Change

Lots o’ changes going on over here! #1 I took an offer for a new job,  a job where I actually have to wear something other than running clothes. Where I work 8:30 to 5. Yeah….let me just take that in a second. Whoah.  I am excited, mostly because I am a huge nerd and like to learn, and my life is going to be one big learning mountain the next few years as I enter a whole new world. #2 We took in a new family member. Scroll down for pics! #3 Whole Foods Savannah opened.  I repeat. A WHOLE FOODS now exists in Savannah. I like to call it my second home. I visited 3 times the first two days. I have a whole post planned on budget-conscious finds at Whole Foods, for those naysayers who call it “Whole Paycheck”. pshhh. #4. Great Harvest Bakery Savannah opened! Please, go buy a loaf of Dakota bread. It will be the best and most expensive loaf of bread you ever buy. But you will savor each wholesome, seedy, soft slice. mmmmm. #5 The air conditioner at our home has gone out twice. We are receiving a new unit in “3 to 5 business days”, which I prefer to call “torture ” days….

But let’s get down to the just of this post, which is that I am in desperate need of some jalapeno recipes. What do you do with 20 + jalapenos?

I’m glad you/I asked. I began to research the best jalapeno recipes on the web.

You could make these pickled jalapenos. I think these would be delicious on tacos, sandwiches, casseroles, and even in omelets. Pickled jalapenos are not nearly as spicy as fresh ones. I cannot really handle fresh jalapenos. Heck I can’t even cut them without crying from the spicy fumes. You could also make  stuffed grilled jalapenos and top them with copious amounts of cheese. At least, that’s what my cousins in Texas do. Or you could take the DePue route and wrap them in bacon because everything is better wrapped in bacon.

Secondly, and more waistline-consciously(yes I just made that word up), you could make my Jalapeno Corn Griddle Cakes pictured below. Top these with black beans and salsa , plain  sour cream (pictured below), underneath a crispy chicken breast with a cream sauce, underneath sliced avocado and fresh  lime juice, or served with a big side salad for a complete meal.

These griddle cakes are so versatile! Give them a try before summer slips away. I’m already hoarding the fresh corn before it disappears.

 

jalapeno griddle cakes

 

In other news, this happened 2  weeks ago, our new family member. No words.

kitty at 2.5 weeks

Uni at 2 weeks old

3 weeks old

3 weeks old

4 weeks old and I can walk, guys!

4 weeks old and I can walk, guys!

 

What can I say? I am a sucker for baby animals . We found her on the highway, and I have been snapping away photos with my iphone and bottle-feeding her ever since. Uni is  pretty fat and happy right now and learning to play!

In Love and Health,

Lydia

Corn Jalapeno Griddle Cakes

Serves 6
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 4 minutes
Total time 14 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Meal type Appetizer, Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish
Misc Freezable, Serve Hot
Whip up some fast and healthy jalapeno griddle cakes for a summertime meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh corn, chopped off the cob (about 4 ears)
  • 1 jalapeno (finely chopped)
  • 2/3 cups vidalia onion (finely chopped)
  • 4 eggs (large)
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for cooking
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Note

Definitely wear gloves to chop the jalapeno!

Directions

Step 1
Pulse only 1 cup of the corn kernels in the food processor until roughly chopped. Dump into a large bowl with the other whole kernels, jalapeno, onion, cheddar, eggs, cilantro, and olive oil. Stir to combine.
Step 2
In a separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Stir carefully into the wet ingredients until just combined.
Step 3
Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle to medium-high heat, and pour in enough olive oil to just cover the bottom. Scoop batter 1/4 c at a time onto griddle. It will be a very thick batter. Cook 2 minutes on 1 side, then flip and cook 2 minutes on the other side.
Step 4
Serve hot with sour cream on top!

Veggie Lasagna

What is it about taking a road trip that is so relaxing? I like to think it is because I get to spend more time than usual with my Love, blare the music, windows- down, and watch the scenery change on an old country road.

We tested the waters by taking our two dogs with us to Virginia for a week, a first for us, and there were plenty of pros and cons to having them along. Enjoy their company and cuteness in the backseat? Sure! Wipe slobber from our arms, shoulders, and console about once every 2-3 minutes? Yeah, not so much…..

