Saturday, January 17, 2015

Crisper Frittata

So, you got your CSA box a few days ago and have a pile of interesting vegetables in your crisper and none of them are getting any what do you do? Crisper frittata! That is, if you have an extra dozen eggs around and a big pile of cheese. Because, my friends, cheese is what we are about these days.

However, if you are dairy free, then absolutely no worries. Just leave off the cheese and enjoy the eggs without! This recipe is absolutely delicious without any dairy at all. It is entirely possible to add a few more tablespoons of your chosen non-dairy creamy goodness to the eggs if you choose to go cheese-less. (See below for suggestions - our own choice for this when we were dairy-free was coconut milk or coconut milk kefir, but we recently had some absolutely amazing savory cashew cream as part of a beautiful scramble at Harlow in Portland and I'd be really curious as to how that might work.) Another option for topping is to sprinkle toasted sesame seeds or even za'atar on top to serve, of course, depending on what flavorings you've chosen.

Other thoughts: While I indicate in the recipe to use oregano, it is also terrific with about 3-4 chopped fresh basil leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or tarragon. If you are not an herb fan, feel free to cut back to 1/4 teaspoon or to leave it out entirely.  The flavor combination is quite improvisational, so make it yours!

Lastly, this frittata does well with yesterday's vegetable dish instead of a new sauté.

Crisper Frittata 
(otherwise known as a crustless quiche with lots and lots of veggies)
This is about 2 meals for a family of 3.
  • 12 eggs
  • 8-12 oz jack and/or cheddar cheese, shredded (adding mozzerella is good here, too)
  • 3 tablespoons organic whole milk yogurt OR the unsweetened creamy goodness of your choice: coconut milk, nut yogurt, cashew cream, etc
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • about 1 tablespoon of butter or similar fat (tallow, drippings, grapeseed oil, lard) for frying
  • optional: more butter, cubed into small pieces 
  • One medium to large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano OR a sprig of fresh leaves, chopped

A combination of chopped veggies that equals

  • ...about 2 heads of greens, de-ribbed and chopped.
  • ...2-3 heads of broccoli, chopped (about what you'd find in a grocery store bound up in a rubber band).
  • ...1 lb mushrooms either sliced or chopped with a few well-washed sliced leeks instead of onion.
  • ...4 chopped summer squash (cut these up first, then mix them up with about a teaspoon of sea salt and let them sit for about 15 minutes, then rinse well before cooking).
  • ...or some tasty combination that just about fills a large fry pan, whatever is in season: peppers, zucchini and tomatoes in the summer, roots or cabbage in the's all good!
Here we go:

Preheat the oven to 350F. 

Gently sauté the onions (or leeks) in the fat in a large, oven-safe frying pan or iron skillet about 12 minutes or until soft.

While the onions are cooking, whisk the eggs with the salt, herbs and the yogurt. Add about 3/4 of the cheese, reserving enough to cover the top. Set aside.

Add your veggies to the pan in order of hardness - the hardest first, the softest last. Cook until the vegetables are soft, but hold their shapes.

Pour the egg/cheese mixture on top and fold into the veggies. Spread the last of the cheese and/or cubed butter or fat to the top. Let cook on the burner a few minutes, then put the whole pan, uncovered, into the oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. A knife inserted in the center should come out clean.

Slice and serve with avocado slices, a green salad or a cup of soup.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

...and another one: Hearty Mushroom Soup!

I'd have taken a picture, but we pretty much decimated it before I could document. (I have to get better about grabbing a bowl for the camera.)

Maybe when we pull out the last bit tomorrow for dinner I can get a shot. Besides, I had the clear feeling that it will be so much yummier after it blends overnight.

There are a LOT of mushrooms in this! It is a good, solid meal in itself, although I have to say, a few spoonfuls of beef stew are very nice mixed in or on the side. 

As for the type...go for it. I managed to find some really nice mushrooms at the market. We're on a budget, so I used half crimini and half button with one big chantarelle added in for flavor, but this would also be nice with shitake, trumpet, morel...whatever strikes your fancy.

Lastly, I used a lot of fat in this. You could, conceivably use less, especially if you have good drippings in there. 

Hearty Mushroom Soup


2 large onions, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/4-1/2 cup of chicken drippings if you have them
3 cups whole mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 cups whole mushrooms, sliced
2-3 cups good chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt (or less - to taste)
pepper to taste

Sauté the onions in the butter and olive oil for about 10-12 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook gently until aromatic. Add the thyme, vinegar and drippings. When the thyme and vinegar are fragrant, add the chopped and sliced mushrooms, blend well, cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until the liquids in the mushrooms are visible and simmering and the mushrooms are cooked through. Add the stock, bring to a boil and cook away the liquid until the soup is rich and thick (not so thick that it's gloppy, but just enough so that it's a good mouthful). Add the salt and pepper, check the seasoning, then simmer a bit more to blend them.

Serve with a dollop of homemade (preferably raw) sour cream.

Although we didn't try this, a tasty dairy-free alternative could be a squirt of lemon instead of the cream.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Healthy Hot Cocoa

It's not that I don't have time to cook anymore, it's that I don't have time to both cook AND blog. But I have promised more than one person that I will try to post regularly.

I have also almost finished rereading Lierre Keith's The Myth of Vegetarianism, and after a holiday week full of sweet treats, I have again vowed to cut back on my and my family's sugar intake, including fruit. 

So here is the first recipe for the new year. It's easy, quick and it will be super-popular with the small set.

Hot cocoa!

...and not just any hot cocoa. With good chocolate, very gently heated so as not to ruin the vitamins and enzymes in the raw, whole milk or, better yet, raw cream. (Yum!) Raw, local honey is added after heating, again, to preserve its nutrients. Technically you can make it with raw cacao, although, to be honest I have often found that the raw stuff has a musty smell that seems like it would be problematic for me, personally, with my sensitivity to molds and yeasts.

Hot Cocoa


2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2-3 tablespoons water (enough to make a paste)
1/4 teaspoon organic vanilla extract or 1/8-1/4 of a vanilla bean pod
1 cup raw whole milk or cream
Raw honey or stevia to taste

In a small saucepan on low heat, blend the cocoa, vanilla extract and water into a creamy paste. If you are using a vanilla bean, cut open and scrape the beans into the chocolate and water mixture.

Add a few tablespoons of milk to the paste and whisk well. When it's entirely blended, add the rest of the milk and heat only until it's just a little warmer than body temperature, so that it feels just barely warm on a finger. Turn off the burner and add honey to taste.

This is absolutely delicious with a few tablespoons of unsweetened whipped cream.


Using unsweetened baking chocolate.. .melt 1-2 ounces gently with the vanilla, whisk in the milk bit by bit and heat to just over body temperature. (I haven't entirely perfected the concentration of chocolate here and tend to add too much, so let me know what you find.)

It can also be made with coconut milk, almond milk or any other non-dairy milk (although do yourself a favor and skip the soy). It can even be made with water for a more coffee-like experience, especially if you skip the sweetener. Just substitute one cup for one cup of milk.