Julia’s Flippin’ Omelette

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Some days, I want to spend hours in the kitchen, working through a recipe or experimenting with a new meal. On those days, being in the kitchen cooking is a fun time, not a chore. Then there are busy weekdays, when we are rushing about with sports, homework, scouts and whatever else is on the evening horizon. On those days, I need something quick, easy and nutritious. Enter the omelette. For reasons I still don’t understand, Ellie won’t eat scrambled eggs, but she will eat quiche and, occasionally, an omelette. These quick egg dishes were very popular in Paris cafes, and we noticed that they were not the fluffy, high-rise dishes we were used to. These omelets were flat and thin, but very tender and tasty. Hmmmm, could we do this at home?

We watched The French Chef over the weekend and caught the omelette episode. Julia Child teaches (in her endearing and often hilarious way), how to cook these omelets, which need to be flipped and tossed in the pan. These are really more like crepes than the thick, heavy omelets we are used to in American restaurants, but they are good and definitely worth working on your wrist action!

Here is the video on YouTube:

We gave it a try. My omelets didn’t come out nearly as pretty, but they were delicious and only took 20 seconds (Tom was timing) to cook. Twenty seconds! We used leftover ham and some cheese we had in the fridge. So, twenty seconds and 5 ingredients! Not bad! We served our omelets with honey glazed roasted carrots and leftover rosemary sourdough from our Produce Box. Easy, quick, nutritious and it used up leftovers. Score! If you have egg eaters in your family, you could even set out several leftover options and let each person pick what they want in their omelette!

Omelette (serves 1)

  • 2 farm eggs
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup fillings (optional)
  1. Beat the eggs lightly. Add water to the eggs and beat agin. Set aside.
  2. Prepare fillings so they are ready to go, and set aside.
  3. Heat a non stick 7″ sauté pan over high heat.
  4. Add butter to pan and swirl to coat. Do not let butter brown.
  5. Add eggs to pan and let set about 5 seconds. Swirl the pan around in a counter-clockwise direction for a few seconds. Add the fillings on top of the eggs.
  6. Using a snapping motion with your wrist, jerk the pan toward you, flipping the edge of the omelette over on itself (watch the video).
  7. Tilt the pan edge to the plate edge and turn the omelette out onto the plate. Garnish and serve immediately.
  8. Voila!

Pasta with Asparagus and Prosciutto

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Some foods are wonderful BFFs. Asparagus and prosciutto, for example (really, asparagus and any ham product). I was going to make another salad for dinner, but we had salad for lunch and–I have to be honest–I hit the salad wall. I was craving something a bit more substantial, but I didn’t have a lot of non-salad ingredients on hand. And it was getting late. Tick, tock, time to eat. What I did have was prosciutto and fresh asparagus from our Parisian salad. Hmmmmm. Paired with some whole wheat pasta, it was a delicious, simple and quick dinner. Now I’ll be ready for more salad tomorrow! This recipe makes three servings, but you can adjust ingredients easily to feed more or fewer people.

Pasta with Asparagus and Prosciutto (serves 3)

  • 4 oz. whole wheat pasta (about 1/2 package)
  • 3-4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter from grass-fed cows
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 5-6 slices prosciutto, torn into bite size pieces
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  1. In a stock pot, boil water for pasta.
  2. While waiting for water to boil, peel and thinly slice shallot. Peel and mince garlic. Set aside.
  3. Chop asparagus into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
  4. Heat butter and olive oil in a sauté pan.
  5. Add salt to boiling water and add pasta to the water. Reduce heat and cook pasta according to directions on package.
  6. Add shallot and garlic to sauté pan. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add asparagus and cook for another 5 minutes.
  7. Add prosciutto to the pan, stir and turn off heat.
  8. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
  9. Add the drained pasta to the sauté pan. Use tongs to toss and combine all ingredients. Add pasta water as needed to make a light sauce.
  10. Serve immediately with grated Parmesan cheese.

Coolest Birthday Surprise EVER!!

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Just returned from a long run to fin this lovely gift from Heather at Sugar Dish Me. Vanilla cupcakes with avocado icing in cute little mason jars! Want to know the greatest thing about blogging? The other bloggers! Thanks for making my day!

So how are cupcakes with avocado icing? Amazing!!! I would definitely make these! Check out Heather’s blog HERE for the recipe!

