Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pizza with Spinach, Rosemary, and Fresh Mozzarella

Still working on the big log of fresh mozzarella I made! I hope no one is getting too tired of pizza recipes. This one used a nice big bunch of spinach from the farmers market, along with rosemary from my potted plant. If you you like rosemary, fresh is so much better than dried, and it's really easy to grow potted rosemary inside. When I lived in California, I saw huge bushes of it growing in people's yards as shrubs, but it's not hardy here in New England. However, it grows pretty happily in a large pot and can go outside for the summer. Now is a good time to pick up a small one at the farmers market.

1 14-inch pizza crust
olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
6-8 cups spinach, stemmed (about 1/3 lb)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup tomato sauce
4 oz. fresh mozzarella, in small chunks

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Paint the pizza crust lightly with olive oil.

In a large skillet, heat a little olive oil and saute the garlic and rosemary for a minute or so. Add the spinach (in batches if necessary) and saute until wilted. Stir in salt and pepper.

Spread the tomato sauce over the crust, then top with the spinach mixture. Strew mozzarella chunks over the top.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the crust is done and cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Serves 3-4.
Spread the tomato sauce

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pasta with Arugula Tomato Garlic Sauce

The arugula in my garden was starting to bolt, so we harvested it all. I had been thinking about making arugula pesto, but decided to throw this together instead. This sauce is also quite nice with polenta. If I still had tomatoes left in the freezer, I would have used those--thawed, skinned, and drained. This year I'm going to freeze more tomatoes. You could make this with other greens besides arugula--use what you have.

1 lb dry cut pasta (such as gemelli or shells)
olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp dried oregano (or 2 Tbsp fresh if you have it)
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 15-oz can)
6-8 ounces arugula
Feta or Parmesan for topping

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. While it cooks, make the sauce.

Heat a little olive oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Add the garlic and saute over medium-high heat until it starts to turn golden brown. Add the tomatoes, oregano, and chickpeas, and simmer for a few minutes. Then add the arugula. You may have to do this in batches.

When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pot. Toss with a little olive oil, then add the sauce and toss (or, if you prefer, top with sauce at the table). Top with feta or Parmesan at the table.

Serves about 6.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pizza with Asparagus, Dried Tomatoes, and Fresh Mozzarella

Seeing as I have over a pound of fresh mozzarella in my fridge now, I thought perhaps I ought to make some pizza. There is always a good reason to make pizza, after all! If you don't have fresh mozzarella, just top with with regular shredded mozzarella. It won't be quite the same, but it will still be tasty.

1 14-inch pizza crust
olive oil
1/2 cup tomato sauce
8-10 spears asparagus, in 1/8-inch rounds (tough ends snapped off)
3-4 bunching onions, in 1/4-inch rounds
1/4 cup dried tomatoes, rehydrated and diced
Salt and pepper to taste
4 oz. fresh mozzarella, in small chunks

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Paint the pizza crust lightly with olive oil. Spread with tomato sauce. Sprinkle the asparagus, onions, and tomatoes over the sauce. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Spread the chunks of mozzarella over the pizza. You are not aiming for full coverage.

Bake 14-16 minutes, until crust is golden brown and cheese is turning golden.

Serves 3-4.

Learning to Make Cheese

I spent all day Saturday at Ricki Carroll's house in Ashfield attending a beginner's cheesemaking class. If you've read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, you know who Ricki is. If you haven't, suffice it to say she's a celebrity in the artisan cheese world who has been teaching cheesemaking since the 1970s. Ricki's business has quadrupled or so since Barbara Kingsolver's book came out, so it's good thing my husband registered me for this class back before Christmas (it was a Christmas present)--they fill up quickly and there are waiting lists.

So I spent the day with about 40 other people learning the process to make many different soft cheeses (fromage blanc, queso blanco, creme fraiche, yogurt (not really a cheese, but included anyway), etc), mozzarella, ricotta, and farmhouse cheddar. I went home exhausted and with my brain feeling overstuffed, but excited to give it a try myself. I bought her mozzarella and ricotta kit, along with a gallon of raw milk from Sidehill Farm (also in Ashfield). In the class we worked with both raw milk and regular pasteurized whole milk from the grocery store (not ultra-pasteurized, though--it doesn't work for cheese).