We relaxed on the family land/farm in Spotsylvania County, practiced shooting on a makeshift shooting range, visited a neat old winery, spent a day in Charlottesville, backpacked/camped in the Shenandoah National Park, drove Skyline Drive, visited Larsen’s cousin in Lynchburg,and relaxed at a lakehouse at Smith Mountain Lake for 2 days.

Harley & Dad

 

Lucy at the Lake

 

 

Mountain Cove Vineyards was spectacular, mostly because it was 3.5 miles down a long wind-y road, and on a rainy day we were the only people there. We had to call the owner from the office, and he drove down a couple minutes later from his house to unlock the cottage. Inside we tasted 3 different wines and 3 fruit wines. I have only had fruit wine a few times in my life, but it never disappoints!

vineyard phone

winery

A Rainy Day at Mountain Cove Vineyards

I ended up taking home one of each wine plus a blackberry wine and 4 jars of fruit preserves.

Guys, why have I never been to Charlottesville before now? C-ville is my dream town. It has that small-town feel, except they have a Trader Joe’s and artisan goods on every corner and a pretty spectacular food and wine scene. If I lived there, I would try a different winery every weekend and become a wino.

We somehow stumbled across the local Farmer’s Market. Oh. my. goodness. I was in heaven. The smell of corn tortillas being made before my eyes, local cheeses, blackberries the size of ping pong balls,  white peaches, handmade soaps, a Great Harvest Bread Tent AND artisan kombucha brews!

c-ville farmer's market

I gleefully walked  around with a ginger-peach kombucha brewed right there in the Blue Ridge Mountains  hoping to catch a glimpse of Kath of Kath Eats Real Food (just kidding, but hey it would have been cool!) and dreamed of living there one day. It’s just an hour and 15 minute drive from the farm!

That glee was quickly transformed into fear when we found a policeman hanging out by our car, apparently because some cray-cray person thought our dogs look “distressed” . By distressed, I mean they were in a cool parking garage on a rainy day, windows down, with a huge bowl of water, treats, and barking at the occasional car.  We were gone around 30 minutes. Really? really? The cop found the situation amusing and promptly left. I am a dog lover. I would never abandon my dog, nor leave it in a car if it was hot outside. Ever.

Part 2 of our trip will be continued next week, but in the meantime, you must try this veggie lasagna. I had to find some way to use up 5 eggplants and fresh cherry tomatoes before they went bad.  This lasagna is a super easy way to use up any fresh summer  fresh veggies, especially eggplant. I don’t  know about you  but, I struggle with eggplant sometimes. I can make a mean eggplant parmesan , or fry it up and serve with marinara sauce and…and…..and….that’s all I have in my eggplant repertoire. I need to change that! Cooked well,  it transforms into a tender, flavorful and meaty main dish.

lasagna

Right after I made this lasagna,  flipping through the pages of Bon Appetit, I noticed they dedicated a whole article to the humble eggplant. Apparently throwing it onto the hot coals of a grill until is is completely charred on the outside is the en vogue way to cook it. Who knew? Check out this Coal-Roasted Eggplant . I am all for throwing a vegetable on some hot coals and walking away.

eggplants

 

Sorry my posts have been few and far between lately. There is quite a bit going on behind- the- scenes in my life that I hope to share soon!

 

In love and health,

 

Lydia

Veggie Lasagna

Serves 8
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 25 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Freezable
This vegetarian lasagna is packed with summer vegetables for a complete and healthy meal.

