables. Allow to cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the bottom of the eggs seem somewhat set, and the edges of the eggs appear be just beginning to dry. Place skillet on top shelf of oven, directly beneath the broiler. Broil frittata for 2 to 4 minutes, until the middle is set, the top is puffed, and the color is just tinted golden.

Remove from oven, loosen frittata with spatula, and serve hot or at room temperature.

Serves 3 to 4 people.

Leek and Rosemary Scones

26 Feb

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From my house, you can walk to a place to get seasonal handmade pie, two places to get Japanese noodles, a place that makes their own coconut milk to mix into delicious curries, and a place that makes cecina (also called farinata, cecina is a crepe-like flatbread made of chickpea flour) in an enormous wood-fired oven. This summer, there will also be a place to get delicious French pastries and a place to get small batch ice cream. What there will not be, and what there is not now, is a place to get a scone.

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Perhaps due to the proliferation of coffee places that serve the type of scones that are more closely related to a slice of cake or a doughnut, there isn’t a lot of represented variety in the scone world. Most scones encountered these days are sugary, glaze-covered, or chocolate-studded, and while I certainly have no problem with a good selection of sweets being offered, it would be nice to come across the occasional savory scone. Logic leads me to believe that, this being America, the biscuit is most likely the main culprit in the obsolescence of the savory scone, but, me being me, that doesn’t mean I am going to rest easy with that knowledge.

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So, if you are like me, and you are interested in delving a bit deeper into the world of the non-sugary scone, might I suggest you give this delightful leek and rosemary version a try? Flaky and buttery, it’s a welcome addition to a cup of coffee or tea, and it plays very well with the warm and cozy attributes of a bowl of soup. Come to think of it, these scones, so very savory and toothsome, go great with a big, crunchy salad as well, lending a balance of heartiness to the crisp lightness of a big plate of greens. Oh, greens! You could split one of these in half and pile it high with sautéed greens—chard, collard greens, kale, what have you—making yourself a sort of hybrid sandwich that goes a long way towards making a case for the presence of the savory scone. I could keep going with this case for scones, but I think I’ve made good headway so far. How long before a shop offering savory scones pops up near my house? I have no idea. But, so long as my kitchen and I keep up the pace, I don’t anticipate we’ll be needing the services of such a shop.

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Last Year: Marinated Goat Cheese and Savory Olive Oil and Walnut Sables–these go great together!

Another Savory Scone: Cheddar, Apple, and Poppy Seed Scones 

Leek and Rosemary Scones

4 medium leeks, white parts only

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

2 sticks (1 cup) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 ½ cups buttermilk or soured milk

Rinse leeks thoroughly, then slice in half lengthwise. Slice each half into thin half moons. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add leeks, then sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the leeks begin to soften. Reduce heat to low, cover leeks, and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the leeks from sticking to the pan. When the leeks are touched with crisp brown edges, uncover the pan, stir for a minute or so over low heat to allow the leeks to crisp up a bit more, then remove leeks to a plate to cool.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, rosemary, and lemon zest. Whisk to combine. Add the cold butter chunks and, using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few large pea-sized butter bits strewn throughout. Using a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula, carefully stir in the buttermilk until the dough appears quite shaggy and just begins to hold together. Fold in the cooled leeks.

Turned the dough out onto a floured surface. Carefully pat the dough into a long rectangle about 18 inches long and roughly 1 ½-inches thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 12 triangles.

Place the dough triangles on the prepared baking sheet. You might need to partake in a bit of creative arranging in order to make all 12 triangles fit on the baking sheet. Bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops of the scones have turned dark golden brown. Remove scones to a wire rack to cool slightly, then serve while still warm.

Makes 12 scones.

Roasted Parsnip and Potato Hash

6 Feb

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An open letter to root vegetables:

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Dear Root Vegetables,

Oh, root vegetables, how I love thee. I love the way you sweeten ever-so-slightly when roasted in the oven, with your edges so crisp, but your middles so soft and fluffy. I love the way your flavors can be so different, and yet you always adapt so well to similar preparations. Not all vegetables can accomplish this. I mean, I love broccoli and I love cauliflower, but have you ever tried to swap the two interchangeably within recipes? Let me tell you, a lot can get lost in that translation, so I advise you to steer clear of that experiment. It’s not like you, root vegetables. You’re all so friendly to one another, so perfectly matched.

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I mean, I just made this great vegetable hash out of three different types of root vegetables, and the whole time I was making it I was wondering how many other root vegetables I could throw into the mix and still achieve the same comforting, savory bite. The answer to that query is, of course, that I could throw in all the root vegetables and always end up with a fantastic combination. Here I have parsnips, sweet potatoes, and red potatoes, but I could easily throw in a diced carrot, a turnip, or even a golden beet and effortlessly end up with a lovely, delicious platter of food. Maybe next time I will give a new cast of root vegetables a try in this recipe. I am sure it will be delicious. I mean, I am sure you will be delicious. Oh, dear. I am sorry. It just occurred to me that, uh, I am going to have to eat you as soon as you read this. Well. This just got rather uncomfortable. My apologies.

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All the best,

Elizabeth

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Last Year: Gingerbread Waffles and Caramel Cream Sandwich Cookies

Roasted Parsnip and Potato Hash Recipe

1 large parsnip, peeled if the skin is tough

1 medium orange-fleshed sweet potato, peeled if the skin is tough

1 large red potato

3 large cloves of garlic

1 large shallot

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

handful of chopped Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange a rack in the second-lowest position.

Dice the parsnip and potatoes into very small ¼-inch chunks. Very coarsely chop the garlic into rough quarters. Slice the shallot in half lengthwise, then into medium ribs. Combine parsnip, potatoes, garlic, and shallot on a large, heavy baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss everything together to combine.

Roast on second-lowest oven rack for 20 minutes, until the bottoms of the root vegetables are nicely browned. Toss the vegetables around a bit, turning them over as much as possible, then continue to roast them for another 5 minutes, until the edges are crisp and golden.

Sprinkle with chopped fresh Italian parsley, then serve with softly fried or poached eggs.

Serves 2 to 4 people, depending on how generous you make the servings.

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