Tag Archives: winter

Spring Veggie Shepherd’s Pie with Roasted Garlic-Cauliflower Whip

VeggieShepherd'sPie|Spoonwithme.com (18 of 25)

This is comfort food with a surprise nutritional kick!  Bam!  Just when you say, “oh I’d better not eat very much of that”, I say “gotcha!”.  There is NOTHING “bad for you” in there.  B-b-but….where’s the heavy cream?  No buttah?!  And that is where I smugly tell you that you can, rather must, eat more and be comforted, without the cloud of self-inflicted guilt over too much of this or that.  These are vegetables people!  Eat, drink and be merry!  My house, my rules.

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VeggieShepherd'sPie|Spoonwithme.com (2 of 25)

These little pies would be perfect for a holiday meal,  Sunday dinner with the family, or any other time you want to see a vegetarian turn helplessly giddy.   This recipe is sans the lamb, of course.  If you have the kind of person at your table that doesn’t consider it a meal without meat, you could go one of two routes: First, entrance them with the balanced flavors of the white wine and tarragon vegetable stew and see if they even give a second thought to the “missing” ingredients—I play this game all the time.  If I’m intently staring at you while you take your first bite, it’s usually because I’ve tricked you in one way or another into eating something healthier and better than you ever expected.

VeggieShepherd'sPie|Spoonwithme.com (6 of 25)

VeggieShepherd'sPie|Spoonwithme.com (7 of 25)

If you’re really sure your dinner companion isn’t going to be happy without some meat on his or her plate, you could add a little to the mix. Traditional shepherd’s pie is topped with fluffy mashed potatoes.  My version is crowned with a golden whip of roasted cauliflower and garlic.   Have you ever whipped cauliflower?  To me, it tastes like a more flavorful version of garlic mashed potatoes.  I have nothing against potatoes.  I know some would argue with me on this, but I don’t stress excessively over the naturally occurring starches, sugars, etc in fruits and vegetables.  Obviously, I’m not advocating to eat a truckload of potatoes and nothing else.  The key for me is to vary the types of foods I eat throughout the day and week to make sure that I have a good balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein, and a large variety of fruits and vegetables.

VeggieShepherd'sPie|Spoonwithme.com (9 of 25)

VeggieShepherd'sPie|Spoonwithme.com (8 of 25)

VeggieShepherd'sPie|Spoonwithme.com (12 of 25)

I’ve been thinking about this because a couple weeks ago, I went to Cancer Con, a young adult cancer conference put on by Stupid Cancer.  I spoke on a panel to 700 people (yikes!) about how I support my mind and body through cancer with nutrition, meditation, yoga and other physical activity.  I also attended a talk with an integrative oncology nutrition specialist.  The speaker, Mark Cohen (a clinical oncology specialist) advocated for eating a diet of a diverse variety of foods that are warm, whole, and cooked.

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I know some are convinced of the benefit of a raw diet, but I know that my body digests foods better and therefore absorbs nutrients more readily when I cook them.  If you eat real food, you don’t need rules, Michael Pollan explains in his book Food Rules.  This philosophy feels right in my gut (pun intended).  It’s not a new idea, but with so many fad diets, with lists of dos but mostly do-nots, it’s easy to get confused.

Spring is officially here, and when the weather inevitably swings toward the cold and damp, I hereby invite you to “indulge” in this veggie loving shepherd’s pie.

VeggieShepherd'sPie|Spoonwithme.com (25 of 25)

Spring Veggie Shepherd’s Pie with Roasted Garlic-Cauliflower Whip

Stew adapted from Feasting at Home

Makes 4 to 6 Servings (Four two-cup pies or one 8×8 casserole dish)

For the cauliflower whip:

  • 1 large head cauliflower, broken into 1 1/2 inch florets
  • 3 large cloves garlic, in their skins
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2  cup vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons regular or vegan butter

For the stew:

  • 1 lb diced waxy potatoes (yukon gold, red or fingerling)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion or pearl onions
  • 4 cups any combination of the following: diced carrots, celery, fennel and crimini mushrooms (*see footnote for more details)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine or vermouth
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons gluten-free (or regular) flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot starch (or use additional flour)
  • 4 cups flavorful vegetable or chicken stock, homemade or store-bought
  • 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen shelled green peas
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Special Equipment Needed:

Immersion blender, blender, or food processor

2-cup pie dishes or 8×8 casserole

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425˚F.

