Saturday, March 24, 2012

Not your usual eggs and toast

As I've mentioned before, I don't really like eating the usual breakfast foods for breakfast. No pancakes or bear claws for me, and I'll pass on the oatmeal or toast with jam. Instead, I prefer something warm and savory, perhaps something that one might normally eat for dinner. For this week's Dark Days Challenge, the bonus challenge is to make a SOLE breakfast. If I were eating meat, I could have done bacon, eggs, and toast. Or I could have gone the smoothie route, making one with berries I'd frozen during the summer as well as some currently-available Bloomsdale spinach (for that extra nutrient punch). Instead, I went with one of my favorite breakfast classics: a "wallet egg," inspired by the cookbook Every Grain of Rice.

It's pretty simple: Fry up a couple of eggs from Capay Farms in either some Clover butter or Frog Hollow Farm olive oil, but make sure they stay runny. Serve over Lundberg brown rice, with some green onions from A. Nagamine Nursery sprinkled on top. (If not concerned about being SOLE, add some oyster sauce on top, which really makes a difference in the flavor.) The runny eggs will mix into the rice as you eat. It's comforting and filling.

Another quick breakfast I like eating is mushrooms on toast. Saute some mushrooms (here I used a combination of shiitake, oyster, and cremini) from J&M Ibarra Farms with some diced onions from Catalán Farm in a little olive oil from Frog Hollow Farm. Splash in a little local beer or wine, if you have any. When the liquids have been absorbed, sprinkle over a little chopped parsley from A. Nagamine Nursery, and serve on a slice of toasted sourdough bread from Sumano's Bakery.

While breakfast isn't exactly my favorite meal of the day, at least I've got a couple dishes up my sleeve that I can fall back on in a pinch.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Dinner in a flash

I'm not very good at making dinner quickly. Somehow I always end up choosing recipes that take a long time to complete. Considering that I don't get home until almost 7PM, it often means it's closer to 8:30 or sometimes even 9PM by the time we sit down to eat. Lately, I've been trying to make meals that are simpler (and thus faster) to make. For this meal, which is also this week's Dark Days Challenge, I made Welsh rarebit with spinach and roasted asparagus, served with creamy butternut squash soup (which I had made earlier in the week).

The rarebit is insanely easy: After sauteing some Bloomsdale spinach from Tomatero Farms (40 mi), I mixed it with some white cheddar from Spring Hill Jersey Cheese (90 mi) and a little whole grain mustard (not local — it's a Polish brand I really like, and it's the only mustard I've got in my fridge) and a splash of Strauss (90 mi) milk. Then I spread it over a slice of bread from Beckmann's (30 mi) and broiled the whole thing until the cheese was brown and bubbly. Meanwhile, I sprinkled some asparagus (from a vendor whose name I just realized I don't know, even though I've been buying my asparagus from them for the past three years) with some olive oil from Frog Hollow Farm (70 mi) and some thyme from my yard, then I roasted the lot at 450°F for about ten minutes.

The soup included butternut squash from Happy Boy Farms (35 mi), leeks from Catalán Farms (40 mi), milk from Strauss, and cream from Clover (90 mi).

Having dinner on the table in under half an hour is practically unheard of around here. I have to say I was pretty proud of myself.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Beet simple

This week's entry into the Dark Days Challenge is a recipe from Food52, an online community of people who love to cook and eat. I've been cooking from this website almost exclusively the last couple of weeks. For dinner last night, I made French "peasant" beets with bucherondin cheese and a big hunk of ciabatta. It was delicious, filling, and quite nutritious — but, to be honest, after having it for dinner and then again the following day for lunch, I think I'm done with beets for the season. (Didn't I say that the last time I had beets as the main course? This time, I mean it!)

Fortunately, winter is winding down, and we'll soon be done with beet season. In the meantime, we've entered the quiet space before spring arrives at the farmers' market. Greens and root vegetables are still available but in much smaller supply. All the heirloom varieties of apples are gone, although there is still plenty of citrus. Asparagus, my favorite vegetable, is already available and is about to start making an appearance at every meal (I love it that much).

Speaking of the farmers' market, the following vendors provided the ingredients for my meal: the beets were from Tomatero Farms (40 mi), the butter was from Clover (90 mi), the shallot was from Borba Farms (40 mi), the cheese was from Redwood Hill Farm (90 mi), and the bread was from La Boulange (50 mi).