Sunday, November 21, 2010

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends Frittata

Frittata w/Arugula, Feta, Dill & Pancetta
I feel amazingly good for someone who spent several hours in surgery on Monday.  Other than a little pain when I first woke up, and a little numbness in my hand likely due to a pinched nerve from having my arm laid out for a long while during surgery, I feel good as new.  I dutifully took the pain meds and tried to stay still, but it only lasted until Thursday, when I chucked the drugs and started moving like a human.  More on that journey later, back to food already!

I wasn't sure that I'd be up to going to the first indoor winter Countryside Conservancy farmers market, now being held at Old Trail School, on Saturday, but after a trip to Mustard Seed Market, to stock up on provisions to get me through amateur shopping week, aka the week of Thanksgiving, I headed to the market. 

The new location has better parking and more space for the vendors and the customers, in the school's gym and cafeteria.  It was remarkable to look around and see the amount of beautiful fresh produce available this time of year - arugula, lettuce, greens, bok choy, in addition to the usual winter selections of squash, garlic, potatoes and onions.  Pretty remarkable when you think that just a few short years ago there was one or two 'winter' markets held around the holidays, then last year monthly from November to April, to this year, two winter markets a month. 

I am cooking a little more slowly and deliberately this week, partially because my right side isn't quite up to fancy knife skills and skillet flipping yet, and partially because I have no one to feed except myself, and there's no reason to rush the process.  When I cook 10-15 dishes at a time for a client, it sometimes rushes by in blur, kind of like when you leave work on autopilot and arrive home and don't remember the journey.  I may just turn into the zen cook.

One of the easiest, most filling, protein rich dishes that you make is a frittata.  Sounds fancy, but it's basically a baked omelet with whatever you want cooked in it.  You need good eggs (that sounds so Ina Garten), but if the egg recalls of this summer didn't scare you off factory eggs, and send you searching for somewhere you could get farm fresh eggs, then maybe I can convince you that the taste is completely worth seeking them out.  Happy chickens make better eggs.

One of the first things I scored at the market yesterday was a flat of 2 1/2 dozen Brunty Farms eggs, who also had radishes and fresh parsley.  Not only have I met the farmer, I've met the chickens!

I also bought some fresh arugula - there were lots of farmers with it, some delicious fresh cream cheese from Mayfield Road Creamery, a couple of par-baked pies (apple and pumpkin) from the best pie maker I know, Diane from Humble Pie Baking Company, some pumpkin chevre, and fig-cognac chevre (!) from MacKenzie Creamery, a baguette from Great Lakes Baking,  and some spinach from Maize Valley.

I talked to several farmers about growing watercress.  New studies have shown that watercress stops the growth of breast cancer cells.  Jeff Brunty is planning to do a aquaponic fish house, so watercress will be a perfect fit.  Plus it will be great to have safe, farmed fish.

So this morning's breakfast is testament to not buying food from strangers; I know personally who nurtured most the ingredients in this morning's breakfast (and this afternoon's lunch, probably). Frittata is great reheated gently, or even eaten cold.

Frittata Ingredients
I used this Pamela Anderson (not that Pamela Anderson, this Pamela Anderson) recipe from Fine - but part of why I love my on-line subscription to FC, is that they also have a build your own frittata recipe tool, if you don't feel confident enough to just wing it.

The only thing I changed was that I added some chopped pancetta to the pan with the garlic because I had an open package in the fridge.  I also used a 9" pan which worked fine.

And now I am either headed to the gym for a little overdue (light) exercise, or it looks like another unseasonably warm autumn day, so maybe a nice walk around the neighborhood.  Honestly, I think good food and exercise are a good part of why I feel as good as I do today! Bon Appetit!

Arugula, Feta & Dill Frittata
by Pamela Anderson
        Serves four.

9 large eggs
3 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan
3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about 2/3-cup)
2 Tbs. minced fresh dill
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 cups packed arugula (about 4 oz.), stemmed, washed, and dried
Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Stir the Parmesan, feta, dill, and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper into the beaten eggs.

Heat the oil and the garlic in a 10-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the garlic sizzles and starts to turn golden, add the arugula. Cook the arugula, stirring constantly, until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, shaking the pan to distribute the arugula evenly. Add the egg mixture and cook until the eggs start to set around the edges, about 1 minute.

Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the eggs are puffed and set, 10 to 12 minutes. Slide or invert the frittata onto a large plate, cut into four wedges and serve.

Before Flipping Fresh From the Oven

After Flipping

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