Cover the potatoes by 1 inch water in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Add a tablespoon salt to the water.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are on the firmer side of being tender.

Make the Cauliflower Whip:

Toss the cauliflower and garlic in the olive oil, salt and pepper on a large sheet pan.  Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender and deep golden in places.  Pop the garlic out of their skins into a large bowl with the roasted cauliflower (or into a food processor or blender if not using an immersion blender).  While hot, add the vegan butter and stir until melted.  Add the stock and blend using an immersion blender until smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Make the stew:

Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Sauté the onions for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat, until translucent.  Reduce heat to medium and add the carrot, celery, fennel, mushrooms, and salt and pepper to taste.  Sauté until the carrots are crisp-tender, about 8-10 minutes.  Pour in the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze, cooking for about 3 minutes until most of it evaporates.  Add the potatoes, nutritional yeast, and arrowroot starch and flour.  Stir to coat.  Add the stock and mustard, and stir until it comes to a boil and thickens.  Add the peas, tarragon, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for about 10 minutes to allow flavors to meld.  Fill the pie dishes or casserole dish with the stew.  Spread the cauliflower whip in a layer on top.

Reduce the oven to 400˚F.  Bake the pies for 20 minutes.  Turn oven on low broil, and cook an additional 5-6 minutes until the top is spotted a deep golden color (watch closely while broiling to avoid burning).  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Freezing directions:

Spoon the stew into an oven safe, freezer safe dish and top with potatoes.  Cover with saran wrap and put inside a large freezer bag.  When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator for 2 days.  Bake in a 400˚oven for about 30 minutes until hot and bubbling.  Broil the top over low for 5 minutes to achieve a speckled golden top.

 

*Note: I used 3 large carrots, 2 large ribs celery, 1 medium fennel bulb and about 3 oz crimini mushrooms.

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Filed under Main Dishes, vegetarian, Vegetarian and Vegan

Wild Mushroom Wild Rice with Caramelized Onions

 

Wild Mushroom Wild Rice | Spoonwithme.com-19

Rice, gone wild!  Double wild!  Mushroom madness!  All this Thanksgiving recipe testing and eating has put me into a food-induced euphoria.  Wild two times in one title is two too many wilds for one recipe, young lady!  Bring your torches.  Ban.  This.  Site.  Hide your childrens’ eyes!  With all this fungus among-us, it’s gettin’ crazy up in here.

Wild Mushroom Wild Rice | Spoonwithme.com-25Wild Mushroom Wild Rice | Spoonwithme.com-48

I bought a gigantic bag of assorted dried local Colorado mushrooms at the farmers market this summer.  We’re talking two freezer bags worth.  There will not be a mushroom shortage for the foreseeable future in the Spoon With Me house, in case anybody was wondering. What does one do with so many dried mushrooms, you ask?  You know that mouth-coating savory depth that can be hard to achieve in plant-based recipes?  Think of them as a way to boost the umami factor, especially in vegetarian and vegan dishes.  I love to grind them into powder to add savoriness to sauces gravies, and soups.  In this recipe, I used the broth from rehydrating them as part of the cooking liquid for the rice. If you’re a full or part- time vegan or vegetarian, you need dried mushrooms in your arsenal if you want to up the ooooh mommy!

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Spiced Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Apples and Butternuts with Caramelized Pepitas

Spiced Glazed Butternuts|Spoonwithme.com-34

The way we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving throughout history has both changed and stayed the same.  What if, instead of the venison and freshly harvested vegetables the Native Americans and the pilgrims shared to celebrate the harvest, this happened:

Once upon a time, back on the first documented Thanksgiving in 1621, the pilgrims that had arrived on the Mayflower shared a feast with the local Native Americans.  

“Thank you for welcoming us to this bounteous land.  I offer unto you this can of cream of mushroom soup as a gesture of peace.  Please prepare it with your freshly harvested green beans and crispy fried onions.”