Parisian Salad

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This recipe is based on a wonderful salad I had at a cafe in the Marais neighborhood in Paris. It is chock full of seasonal, local vegetables as well as tasty bits of prosciutto and a lightly fried egg. The egg and ham with the asparagus is really going to rock your taste buds! Delicious! And a complete meal. We are on day 5 of our Salad-a-Day challenge and having fun making up new salad recipes!

Parisian Salad (serves 2)

  • 1 head organic fresh lettuce (romaine, red leaf, green leaf), washed and dried
  • 1/2 cup of micro greens
  • 1 organic garden radish, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 organic carrot, washed, peeled and diced
  • 1 organic tomato, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 organic cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 pound fresh asparagus, washed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto
  • 2 farm eggs
  • Grated Parmesan reggiano cheese
  • Salad dressing of your choice.
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or foil.
  2. Trim asparagus and toss with olive oil. Spread on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Roast asparagus in oven for 15 minutes or until browned ( this will depend on how thick the stalks are).
  3. While asparagus is roasting, arrange greens on a salad plate or nice bowl. Make a well in the center and put tomatoes in the well.
  4. Arrange the remaining vegetables on the greens.
  5. Arrange two slices of prosciutto on each salad plate.
  6. When asparagus is done, remove pan from oven and add 1/2 of asparagus to each salad plate.
  7. In a saute pan, fry the 2 eggs, but leave the yolks a little soft. Add one egg to each salad plate.
  8. Serve immediately with your choice of vinaigrette dressing and a sprinkle of cheese.

Healthy Sport Snacks–Fruit Kabobs

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Ok, parents, can we have a huddle?

Because I am not really understanding why, when we sign our children up for sports, we insist on bringing cookies and chemical-laden “sports drinks” for post-game snack. I know these snacks are cheap and quick, but why, when we spend about a kazillion dollars on sports equipment to keep them safe on the outside, do we collectively cheap out when it comes to what goes inside our little athletes?

Did you know that what an athlete eats and drinks in the first 45 minutes after exercise is the most significant nutrition they receive all day?

Let’s have a new game plan. Let’s agree that we are not going to offer snacks that have ingredients you cannot pronounce or have never seen growing in real life. I promise to never feed your child something that has chemical additives, preservatives or high fructose corn syrup after a game and you do the same. Deal? Deal! Now, play ball!

Here are some suggestions for quick, healthy post-game snacks:

Whole apples (or cut up, especially for smaller children)
Whole or halved bananas
Half a whole grain bagel with peanut or almond butter (watch for allergies)
Cheese sticks or string cheese
Orange quarters
Clean energy bars

I made these fruit kabobs for Ellie’s softball team and they were fun and yummy. Along with water and string cheese, they made for a quick, but healthy snack. Total time to put them together was 15 minutes, so they didn’t take all day and the total cost was $2.00 per girl, which I can manage since I only have to bring snacks twice the entire season. Those girls are worth it!

Wilted Salad

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Bacon. Bacon makes pretty much everything better. We don’t eat a lot of it, but when we do buy it, we go for the best quality, locally produced bacon from Mae Farm or Coon Rock Farm, both located here in central North Carolina. It has a smoky, “real meat” flavor that grocery bacon just doesn’t have.

As part of the challenge, A Salad A Day, I found several ideas for wilted salads. I hadn’t made one in ages, but they are really good. Traditional wilted salad uses spinach or even iceberg lettuce and little else–maybe some radish or egg. Since bacon loves all vegetables equally, I decided to go outside the traditional lettuce and radish and really load up our salads with local vegetables. The end result was pretty darn delicious and a definite “do again.”

We served our salad with fresh rosemary sourdough bread that we toasted with some delicious mozzarella from Hillsborough Cheese Company. The bread came with our produce box this week and is from La Farm bakery. Sooooo delicious!

Wilted Salad (serves 4)

2 smallish heads of local romain lettuce, washed and dried
2 radish, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled
1-2 tomatoes chopped
1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced

5 slices bacon
4 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 large spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced (white parts only)
Black pepper

In a large salad bowl, tear leaves of romaine into bite sized pieces. Add radish, carrots, tomato and cucumber.
In a sauté pan, brown the bacon, rendering the fat. Remove bacon when crisp and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve.
Add the vinegar, sugar, onions and pepper to the pan of hot drippings. Wisk together and cook 1 minute.
Pour dressing over greens in the bowl and toss well to coat all the leaves and vegetables.
Plate the greens and top each serving with crumbled bacon and chopped eggs. Season with additional pepper, if desired.
Serve immediately.