This morning I made my first attempt at mozzarella, and although it was not quite as exquisite as the example made in class, it wasn't half bad. I'm looking forward to experimenting with other cultures and cheeses and working on the mozzarella some more. I should note that the techniques for the mozzarella, ricotta, and soft cheeses are all quite simple and you end up with the final product in anywhere from 30 minutes for the mozzarella to 18 hours or so for something like fromage blanc.

Making your own cheese from local milk is about as local as you can get your food to be, unless you own and milk the cow (or goat) yourself. But of course, here in the Pioneer Valley, it's entirely unnecessary unless you want to do it for the fun and the challenge, like me. After all, we have several excellent local dairies making truly wonderful cheese, and certainly much more interesting and sophisticated cheese than I am ever going to produce at home. But if you're interested in learning more about the cheesemaking classes, or ordering Ricki's book or other cheesemaking supplies, check out her website:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Grilled Asparagus

Memorial Day is almost here, time to get out the grill if you haven't already! Asparagus is lovely grilled, perhaps as a nice accompaniment to some local pork chops or lamb.

Wash the asparagus and snap off the tough ends. You can grill it plain--a few minutes should do the job, turning it over once. But to make it a little more exciting, try painting it with one of these options:

1. olive oil and balsamic vinegar; add some garlic if you like
2. olive oil and red wine vinegar
3. olive oil and white wine vinegar; add some fresh tarragon if you like
4. sesame oil and grated ginger and/or minced garlic; add a little soy sauce as well if you like

For a different twist, put a cast iron frying pan on the grill and fry up a couple eggs while the asparagus cooks; serve several spears topped with a fried egg.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pizza with Arugula, Chicken, and Edam

Arugula and other greens are flourishing in my garden and plentiful at the farmers market. I combined the arugula here with some cooked shredded chicken that I had in the freezer and the remains of the Dutch Gold cheese from Chase Hill Farm that I bought last week, and found that the flavors melded pleasantly.

1 14-inch pizza crust
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 cups arugula leaves
1 cup cooked shredded chicken (or less if you like)
3/4 cup shredded Edam cheese
1/4 - 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Paint the crust with a little olive oil, then spread the tomato sauce over it. Spread the arugula over the crust in a fairly even layer, then sprinkle the chicken, Edam, and mozzarella (if using) over it.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until crust is getting crisp and cheese begins to brown.

Serves 3-4.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Savory Rhubarb Lentil Dal

This is slightly adapted from a Mark Bittman recipe published in the New York Times. It is the only savory rhubarb recipe I've seen (not that I have hunted exhaustively). The rhubarb lends a lovely sour note to the curry, something that might otherwise be achieved with keffir lime leaves. I thought this was fantastic, but my husband didn't like it that well, alas. Try it for yourself and see what you think. Serve this over brown rice.

3 cups rhubarb pieces (1-inch lengths), peeled first
1 1/2 cups red lentils
1/4 tsp cardamom
3 whole cloves
1-2 whole dried chili peppers
1 1/2 Tbsp mustard seeds
3 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
Salt to taste
Plenty of coarsely ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and add water to cover everything by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat until the lentils and rhubarb are very soft. Remove the chili peppers and cloves (if you can find them). Stir the dal quite a bit so that the rhubarb and lentils both sort of disintegrate.

Serves 4-6.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Strawberries will not be in season locally for another couple weeks, probably, but I had one bag in the freezer from last year and could not resist the temptation to combine it with the plentiful rhubarb in our yard. Frozen berries can be used directly without thawing first. This pretty much demands to be accompanied by vanilla ice cream.

4 cups rhubarb pieces (about 1-inch lengths), peeled first
2-3 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen)
2 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
5 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, in small pieces, plus some for the baking dish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 8x8-inch baking dish.

Toss the rhubarb, strawberries, corn starch, and white sugar together in a bowl.

In a food processor, combined the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter and pulse until the butter chunks are pea-sized.

Place the fruit in the baking dish and pour the flour mixture over it. Bake for about 30 minutes, until topping is browned and fruit is bubbly.

Serves 6-8.

Asparagus Thai Curry

I made this with chicken, but you could just as easily use tofu. You can get Thai curry paste at just about any well-stocked supermarket. Thai Kitchen is a popular brand. Some brands are spicier than others, so add a little at a time and taste to see how you like it. I love Thai basil in curry, so I threw in a little that I had from thinnings for the garden. You could also use cilantro, or skip it altogether. Serve this over rice, preferably jasmine.