 “Why thank you, kind pilgrim.  Please, take this gift of congealed cranberries as a symbol of this shared celebration.  And as an extra special bonus offering, this bowl of mashed potatoes, from a tuber that will not actually make its way to ‘America’ until many years from now.”

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Lucky Black-Eyed Pea, Turkey Sausage and Kale Soup (with a vegan variation)

Vegan Black Eyed Pea and Kale Soup 

Welcome to the first week of the new year.  I don’t know about you, but the mister and I ate well these past couple months!  This time, I don’t mean well in the nutritional sense, I mean well in the tasty carb-laden sense.  January is the time I like to bring myself back into balance.  In these winter months, I’m usually looking for something to fill me up, warm me up, and satisfy my craving for food that comforts, without using heavier meats, carbs and creamy dairy.  That’s where knowing how to coax and prod ingredients together is key.

Dried Black Eyed Peas

Black Eyed Peas (1)

Today’s soup is the definition of slow food.  It’s meant for one of those days where you can give the ingredients time to transform–roast and caramelize, lazily simmer… It’s best to be made while you laze or work around the house, breathing in the smells, taking momentary breaks to chop or saute.  Roasted vegetable stock is a secret weapon that every full- or part-time vegetarian should have in their arsenal.  I make the stock whenever I’m looking for caramelized fullness, adding a layer of depth to soup or sauce.

vegetables

Roasted Vegetables

You can choose between two different variations of this soup: the vegan version or the turkey sausage version.  I use the turkey sausage when I’m looking for a more filling soup with an added layer of savoriness, and the vegan version when I’m just in the mood for vegetables.  Either variation will satisfy your craving for healthy comfort food during these chilly winter months.

Soup with Turkey Sausage

I hope the new year brings you everything the ingredients in this soup represent;  peas for prosperity, greens for money, and healthy ingredients married together to satisfy your belly and make your body happy!

Lucky Black Eyed Pea, Turkey Sausage and Kale Soup

Although this is slow food, be sure to read through the steps first in order to avoid making it slow-er food!  The black eyed peas will need to soak overnight (or quick soak for 2-3 hours).  While the half the vegetables are being roasted for the stock, the other half can be simmering while the beans are cooking.  

  • 1 1/2 cups dried black eyed peas, soaked overnight or quick-soaked (see note)
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey sausage (optional)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5 ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (I use Muir Glenn brand)
  • 6-8 cups roasted root vegetable stock (recipe follows)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme, or 3/4 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus additional to taste
  • 1 bunch dino kale (aka: Lacinato), torn into 1 1/2 inch pieces (discard the thickest parts of the stem)
  • 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar, or to taste

1. Make the roasted root vegetable stock (recipe follows)

2. Drain and rinse the soaked beans (this step can be done while the broth simmers). Place them in a medium saucepan and cover with 2-inches cold water.  Bring to a boil, then cook at a simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half, until beans are tender but not mushy.  Drain and set aside.

3. For the turkey sausage version only (otherwise, skip to step two): heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large dutch oven or saucepan over medium high heat.  Add the turkey sausage to the pan, breaking it into smaller pieces with a spatula.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 5-6 minutes, or until the sausage is cooked through and browned.  Remove the sausage to a plate and set aside.

4. Heat the remaining oil in a large dutch oven or saucepan until shimmering.  Add the diced onion, carrot, parsnip and celery.  Saute for 8-10 minutes until the root vegetables are crisp tender and onion is softened.  Add the garlic and saute, stirring constantly, for an additional minute.  Add the tomatoes, cooked black eyed peas, cooked turkey sausage, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper, thyme, bay leaves, and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt.  Add 6-8 cups broth (you may need more if using turkey sausage).

5. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for an hour.

6. Add the torn kale and simmer for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until the kale is cooked but still holds its shape.

