Entries from April 30th, 2011

Roasted Asparagus, Leek, and Feta Frittata

4

30.4.11

Apparently, I apologize a lot.

It’s funny, because I really don’t apologize that much in real life.  Mostly because… I’m perfect.

Just kidding.  I’m definitely not perfect.

But just for that, I will say this: I am not sorry for having not posted in a couple of weeks.

Why?  Because I’m busy as hell.

Anyway, I’m celebrating my birthday tonight.  The weather is perfect.  I spent the morning making this frittata.  I’m on an asparagus kick right now.  Did you notice?

Recipe after the jump.  I have to go put on an oversized UCLA shirt and jorts for a barbecue.

Roasted Asparagus, Leek, and Feta Frittata

WHAT YOU NEED:

1 bundle of fresh asparagus – I prefer the thinner stalks
Garlic salt, pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons olive oil
10 large eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 leeks, sliced
1 cup feta cheese
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Fresh Parmesan cheese, as garnish

WHAT TO DO:

First, you must roast the asparagus.  You could saute it, but roasting asparagus is to die for.  Trim the tough edges off of the ends of the asparagus.  Then, toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Line a baking sheet with foil, and spread the stalks evenly.  Bake at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, until the asparagus is sizzling and cooked through.

Then, whisk your eggs in a large mixing bowl with the heavy cream and feta.

In a skillet, melt your butter, and saute your leeks until they start to brown on the edges – about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  When cooked, lower your oven to 350 degrees.  Remove the skillet from the heat, and pour the egg mixture into the pan.  By hand, place the roasted asparagus in the pan, evenly spread out.  Then, bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  Serve with plain Greek yogurt.

Gardening, Step One: Composting

1

17.4.11

Back when I was a teenager (and probably way cooler than I am now), my dad repeatedly forced me to observe his progress on the compost pile he started in our California backyard.  Naturally, I was beyond grossed out at the sight of the steaming five-foot mass of vegetable peels, raked leaves from our yard, and the months upon months of organic matter that we weren’t allowed to throw away in the regular trash can.  Depending on what Dad’s intentions were — sometimes it was to gross me out, but sometimes it was out of wholehearted pride from fostering sustainable matter in his own garden — I either rolled my eyes and laughed, or pretended to care for support.  I was soooo cool.
Fast-forward ten years.  I’m living in DC.  I just moved to a house with a yard.  I’ve never not neglected a live plant before.  And yet, for the past year or so, I’ve felt strangely guilty when I nudge fruit and vegetable matter in my sink’s garbage disposal.  Memories of odors, caused by tossing food in our aluminum trash can, strangely haunt my kitchen adventures, and usually with a grimace.  I dream that potato peels squeal out every time I threw them away in the trash: “Nooo!  We don’t belong here!”
That was a lie.  I don’t actually dream about that stuff.  But it’s kind of like how people feel about a lobster screaming as it plunges into a vat of boiling water. Thanks, Dad.  You planted this seed in my head ever so strategically, probably knowing that I’d eventually grow up and start a compost pile of my own.
What he did not know, was that I’d start a food blog, and eventually blog about it.  Or him!]
But still, I really do feel guilty by wasting food, and I have been wanting to start a garden. So I started a compost pile.  Yes, it’s true.  I am slowly turning into the person that I rolled my eyes at ten years ago.  But the cool thing about it is that I get to blog my garden’s progress, for all of you to read.  Hopefully, it will help motivate me to keep everything together.  The sunflowers, spinach, leeks, zucchini, and sugar snap peas are sprouting.  Hooray!
Enough with the photos of dirt.  This is our entryway bookshelf, and views of the flower collections that adorn our house during birthday season.

An Asparagus and Parmesan Tart

3

12.4.11

Clementines are known for many things, the most famous of which include cuteness, seedlessness, and easiness to peel (importance descending in that order).  I can vouch for the first one, and the first one only.  I ate three clementines today, all within about five minutes, and encountered seeds and could not avoid clementine rinds creeping into my fingernails.
What?!  Why?!  Clementines, whyyyyy have you forsaken me?

