Archive | March, 2009

Spring Fever Frittata

Pin It
 
I am definitely in the full throes of Spring Fever. I find myself staring out the window at work and wanting to go outside and play. Thank goodness for overcast days or I’d never get anything done at work.
And, nothing says spring to me like beautiful fresh eggs. I am fortunate enough to have a colleague at work who brings us fresh eggs from her father’s farm. They are amazing – dark, rich yellow yolks – and so delicious.
I recently celebrated my most recent dozen eggs by making a frittata with green onions, spinach tomatoes and feta. It was full of great spring flavor and it made 4 servings so I had breakfast all week.

033009_1

Spring Fever Frittata

1 tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 bunch green onions, cleaned and chopped
1/2 pound spinach, rinsed and chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped and seeded
6 eggs, lightly scrambled
salt and pepper
feta cheese
Preheat the broiler.
Heat olive oil in skillet. Add onion and garlic and saute for a minute. Add spinach and allow it to wilt. Add tomatoes and saute for a few minutes.
Season the scrambled eggs. Add the eggs to the skillet and distribute evenly in the pan. Let the eggs cook (don’t stir) until they begin to set. Add the feta and place the pan under the broiler to finish cooking. (Watch it. Don’t let it get as “crispy” on top as mine did.)
Follow Me on Pinterest

Celebrating Spring with Veggie Risotto

Pin It
 

After a week off for Spring Break and plenty of time to enjoy the lovely weather last week, I have serious Spring Fever.  For me this manifests in several ways – a general restlessness, a desire to be outside most of the time, wicked allergies and  a need to eat food in a rainbow of colors.

I don’t know if it’s the wildflowers blooming or something else, but since the market last week, I have been seriously obsessed with orange and green food combinations.    I have no doubt that my friend Harriet the nutritionist will analyze this as some serious vitamin deficiency, but I literally have been thinking of carrots and Brussels sprouts or carrots and spring green onions or carrots and broccoli… You get the picture.

032509_1

I first set out to satisfy my craving by making sauteed carrots and Brussels sprouts with my dinner last week.  It was a simple saute with olive oil and garlic, but they were delicious.  And yet, I was still dreaming of spring veggies.  So, today I came up with a carrot and green onion risotto that hit the spot.
This risotto has a very fresh flavor and is so bright and colorful.  It’s a perfect spring dish and would be great with a nice light piece of fish, some lovely grilled shrimp or a perfectly roasted chicken.
Spring Vegetable Risotto
1 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 spring onion, chopped, reserve some of the green for a garnish; you could also use several green onions
1 bunch carrots, peeled and diced
about 1 tbsp grated ginger
1 cup arborio rice
2 cups broth; I used chicken, but you could use vegetable broth and/or you could substitute 1 cup of broth and 1 cup of white wine
salt to taste
032509_2Melt butter or heat oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrots and ginger and cook for about 5 minutes.  You want to smell the aroma of the onions and the carrots should be starting to getting tender.
Add the rice and stir well to coat it.  Add 1/2 cup of the liquid and stir constantly until it absorbs. Continue to add the liquid 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly.
Season to taste with salt.  Garnish with the onion greens.
Follow Me on Pinterest

Pho Magic

Pin It
 
I believe that Vietnamese Pho is magic. This beef and noodle soup always makes me feel better and may be one of the world’s perfect foods – honestly you get cilantro, jalapenos and basil in the same dish. No wonder it makes you feel better.
This week is the SXSW music festival in Austin and, in the wee hours last night as I watched several revelers stumble around, I thought those guys are going to need a good bowl of Pho tomorrow. Anthony Bourdain swears it is the best cure for a hang over.

031909_1

I recently made a big batch of Pho but tried something a little different. Instead of using rice noodles, I used Daikon radish “noodles.” I got the idea from an episode of Top Chef when one of the contestants made Daikon radish noodles, but foolishly served them with a tomato basil sauce. The judges hated it, but it got me to thinking about a recipe where the radish noodles would be a good substitute. They worked great in the Pho and stayed nice and crunchy. If you aren’t feeling that adventurous, you can stick with the rice noodles.