7. Add the red wine vinegar, and season to taste with additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

Roasted Root Vegetable Stock

Adapted from The Vegetarian Kitchen by Peter Berley

Makes about 6-8 cups

  • 2 pounds carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 pounds yellow onions, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 head garlic, separated into cloves (unpeeled)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/2 quarts cold water
  • 1 pound parsnips, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small turnip, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 celery rib with its leaves, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 (1-inch) piece ginger root, cut into 1/8-inch thick rounds
  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss together half the carrots, parsnips, onions, and garlic cloves with the oil, and spread them across one or two baking sheets.  Roast for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are well caramelized.
  3. In the meantime, put the remaining vegetables, along with 2 quarts of the water in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the other half of the vegetables are finished roasting.
  4. Add the roasted vegetables and an additional 6 cups water to the saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Strain the stock and discard the solids.

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Filed under Main Dishes, Soups and Stews

Spiced Apple Croustades

Thanksgiving is a day where you can eat dessert during dinner (sweet potato pie, anyone?), and still eat bonus dessert after dinner is all over.  It’s a time to eat slowly, and together, with friends and family.  Is your time spent laughing and joking, as was par in my family, or participating in more “mature” grown-up conversation?  Growing up with my comedian of a brother, there really was no other option.  Either way, Thanksgiving is sacred time.  Not sacred in the traditional sense, but sacred as in upheld; a time when cell phones are off, no television commercials blaring in the background, and no reason to run off to the next errand.  A time for the face-to-face conversation with people who hopefully uplift you, or if not, at least people who help you grow.

Thanksgiving also marks the starting point to the holiday finish line.  It’s really the calm before the holiday storm, although it may not feel calm now. Ovens on full whack,  family members stuffed into small kitchens, dishes full of Thanksgiving feast components…  Soon enough, there will be concerts to hear, and parties to throw and attend, and gifts to buy…  And more gifts to buy (as I’ve been reminded by all the gurus of black friday advertising).  After the turkey is roasted, and all food is magically hot and ready to put on the table at the same time (ha!), you can let out a big breath and enjoy just being for a little while before the real craziness ensues.

Speaking of all the upcoming festivities,  now’s the time to put a few tricks up your sleeve. You’re going to need a few show-stoppers in your repertoire.  The kind that people ooh and ahh over, and think you spent hours on.  The kind you want to set on the table underneath a silk scarf, and reveal like a rabbit in a hat.

I first laid eyes on these fancy little croustades in the October issue of Bon Appétit. After a little bit of customization (the original recipe needed a few tweaks to turn out right), I was thrilled with the results.  With a medium amount of effort (ie: not this, but certainly not that)  They emerged from the oven in their own little packages, tops all crackly and crisp, filled with gooey spiced apple.  A dusting of powdered sugar put them over the top, and they tasted as good as they looked.  I served them with chinese five-spice coconut milk ice cream (that’s a whole other subject, for another time), and decided to field test them for you, eating one during breakfast time, snack time, and dessert time.  I’m happy to report with confidence that these croustades are equally suited for breakfast (think apple turnovers) as they are for dessert.

Happy cooking, eating, and conversation today, and remember to keep this little gem in your repertoire for when you need a fancy little bite to add to your upcoming festivities.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Apple Croustades

Loosely Adapted from Bon Apetit

Makes 12 Croustades

The apples mixture can be made and refrigerated a day in advance, so all that will be left to do is to layer the phyllo and assemble the croustades.  It’s hard to find dairy-free desserts at this time of the year, with everything filled with heavy cream and butter.  If you’re lucky enough to be a butter-eater, by all means enjoy, but for my dairy-free friends, the results are equally good with Earth Balance.  Oh, and do be sure to thaw your phyllo dough in the refrigerator overnight, as phyllo doesn’t take kindly to thawing in most other ways.

Filling

3 pounds apples, a mix of tart and sweet

1/4 cup unsalted butter or Earth Balance vegan butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons of cornstarch mixed to a paste with 2 teaspoons water (optional)

Pastry and Assembly

12 13×18-inch sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed (from a 1-pound package)

1 stick butter or Earth Balance Butter, melted and cooled, plus more for pans, at room temperature

1/3 cup (approximately) sugar

All-purpose flour (for pan)

powdered sugar for dusting

Equipment

Standard muffin pan

Preparation

For the filling:

Peel half the apples.  Core and chop all of the apples into 1/2” pieces.

