Friday, July 31, 2009

Spinach and Potato Frittata


I like to make frittatas to have for a quick breakfast during the week (also, because it's fun to say 'tatas'). It's so easy to take a slice with me to work- it's good cold or reheated in the toaster oven.


So this week, I had baby new potatoes from the Farmers' Market and some spinach. While I was sauteing the spinach and potatoes, I found it hard to keep cooking, because I just wanted to eat the delicious filling.


Obviously, the sky's the limit when it comes to ideas for fillings. My friend Elizabeth made a Smoked Salmon Frittata which sounds oh-so-fancy.

Spinach and Potato Frittata

1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups chopped baby spinach
5-6 baby new potatoes, sliced
6 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese (of your liking)
1 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
1 t. parsley
1 T. butter

Heat skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. Sautee spinach and potatoes in oil, season with salt, pepper, and parsley. Cook until potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes. Sautee minced garlic for a few seconds.
Grease a pie pan with butter, add filling and distribute evenly around the pan. Sprinkle cheese over filling.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.
Pour egg mixture over filling in pie pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

And to be continued...


I'm making fruit leather! Here is the pumpkin leather about to go in for its dehydrating treatment. More later.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Garlic Scape Pesto

I made garlic scape pesto recently, after falling in love with it a friend's house. They invited us over for dinner and were in the middle of a CSA scramble, trying to use and preserve the veggies that were on the verge of going bad. So I volunteered to make the garlic scape pesto, while others were hard at work on the pork chops, quinoa, and beet greens.

After a few whizzes in the food processor, I had my first taste test, and I fell in love. I had been so skeptical of garlic scapes all season long, but after I saw the awesome way the scape's mild garlic flavor melded so well with the pecans and Parm, I was hooked.


So I quickly set to work making my own garlic scape pesto, to freeze and then enjoy all season long. I bought a LOT of scapes from the Snell Family Farm at the Wednesday Farmers' Market, and then used Parm and walnuts to make my own 'Green Monster.'


I froze the pesto in ice cube trays for easy portioning later. And while I assume this pesto can be used like any other pesto, I'd love some recipe suggestions. (We all found it to be pretty good as a dip!)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Super Lasagna To The Rescue!

Thursday night, when I returned from my food preservation class, I was starving (note to self: don't go to food class hungry, duh). And to my delight, M had "whipped up" this lasagna!


First he rolled out thin sheets of cracked peppercorn pasta, then layered them with veggies, cheese, and fresh tomatoes (instead of marinara). He used fresh basil, swiss chard, trumpet mushrooms, onions, carrots, zucchini and yellow summer squash. Oh, plus four different kinds of cheese: Fontina, Mozz, Ricotta, and Parm.


And oh my gosh, was it good. Plus, I was able to use a little of the basil pesto that was made during my class. So thanks to my M for channeling someone's little Italian grandmother for a night.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

five fifty-five Review

Again, because M's mom was in town, we got the chance to eat at some restaurants that we have had our eye on, but haven't made it to yet. His mom came bearing a travel magazine that featured Portland, Maine and it's attractions and eateries. five fifty-five was mentioned in the extensive eatery list that pretty much covered all the bases (Curious? check it out here). And because I've never ventured into 555 (although walked by it many a time, since we live right down the street), we made a reservation.

I feel I must disclose that in walking by 555 many times, we've also checked out the menu many times. And then kept walking to Local 188. It wasn't that I disliked what I saw, it was just that I found myself saying, "Meh." The two reservations I had were that the menu was small and the prices high. Plus, nothing really grabbed me, made me go 'ooh!'

But maybe I was just thinking too hard about it- which is really easy to do with so many great restaurants in Portland- so I went in with an open mind.

To start, we ordered a cheese plate with two selections: le delice de bourgogne from Burgundy, France and old Amsterdam aged Gouda from Amsterdam.


And, I mean, how can you go wrong? I was happy to try this great Gouda, as it wasn't smoked, and I'm not a big fan of anything smoked (except bacon). So we had one girl cheese and one boy cheese, as M likes stinky, gooey cheese... he didn't have to read past the menu description of 'triple creme' before he wanted it. And everyone loved the accompaniments, especially the berry jam and the Marcona almonds.

The next appetizer we ordered was "chips and fish," described as smoked and chilled casco bay cod, butter lettuce, fresh dug parsnip "chips," malt vinegar aioli, and curry oil. So I was picturing like a potato chip, but made from parsnips.


And as you can see, the fish was topped with something that reminded me of French's potato sticks and without any parsnip flavor. So maybe we were just confused, but everyone thought the dish would be better if it had bigger parsnip "chips." The fish was great, not overpoweringly smoked, but light and creamy.

As my entree, I had the grilled caesar salad, since I've always meant to try grilling romaine. I opted for the white anchovies and liked them much better than the fat, really fishy ones available at Bonobo.


Pretty much everything about this salad rocked- the big curls of Parmesan, the crisp garlic croutons, and the really tangy dressing. I thought at first the salad had a little too much smoky flavor, from the grilled lettuce, but once I cut everything up and mixed it together, it melded wonderfully.

The service and atmosphere here were nice; our server was reserved, but attentive (I like me a sassy server), and I enjoyed the space's warm coppery light. But we probably won't be adding 555 to our 'short list' of frequented restaurants as I wasn't blown away for the price point.