Ingredients

  • 4 small eggplants(or 2 large) (chopped into thin medallions)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 package frozen spinach
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1, 24 oz jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1, 15 oz container ricotta cheese
  • 1 bag mozzarella
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped finely
  • 1 box lasagna noodle
  • 1 large egg

Directions

Step 1
Sprinkle eggplant with 1 tsp of salt in a large bowl and let it sit 20 minutes. Squueze out any excess water from the eggplant. Pat dry.Spread the eggplant onto a baking sheet. Spritz the eggplant with olive oil.Roast the eggplant at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool
Step 2
Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain.Set aside. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water and drop in frozen spinach. Remove from water when spinach has loosened and can be drained. Drain spinach, squeeze out excess water.
Step 3
In a l;rge 9 X 13 dish, spread 1/5 of the sauce on the bottom. Then spread 4 lasagna noodles over the sauce.
Step 4
In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese, 1 egg, fresh herbs, salt and pepper and spinach.
Step 5
Layer 1/3 of the ricotta mixture onto lasagna noodles.
Step 6
Layer 1/3 of the eggplant over the ricotta. Layer 1/3 of the cherry tomatoes between all of the eggplant slices to fill in the gaps.Sprinkle with 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese.
Step 7
Spread 1/5 of the sauce over the eggplant.
Step 8
Repeat noodle layer, ricotta layer , eggplant & tomatoes layer ,cheese layer , then sauce layer until you end up with the last layer of eggplant on top.
Step 9
Put one layer of noodles on top of eggplant, then sauce , then last bit of mozzarella cheese.
Step 10
Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees until cheese on top is browned and edges are bubbly.

Cucumber Salad

Hello long lost readers.

I am back to my space here  finally after a tiny hiatus. We hit the road to Virginia  with two dogs, hiking backpacks, camping gear, a cooler full of food, homemade snacks, and 2 bags of peanut M&M’s. That’s really all you need in life,  peanut M&M’s and family time.

Before we left though, our house, our yard, and our bellies were filled to the brim with cucumbers.

I had this post all ready for Farmer’s Market Friday 2 weeks ago, yet somehow in the hustle and bustle and chaos of leaving the urban farm for a week(Am I the only one who cleans like a mad woman before I leave town ?), it slipped my  mind to actually post it!

Anyhoo, this  salad really needs no recipe, : a little of this, a little of that, chop- chop and it’s ready! A 5 minute, no-fuss, light and delicious cucumber salad.

You will love the freshness and crunch- iness.cucumber salad

 

 

My other obsession before our little roadtrip : sunflowers!

In the big empty 3 acre lot next to us lies a large field of over-sized sunflowers fresh for picking. Nothing makes my heart sing like having sunflowers in little vases all over the house!

sunflower field

 I will be sharing photos  and stories of our Virginia adventures soon, friends! I sure did miss cooking last week.

In Love and Health,

Lydia

Summer Cucumber Salad

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Dietary Vegan
Meal type Salad, Side Dish
Misc Serve Cold
This refreshing and crunchy cucumber salad takes 5 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients

  • 2 cucumbers (large(6 inch long 2-3 inches diameter) , diced and seeded)
  • 1 red onion (medium, chopped finely)
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped dill

Directions

Step 1
Split the cucumbers lengthwise and remove the seeds with a spoon.
Step 2
Dice the cucumber into small pieces or slice thinly.
Step 3
In a small bowl whisk together sugar, salt, red wine vinegar, and finely chopped dill.
Step 4
Toss together the cucumber and onion in a medium bowl. Pour the dressing over the cucumber mixture.
Step 5
Chill 30 minutes before serving or eat immediately.

Farmer’s Market Friday: Blackberry Lime Mini-Muffins

It’s blackberry season folks!

Funny thing, we discovered we have a field of wild blackberry bushes on our property. As if I did not already absolutely love my yard, now I love it even more!

In the past 3 weeks we have filled about 3 sandwich bags full of those sweet, tiny wild blackberries. Wild blackberry picking is not for the faint of heart…let me tell you.  Between all the thorns and the snake scares out there yonder in the yard, ’twas a but of a harrowing experience, but sooo worth it.

These muffins are oozing with berries in every bite and so moist you could eat them with a spoon. The almond flour streusel adds a nice crunchy topping.

Blackberry Lime Muffins

Almond flour, honey, almond butter, grass-fed butter and lime zest  and fresh eggs make this a wholesome muffin I don’t feel guilty about eating as a quick snack!