1 Tbsp canola oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 medium onions, sliced lengthwise
2-3 tsp grated fresh ginger
3/4 lb asparagus, in 1-inch lengths
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
2-3 tsp Thai red curry paste (or more to taste)
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh Thai basil or cilantro (optional)

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet or wok. Add the chicken and stir-fry until about half cooked. Add the onion, ginger, and asparagus, and stir-fry until almost tender. Add the coconut milk, curry paste, and salt. Make sure the curry paste is well dissolved (if it is particularly thick, you could mix it with a little of the coconut milk in a small glass before adding to the pan). Simmer for a few minutes, then stir in the Thai basil or cilantro, if using. Taste and adjust salt if needed.

Serves about 4.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Open Farm Days at Wheelview Farm

Wheelview Farm in Shelburne, which produces wonderful grass-fed beef, is having its annual Open Farm Days next weekend. From 9-4:30 both Saturday and Sunday (May 23 & 24), you can go check out the farm, look at the cows, and talk to the farmers, John and Carolyn Wheeler. They will also be offering discounted meat for sale. The farm is in a gorgeous, hilltop spot with spectacular views (lucky cows!), and John and Carolyn are knowledgeable and friendly. We have gone to the open farm days the last two years and are hoping to get up there this year as well. See their website for directions.

Stewed Rhubarb

Rhubarb season is in full swing, and it's the closest thing we've got to local fruit until the strawberries start coming in next month. We have it in our yard, as do many folks, but you can also find it at the farmers market. If you have somehow made it through life without cooking rhubarb before, you should know that the leaves are poisonous, so if you are harvesting it yourself, be sure to cut them off and just use the stalks.

This is a super simple recipe that my grandmother used to make, and my dad still raves about it and gets my mom to make it. He eats it straight, sort of like you might do with applesauce, but you could also dress it up as a dessert with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on top (or, conversely, serve over ice cream).

Rhubarb goes famously well with strawberries, of course, and once they come into season I'll post some recipes using them together.

6 cups chopped rhubarb stalks (peeled first if you like)
1/2 - 1 cup sugar, according to taste
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Combine rhubarb, sugar, and cinnamon (if using) in a large saucepan with a very small amount of water. Simmer until very soft.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Asparagus Fried Rice

A great way to use up extra rice while enjoying yet more asparagus. I have made this with both tofu and chicken--it's good both ways. Tempeh would work, too.

2-3 Tbsp canola oil
1 14-ounce package extra firm tofu, pressed and cubed OR 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 medium onion, sliced lengthwise
3 cups asparagus pieces (about 1-inch lengths)
2 cups cooked brown or white rice, cold
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tsp chili paste
Thai basil or cilantro (optional)

Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet and cook the tofu or chicken. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the garlic, ginger, and onion to the pan, and stir-fry for about 1 minute. Add the asparagus and cook for 1-2 minutes more.

Add the rice and tofu or chicken to the wok and mix with the vegetables. Stir in the soy sauce, chili paste, and basil or cilantro (if using). Make sure everything is well mixed.

Serve hot.

Serves 3-4.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Leek and Edam Quiche

At the farmers market this past weekend, I picked up some early leeks from Crabapple Farm and some Edam cheese from Chase Hill Farm (they call their Edam Dutch Gold). Edam is a bit like Gouda, creamy and rich, but with a little more bite to it. Last night I combined the two, along with milk from Mapleline Farm and eggs from a friend's chickens, in a simple quiche that really highlighted the two flavors.

1 9-inch pastry shell
1 tsp butter
6 or so slender leeks (3/4" diameter or less)
3/4 cup shredded Edam cheese
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup whole milk or half-and-half
1/2 tsp salt
Plenty of freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prick the pastry shell all over with a fork and pre-bake for about 10 minutes. If using homemade, line with aluminum foil and some pie weights.

While the crust pre-bakes, melt the butter in a skillet and saute the leeks until tender. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the eggs, milk or half-and-half, salt, and pepper and mix well.

When the crust is ready, spread the leeks in the bottom, then spread the cheese over them. Pour the egg mixture over it all. Bake for 30 minutes, until the egg is cooked through.