Week 17 Budget and Menu

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Nothing like fresh, NC strawberries to bring out the food hoarder in me!

 

Spring is finally here in central North Carolina and along with it, we have the opening and rejuvenation of all our smaller, seasonal farmer’s markets! Hurray! If you have been following our blog for a while, you know that this enters dangerous territory for me. After a long winter of eating collards, kale and sweet potatoes, I want to snap up every lovely spring vegetable I see. This makes staying on a budget even more of a challenge. Who can resist beautiful strawberries or the season’s first carrots? Not me, that’s who.

So while I am trying to be good and stick to my budget, this week clearly isn’t going to cut it. We are having lots of salads this week and we are eating mostly local, which is great! Our big expense this week is a mini boneless ham from Mae Farm, which will provide us with some meals next week as well. This is by far the best ham I have ever eaten in my life. Hopefully, we will actually have leftovers 🙂

Our Produce Box delivery service is in full swing again, so we have fresh, NC vegetables and fruit delivered every Wednesday–that is saving me some running around the farmer’s markets, but I still get out there and support our farmer’s market vendors!

One big change in our dinner preparations is that Ellie and Tom are both playing spring softball. That means I need to get my act together and whip up some healthy food we can eat quickly! While I don’t usually buy pre-cooked chicken, we are using Trader Joes’ chili lime chicken strips as the basis for salad wraps tonight. Salad on the go!

Budget [$115.58]

  • The Produce Box (double strawberries, 2 kinds of lettuce, carrots, radish, white potatoes, green onions, arugula and rosemary sourdough bread): $37.01
  • Mae Farm (ham): $15.00
  • Farmer’s market vendors (eggs, asparagus): $10.00
  • Trader Joes (Ezekiel bread, pre-cooked chicken, avocados, garlic, soy milk, yogurt, frozen fruit, tortillas): $53.57

Menu

  • Wednesday–Chicken salad wraps, carrot sticks, homemade pickles
  • Thursday–Wilted romaine salad, rosemary sourdough; vegan strawberry chocolate “ice cream”
  • Friday–Parisian salad with prosciutto, roasted asparagus and sourdough toast w/melted goat cheese; vegan strawberry ice cream
  • Saturday–Sautéed Swiss chard with eggs and mushrooms, strawberry shortcake
  • Sunday–Ham, roasted asparagus, potatoes, fruit cobbler

Monday–ham and cheese omelets
Tuesday–salad with chopped ham and goat cheese

A Salad a Day

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We made this salad with local produce from our farmer’s market last week!

I’ve blogged before about our Saladpalooza nights, our salads in Paris, and my daughter’s desire for her school to have a salad bar in the cafeteria (still hasn’t happened). Seems we’re all about some salad. Well, I saw a tweet this morning about Whole Foods and their new challenge to get everyone to eat a salad a day (yes, this is a tad self-serving since they have a salad bar, but still a good idea).

To promote this initiative, Whole Foods will be blogging recipes for salads every day and will commit to helping schools get salad bars in their cafeterias. Now that we have loads of fresh greens and spring vegetables in our local farmer’s markets, this is a great time to start rethinking your salads! You can read more about the Whole Foods Salad-A-Day Challenge HERE.

We have salad wraps planned for tonight and a version of our Parisian salad on tap for tomorrow! Let’s go, salad!!!

Pickled Asparagus

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Fresh, local asparagus was the start of our pickled asparagus with mustard seed!

Last year, I added asparagus to my list of controversial subjects. So far, they include politics, religion, college basketball and cobbler. And now asparagus.

If you’ve been reading along with us for a while, you know that Ellie and I took a canning class so we can continue to eat some of our favorite local foods all year. Actually, we now have a three-pronged approach to food preservation–canning, freezing and drying. We’re looking at what is available at the market each week and considering whether or not we enjoy it enough to try preserving it for the bleak winter months. It’s fun to seek out new recipes to try–dried fruit leather was a big hit. One of the recipes that piqued our interest is pickled asparagus with mustard seed. We love asparagus. We love pickles. So, what’s not to love about pickled asparagus?  I’m all about trying the DIY version, although local asparagus is fairly pricey at $6/pound.

