Monday, February 21, 2011

Free Ta-tas?!?

Hethyr:  Well, now that I have your attention, what I actually meant was FRITTATAS!  I know, I know - totally egg-cellent.  *groan*

Not to beat a dead horse, but when you've got a lot of one ingredient, you learn to use it in many different ways.  Ewww!  Now I'm giving you recipes incorporating dead horses???  Just kidding - potatoes are that one thing (okay, one of about four things) for us right now.  Our last post included a recipe for Potato, Apple and Sausage Casserole, but those potatoes just keep on coming in our Grant Farms CSA share, so what next?

Use seasonal ingredients for the best taste!
One of Jon's favorite meals is a good frittata and I'm fairly sure I've never made the same one twice. A frittata is an Italian-style, open-faced omelet that is first cooked on the stove, then transferred to the oven to finish.  One of the many reasons we love them so much is because they are so versatile. A good frittata can be made year-round with whatever ingredients you have on hand.  You can throw in any variety of veggies, meats, cheeses, herbs and spices or "visit" one of your favorite countries - Italy (crispy prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil or basil pesto), Greece (shredded chicken or ground lamb, feta cheese, Kalamata olives and oregano) or India (ground lamb, potatoes, peas and curry).  One that would be beyond delectable in the spring is asparagus, morel and goat cheese with crushed red pepper. Mmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.  The combinations are infinite!

We always have the most delicious and beautiful farm-fresh eggs on hand and we would recommend using farm-fresh eggs if possible.  If you haven't tried them, now is the time - you don't know what you're missing! The color of the yolks is a vibrant yellow-to-orange, where the yolks of grocery store eggs are a pale, dull yellow.  I'm not even sure how to describe the taste difference...  the farm-fresh eggs are so much tastier! They're light, fluffy and rich.  And we feel good in knowing that the chickens have good lives - not like those factory farmed chickens involved in the latest egg recall...  okay, off my soapbox and back to the recipe!  =)

Potato and Sausage Frittata
Serves 4

  • 2-3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 medium potatoes, skin-on, diced 1/2-inch (if you have them on hand, use leftover cooked potatoes to save some time)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 ounces linguica, andouille or kielbasa sausage, diced 1/2-inch
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded, ribbed and diced 1/2-inch
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk or goat milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Optional toppings:  sour cream, hot sauce, sliced green onions
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add potatoes and toss to coat.  Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir, replace lid and cook for another 5 minutes. Continue in this manner until potatoes are golden-brown and fork-tender, another 5-10 minutes.  Set aside.

Heat a separate large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat.  Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5-10 minutes.  Remove from skillet and set aside.

In same large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.  Add onions and bell pepper and sauté until softened, about 5-8 minutes.

Add potatoes and sausage to onion mixture in skillet and reduce heat to medium-low.

Preheat broiler (to high if your oven has a setting option); in a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper and thyme.  If necessary, melt the additional tablespoon of butter in the skillet, then slowly pour in the egg mixture.  Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until the eggs are almost set.

Place the skillet under the broiler (about 4-6 inches from heat source at top of oven) and cook for about 3 minutes or until the eggs are set and the top of the frittata is golden-brown.  CAREFULLY remove from the oven - the handle will be HOT so don't touch it with bare hands!

Slice into wedges and top with sour cream, hot sauce and sliced green onions, if desired.

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Jon:  I can't even hear the word frittata without thinking about Chief Wiggum and Lou...

Wiggum:  "Now boys, what would you say to some Belgium Waffles?"  Lou:  "Actually, I was in the mood for some frittatas."  Wiggum:  "Ha!  Lou and his frittatas. Hahahahahahahahahahaha!  Oh, he likes eggs."

If you happen to share a similar spiritual connection to "The Simpsons," then that exchange was more entertaining than confusing. If it was just confusing, I suggest you watch more Simpsons.

While "The Simpsons" taught me the word frittata (as well as many other valuable life lessons), it was a restaurant in Scottsdale called The Good Egg that introduced me to the taste of this wondrous breakfast item.  This was definitely one place that backed up its name... they did, in fact, serve up a damn good egg. Of course now that Hethyr and I have evolved into total food snobs, we would need to know everything about the life of the chickens who laid the good eggs before we would consider supporting this biz by consuming its food.  Regardless, it tasted great at the time and added another edible love to my life.  Eggs are a weakness of mine, which partially explains my 239 cholesterol level (genetics being the primary culprit). But a frittata can have a really high veggie-to-egg ratio to minimize the artery-clogging effect.

I try not to spend too much time on my soap box in this blog, but I'm going to hop up there for a minute anyway.  Buying locally-laid farm-fresh eggs from humanely raised chickens rather than hormone-laced commercial-grade eggs laid by grossly mistreated chickens is a simple action to take.  Tons of people all over the country raise their own chickens.  A person in Colorado Springs, for example, can legally have ten cluckers hanging out in their yard.  We know several people around town who take advantage of this, proving once and for all that dogs, cats and chickens can live together in harmony.  Many people, therefore, can find fresh eggs right in their own neighborhood, or at least at a nearby farm.  So show a chicken some love and eat a truly good egg.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Potatoes, Apples and Sausage! Oh, My!

