Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Farmer's Market Omelette

It’s so satisfying to bike over to the neighborhood Farmer’s Market to pick up a few fresh ingredients for breakfast.  At South of the James you can find every ingredient needed for a hearty, healthy start-to-the-day.  My quest started with fresh eggs so I ended up at Deer Run Farm of Amelia where my husband got a lesson in ground meat for burgers from a friend of the farm (she raved so much about the farm we thought she was an employee) and I learned about their grass-fed, grass-finished beef and the health benefits of eating eggs from their free-range hens.   It was a perfect stop, start to finish, so we walked away with a dozen eggs for omelettes and a brochure for ordering ahead for next week.

Deciding on an omelette was the easy part of the morning, choosing what to fill it with took a little more time.  Spinach & mushrooms?  Tomatoes and peppers?  Luckily, across the way from Deer Run Farm was a group I hadn’t seen before, Manakintowne Specialty Growers.  They had a great set up, tables and baskets full of fresh herbs.  They also had little bits of information typed out on paper for some of the less recognizable greens, one of which was a few bunches of garlic scapes.  The woman manning the table told me they added delicious but mild garlic flavor and were a great accompaniment to spinach or squash.  So I grabbed a bunch and went off in search of the final additions – a shiitake mushroom from Casselmonte Farm (purchased by the ounce), a container of baby squash and zucchini and a bunch of basil from Victory FarmsVictory Farms and finally, some goat cheese from Bonnyclabber Cheese Company.

Here’s how it all came together:

Farmer’s Market Omelette

Prep Time: 5 minutes       Cook Time:  10 minutes
Serves: 2

4 farm fresh eggs
1 tbsp water
1 baby squash, diced
1 baby zucchini, diced
1 shiitake mushroom, diced
2 garlic scapes, bulb discarded and green stem diced
6 basil leaves, sliced in ribbons
salt and pepper
2 ounces goat cheese (or however much or little you like)
Start by heating a non-stick omelette pan that has been sprayed with canola cooking oil over medium-high heat.  Add the zucchini, squash and mushrooms to sauté, season with salt and pepper.  While the veggies cook, whisk the eggs with water until fully incorporated. Once a good color has developed on the squash, add the chopped garlic and basil and stir to distribute evenly.  Cook for an additional minute and then transfer the cooked veggies to a dish and set to the side.
In the same pan, add half the eggs for one omelette and turn the pan to evenly distribute.  Using a spatula, skim the outer edge of the pan and force the uncooked egg to the side until all liquid is cooked through.  Next, scatter half the sauteed vegetables and herbs in the center of the omelette and top with goat cheese.  Using the spatula, gently fold both sides over the center to close and then transfer the omelette to the serving plate.  Enjoy while hot!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Prep time:  10 minutes  Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

1 tbsp canola oil
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into strips
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp lite rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 jalapeno or bird chili sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
6 white button mushroom caps, sliced
4 spring onions (whites and greens) diced on the diagonal
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 tin water chestnuts, diced
1 cup shredded cabbage
2 tbsp cilantro, rough chop (and more for garnish)
1/2 tbsp grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 head butter leaf or bibb lettuce, core removed and leaves separated and washed
toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Start by warming canola oil over medium high heat in a large skillet.  Season sliced chicken with salt & pepper and brown in skillet.  Once browned, transfer to plate and discard any remaining oil in pan.  Combine hoisin sauce, tamari, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil and transfer to skillet, reduce heat to medium low.  Add jalapeno, red bell pepper, mushrooms, half of the green onions and carrots to soften for about 4-5 minutes.  Once softened but still colorful, add cabbage, water chestnuts, cabbage, cilantro, garlic and chicken.  Turn to coat in sauce and continue to cook over medium low heat for an additional 2-3 minutes or until heated through.

Line a serving dish with the lettuce leaves and transfer the spicy chicken mix to the middle of the plate.  Top with remaining spring onions, toasted sesame seeds and a garnish of cilantro…serve with Sriracha for an added kick!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Project Garden Grow - Year 2

We've really begun to see some of the benefits of moving our herb garden last summer.  Even though it was a lot of work, I think it's totally paid off.  What do you think?!

Year II-Phase II involves 4 raised garden beds for tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, greens, etc. So far we have 1 box in, 3 to go.  Pics to follow...

Garlic Cannellini Beans with Fresh Spinach

Our local Saturday Farmer's Market is back!  My first purchase of the season was a big bag of spinach from Broadfork Farm (based in Chesterfield, VA).  The leaves were large and tender with a mild but distinctly earthy flavor.  The taste made me feel like I was standing in the rows of greens, plucking the foliage straight from the ground to devour on the spot.  Loving spinach like I do, it didn’t take me long to decide how to enjoy it and enjoy it quickly!
Garlic Cannellini Beans and Fresh Spinach
Prep time: 5 minutes  Cook Time: 5 minutes
Serves 4


1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 can Cannellini Beans, rinsed and drained
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
2 handfuls fresh spinach, washed and dried
salt & pepper
1 tbsp fresh basil chiffonade

In a sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add the beans to warm, stirring occasionally.  Once warmed through, add minced garlic, tomatoes and spinach.  Use kitchen tongs to ‘toss’ the mixture together and flavor with salt and pepper.  Lower heat and cover with lid for 3-5 minutes (just long enough to let the spinach reduce).   Pile on the basil, give a final toss and serve warm…drizzle with another swirl of olive oil and a sprinkle of Parmesan for a little extra kick.