Cook the Book – Zucchini and Mushroom Frittata

The chickens have hit their stride and are now gracing us with up to one dozen eggs a day.  This is most welcome as in the heart of winter, one or two eggs a day is common.  A person can only take this ratio so long before they begin to question, “Why exactly:  do we have chickens/am I buying organic feed/am I trudging through knee deep snow to replenish frozen water?”  Just about the time I begin to seriously consider sending a few older hens to the stew pot, the producers of the gang redeem the whole and they return to the safe zone in my mind.

As the girls can’t sell as many eggs as the hens produce right now, eggs are for dinner more frequently.  This frittata recipe is one I use on the boat all the time for breakfast.  On shore, we have it for dinner with a simply dressed green salad.  I switch up the cheese and the veggies all the time.

Zucchini and Mushroom Frittata

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
8 medium mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 medium green pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon basil, minced
1 tablespoon thyme, minced
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
8 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°.  Heat a 9 or 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Cook the veggies and garlic until soft. Whisk the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and pour the mixture over the veggies. Bake until the frittata has puffed up, around 30 to 40 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6 generously


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New Chickens Arrive!

Our retirement home for aging chickens is woefully short on the production of eggs right now.  One egg per day – total – just isn’t cutting it.   It could have something to do with how freaking cold it is here right now (Even my husband is wearing his fingerless mittens today.  In the house.)   … or that they are all molting.  How unfair is it of Mother Nature to cause her sweet hens to drop their feathers on some of the coldest days of the year?  The coop is well insulated now with a layer of feathers, but the hens are scraggly, cold and sorry looking.

The plan is to every year or other year add some yearlings to the brood so that the egg production stays level.  As hens age, they lay fewer and fewer eggs.  And while a true farmer would allocate them to the stew pot, I just can’t do it.

They were precious cargo in the back of our car.  Held with great care.  Me without my chicken bin lined with hay, but instead with three cooing girlies in the back of the car content to hold them on the way home.

Hoping, generous hens, for a few more than one a day

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Salami, Tomato & White Cheddar Strata

StrataStratas are pretty common recipes in my family.  Every brunch, holiday breakfast, wedding shower and funeral seemed to include a strata of some sort.  This recipe, of course, reminds me of home and family, which is perfect as I’m suggesting you use it just as my family has for years – to make your life a little easier.  This recipe is one that I’ve used hundreds of times.  It’s extremely versatile.  You can make it the day before or even bake it ahead and freeze it.  If you are looking to go a little more elegant, use 6 to 8 oz. ramekins for individual servings.

Salami, Tomato and White Cheddar Strata

1 one-pound loaf of French or Italian bread, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter, melted
12 eggs
4 cups milk
4 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 teaspoons dried mustard
4 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
2 cups diced tomatoes
8 oz. sliced salami, cut in half and then in 1/4 inch strips, about 2 cups

Place the bread in the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch pan or equivilant.  Beat the eggs and combine with the rest of the ingredients.  Pour over the bread and bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes. 

For baking ahead and freezing:  follow the above directions and cool to room temperature before covering and freezing.  Freeze for up to one month.  Defrost in the refrigerator and then bake at 325° for 20 minutes or until warmed through.

For baking in ramekins:  follow the above directions and bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes.

Corn, Bacon and Cheddar – Substitute 12 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled, for the salami and 2 cups of corn kernels, cut from the cob or frozen and defrosted for the diced tomatoes.

Smoked Salmon and Dill – Substitute the bacon with 10 slices of smoked salmon and the 4 t. parsley with 2 teaspoons fresh dill.  Omit the corn.  Lay the salmon over the bread and then pour the egg and milk mixture over.

Salsa and Pepper Jack Cheese – Substitute the 1 cup salsa for the bacon and the pepper jack cheese for the cheddar.

Ham and Boursin – Substitute 1 1/2 cups diced ham for the bacon and 2 cups of boursin for the cheddar cheese.  Omit the corn.  Dot the bread with pats of boursin and then pour the egg and milk mixture over.

Serves 10-12

Chef Annie
Thinking ahead

© 2008 Baggywrinkle Publishing