Serves 3-4.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Local Lamb

Time to rave about local lamb again! My parents came over for Mothers Day and I roasted a leg of lamb from Crabapple Farm that was in the freezer. Normally I do a brunch for Mothers Day, but this lamb had been in there since the fall and I figured that pretty soon it will be too hot to roast much of anything. I kept the preparation simple, just rubbing the meat with the same rosemary-garlic paste that I used on lamb chops several weeks ago and making some slits with a thin knife so I could push some of the paste right into the meat. Then I roasted it at 375 degrees for about an hour and 15 minutes, turning it over twice, though in retrospect a little less time would have been good (I think maybe this leg was a little on the small side). It came out on the medium-to-well-done side of things rather than medium rare, which is my preference, but it was still juicy and delicious.

Crabapple Farm is a regular vendor at the Greenfield Farmers Market, where they also sell grass-fed beef, eggs, vegetables, and starts.

I also noticed this weekend that Green Fields Market has begun carrying local lamb from Leyden Glen Farm (in, you guessed it, Leyden). They had ground lamb to start with and said that stew lamb would be coming soon. This is great news if you are not able to get the farmers market regularly. Check out this blog post from one of the farmers to learn more about their venture into retail meat sales.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wishing-It-Was-Summer Tomato Soup

An easy soup made from tomatoes frozen last summer--plus the first basil of the season (thinnings from my seedlings). Oh, how I love basil! I had a mix of fairly sweet heirloom tomatoes remaining in the freezer. If you use tangier ones, you may need to adjust the seasonings a little.

If you don't have basil thinnings like I do, this would also be good with some early mint or cilantro from the farmers market.

4 quart bags frozen tomatoes, skins removed
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp minced fresh basil

If you plan ahead sufficiently, let the tomatoes thaw in a colander in the sink (over a bowl if you want to catch the tomato-y water for another use). Otherwise, thaw in the microwave, then drain off extra water.

Heat a little olive oil in a soup pot. Add the garlic and onion and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they break down. Use an immersion blender (or food processor) to puree the soup. Stir in salt, pepper, cream, and basil.

Serve hot.

Serves 4-6.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Asparagus Chipotle Scramble

Local asparagus plus local eggs, yum! Add a little smoky, spicy chipotle and you've got something really special. Serves for breakfast, brunch, or a quick and easy dinner. At this time of year, feel free to substitute ramps or spring onions for the onion in the recipe. If you happen to find some early cilantro, add 2 or 3 tablespoons of it at the end.

2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, in long thin slices
2 small potatoes, in rounds (1 ½ - 2 cups) (optional)
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ cups chopped asparagus
2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced (and seeded if desired)
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ - ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 large eggs, beaten

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté for about 1 minute. Add the potatoes (if using) and stir until they are well coated with oil. Cover and continue to cook over medium heat until they are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir often to prevent sticking. If not using potatoes, skip to next step.

Add the garlic, asparagus, and chipotles to the skillet and sauté over medium heat until the asparagus is tender but still slightly crisp, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the salt, pepper, cheddar, and eggs to the skillet. Cook, scrambling, until the eggs are cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Serve hot.

Serves 2-3.

Things to Do with Fiddleheads

Got your hands on some fiddleheads while they are in season? Here are some more ideas for using them:

1. Saute in butter with salt and pepper.
2. Add to a stir fry
3. Add to a quiche, maybe with some goat cheese
4. Pasta with fiddleheads, chickens, and mushrooms
5. Saute, then put them on pizza (hey, why not?) with goat cheese

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Roasted Asparagus with Garlic

If you love asparagus, now is the time to eat it in abundance. It is best when fresh, very fresh, and the season only lasts for a matter of weeks. (For an interesting article on asparagus tenderness or lack thereof, see this recent piece in the New York Times by Harold McGee (registration required).)

1/2 lb asparagus, tough ends snapped off
4-5 cloves garlic, minced (or a stalk of spring garlic!)
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the asparagus spears in a single layer (more or less) in a roasting pan, sprinkle with garlic, salt, and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Toss a bit to ensure good coverage. Roasted for 7-10 minutes, until spears are tender but not mushy. If you have very slender or very thick spears, roasting time may be slightly longer or shorter.

Serves 2-4.

Tips for Freezing

If you've been following this blog through the winter, you know I'm a big fan of freezing food when it's in season so you can use it later. It's quicker and easier than canning and for many foods you get better quality.