Five Fifty-Five on Urbanspoon

Saturday, July 18, 2009

More 'Grace'fulness

When M's mom came to town, we knew we had to take her to Grace (you know, because she likes eating out and goes to church... makes sense). So we stopped in for some drinks and appies.

I had the Nirvana, a strawberry mojito of sorts...


And we quickly devoured the lobster tacos...


and truffled deviled eggs.


(For the record, I can and have eaten half a dozen deviled eggs in one sitting.) Everything was delish, I was happy to see that they've expanded the menu, and we had a great time. I pretty much love it there.

Grace on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Authentic Philly Cheesesteaks


When I found out I was going to Philly for work last week, M. immediately requested that I transport Philly cheesesteaks back to Portland. The man loves his Wiz. My first night in town, I walked by Jim's Steaks on South Street, where I've had an awesome, authentic cheesesteak. But as I explored the city, I found out I was staying right next to Reading Terminal Market.


The market reminded me of Broadway Market in Fells Point, Baltimore, where there is always some hot food, some fresh seafood, and some local character. I ended up visiting every day of my stay!


The Amish have a presence at the market, where they show newbie canners like me how it's done.


And, of course, there's a plethora of cheesesteak places in Terminal Market. So before I caught my shuttle to the airport, I zipped over to the market to get two cheesesteaks with Wiz and onions. (And I had the great experience of watching a lady ask what was in a cheesesteak. The counter girl replied, "Cheese... and steak..." Hahaaaaa.)

I randomly chose to get sandwiches from By George! Pizza, Pasta & Cheesesteaks. And while I'm sure I lost some quality on the plane ride home, these babies were still damn good. Nothin' like a visit to the mid-Atlantic to get a good hoagie!

By George on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 13, 2009

Magnificent Mushie

Obviously I've got lots of summer veggies to cook for dinner, but when it came to choosing a protein the other night, M and I were unmotivated by all the choices. Beef? Meh. Chicken? Meh. Pork? You get the picture...

I thought of a stuffed Portobello mushroom, though, and got really excited - M got really into the stuffing.


M used Down East breakfast sausage, apple, Vidalia onion, fresh sage, and homemade wheat croutons in the stuffing. He thought to make a little sausage patty and then coat the outside with the croutons so they would crisp up in the oven, like the top of the stuffing at Thanksgiving.

And while this meal did taste a little 'fall-y,' we had some nice patty pan squash and zucchini with it to give it a summer feel.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Farmers' Market Spread


Thank goddess for summer bounty!

Monday, July 6, 2009

4th of July Brunch

So our self-inflicted challenge for Saturday, July 4th was to go to the Farmers' Market and make brunch from ingredients we bought there. Granted, not the most difficult challenge this time of year, but fun nonetheless!


So, we bought... (let's see how memory serves)
-Broccoli from someone with a cute little chocolate-covered girl as the cashier
-Baby new potatoes from Snell's Family Farms
-Tomatoes from Olivia's Garden
-Eggs from Sparrow Farms
-Goats milk Mozzerella from... you know, the goat lady Tourmaline Hill Farms. Her friend even tried to sell us a goat!

So combined with the onions, red peppers, and spinach from mom's garden (Thanks, Mom!) that we had at home, we made an awesome veggie hash with poached eggs.

Topped it all off with a PBR (at 11:30am, yes!) and our day was off to a great start.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Summer Dinner

For the record, it doesn't feel like summer in Maine. This may be my first summer here, but I've been to Maine in the summer before (granted, August), and it was warm. Hot, even. The high for today is a whopping 58 degrees.

So between the weather and the garden produce, there is no real sign of summer in Maine. So the 'summer' dinner you see here is more a product of wishful thinking than actuality. The corn is from Georgia (Whole Foods again), but the lettuce is from my garden and the potatoes from Snell's Family Farm in Buxton (via the Deering Oaks Farmers' Market).

 I made a delicious potato salad, with fresh cilantro, parsley, chives, and dill from the garden. M made the chicken, with Dinosaur Barbeque sauce, an upstate New York specialty.

So while it may still feel like April outside, I'm doing my best to keep summer in my hearts and on my plates.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ina Garten's Pound Cake

I went looking for a delicious dessert to go with all the fresh strawberries I picked last week. After ruling out strawberry shortcake (why are all the recipes so biscuit-like, gross!) and angel food cake (obviously delicious, but alas, no Bundt pan), I decided pound cake. My friend Liz suggested Ina Garten's recipe.

Now I'm not a big Ina Garten fan, and not for any particular reason, just that I've never explored her recipes. But this recipe should become your go-to pound cake recipe. The added touches of vanilla extract and honey make this cake so delicious.


This cake took a long (LONG) time to bake, and it started to brown too much on top. I covered it with foil after about an hour of baking and baked it for 10 or 15 minutes more until the middle was set.

M made some fresh whipped cream to go with the strawberry puree left over from making jam. At first, I thought this cake took a lot of materials and time and wasn't that great. But I reevaluated, and now I can't stop eating it! It's delicious smeared with some homemade jam. Maybe I'll go have some now...

Honey Vanilla Pound Cake
From Ina Garten's Back to Basics

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 extra large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of a loaf pan, cover the bottom with parchment paper, and then grease and flour the pan. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Put the eggs, honey, vanilla, and lemon zest in a glass measuring cup, but do not combine. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides, and allowing the egg to become fully incorporated until adding the next one. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish mixing the batter with a rubber scraper and pour into the pan. Smooth the top. Bake 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, turn out onto a baking rack, and cool completely.