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Add the apples, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and kosher salt.  Stir to coat.  Reduce heat to medium and cover the pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes, or until the apples are soft but not mushy.  If much liquid remains, add the cornstarch mixture and stir well.

Set aside to cool completely.  Filling can be made and refrigerated a day in advance.

Assembly:

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

Butter the muffin cups and dust with flour, tapping out excess.

Unroll the phyllo onto a work surface and cover with a damp kitchen towel (squeeze out as much moisture from the towel as you can).

Carefully transfer 1 sheet of phyllo to a clean work surface.  Using a pastry brush, brush the surface of the phyllo with a thin layer of butter, and sprinkle with a generous teaspoon of sugar.  Top with another sheet of phyllo, brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar.  Repeat 2 more times, for a total of four layers of phyllo.Cut the layered phyllo in half lengthwise, then cut both pieces in half crosswise, for a total of four pieces.  Set aside, covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying.

Repeat the process of layering and cutting two more times with the remaining phyllo, butter and sugar, for a total of 12 rectangles.

Arrange the phyllo into each muffin cup, gently pressing the dough down the sides.  Fill each cup with 1/4 cup apple filling.  Gather the edges of the phyllo and press toward the center to make a purse.

Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until golden brown on top, 27-35 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly.  Dust with powdered sugar.  To remove from pan, run a paring knife around the edge of each croustade, and lift them out of the muffin cups onto a serving plate.

Croustades can be returned to the muffin pan and re-warmed if needed.

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Filed under Desserts

Honey-Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

Sometimes when I can’t think of anything to write, I don’t write anything at all.  I could expound upon my writers block, but instead, I thought I’d just start writing. I have grand plans of things to share with all of you for the holidays; food gifts I’m planning to give, appetizer party fare, and general bustling in the kitchen.  I don’t blog as much as I would like, mostly because I am simultaneously right-brained and perfectionistic.  I’m like a kid with a handful of confetti.  I throw all the pieces up into the air, fancy free, and then, through the process of creating the recipe, experimenting with photography, and fussing over what to write, I slowly tie up the pieces into blog entries.

The perfectionism creeps in at different places during the process, and I use the term “perfectionism” loosely, as this mostly means I wait until it feels right before moving onto the next step–it could be looking for the “perfect” recipe idea, or the photograph that helps an ingredient shine, or the perfect subject to write about.  I don’t want all the potential of holiday food blogging to pass me by just because I’m overwhelmed with wrapping my ideas in neat little packages.

This sweet potato soup, as is typical for me, was born out of a scribbled idea in my food-writing journal, and came together on the spot, for a last minute dinner with the mister and the mother in law.  I envisioned a silky smooth soup, honey-laced, smoky and sweet, with slow-building chipotle spice. I debated over how to incorporate the chipotle into the soup, finally deciding to toss the sweet potatoes, onions and garlic in the adobo sauce and chopped chilies and roast it all up in the oven, as is my default in the winter.  I whirred it up with some homemade vegetable broth, and served with a drizzling of olive oil and a scattering of toasted pepitas.  We could taste each component of the soup, from the sweetness of the honey-infused sweet potato puree, to the smokiness from the chipotle chiles.  The roasted onion and garlic lent depth in flavor, and rounded out the sweetness of the potatoes.

I hereby resolve to lasso a little more of my confetti this holiday season.  How about you?  Do you need more lassoing, or could you use a bit more confetti in your life?

Honey-Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

Makes 6-8 servings

Using a whole can of chipotle chiles yields a moderately spicy, but still balanced soup.  (Update:  Some readers found a whole can of chipotle chiles to be too spicy.  Feel free to adjust the amount of chiles according to your tastes)

3 1/2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

1 large onion, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1 inch wedges

8 cloves garlic, peeled

3 tablespoons canola oil

3 to 4 tablespoons honey, divided

1 can (7 ounces) chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (to taste, according to level of heat desired.)

kosher salt

6 to 8 cups vegetable broth

3/4 cups pepitas (pumpkin seeds), toasted

Extra virgin olive oil, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 425˚F.  Finely chop the chipotle chiles, reserving the adobo sauce.  In a large bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, cloves, the adobo sauce, chopped chiles, canola oil, 3 tablespoons honey, and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt.  Toss well to coat.  Spread in a single layer on two foil-lined baking sheets.  Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, trading the position of the pans halfway through, until the potatoes are soft and are dark golden in spots.

