Category: Eggs

Leek Frittata and a Big Question

April 22, 2010

Yes, I want to tell you about this very good, very simple frittata I made for brunch on Sunday.  It uses those incredible leeks and it was delicate and delicious in a ladies-who-lunch kind of way.  It could probably be made more substantial with extra eggs, milk, and cheese – but our guests liked it just the way it was.  This morning I have been dreaming about putting it on a ciabatta roll slathered with aioli and topped with thin slices of tomato and peppery arugula.  For breakfast.  Or lunch, or dinner.  Or all three.

Seeing as it is a winner, I will most definitely share the recipe but first I have an important question to ask.

For a long time, I have been wanting another tattoo.  I have a small Leo symbol on the back of my left shoulder.  It’s about the size of a half dollar (remember those?) and I got it when I was 22.  At the time, I wanted something that I knew I could relate to the for the rest of my life.  I considered getting the Pearl Jam symbol but thought I may not be a Pearl Jam fan when I was 40 but would always be a Leo.  (As it turns out, I am 3 months away from 40 and still a Pearl Jam fan.)

Anyway, my tattoo is sideways (the guy made a mistake) but I have loved having it.  I feel like I have a special secret and I love those few months in Seattle when I can wear things that make it visible.  Now I feel like I am ready for something more out there, something that I can show on a daily basis.  For the past year or so, I have thought about getting something on my left forearm but haven’t been able to come up with the right thing.  I want something pretty and feminine – something that would look right with a short-sleeved shirt and jeans, and something that would look right with the amazing dress I will wear to celebrate my 40th birthday.

I had dinner with a friend recently who has a gorgeous spoon on her upper arm.  She is a chef and it is the perfect thing for her.  I love the idea of doing something related to food but I want something more feminine – more girlie.  I was telling Randy about it and he said, “Why don’t you get some kind of herb?”.  And then it hit me.  Chives.

We have a gorgeous chive plant in our front yard.  It is the first of our plants to bloom and it produces all spring and summer.  I love the long green stem and the delicate yet substantial purple blossom.  I love purple.  I love purple and green together.  I love herbs and I love chives and, of course, I love to cook.  Doesn’t this seem like a natural fit?  It’s pretty, it relates to my life in food…I feel like it’s me.

So – here is where you come in.  Am I crazy?  Would this look beautiful or just weird?  Will I love it in 20 years or regret it?  This is, obviously, a big decision, and I am definitely looking for feedback, so tell me.  What do you think?  In the meantime, while you are pondering, make this frittata.  Delicate, lovely, delicious.

Leek Frittata
Dana Treat Original
Serves 4

¼ stick unsalted butter
2 large leeks, white and very pale green part only, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced into ¼-inch thick slices
1½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp. water
¼ tsp. salt
6 eggs
½ cup whole milk
1/2 cup soft goat cheese, such as Montrachet, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chives, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Spray a 9-inch pie plate with non-stick spray (or lightly coat it with oil).

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the leeks along with the salt and stir to coat.  Add the thyme and cook until starting to soften, about 4 minutes.  Add the water and reduce heat to low.  Cover the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are meltingly tender, about 25 minutes.  If there is still liquid in the skillet, remove the top and allow it to cook off.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

Crack all of the eggs into a medium mixing bowl and give them a good whisk.  Add the milk and whisk again.  Add the leeks and mix together, then add half the goat cheese and stir carefully.

Pour the egg mixture into the pie plate and crumble the remaining goat cheese over top.  Place in the oven and allow to bake until the middle is set, and the edges are only very light brown, about 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.  Can be eaten warm or at room temperature.  Or cold from the refrigerator the next day.

Tabasco and Asparagus Quinoa

April 16, 2010

You know when you get a new accessory – say, a pair of earrings or some awesome shoes – and you just want to wear them with everything?  Or a new lipstick shade that looks just right no matter what you have on?