In other news here on the urban farm, about a week ago my husband told me to come outside.  It was 6 a.m., but I figured, ok, I am guessing he has something to show me. There in our little coop of 4  chicks was one of the “ladies” making a scratchy crowing noise while ruffling “her ” feathers.

Oh, it could be a coincidence , we thought. So, the next morning, we went back outside , and again, faint, scratchy, baby crowing sounds.

I believe  have an impostor on our hands. Isn’t he pretty, though? He better be a nice l’l rooster or he will quickly become a stew.  On to the rooster adventures!

rooster

Speckled Sussex Rooster

 

In Love and Health,

Lydia

Blackberry Lime Mini-Muffins

Serves 12
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes
Total time 27 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Tree Nuts
Meal type Breakfast, Snack
Misc Freezable
These vibrant blackberry lime streusel muffins are packed with hidden, healthy ingredients!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons grassfed butter (room temperature)
  • 1-1.5 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 2 small limes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup turbinado or raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond butter(can be replaced with 4 more Tablespoons of butter)

Streusel

  • 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup turbinado/raw sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons grassfed butter (cold)

Note

This is a forgiving recipe. Substitute the blackberries for blueberries or the lime juice for lemon juice for a different twist. The streusel topping is optional, but adds a nice crunch and texture to these muffins.

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a few mini muffin tins. Zest the limes and keep the zest and juice together in a small bowl. Beat together the butter, almond butter, sugar, and sour cream for 2 minutes. Beat in honey, then eggs for another minute. Stir in lime juice and the zest of both limes.
Step 2
Stir together the flours, salt and baking powder in another bowl to combine. Stir these dry ingredients with a wooden spoon into the wet ingredients until just combined. Toss the blackberries with 1 extra Tablespoon of extra flour in a separate small bowl, then carefully fold the berries into the muffin mixture.
Step 3
Combine the dry streusel ingredients in a small bowl. Cut in the 3 Tablespoons of cold butter with a fork or pastry cutter. The mixture will be crumbly. Keep in the refrigerator covered until ready to use.
Step 4
Spoon the muffin mixture in to the muffin tins and top with streusel topping. Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Eat the muffins within 24-48 hours. You can store any extra streusel in the freezer.

 

 

Farmer’s Market Friday: Simple Squash Soup

Vegetable gardens make me happy. I love getting my hands into the dirt and face close to the ground to investigate what is going on down there. If I look closely and sit very quietly next to a plant for a few minutes, I can see the garden  teeming with life,: wasps, bees, worms, birds, and every once in a while an unwelcome caterpillar. It’ s amazing to me that they all work in such harmony.

our garden

So far our organic and companion planting methods have worked well and the all of the plants except the squash seem happy. I have managed to harvest a few squash, but discovered we have squash vine borers. I awoke this morning after so much rain to see the squash looks even worse than the picture below and most of our plants had to be pulled up. You can see the base of the vine is where the larvae breaks in and destroys it, causing the leaves and stems to wilt and die. . What a pain! Oh, well. Check out some of  the other plants sprouting and flowering!

yellow squash

lettuce

eggplant

 

cucumber

marigolds

 

cherry tomato

 

 

So how do you grow an organic garden without being  invaded by pests?

Pests are inevitable. Prevention is key. Now that we know we will have squash vinve borer problems, we will have to pay closer attention  to prevent the larvae from being hatched!

 1) Companion planting-Try planting beans with cucumbers, basil with tomatoes, chives with peas, peppers  near eggplant, etc. You can read a great article on companion planting from Mother Earth News  HERE.

2) Marigolds everywhere! I plant 2 or 3 different marigold varieties.

3) Keep birds busy with a birdfeeder nearby. Otherwise they may try to eat all of your pretty tomatoes.

4) Attract bees and beneficial insects with other beneficial plants-I planted bee balm and salvia throughout the garden to attract beneficial insects.

5) Prevent squash borers with row covers. Cover the young plants with a very light row cover until they begin to flower. Then uncover them so they can be pollinated. This will prevent moths from laying eggs on the plants. This is a lesson learned for us this year.

5) Keep a garden journal and map out what you planted, how many plants, and where they are situated in the garden. Track how much produce you are getting, how often you fertilize and water, etc. This way you can look back and see what you did right or wrong if pests invade!

