June 9, 2011

Frittata with Purple Potatoes


The focus of my cooking lately has been simple meals using local vegetables. I’ve started planning my weekly menu after my trip to the farmers’ market instead of before. That way, I can just buy what looks good and plan my meals around it.

J is very busy right now participating in a six-week opera training program at U of A called Opera Nuova. His days are usually 10 to 12 hours long, with only Monday off.


Needless to say all the cooking falls to me! I try to make something home-cooked every night so he can pack it for his meals the next day. I’m sticking to simple meals that don’t take too long to make – Asian noodle and rice salads with lots of vegetables, pasta with tomato-vegetable sauce, Curry with rice, lentil and vegetable soups, etc.


We’ve also been eating a lot more eggs now that they’re readily available at the market. One of my favourite – and easiest – egg dishes is a frittata.


I’ve been cooking free-form frittatas for years. It’s something my Mom used to make when I was younger. The formula is very simple: eggs, vegetables, cheese if you like, all cooked in a pan on the stove and then stuck under the broiler for a few minutes to make the top nice and brown.


The great thing about frittata is its portability. It’s easy to take for lunch and reheat in the microwave. I love egg dishes with a poached or fried egg topping a salad or other dish, but unfortunately they don’t result in easy, packable leftovers.


Heidi Swanson has a great frittata recipe in her latest cookbook, Super Natural Every Day. It’s almost the same as the recipe I use, but I like her trick of removing half the cooked vegetables and topping the frittata with them before broiling. Since I never measure my vegetables but just eyeball them, I’ve taken Heidi’s amounts as my guidelines in the recipe below.

When I took these pictures I used mostly potatoes (purple ones from Sundog Organics) in my frittata. Feel free to play around with the vegetables as you like, and find your favourite ratio of egg-to-vegetable.

Frittata with Purple Potatoes

5 green onions, sliced thinly
8 oz. potatoes (purple or otherwise)
8 oz. seasonal vegetables (good choices are asparagus, mushrooms, peppers [you can also use jarred peppers which is what i did here], zucchini, green beans, broccoli), chopped into bite-sized pieces
10 eggs
Crumbled hard or soft goat cheese

Preheat the broiler.

Either chop your potatoes into bite-sized pieces and cook them in boiling water until just tender, or slice them very thinly.

Heat about 2 Tablespoons oil in a large skillet (for this amount of eggs, 10 to 12 inches is good). If you sliced your potatoes, add the green onions and potatoes. Cover and cook until the potatoes are just tender, about ten minutes.

If your potatoes are cooking in a separate pot, add your green onions to the pan and follow the next step.

Add the rest of your vegetables and cook until just tender (if I’m cooking mushrooms I like to cook them until they’re juicy). Remove half the vegetable mixture to a plate.

Meanwhile, whisk your eggs and season with salt and pepper. If you cooked your potatoes in a separate pot, add half of them to the pan once the vegetables are cooked. Lower the heat in the skillet to medium-low and pour in the eggs, making sure the vegetables are evenly distributed. Cook until the eggs are just set and only the very top is still liquid.  As they cook, slide a spatula under the cooked eggs and tilt the pan so the uncooked egg slides under.

Add the remaining vegetables and potatoes to the pan and sprinkle with goat cheese. Put the pan under the broiler until the eggs are puffed and brown. This takes me about 3 to 4 minutes, but the time will depend on how hot your broiler is. Keep a close eye on it.

Remove pan and cut frittata into wedges. Heidi suggests topping with chopped chives and sprinkling with olive oil. I think it would also be very good with your favourite hot sauce.

June 2, 2011

Morning Smoothie


My new habit is eating a morning smoothie. I even got J into it.

It's a fresh, easy, delicious way to start the day. It may sound cliche, but I'm always trying to find easy ways to get more vegetables and fruits into our diets, and smoothies are a great one.
I also love them because they're so adaptable. You can add lots of different things - fruit, yogurt, any kind of milk, juice, vegetables (though I haven't tried this yet), ground flax seeds, nut butter etc.


Here's how I'm making mine these days:

I ripe banana
About 1/2 cup frozen fruit (we usually use berries)
About 2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
a few spoonfuls yogurt
Enough milk or liquid to make it smooth and drinkable

Blend it up and enjoy!


We bought a new immersion blender recently, with a more powerful motor, so it makes this really easy. I find the combination of ripe banana and yogurt, plus some frozen fruit, makes the perfect consistency: thick enough, creamy and frothy. I always use plain yogurt (my fave) and I never add sugar - the fruit is sweet enough.


I've been buying Fairwinds Farm goat milk at the Italian Centre and using that in my smoothie. I tasted it on its own and was surprised to find it tasted just like cow's milk to me - no funky sharp taste like most goat's cheese and yogurt has. It blends up into a creamier mix than our other standby, almond milk, but almond milk makes the smoothie a bit sweeter. The goat milk is expensive, but it's really great to have on hand for recipes that just don't work as well without dairy.


To last through the morning without getting too hungry, I usually combine my smoothie with a bowl of whole-grain cereal with milk and raisins, or some gluten-free toast with peanut butter or avocado. Yup, I like a hearty breakfast.

What do you like in your smoothies? Do you add vegetables? Let me know, I'd love some other ideas!