Sunny, warm and beautiful!
Hethyr:  What a good day I had today!  I attended a yoga class, then walked our dog to the park for a picnic lunch.  As I write this, it’s 62°F and sunny and one of the last things on my mind is comfort food, but let’s face it – it’s the middle of February and winter isn’t gone by a long shot (at least in Colorado!).  Although it feels weird to be writing about a cold-weather dish on such a perfect day, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be glad to have this recipe on hand when the cold and snow return.

If you’re a regular reader, you may recall that we’ve done a post on apples, we’ve mentioned how inundated we were with squash for a while and we’ve just skimmed the surface in relation to beets.  But we haven’t even mentioned potatoes yet, which is a surprise to me since we have more of those on hand than just about anything else.  I am always racking my brain for new and interesting ways to use them and I came up with this winner the other night (when the temperature was around 0°F).  I threw in some apples for good measure.  ;)

"I just think they're neat!"
~Marge Simpson
Although potatoes are often thought of as comfort food, they are very good for you as well.  They are low in calories, naturally fat-free, high in vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and fiber and they have the potential to lower blood pressure.  I almost always leave the skin on since that’s where a lot of the nutrients lie.  I recommend using organic potatoes as non-organic potatoes have been found with high pesticide levels.  You can read more about the health benefits of potatoes here.

We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!  Please feel free to leave comments with your substitutions as I’m always interested in new twists on an existing recipe.  Okay, I’m off to play outside again!  =)

Potato, Apple and Sausage Casserole
Serves 6
Obviously, we couldn't wait to dig in!

  • 2 pounds potatoes, skins on, diced 1/2”
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 12 ounces linguica, andouille or kielbasa sausage, diced 1/2”
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 medium apples, cored, peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/4 cups milk
  •  1 1/4 cups Swiss cheese, grated
  •  Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat oven to 350°F; in a medium saucepan, cover potatoes with cold water, then bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 12-15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.  Drain and set aside.

Taters, apples & sausage, oh my!
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add sausage and onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes or until onions are beginning to soften.  Add apples and cook for 2 more minutes.  Remove from skillet and set aside.

In the same skillet, melt remaining butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.  Slowly whisk in the milk and cook, stirring, until thickened.  Gradually add the cheese and stir until melted and smooth.  Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and thyme.

Ready to bake... cheesy goodness!
Transfer the potatoes and sausage mixture to the skillet and toss to coat with the sauce.  Transfer to a greased casserole dish and top with remaining cheese and season with salt and pepper.  Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and casserole is hot throughout.  Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Note:  Leave out the sausage for a good cold-weather side dish for chicken or pork.  This would also be excellent with Gouda or smoked Gouda cheese!

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Jon:  As much as I love creative and eccentric recipes with colorful vegetables and fancy ingredient names that I can't pronounce, I occasionally have the same primal craving for meat and potatoes today as I did when I was a kid.  I also have a fondness for casseroles, thanks in large part to my mom.  She was the "Casserole Queen"... the master of combining five ingredients in a dish and baking it until it was ready to feed my brother and me for six consecutive meals.  So when Hethyr was tossing out ideas about ways to use some linguica and potatoes, I voted for the one that involved making a giant cheesy lump of goodness that reminded me of life in the old days.

Of course this recipe is a step above the five ingredient threshold to which my mom held firm (sorry Mom, I don't mean any disrespect... you know I cleaned my plate every meal for my entire childhood).  But this dish really satisfied my need for "comfort food" as Hethyr calls it.  It was nice and spicy thanks to the linguica, and it successfully fed me for several days.  Oh yeah, and it was freakin' delicious.

So now that I've unearthed my casserole-related memories from the eighties, I think it's time to blog some more about that radical decade.  Cindy Lauper, MTV, The Breakfast Club, Rubik's Cube, Miami Vice and parachute pants... coming soon.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

WTF?... What's That Food?

Hethyr:  Jon and I decided to do something a little different this time...  I have a strange fascination with foods that look like things or foods that are just weird and I often document these with pictures.  Friends of mine get a kick out of this and have started to send me their weird food pictures, too.  I'm not entirely sure why they would encourage my odd behavior, but I can't complain...  I've ended up with some great pictures.  =)  For those of you on Facebook, you may have seen these in one of my albums, but I think they're hilarious and worth looking at again and again, so enjoy!

"But the most important rule, the rule you can never forget...
no matter how much he cries or how much he begs...
never, never feed him after midnight."
(Photo courtesy of Mike Pletsch)
Third Leggplant
(Photo courtesy of Mike Pletsch)
Cornjoined twins
(Photo courtesy of Sara Mark)
(Photo courtesy of Terri Russell Bosiljevac)
Cheeky Heirmoon Tomato
Tomatoes for Peace!
(Photo courtesy of Heather Bartlett Cody)
My food has actually started talking.  I think I need to see a shrink.
Creepy veggie people laughing
Spud love
(Photo courtesy of Sarah Burton Kontuly)
Alien peach
(Photo courtesy of Heather Bartlett Cody)
"It's not a tuma!"
(Photo courtesy of Fayre Beltramea)

If you have any strange food pictures that you'd like to share, I always love getting new ones!  Jon and I hope you've gotten as good a laugh as we do when we look at these.  =D