I transformed the 5 or 6 squash we harvested into a delicious soup. My mom made me an incredible squash soup last year around this time and I asked her for the recipe. I am not sure where this recipe came from, but it is my get -rid of -copious-amounts-of-squash-recipe.

Simple, refreshing and fast, this soup is the epitome of an easy, summer meal.

I don’t think you can screw up this soup. You can add more cream or any kind of fresh herb to your liking. Just make sure to use yellow summer squash.

In Love and Health,

Lydia

Summer Squash Soup

Serves 6
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Meal type Soup
This creamy summer squash soup is a cinch to make with only a few ingredients and 10 minutes of your time!

Ingredients

  • 1 vidalia onion (chopped)
  • 2-3lb yellow squash (sliced thinly)
  • 2-3 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 3 tablespoons chives
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Step 1
Chop vidalia onion. Saute in butter for 5-8 minutes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Meanwhile boil chicken stock. Drop in the chopped squash into the stock and cook 4-5 minutes.
Step 2
Puree the squash, chicken stock, and onion in a food processor until smooth. Add back to the soup pot, and stir in the half and half. Serve warm garnished with chives.

 

Farmer’s Market Friday: Roasted Vegetable Pizza

roasted vegetable pizzaI’m a morning person to a T. I feel refreshed and excited come 5:30 a.m. after an  excellent cup of freshly brewed coffee,  but by nighttime, I slowly become a sloth-like creature. If we have a movie or dinner date at night , my eyes will probably glaze over at exactly 10 p.m. I’m sorry ahead of time if I happen to do this when we are together late on a Saturday night. It just happens. I get very very quiet. I kind of become a wallflower fighting to keep my eyes open.

My evening  routine after work goes something like this:

Open my front door around 7:15  p.m. to 2 big dogs jumping onto me and howling, slobbering, and begging for dinner…

Drop my purse and various bags and mail in the center of the kitchen floor.

Fling off shoes to various areas of the kitchen.

Wave hello to my shirtless hubby working in the yard/garden/some outdoor activity and go outside to chat a minute.

Turn oven on.

Open pantry and grab whatever is there to quell my ridiculous hunger  pangs.

Subsequently eat one too many chips/crackers/etc. while standing over the kitchen island.

Cook or warmup a few things for dinner that I prepped that morning(as few as possible). If chopping is necessary, I curse, and usually give up on dinner so we can go eat bimbibap down the road. Chopping not required? I can handle it, then.

Set the table on the porch and tell the husband to shower and come upstairs.

Eat outside on the  porch with my Love and watch the sunset.

Take the dogs on a family walk.

Hit the bed or watch one episode of “Game of Thrones. My goodness I am hooked on that show:the sex, the lies, the characters, and the suspense are  just addicting I tell you.

The point of this rambling post is that  I assume you too, dear readers, have other things you would rather be doing than slaving away in the kitchen after a long day of work.

Which is why I am sharing with you the incredible, pre-preparable, homemade pizza.

You make you crust on the weekend, and split it into 3 pieces and freeze 2 of them, leaving 1 in your fridge for the pizza night. You can thank me later when you realize you have 2 more pizza crusts in your freezer.

You roast your veggies on the weekend.

You pre-slice.

So when you walk in the door, all that needs to be done is to turn on the oven, top the crust with those already-prepped ingredients and voila! pizza in 20 minutes.

Serve with some salad on the side and you have yourself a meal!

I wanted to be brave and try a crispy, fresh radish topping because it was on the Cover of Cooking Light .

The verdict? The crispy radish actually is a nice touch.

Roasted Vegetable Pizza

Serves 4
Prep time 3 hours
Cook time 3 hours, 10 minutes
Total time 6 hours, 10 minutes
Allergy Milk, Wheat
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
This fresh roasted vegetable pizza is topped with a surprisingly crunchy and refreshing ingredient, sliced radish!