That is kind of how I feel about this quinoa dish.  I want to eat it everyday.  I want to eat it straight out of the bowl and I also want to gussy it up by filling giant portabello caps with it, and roasting it in the oven with a sprinkling of cheese.  I want to feed it to the people I love.  There are a lot of people I love but that’s okay because this recipe gives you a lot of quinoa.  And it keeps beautifully.

This dish comes to you by way of 101 Cookbooks, a lovely site and one I turn to when I want über-healthy food or when I just need more whole grains in my life.  That Heidi knows her way around quinoa, let me tell you.  Let me also tell you what I love about this dish.  If you have tried quinoa, you probably like it.  It has a mild nutty flavor and a delightful little pop under the tooth.  Here it is tossed, while still warm, with a little butter that has been mixed with Tabasco, lemon juice, salt and mustard.  An intoxicating combination if there ever was one.

I had a lonely little bag of red quinoa sitting on my “grains” shelf (yes, I am annoying – I have a large pantry) so I used that but regular old quinoa is fine, of course.  (Although I have to say I really liked that red stuff and since I have a grains shelf, I plan to buy more.)  Heidi mentioned that she ate this dish the next day fried rice style with some egg added in.  I decided to add it from the start since we can always use more protein around here and, being a baker, I always have eggs in my refrigerator.

As I mentioned up top, this makes a lot of quinoa.  We ate it three nights in a row and the third night I shared it with three other people.  It tasted as good the third day as the first and because I shocked the asparagus in ice water so they would keep their lovely green color, it looked as good too.  We doused ours with extra Tabasco one night, spooned on a tomatillo salsa the next, and dabbed it with an Asian sweet chile sauce the third.  Very adaptable – just like the perfect pair of shoes.

One Year Ago:  Gruyère Gougères

Tabasco and Asparagus Quinoa
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Serves many

2 cups quinoa
3 cups water
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
15 drops Tabasco sauce
Juice of half a lemon
¼ tsp. salt
1 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch segments
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup plain whole milk yogurt (optional)
3 eggs, beaten

Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh sieve.  Bring the 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan along with a large pinch of salt.  Add the quinoa, allow  it to return to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for about 25 minutes, until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed.

Place the butter in a medium bowl and mash it with a fork.  Add the mustard, Tabasco, lemon juice and salt and mash well to combine.  Add to the pot of quinoa and stir to combine well.

Boil the asparagus in a large pot of salted water for just a minute or so.  Immediately remove them to a bowl of ice water.  Once they are completely cool, drain well.

Heat a small non-stick pan over medium heat.  Melt a bit of butter in the pan and then add the eggs.  Allow them to cook, occasionally lifting up the edges and allowing the raw egg on top to go to the bottom of the pan.  Once the eggs are cooked, slide the omelet onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch pieces.

Add the asparagus, pine nuts, eggs, and yogurt to the quinoa and stir well to combine.

For People Who Fear Crust

March 24, 2010

Some people are afraid of yeast so they don’t make bread.  Some people are afraid of crusts so they don’t make tarts or pies.  (I myself am afraid of frosting layer cakes but I don’t let it stop me.)  So, If I say “tart”, are you one of those people who gets scared?   Truth be told, I find crusts can be tricky even thought I have made a lot of them.  Every time I make a pie, I say a little prayer to the crust gods to make things go smoothly.  My only advice is that it helps to have a good recipe and lots of practice.

If you do suffer from a crust phobia, please make this pie.  I would say it’s like a crust-less quiche, but it does in fact have a crust.  It is nothing more than some breadcrumbs sprinkled into a buttered pie plate, but somehow just that little bit of attention makes it more elegant, interesting, and also helps hold the slices together.  The lack of a butter and/or shortening  crust also makes a slice much lighter and healthier – so you can be a little more heavy-handed with the cheese.

This is one of many Jeanne Lemlin tarts that I have made – all easy, all delicious.  It is totally adaptable and great for lunch, brunch, or dinner.  Although she says it is important to use Swiss cheese in this one to help keep it all together, I bet you could substitute another firm cheese and have it turn out fabulously well.

