Happy new year, friends! I feel that we need to start this post with an apology for the irregular and infrequent nature of posts over the last few months of 2018. We have been trying to post a new recipe every week, but our time has been taken up by a secret project that we’re very excited to tell you about in the spring. In the meantime, we’re going to make a resolution to try to get back up to our regular posting schedule. And like all new year resolutions, it may crash and burn, but we are keeping optimistic heads on our shoulders.
For our first entry into the year’s culinary adventures, we’re showcasing mushrooms. The cold months can prove a challenge to someone looking for fresh, local, and healthy produce, and most varieties of mushroom are available all year round. They’re gorgeous, they’re really good for you, and we’d like to show you how we make them into a warm, creamy, incredibly silky soup that is as tasty as it is beautiful. For a soup this rich, there’s remarkably little dairy involved (and even that much is optional). And the only gluten is in the breadcrumb topping, so that’s easily avoidable as well, making this an easy vegan and gluten free meal.
There’s a reason we make so many one-pan dinners: in a small kitchen, it keeps the oven clutter to a minimum, simplifies the cooking process, and makes clean-up straightforward. The aim, of course, is to get everything properly cooked at the same time: with meat, achieving both the desired Maillard sear (aka; that burnished, dark brown skin) and safe internal temperature; with pasta or grains, getting the texture perfect without overcooking it into a limp mess. Our crispy chicken and orzo dish takes advantage of the pre-oven searing of the chicken and handles the orzo like a risotto, resulting in success on all fronts. The addition of plenty of mushrooms, leeks and spinach turns it into a healthy, one-pot meal.
Three kinds of leafy greens combine with mushrooms, garlic, leeks, mustard, and spices to form the base for a baked egg dish that’s a bit like an omelette turned inside out. It’s an ideal recipe for brunch, or really any meal of the day.
Sometimes we want to start the day with an omelette: maybe cook up some chopped leafy greens, sauté a few mushrooms until they’re golden, throw in a handful of cheese, and enclose the whole thing in an egg jacket. And sometimes, we want to flip the whole concept inside out and bake the eggs right on top of the other ingredients, because, you know, we’re mavericks like that.
It does take a little longer than the omelette method, and it requires turning on the oven. But really, since we’re fully cooking the greens and mushrooms either way, it’s the difference between a couple of minutes standing at the range and 20 minutes of unattended baking. You can also cook the creamed greens ahead, and bake the eggs when you’re ready for eat. (more…)
Quiche with Ramps (wild leeks), Bacon and Gruyere is fantastic any time of day. It’s creamy, cheesy and so satisfying. And don’t fret if you can’t find ramps, scallions make a perfect substitute.
Spring has finally sprung in the Hudson Valley and, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you probably know what that means: the Cliftons have ramp breath.
In the last week we’ve made sautéed ramps with mushrooms and fried eggs (delicious), spaghetti with ramps and brown butter sauce (heavenly), and this quiche, with ramps, bacon and gruyere. So, yeah, it’s been pretty rampy up in here.
Ramps and eggs are a delicious combination. The ramps were foraged about a mile away and the eggs are from our chickens so this is just about as local as it gets.
In our ongoing quest to resurrect interest in under-appreciated vegetables, I present this week’s subject: the leek.
We don’t get too excited about leeks in the U.S. but we should. They’re healthy, easy to grow*, cheap to buy, and best of all, really tasty.
Leeks, mushrooms, garlic, spinach, cream and white wine.
* Theoretically, and according to rumors I read on the internet. Matt and I, conversely, have zero luck growing leeks. Nada. Zilch. They sprout beautifully but then … nothing. They turn spindly and never really get very big. They end up more like thick scallions. It’s quite rude of them if you think about it, because here I am telling the world (our 5 readers, anyway, hello there *waves*) how great leeks are and they can’t even be bothered to make an effort in the garden. Oh well. It’s broccoli rabe this year, I’m telling you.