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2.25 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1.5 cups lukewarm water ((100-110 degrees))
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (sliced in half lengthwise)
  • 2 portobella mushrooms (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 4-8oz mozzarella cheese (sliced, fresh)
  • 3 tablespoons green onions (sliced thinly)
  • 3 radishes (sliced thinly)

Note

Pizza is pretty hard to mess up. You can use more cheese, less cheese, no cheese and get creative with ingredients. The  most important part is to cook the pizza  in a very hot pre-heated oven for an extra-crispy crust.

Directions

Step 1
Day One: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Toss halved cherry tomatoes with a few tablespoons of olive oil and roast for 2.5-3 hours. In last 30 minutes of roasting the tomatoes, throw in the chopped up mushrooms and let them roast with the tomatoes. Store in olive oil for later use.
Step 2
To make the crust: Combine all dry ingredients(flour, salt, yeast) in the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl. Attach dough hook if you have one. Pour in the warm water and olive oil and turn the mixer on low for 2 minutes. Alternatively knead your dough by hand for 2-3minutes. Place the ball of dough in a greased metal bowl and let it rise one to two hours.
Step 3
Divide the pizza dough into 3 parts or balls, freezing 2 for future use in plastic wrap. Wrap the third piece of dough in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge up to 2 or 3 days until the day you are ready to make the pizza.
Step 4
Day Two-Pizza-Making day: Preheat oven to 500 degrees or more. If you have a pizza stone, preheat it in the oven.Take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit out 10-20 minutes. Roll it out onto a pizza peel nice or cookie sheet and roll it out thin.
Step 5
Sprinkle your pan or pizza stone with cornmeal, place rolled out dough on top and top with the sliced mozzarella and the the pre-roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. Lightly brush crust edges with more olive oil if you so desire.
Step 6
Bake 8-10 minutes or until the crust is crispy.
Step 7
Serve the pizza topped with freshly sliced radish and green onions on top.

 

 

 

 

Farmer’s Market Friday:Spinach Omelet Stuffed with Herbed Goat Cheese and Roasted Tomatoes

I have been busting at the seams to share this recipe from “Homemade Summer”, a cookbook I received recently. This cookbook is full of delicious seasonal summer recipes like fresh herb salads, preserved lemons, and fig ice pops . I am in  love with the hilarious illustrations and photography in this sweet cookbook.

In . love.

I knew I would have to use some of my Farmer’s Market cherry tomatoes and spinach for this one.

homemade summer

This Spinach Omelet with Roasted Tomatoes and Herbed Goat Cheese is  the perfect brunch recipe for summer, and since you can make it ahead of time and chill it, it makes an absolutely stunning dish to take to a party or shower! Who would ever think to roll up an egg omelet into a beautiful savory, pinwheel? The result is phenomal. (Sidenote: I was not planning on blogging about this, so I took a few hurried pics with my iphone on Mother’s Day before it was devoured….not my best photography here, ok?) Sidenote #2: I messed with the recipe a bit and made substitutions to make it my own.

spinach  omelet 2

 

 

It sounds a little scary, but I was completely amazed  by how easily this recipe came together. The trick is to break this recipe up into 2 days.

On day one, you will roast these plump, tart cherry tomatoes until they are caramelized and sweet as sin. You will want to pop every one into your mouth once you pull them out of the oven. I am warning you, friends. I roast tomatoes often in the summer, and store them in the refrigerator in a jar of olive oil for a quick addition to pizzas, pastas, salads and sandwiches.  But I usually end up eating half of the roasted tomatoes right out of the oven…

tomatoes

 

On day two, you will assemble the pinwheel omelet portion of the recipe .

tomatoes on omelet

Serve this omelet with some toast points, biscuits or blueberry muffins  for a beautiful brunch. Mimosas are recommended, too.

omelet breakfast

mimosas

 

Spinach Omelet Stuffed with Roasted Tomatoes and Herbed Goat Cheese

Serves 8
Prep time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Cook time 3 hours, 12 minutes
Total time 4 hours, 42 minutes
This rolled up spinach omelet with herbed goat cheese and roasted tomatoes is a beautiful addition to any brunch.