Vietnamese Pho
5 pounds of beefbones (often labeled soup bones)
  • 2 pounds beef chuck
  • 2-3 tablespoons of grated ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 bunches of Daikon radishes, peeled
  • 1 small onion, sliced very thin
  • 3 spring green onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 6 jalapenos cut into rings
  • 2 limes cut into wedges
  • Freshly ground black pepper
In a large stockpot, bring 6 quarts water to a boil. Add the bones and beef to the pot of boiling water. Return the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Skim the surface often to remove any foam and fat. Add the ginger, garlic, onions, salt and fish sauce. Simmer until the beef chuck is tender, about 40 minutes. Remove the chuck and submerge it in cool water for 10 minutes to prevent the meat from darkening and drying out. Drain, then cut into thin slices and set aside. Cook the broth for about two hours, skimming as needed.
While the broth is cooking, prepare the radish “noodles” by slicing the radishes into extremely thin strips. It helps if you have a mandoline, but I used a vegetable peeler and managed to only nick my knuckles once.
Place the radish noodles and beef in a bowl and then ladle broth on top. Garnish with yellow onions, scallions, basil, jalapenos, lime and cilantro.
Follow Me on Pinterest

A Veal-icious Dinner

Pin It
 

I decided recently to try the veal from Countryside Family Farms. Before you start on the lecture about veal, you should know that the veal from Countryside is humanely raised meaning that it is raised in an open corral with no restraints, fed milk and eggs only, and has natural physical development. I get it if you don’t want to eat veal even after that, but I think we’ve firmly established that I’m an omnivore and don’t have said hang ups.

I originally intended to make Osso Bucco, but Sebastian sells his veal shank as a big old shank and I don’t have a cleaver so I cooked it whole, feeling a bit like Wilma Flinstone as I did so. It was worth the effort (2 hours of cooking) and was delicious.
Since I’m in a defensive posture about the veal, I wanted to clear the air about something a friend said today. I love the farmers market and buying directly from farmers. I like the surprise of discovering new things every Saturday morning and visiting with the vendors about how to cook something new. I look forward to Saturday all week long.
Having said that, I want to be clear that I am not anti-grocery store. The reality is that I can’t get everything I need or want from the market so I visit H-E-B or Central Market every week. I picked H-E-B because I think it is a good company – they care about their customers, their products and this community which they prove by investing in some of my favorite nonprofits.
I particularly appreciate that in their produce section they make it easy to find locally grown items or at least things grown in Texas so it doesn’t have to travel as far. Actually, my dream job is to some day be a foodie at Central Market – seriously I’d get paid to stand around all day and talk about food. It would be like heaven.
030909_1I’m not trying to convert anyone or tell you that you should only buy things at the market. I buy much more than I used to at the market, but I still buy bananas every week and sometimes I still want spinach in August – that’s not happening at the market. More than anything, I just appreciate a place like the farmers market that lets me get a little closer to the source and makes me think about what I’m eating, when and why. Besides, they don’t serve Taco Deli at H-E-B on Saturday mornings.
Ok, enough for the soap box and back to the veal….
Roasted Veal Shank with White Beans
flour
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 veal shank (about 1.5-2 pounds)
2 tbsps olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 bunches of carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cups red wine
2-3 cups broth (beef or chicken)
1 can stewed or diced tomatoes
1 can white beans
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place a couple of hand fulls on a plate and stir in salt and pepper. Coat the veal shank with the flour.
In a dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the veal shank on all sides.
Add the onion, garlic, wine and chicken broth to the pan. Place the pan in the oven and cook for an hour, basting or turning as needed to keep the meat moist. Add the tomatoes and white beans and cook 1 more hour.
Remove the pan from the oven and pull the meat off the bone. Serve the meat and sauce over pasta, quinoa or couscous.
Follow Me on Pinterest