One Year Ago: Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Zucchini, Tomato, and Swiss Cheese Pie
Adapted from Quick Vegetarian Pleasures
Serves 4

1 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup bread crumbs
Olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 tsp. fennel seed
¼ tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
¼ pound grated Swiss cheese
3 tbsp. grated fresh Parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 375º F.  Butter a 9 inch pie plate, then sprinkle the bread crumbs all over the sides and bottom.  Allow whatever loose crumbs are there to just sit on the bottom.

2.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add enough olive oil to just coat the bottom, then add the onion.  Sauté until translucent, then add the garlic and sauté for another 3 minutes.  Stir in the diced tomatoes and sauté another 5 minutes.  Raise the heat to high.  Mix in the zucchini, fennel seed, salt and pepper.  Cook until the zucchini is barely tender, about 5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and cool 5 minutes.  (The recipe may be prepared in a dvance to this point an dchilled up to 24 hours.  Bring to room temperature before proceeding.)

3.  Beat the eggs in a large bowl.  Stir in the milk, then mix in the zucchini mixture.  Pour half into the prepared pie plate, top with the Swiss cheese, then pour on the remaining vegetable mixture.  Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese all over the top.

4.  Bake 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown.  Let sit 10 minutes before cutting.

Learning to Love Onions

December 13, 2009


I have introduced my husband Randy to many different foods over the nine years we have known each other.  In some ways, I feel like I have introduced him to food period.  Randy has always been athletic and so he has always viewed food as fuel.  Before he met me, he had some crazy calculation for the protein to carb to vegetable ratio so that he could just keep moving without bonking.  It had very little to do with taste.  There was a lot of tuna, chicken, rice, and salsa in his life.  Occasionally a vegetable or two.

Then along comes me.  Vegetarian.  Loves to eat.  Loves to dine out.  Loves to talk about food.  Loves to research restaurants in far away cities.  Loves to obsess about each and every upcoming meal.  I’ve got to hand it to the guy – he has made a huge effort to embrace the obsession.  He tries new restaurants with me.  He enthusiastically eats everything that I cook, even the most aggressively vegetarian food (he is a carnivore).  He has opened his mind up to food that he thought he hated.  And I have converted him.  Peas, lentils, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and tofu used to be on the black list.  He eats all of them now.  (Brussels sprouts are still dicey and cauliflower only if it is roasted.  But still, progress.)  The only dislike he holds on to is beets.  And I can live with that for now.

But before I pat myself on the back too heartily, there are foods he has brought into my life for which I am eternally grateful.  It is hard for me to believe, but I had never tasted Pho (the Vietnamese rice noodle soup) before a trip we took to Vancover together.  Now Pho is a large part of our family’s life.  He also reawakened my love for Mexican food, spicy food in general, and he made me embrace onions.


I still don’t like raw onions, but I do love them in all other ways.  Especially caramelized onions.  I have been cooking up lots of them lately.  I love them in these tarts, and in a quick and easy appetizer that I will share here shortly.  When my brother and sister-in-law came for brunch yesterday, I knew I wanted to make this frittata.  I’m not sure why so much time has gone by since my last go-around with this lovely dish but I guess that’s what happens in a busy kitchen.

Now, you might be wondering – are those eggs brown?  Did she overcook the frittata?  We all know that overcooked eggs are one of the worst things about brunches in restaurants, right?  Let me reassure you.  That brown top is actually balsamic vinegar that has been cooked down so that it is syrupy and sweet, and then brushed over the top of the frittata.  Not an A+  in the looks department but definitely in the taste department.


Want another Frittata?  Check out this one.