Ingredients

  • 20 cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 14oz spinach
  • 5 eggs, whites separated from yolks in separate bowls
  • 1/2 cup chives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, chopped
  • 2/3 cups ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons self-rising flour
  • 4oz goat cheese
  • 4oz cream cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese

Directions

Step 1
Day One: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Toss the halved tomatoes with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and minced garlic. Spread out on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 3 hours, stirring once each hour.
Step 2
Store roasted tomatoes in a jar filled with olive oil
Step 3
Day Two: Separate eggs into 2 bowls, whites in one, yolks in the other. Blanch spinach in boiling water for 10 seconds and then drain. Squeeze out as much water as you can from the spinach.
Step 4
In the large bowl of a food processor, combine the 1 T ricotta, spinach, egg yolks, pinch of salt and process for 1 minute, until spinach is chopped into homogenous tiny pieces.
Step 5
Meanwhile, whip your room temperature eggwhites on high with a hand or stand mixer in a clean metal bowl , until they form stiff peaks. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Step 6
Fold the egg white mixture into the spinach mixture carefully.
Step 7
Now, spread the spinach mixture with a knife on a rectangular cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 12 minutes.
Step 8
While this is cooling, beat together the ricotta, goat cheese and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Add in chopped herbs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Step 9
Spread the cheese mixture onto the flat spinach omelet while it is still in the pan. Press the roasted tomatoes into the cheese mixture. Carefully begin to roll the short end up towards the other end.
Step 10
With seam side, down , chill for at least 20-30 minutes covered in plastic wrap. Serve or leave it in the fridge well-covered for up to 24 hours.

Farmer’s Market Friday: Snap Pea and Squash Risotto

risottoI so  look forward to Saturday mornings :the early morning alarm, the long run with the C.R.E.W. and the sense of accomplishment after completing the run, a breakfast outing with friends or even enjoying couple time with chai lattes and lastly, but most importantly, exploring the farmer’s market in our beautiful city with my husband. I find infinitely more joy out of shopping locally than going to the grocery store because I know at the market I can buy meat that has been treated humanely and pasture-raised and vegetables  grown without pesticides. Plus, the variety is astounding !

The market was teeming with peas last Saturday: Snap peas, green peas, crowder peas, butterbeans! The first batch of squash was peeking out of the some of the stands, so I had to grab some of that, too.  I decided upon a risotto for dinner.

Risotto is a luxurious rice dish.  The basic idea is to stir a warm liquid into warmed rice continuously in small batches until the broth is completely absorbed. The more you stir and the more patient you are in letting the rice absorb the liquid, the creamier the risotto will become.

Arborio rice is the true “risotto” rice . Risotto rices are plump, short grain, and all have a high proportion of amylopectin, a type of sticky starch that’s responsible for the trademark creamy texture of risotto. I have heard that you can make risotto with barley, so you could try that here too.

Top this with a grilled chicken breast or pan-sauteed tempeh or even fresh grilled shrimp or fish for a perfect summertime meal!

Snap Pea and Squash Risotto

Serves 10
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish, Side Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Creamy snap pea and squash risotto gets a healthy makeover.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup onion (chopped finely)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, grated
  • 1/4 cup chives (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons organic butter
  • 1/2 cup mixed chopped fresh herbs ((thyme, sage, rosemary, tarragon, basil, etc))
  • 1lb yellow squash
  • 8oz snap peas (blanched in boiling water for 1 minute)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Step 1
Warm the chicken broth in a pot. Meanwhile, saute the squash in a pan over medium-high heat for 7-9 minutes in 1T of butter until browned. Set aside.
Step 2
Blanch the snap peas in a pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes.
Step 3
In a saucepan on medium heat , warm 1T butter and saute the onion in the butter for 3 minute. Stir in the rice and stir continuously for 1 minute.
Step 4
Pour in the wine and stir at least 30 seconds continuously.
Step 5
Keeping the heat on medium, add 1 Cup of the warm chicken broth. Stir continuously until it is absorbed (you will know the broth is absorbed when you can draw a line with your spoon in the rice and see the bottom of the pan) (About 5 minutes).
Step 6
Add another 1/2 C broth and stir until continuously until completely absorbed. Continue this with 1/2 cups of broth until risotto is creamy(at least 20-25 minutes).
Step 7
Stir in vegetables, herbs, and lemon zest and cook 1 more minute.
Step 8
Stir in cheese, salt ,pepper, and lemon juice. Serve.