I couldn’t decide whether this sounded really good or just really odd, so I posted an inquiry to my Facebook page asking the question: “Pickled asparagus. Good? Gross?” The overwhelming judgement was “gross.” Or at least “why?” as in “why would do that to a perfectly good asparagus?” A few people commented on texture issues with asparagus–would they be mushy? Ellie The Brave was all about it though, so we forged ahead. I picked up asparagus at the farmer’s market and apple cider vinegar at the grocery store and we got started. This recipe uses quite a bit of garlic, which made the kitchen smell great. I managed to get over my fear of canning garlic, which seems to be strongly connected to botulism if not done properly.

The end result was some semi-attractive jars, although not as perfect looking as the grocery store variety. I was concerned about stuffing too much asparagus in the pint jars, but in hindsight, the hot water bath cooked them slightly and they shrunk up a bit, so next time I will pack the jars pretty full.

How do they taste? Actually, very good! The asparagus are tender and not crisp like a true pickle, but also not mushy like asparagus from a can. The brine is good–tart, but with good seasoning from the mustard, garlic and pepper. They will be good with salad or even with deviled eggs. The garlic  helps to balance the vinegar and give the pickles a nice savory flavor. If you like asparagus and want to keep it around past asparagus season, this might be something to try (you can also blanch them and freeze them). This recipe is from “Put ‘Em Up” by Sherri Brooks Vinton. If you are interested in canning, I highly recommend this book–it is by far my favorite canning book and my constant “go-to” book for delicious and unusual canning recipes.

Pickled Asparagus with Mustard Seed (makes about 3 pints)

  • 4 lbs. asparagus, washed and dried
  • 4 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorn
  1. Trim the asparagus to lengths 1 inch shorter than your pint jars and pack vertically into the clean, hot jars.
  2. Combine the vinegar, water, salt and sugar in a medium nonreactive saucepan. Bring the brine to a low boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar, and then remove from the heat. Divide the garlic, celery seed, mustard seed, and peppercorns among the jars. Pour the hot brine over the asparagus to cover by 1/2 inch. Leave 1/2 inch of head space between the top of the liquid and the lid.
  3. Use the boiling water method. Release the trapped air from the jars. Wipe the rims clean; center lids on the jars and screw on jar bands. Process for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove canner lid and let jars rest in the water for 5 minutes. Remove jars and set aside for 24 hours. Check seals, then store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

Pasta with Shrimp, Asparagus and Mushrooms

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The azaleas and dogwoods are blooming, the spring pollen has coated everything with a fine dusting of yellow and asparagus are back at the farmers market. Spring is finally in full swing! It was hard to contain myself at the market this week–I see all that beautiful (and very temporary) asparagus, and I want to buy it all up. But that would be wrong. Still, I did manage to bring home some lovely, fresh-picked asparagus along with some NC shrimp from Locals Seafood for this pasta dish. I love this pasta. Satisfying, yet much lighter than our heavier winter pasta creations, this recipe was made on the fly with what we found at the market (except lemons–they do not grow here!).

For this dish, use very good quality olive oil, butter and cheese! I’ve started buying organic butter from grass-fed cows and it is expensive, but really wonderful in a dish where you will taste the butter (and no growth hormones!). I saved the trimmings from our asparagus (I wanted more of the pretty tops and less stem in this dish) and I will use the tender stems minced in our veggie risotto tomorrow night!

In theory, this feeds 4 people. But Tom and I were ravenous for some reason, and nearly finished the pot between the two of us, so if you have a hungry household, make a salad to go with this.

Pasta with Shrimp, Asparagus and Mushrooms (serves 4)

1 lb. orecchiette pasta (little ears)
1 shallot
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh, grass-fed butter
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and cleaned
1 lb. fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 lemon zested and juiced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and ground pepper

Peel and mince the shallot and garlic cloves. Set aside.
Fill a large stock pot with water for pasta. When pasta water boils, add a healthy scoop of salt to the water along with the pasta. Lower heat to medium high and cook pasta for 10 minutes.
While pasta is cooking, combine the olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan and melt over medium heat. When foam subsides, add shallot and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add the asparagus and mushrooms and salt/pepper to taste. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the shrimp, lemon juice and zest. Cook until the shrimp are just pink. Do not overlook!
When pasta is done, drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
Add pasta and all vegetables to a large serving bowl. Toss, adding some pasta water to make a light sauce.
Sprinkle with cheese and serve!

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