Frittata with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese, and Sage
Adapted from Fields of Greens
Serves 6

2 tbsp. olive oil
3 medium onions, quartered and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 eggs
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated, about 1/3 cup
1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
3 ounces mild creamy goat cheese, crumbled
3 tbsp. Reduced Balsamic Vinegar (method follows)

Preheat oven to 325ºF.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet; add the onions, a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Sauté the onions over medium heat for about 10 minutes to release their juices.  Add the garlic; continue to cook over medium heat for about 40 minutes, gently scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to keep the onions from sticking as they caramelize.  Transfer the onions to a bowl and set aside to cool.  (DT: These can be made days in advance.  Put in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)

Beat the eggs in a medium bowl.  Stir in the onions along with the Parmesan and sage.  In a 9-inch sauté pan with an ovenproof handle, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil to just below the smoking point.  Swirl the oil around the sides of the pan to coat it.  Turn the heat down to low, then immediately pour the frittata mixture into the pan.  The eggs will sizzle from the heat.  Crumble in the goat cheese and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, until the sides begin to set; transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, until the frittata is golden and firm.

Loosen the frittata gently with a rubber spatula; the bottom will tend to stick to the pan.  Place a plate over the pan, flip it over, and turn the frittata out.  Brush the bottom and sides with the vinegar and cut into wedges.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

For the balsamic vinegar, heat 6 tablespoons of vinegar in a small saucepan and cook down gently until it is reduced by half.  If you want to have some of these amazing taste treat on hand, just make extra and store it in the refrigerator.  This process goes quickly, so watch your pot carefully.

Smoky Flavors

October 1, 2009


There is the old saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  What do you do when life gives you chard?  And carrots?

For the last three weeks straight, I have received chard and carrots in my CSA box.  Actually, the carrots I’m not that worried about.  Farm fresh and stored in the crisper drawer, they will last a month or more.  Plus there is always vegetable stock to make, this soup, and this dressing.  But the chard?  I loved this recipe but didn’t want to make it again and again.  In order to use up the two huge bunches I had taking up lots of space in my refrigerator, I decided to cook it down and serve it over grilled bread.

The good thing about chard is that, if you want to use a lot of it, it melts into almost nothing.  The two of us were able to eat it the two giant bunches without too much trouble.  I sautéed a bit of garlic, added as many leaves as I could put into my large skillet, and then added more as they wilted.  I also added about a teaspoon of smoked paprika and some sliced sun-dried tomatoes.  I let the chard cook for a good long while, until it was really soft.  I was going to poach the eggs directly in nests of chard, but my pan was too large and I opted to make them in my egg poacher instead.  Fried eggs would also be delicious here.

Verdict?  A great way to use a lot of chard.  And a very quick dinner.  Randy called it “bitter” but would not come right out and say that he didn’t like it, although I told him he was allowed to.  I loved the egg and the bread (and the roasted potatoes I served along with it), but I would find another green for next time.  Broccoli rabe perhaps or kale.  Or maybe the mustard greens I was just informed are coming in this week’s box.  Along with some carrots.  I’m not kidding.

One Year Ago:  Dimply Plum Cake

Smoky Chard Over Grilled Bread
Dana Treat Original
Serves 2

If you find yourself with only one bunch of chard, do not despair.  You can still make a dinner out of this, you will just have slightly less chard to go over the bread and I would cut the smoked paprika down to 1/2 teaspoon.

Olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large bunches chard (any type)
1 tsp. smoked paprika
6 sun-dried tomato halves, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 medium slices country bread, drizzled with olive oil and grilled or toasted
4 eggs, poached, fried, or hard-boiled and sliced

Cut the chard leaves off of each stem (you can also just tear it off).  Cut the leaves into approximately 2-inch strips.  Reserve the stems for another use.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat.  When hot, add just enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom.  Add the garlic and stir constantly until just starting to brown.  Do not allow to burn.  Add as many chard leaves as will fit into the pan and sauté until starting to wilt.  Add more leaves and continue to cook down until wilted.  Continue this process until all the chard is in the pan.  Add the paprika, the sun-dried tomatoes, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and lower the heat.  Cook, stirring often, until the chard is very soft, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, grill the bread and cook the eggs to your liking.  An alternative here is to cook the chard in a smaller sauté pan that has a lid.  Make 4 wells in the cooked chard and crack an egg into each.  Cover and cook over low heat until the eggs are cooked to your liking.

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