Put the roasted vegetables into a large saucepan.  Add 6 cups of the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.  Puree the soup using an immersion blender, or in batches in a normal blender.  Be careful if blending hot soup in the blender–do so in small batches and hold the top on with a kitchen towel to avoid an eruption.  Add the remaining 2 cups of broth as needed to thin out the soup.  Season to taste with kosher salt, black pepper, and an additional tablespoon of honey if desired.

Garnish with a swirl of olive oil, a scattering of toasted pepitas, and a grinding of black pepper.

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“Anytime” Frittata with Chorizo, Potato, and Feta

Three days ago, I made my first frittata.  Three days ago I ate my first frittata.  Three days ago, I burned the heck out of my hand on the handle of my super-heated sauté pan making a frittata…but never mind that.  I ate my frittata that evening, alongside my favorite dinner-mate and a mixed greens salad with roasted shallot vinaigrette.  I noshed on frittata for breakfast, with my favorite canine companion at full attention.  Then, I chowed on frittata for lunch, standing at the kitchen counter thinking about dinner.  Dinner, breakfast, lunch.  I had an epiphany.  Frittatas just might be one of the most versatile dishes known to humankind.

If you are like me, you may be wondering, what is a frittata?  It sounds fancy.  And Italian.  Luxurious, and laborious.  Well, imagine with me if you will, a crustless quiche.  A canvas of whipped eggs filled with whatever vegetables, cheese, or meat suit your fancy at the moment.  This particular frittata starts with eggs whipped with half-and-half, marjoram, salt, and pepper; little cubes of cooked potato, browned chorizo, golden sautéed onions.  Then, it’s topped with salty feta, which melts and leaves the top speckled golden.

Eat it warm, or at room temperature, and accessorize to fit the occasion.  Pair with fresh fruit and an English muffin for breakfast.  Lunch or dinner?  Serve with a light salad or some grilled vegetables.  Shameless snacking?  Eat it by itself, cold and straight from the refrigerator while no one’s watching.  It will still be good.  I’m having a hard time thinking of any other dish I could take to anybody’s house at any time of day.  This can be your go-to breakfast-lunch-dinner-side dish-fancy-casual-easy-impressive contribution to any meal at any time.  Eat it in a box, with a fox.  In a house, with a mouse.  Eat frittata here and there, eat frittata anywhere.

“Anytime” Frittata with Chorizo, Potato and Feta

Adapted slightly  from “Favorite Food at Home:  Delicious Comfort Food From Ireland’s Most Famous Chef”, via the Denver Post

Serves 6-8

  • 2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, halved, peeled, and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 pound ground chorizo
  • 8 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional for
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram, plus additional for garnish
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.

2. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan, and fill with water to cover the potatoes by one inch.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add a couple pinches of salt, and boil the potatoes for 5 minutes, or until cooked through but still firm.  Drain and set aside.

3. Heat one tablespoon oil in a 10-inch ovenproof frying pan or skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally until it is softened and beginning to turn golden, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove the onion from the pan and set aside. Return the frying pan to the stove over medium heat.

4. Add the chorizo to the frying pan.  Cook for 2-4 minutes, breaking the chorizo into small pieces with a spatula, until it is slightly browned, but not completely cooked through.

5. Whisk the eggs, half-and-half, salt, and marjoram in a medium bowl.  Stir in the chorizo, cooked onion, and potatoes.

6. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in the frying pan until hot.  Swirl the oil in the pan to coat the bottom and sides.  Pour in the egg mixture and stir to distribute the ingredients evenly.  Top with the crumbled feta.

7. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until set in the center.  Set the oven to broil, and cook for 1-2 additional minutes, or until the top of the frittata is spotted and golden.  Allow to cool slightly before serving (and make sure not to grab the hot pan handle with your bare hand like I did!).

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Filed under Breakfast and Brunch, Main Dishes, Side Dishes