 

 

 

Farmer’s Market Friday: Carrot Love

Springtime carrots

Let me start off by saying that I am NOT a carrot person.

I was the kid that hid cooked carrots in a secret nook under our dining room table for years before my parents discovered the stash under there.

So, when I attended a recent cooking class with Chef Virginia Willis and I saw carrots were on the menu, let’s say I was less than jazzed about it.

She did an excellent job of making them look appetizing. I will give her that. Rather than chopping the green tops off, she sliced each carrot thinly and delicately the entire length and left the top part green.I’m not that fancy or patient, so mine were a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 in prettiness. I’m working on it.

But those carrots truly were the  most delicious menu item in that class.

I attribute it to the gobs of honey and the fresh herbs. Plus, a world-class chef who was on Chopped made them for me.(Sidenote: She was “”chopped” when her spoon got sucked into the ice cream make in round 3 ! Embarassing…but…hilarious.)

Anyway,my husband had the same blah reaction when he saw I was serving carrots, then his face lit up when he tried them. We kept going back for second-helpings . Then he paused and asked in all seriousness if eating too many would make us orange and returned to eating them.

Good news: Neither of us turned orange and I will be making these in the future again.

Why buy carrots at the Farmer’s Market? They do not  hold much of a resemblance to the bagged ones you see at the grocery store! There are  huge knobby ones the size of my arm, and then the delicate multi-colored organic bunches. All are beautiful, delicious, pesticide-free, and unique. Growing your own would have the same benefits.

I should never have doubted an award-winning chef who is a contributor to my favorite food magazine, Eating Well. Sorry, Virginia, Never again.

Herbed Ginger Carrots

Serves 10
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Side Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Lydia D. Chef Virginia Willis
These sweet herbed ginger carrots are a perfect accompaniment to any meal and guaranteed to please non-carrot lovers, too!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh, flat-leaf parsley (chopped)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 quart (chicken stock or vegetable stock)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large piece ginger (approx 4 inches long, 1 inch wide (or 2, 2- inch pieces). chopped into thin matchsticks)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2lb carrots(2 bunches)

Directions

Step 1
In a medium saucepan over high heat, boil the chicken broth with half of the parsley, bay leaves and thyme. Then lower heat to medium.
Step 2
Meanwhile wash and peel the carrots. Cut them long-wise , leaving stem on top intact.
Step 3
Bring broth back to a boil, add chopped carrots to the water, and reduce heat to medium-low.Simmer 4 minutes until carrots are tender.
Step 4
Remove carrots and save the stock for another use.
Step 5
In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add the butter. Add ginger and saute about 2 minutes.
Step 6
Stir in the carrots and honey and cook until carrots are glazed, around 3 minutes. Add rest of fresh herbs, salt, and pepper.

 

One Year

It occurred to me 24 hours ago that I posted my first recipe on this blog exactly one year ago.  Between wedding planning, getting married, the honeymoon, the Holidays, and buying a house, a great deal of change has happened over here.

I realize some of you have not been reading my blog that long, so I thought it would be fun to look back at the best recipes and posts to re-share since summer is just around the corner. You can also see how my photography has improved...thank goodness.

This Pasta Salad with Basil Vinaigrette is a tasty, light Spring/Summer side dish you can take to a party.

How about this rich and decadent Chocolate Zucchini Bread to use up all of that leftover zucchini?

A take on Robin Asbell’s Chickpea Fritters with Romesco Sauce.

Or you could try the best healthy Chocolate Chip Cookiesaround town.

An easy and healthy Jamabalaya recipe.

A moist, low-sugar Banana Bread.

Those straight-to-your-hips Snickers Fudge Bars.

And who can forget the wedding day post?

Fun stuff!

I hope the next year of blogging is overflowing with even more recipes and travel posts and love from you guys:-) Thanks for sticking around.

In love and health,

Lydia