May 5, 2012

Frittatas

It's Saturday morning, and you know what that means---tomorrow is Sunday brunch! It's the reason I go to bed Saturday night. How about a frittata?

Frittatas are intimidating because it's eggs...in the oven?! BAKING?! But rest assured, the majority of the cooking comes from frying it up in a pan like an American-style omelet. You actually only need the broiler in your oven to give it that nice crusty top.

The beauty of a frittata, like any omelet, is that you can put whatever you want in them. Perfect for when you have only a few pieces of bacon or a few springs of asparagus left over from the week.

Ok, these are not leftovers.

Here I have some mushrooms, bacon, and eggs I received from the test-run of Queens Harvest Co-op's buying club. The asparagus and Rupert cheese is from the McCarren Park Saturday Greenmarket. All fresh and delicious.

I followed this recipe by Alton Brown for the general cooking technique. His recipe does not use milk or cream like many others do, so it's healthier but denser than a frittata you may have had in a restaurant. I changed it up but laying bacon strips on the bottom of the pan (must be oven safe!) as a crust, used Rupert cheese instead of Parmesan, and loaded it with veggies that I sauteed before adding the egg mixture.


You're basically just gonna let this cook over a low heat until it is almost nearly set. Then, pop it in the oven under the broiler for just a few minutes, and you'll get this:


Notice how the sides have risen and the top is nice and golden brown. (I did forget to sprinkle cheese on top---woops!) But don't cut into it just yet---let it sit for a few minutes so that the insides can set. The worst is cutting into a frittata and it's still runny in the middle. Once you feel good about all your hard work, cut it into wedges and serve warm.

Garnished with pea shoots and blossoms.


February 21, 2012

23 squidoo

Cooking with ingredients from a farmer's market can be tough when you don't necessarily know what's going to be available that day. Though there are several standbys that are abundant and available almost year-round (root vegetables, mostly), planning a full dinner around a meat can be disappointing when all that's left towards the end of the day are a few sausages and some turkey wings. So once and a while, you have to think on your feet.

Last week I wanted to make a nice dinner for my man and I, so I went in to the McCarren Park Greenmarket in Williamsburg, just a few blocks from his new place, around 2:45 on a Saturday to see what I could scrounge up. Little did I know, that particular market closes at 2:30 on Saturdays. Not to be defeated, I hopped the L train to the Union Square Greenmarket, which I knew to be open til the evening, but also knew to be picked clean very quickly.

Happily, the fish stand usually has plenty of goodies stocked, and they had some squid available that day. I've only purchased fish at the Greenmarket a few times but I am always amazed at how affordable it is. The last time I purchased some clams for like, $4? So squid at was, and for less than $6 for two people, I was sold.

I thought back to the dish I used the clams for in the past and thought that the sweet, bright flavor of the red peppers and garlic would go well with the squid. I considered how people in the U.S. generally eat squid fried, so I would incorporate that texture by roasting some potatoes until crispy, instead.

I was not diligent in my notes so I cannot remember where I bought any of the ingredients, or what kind of potatoes I used (the stand did not have my standby, Yukon gold, but recommended another waxy variety). But even if I knew, the chance that any of it would be available all together the day that you, dear reader, head to the market, is slim--you have to learn to be flexible.


... or cheat a little like I did on this one. I mistakenly thought that bell peppers were available year-round, but they taper off as fall turns to winter. So I picked a few up at a regular grocery store, along with a lemon.
  • Squid (heads and tentacles)--$5.50
  • Garlic, a few cloves--$0.75
  • Greens--$2.50 (I'm starting to force the habit of including leafy greens in my meals, even for breakfast!)
  • Potatoes--$3.00
  • Bell peppers--$1.20
  • Total cost: $12.95 (or $6.45/serving)






Squid takes no time at all to cook--in fact, the less time the better. Just a few minutes on high heat until transparent, done. This meal is quick (besides the marinade), cheap, easy, and different enough to be a departure from your typical dinner. We had no idea how the squid would turn out (never made it before!) so our first bite was a pleasant surprise. Serve with white wine.


January 28, 2012

HAAM

Ham and I have a love/hate relationship. Mostly hate. "Christmas ham" is an oxymoron to me because Christmas is everything good in the world, and ham is a slice of Satan's quivering pink ass cheek.


But everyone knows you can slap some cheese on anything to make it taste good. I got this idea from a cookbook for grills. Everything in the recipe could be sourced locally, so I gave it a go.

Pawlet cheese from Consider Bardwell (VT)
  • A few slices of ham or prosciutto--$4
  • Bosch pear--$1
  • Gorgonzola or some kind of melty cheese--$2
  • Handful of mixed greens--$1
  • Total cost: $8/serving
(Prices are based on what I used for one serving)

The idea is to use the cheese and pear as a filling to little ham packets. If you use prosciutto, you can make these neat little gifts of deliciousness by laying one slice over another in a cross shape, putting in the filling, and then folding the ends over. You could probably make hors d'oeuvre by rolling up one slice around a bit of cheese/pear and sealing with a toothpick  But the ham I got was thick and unfoldable, so I made something like a ham sammich without the bread. I was able to flip this was a large spatula.

Kind of like a Double Down with ham instead of chicken. Ham is from Arcadian Pastures (NY).
The final product is a delicious melty carbless ham sammich-thing. Greens, more pears, and some balsamic dressing on the side. (Add nuts to the salad if you have them--I did not have any.) This was a great, quick lunch after a workout in the park.