Now, how did I get myself into this mess?  Where did this all begin?
See this tart?  I made it last night.  I was going to eat part of it for lunch, and I was going to give some of it to some food-appreciating friends at work.  Instead, I left it on my kitchen counter, where Rachel came to the rescue and secured it in the refrigerator (and then texted me, saying that she ate the whole thing).  Don’t worry, Rachel is a big, fat liar.
So here I was, lunchless.  Swamped with work.  Itching to play piano.  Naturally, I didn’t resolve any of these issues with fierce logic.  I didn’t buy lunch — too expensive.  I procrastinated at work — too tempting.  I didn’t play piano — too busy playing catch-up from my procrastination.  And the entire time, I was wishing (daydreaming?) I could eat my tart.  I even considered going home for it.  but instead, I rummaged through my purse to find three clementines, for the win.
So I ate them.  And pondered methods of overcoming writers’ block.  I really have been writing a lot, lately.  I was up until 2 AM writing a recap-newsletter for my adult kickball league.
It’s hilarious.
I also need to write a follow-up to this, since Cote d’Ivoire’s election disputes are finally settling.
Not hilarious.  But very interesting.
I also wrote this post.  You’re reading it right now.  You should do what I say, and make this tart — right now.  But don’t leave it at home — because your roommate will try to eat it, and you’ll be left lunchless with clementine pectin wedged into your fingernails.
It’s raining.  It’s pouring.  You know what that means?  It means that this California girl needs to be back in bed with a cup of tea and a few episodes of Archer.


WHAT YOU NEED:

One prepared, amazing tart crust.
Four eggs
1 cup parmesan cheese
3/4 cup milk
1 handful of asparagus
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
WHAT TO DO:
Have your tart crust prepared in advance.  Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
Either saute or roast the asparagus with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.  I prefer roasting it, but sauteing it is delicious, too.  Sauteing is faster — that’s for sure.
In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork or a whisk.  Stir in the milk, then the parmesan cheese.  Pour into the tart crust.
Very meticulously arrange your asparagus pieces in your tart.  I chose the rectangular tart pan, because it almost looks like a picture frame.  But you can decorate your tart however you like.
Sprinkle some salt and pepper, and then bake for 35 to 40 minutes — until the filling is puffy and firm.

Adventures in Breadmaking: Focaccia

7

11.4.11

Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog post.

To be honest, I haven’t done very much since then… I’ve been telling myself that the metabolism from running thirteen miles more two weeks ago would carry me through.  My leftover shin splints did not help with the laziness.  And my body definitely cannot handle this carbohydrate consumption for very long.

I guess I’ll start running this week, since eating and drinking have been the only real activities I’ve taken part in for the past two weeks.

I don’t have much to write about today.  I’ll let you enjoy this focaccia, while I desperately await a decisive spring.

WHAT YOU NEED:

2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse sea salt

WHAT TO DO:

In a medium mixing bowl, sift the flour, salt, yeast, and sugar.  Add the water and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  When the dough forms, transfer to your counter and sprinkle with flour.  Knead until smooth, coat with the remaining olive oil, and return to the mixing bowl.  Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for thirty minutes.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

I made two types of focaccia: cherry tomato and rosemary, and caramelized onion.

For the rosemary-tomato bread, mix two tablespoons dried rosemary into the dough before you allow it to rise.  While the bread is rising, slice your cherry tomatoes in halves or thirds.

For the caramelized onion bread, take 2 or 3 medium sized onions, in thin slices.  Saute the onions in olive oil, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of a dry white wine.  After the onions begin to darken, lower the heat, and stir frequently, until the onions are dark brown — about 15 to 20 minutes.

When the bread has risen, stretch onto a greased baking sheet.  Allow to rise for another ten minutes or so.  For the tomato bread, press the tomatoes into the dough, and sprinkle with more rosemary, coarse sea salt, and olive oil.  For the onion bread, spread the caramelized onions, and drizzle with sea salt and olive oil.

Bake for 20 minutes, then let cool on a wire rack.  Slice with a pizza cutter, and serve warm.

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