Exploding Egg & Veggie Breakfast Sandwich on Homemade Rosemary Focaccia

I’ve only been eating eggs for about two years and I’m still super picky about them. Growing up, eggs didn’t appeal to me, although neither did breakfast in general. I still can’t eat when I first get up and have to consciously remind myself to eat when I get to work or I’ll be hangry by 10:30.

Anyways, one of my recent favorite egg dishes is an egg sandwich on focaccia bread that I sometimes buy at the farmers’ market. It’s hot, fresh, and made using veggies and eggs found at the market that morning.

Flash forward to yesterday afternoon and another Chicago rainstorm. I decided to bake bread to pass the time and settled on rosemary focaccia bread using the olive oil dough recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and it was delicious (all you have to do is add fresh minced rosemary to the dough and bake on a cookie sheet at 425°F for 25 minutes). I’d already eaten about half of a loaf straight-up when I started thinking, I have got to find something else to do with this delicious bread. That was when I remembered the egg sandwich and got to work.

Between my CSA and a Saturday morning visit to Green City Market, I had a ton of veggies to choose from. I really just wanted a little bit of this and a little bit of that without it turning into something I’d have to eat everyday for the next week (you other single cooks out there know what I’m talking about), so that’s what I did! I used one piece of bacon, one fingerling potato, two mini bell peppers, two crimini mushrooms, 1 large leaf bok choy, and about half of a very small yellow squash.

I cooked up all those veggies in the bacon fat (I’m going through a bacon phase) and added a little salt and lemon juice, then removed half of the veggies to save for later – this recipe really made two servings.  All that was left was to add two eggs to the pan with the remaining veggies, scramble it all together until the eggs were cooked, and pile the mixture onto a piece of fresh rosemary focaccia sliced in half.

Simple. Delicious. No recipe required. Happy Sunday morning!

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Cooking from My CSA: 3 1/2 Zucchini Recipes

I’ve been receiving my CSA weekly for about a month now and it’s finally starting to contain more of a variety of ingredients. There are still a lot of greens (chard, kale, collard), but this week we got a few new items – leeks (so small they look like scallions), tomato (one), and a whole lot of zucchini.

I enjoy zucchini, we have a good history. When I started cooking for myself my senior year of college, zucchini was one of the first vegetables I took on – I’d cook it on the George Foreman Grill with chicken marinated in Italian dressing. The George has long been out of commission, but my fondness for this summer squash remains.

Seeing as I’ll probably get even more zucchini next week, today I decided to look at it as a challenge to see what I could do to use it all. If I’d had more time (and if I hadn’t run out of flour), I would have made another batch of zucchini muffins, so that will have to wait. But I did make Zucchini-Walnut Bread, Chocolate Chip Zucchini-Walnut Muffins, a Zucchini Frittata, and Stewed Zucchini with Tomatoes.

Many of the ideas came from the CSA newsletter, which I think is one of my favorite features (thanks Harvest Moon Farms). The Zucchini Bread recipe was a combination of the one from the newsletter and one my friend shared. They were so similar that I took the best of each and made it my own, including reserving 1/4 of the batter for the muffins with chocolate chips. And same with the Stewed Zucchini – the inspiration was from the newsletter, I just tweaked it based on what I had available. Finally, I made the Frittata because I had leftover shredded zucchini from the bread/muffins to use up; it was the perfect thing to make.

Here are the recipes I made today. If you have a great zucchini recipe, please share it – I know there’s more zucchini coming!

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Cooking from My CSA: Collard Greens

As I briefly mentioned in my last post (otherwise known as the first post in months), I joined the Harvest Moon Farm CSA this year. For those of you not in the know – Mom, I’m talking to you – a CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Essentially, before the growing season even starts, you pay for a share in a farm’s crop, which for me comes to half a box of produce each week from mid-June until November. It’s uber convenient as the box gets delivered to my office building every Wednesday afternoon, and then I go to the farmers’ market on Saturday to supplement with produce that wasn’t in the box.

My weekly take is half a box because I’m splitting a share with a friend, who last week started a fire by microwaving fennel. That’s another story, but the point is that I might have to take the rest of the fennel this year even though I don’t like it because she just can’t be trusted.

I’ve been having fun experimenting with my CSA box and seeing what I can make out of it each week. Really, I’m enjoying the challenge of 1) using everything in my box, and 2) trying new veggies/new ways to prepare them. Often times I wind up focusing on just a few of the vegetables, then find myself with the rest starting to wilt on Monday night. This leads to a lot of last minute roasted veggie or stir-fry dishes that I take to work with quinoa. It’s good, but lacking a little creativity.

A few nights ago I focused on the collard greens, something I don’t eat often. I buy a lot of chard and kale, but usually stay away from the collards. Not sure why exactly, but I think maybe it’s because I had the impression it’s tougher than the other varieties.

That night I prepared the collard greens with delicious multi-colored carrots I’d picked up at the market along with bacon, garlic and lemon juice. That was pretty much it – super simple, very fresh and filling, and a great way to really taste and enjoy the collard greens. I was surprised to discover that they were more mild tasting than the others, which can sometimes be slightly bitter. I’m definitely a collard greens convert – bring ‘em on!

Here’s what I did, it’s really more of a guide than a straight-up recipe:

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Strawberry-Rhubard Buckle

Happy 4th of July! Always a fun weekend of friends, family, festivities and of course, fabulous food. The past few years I’ve celebrated by making a cherry-themed dessert; usually this is when I first see sour cherries at the farmers’ market and can’t wait to play with them. This year, the growing season is a bit behind schedule so while there weren’t any sour cherries to be found, the rhubarb was still going strong.

I’ve actually baked with rhubarb more this year than I ever have before. It’s been a recurring item in my CSA (community supported agriculture from Harvest Moon Farms) for three weeks running, not to mention the two weeks prior that I bought rhubarb at the market.

With all that rhubarb, I’ve almost run out of things to do with it. I made a rhubarb cake-pie, rhubarb tart and roasted rhubarb, and then finally this week a strawberry rhubarb buckle.

I used my favorite white peach and blueberry buckle recipe as a base but used strawberries, rhubarb and ginger as the main ingredients. Strawberries and rhubarb are classic combination, and the two types of ginger (ground and crystallized) add a bit of a kick to the buckle and help soften both the tartness of the rhubarb and the sweetness of the batter. If you’re not a ginger fan, go ahead and cut back the amounts a bit, but I’d still recommend leaving some in for a fun contrast in flavors.

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Spring Frittata

For years now I’ve been making this frittata, or at least a version of it. I’m not much of a brunch person myself, but in those instances in which I need to whip up something delicious for a group, as I just did for Mother’s Day, this is one of my go-to recipes.

What I love most about making a frittata is, that unlike most other breakfast dishes, you’re not making it to order. It’s cooked in one big skillet (I love my cast iron skillet for this) mostly on the stove, then finished in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes. I serve it straight from the skillet – it’s so easy and practically makes enough to feed an army. There’s no need to be off to the side flipping pancakes or making individual omelettes when you could make this frittata instead.

And even better, it works perfectly with whatever great vegetables are in season. It’s still in the 40′s here in Chicago, so needless to say, our growing season hasn’t really kicked off yet. But I did find asparagus, shitake mushrooms, spinach and Spring onions at the farmers’ market, which made for a delicious combination in this frittata.

Here’s the recipe, which was adapted from Bon Appetit, but I find it best to use as a guide – substitute or swap out any of the ingredients for whatever you have on hand.

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