Most of my freezing activity will come later in the season as the abundant harvests of tomatoes, peppers, herbs, etc. arrive, but I'm planning to get a small start this weekend with a little extra asparagus. I'll blanch it, then store it in sandwich- or quart-sized freezer bags with all the air squeezed out--just enough in each bag to add to a stir fry or frittata later in the year.

For a collection of tips on using your freezer, see this article by Mark Bittman (of How to Cook Everything fame) in the New York Times (registration required but free).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Arugula, Ramp, and Bacon Pizza

Yesterday I picked the first real harvest of baby arugula from our garden--just enough to put on a pizza. The ramps and bacon came from the farmers market (and this will be the last of the bacon for a while, now that I have finally used up the package that I opened for the first of the bacon dishes this week!).

1 14-inch pizza crust
Olive oil
1/4 - 1/3 cup tomato sauce
1-2 cups loosely packed arugula
2-3 slices cooked bacon, finely chopped
1 bunch ramps (about 6 oz.), white part only, in thin rounds
3-4 oz. shredded mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Lightly paint the pizza crust with olive oil, then top spread the tomato sauce over it. Spread the arugula over the sauce, then sprinkle the bacon and ramps on top. Sprinkle mozzarella over everything.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until crust is done and cheese begins to brown.

Serves 3-4.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Asparagus Pasta Carbonara

This is not a low fat dish, but it is a delicious treatment for asparagus, worth doing once during the season. This made for another farmers market meal, with eggs from Crabapple Farm, bacon from Bostrom's Farm, and asparagus from Riverbend Farm. The amount of asparagus is variable--if you just love the stuff, feel free to add more.

4-5 strips bacon
1 lb dry cut pasta (such as penne or rotelle)
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 lb asparagus, in 1-inch lengths
1 lb dry cut pasta (such as penne or rotelle)
2 eggs, beaten (3 if they're small)
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

Fry the bacon, drain on paper towels, then mince. Pour off most of the fat from the pan, leaving 1-2 tsp.

While the bacon cooks, bring a pot of water to a boil and begin cooking the pasta.

While the pasta cooks, add the onion to the frying pan with the remaining bacon fat and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the asparagus and saute until bright green and tender but not soft.

When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to the pot. Immediately add the beaten eggs and stir well (the egg will cook with the heat of the pasta). Stir in the onion, asparagus, and bacon, then add the Parmesan. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot.

Serves at least 6.

Fiddlehead Ramp Soup

Well, the farmers market was spectacular of course. I came home with, let's see, bacon, pork chops, lamb chops, lettuce, salad greens, eggs, kale, bread, ramps, fiddleheads, asparagus, and one Alpine strawberry start to add to the ones I already have in the garden. At that point, we stopped because the stroller basket was full and I wasn't sure I'd have time to cook anything else before next Saturday, when we shall repeat the process.

I discovered ramps at last year's farmers market, but I had never had fiddleheads before and decided it was high time to try them. Both are wild foods available in the Northeast at this time of year. Fiddleheads are the early shoots of the ostrich fern, curled tightly so they look like their namesake. I have heard them compared to asparagus, also an early shoot, but the flavor is milder. They are delicious and have a lovely texture. To me, they taste very green. Ramps are a wild allium, a relative of onions, leeks and garlic. Their flavor is quite sweet and mild. To prepare then, slice off the roots at the bottom and remove the outer layer. The whole thing is edible--leaves and all. I combined the two in this creamy soup, along with some bacon from Bostrom's Farm (which you can leave out if you like). It tasted like springtime in a bowl!

3-4 slices bacon
4 medium potatoes, cubed (peel or not as you like)
3 Tbsp white flour
1 bunch ramps (about 6 oz), chopped (including stems and leaves)
1/2 lb fiddleheads, well rinsed to remove chaff
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups milk

Fry the bacon in a good-sized skillet.

While it cooks, heat a bit of olive oil in a soup pot and add the potatoes. Saute, stirring frequently, for five minutes or so. Sprinkle with white flour and cook, stirring, for another minute or so. Add enough water to comfortable cover the potatoes, bring to a boil, and cook until the potatoes are tender.

Finish frying the bacon while the potatoes cook. Drain on paper towels, then mince. Pour off most of the bacon fat from the pan, leaving 1-2 tsp. Add the ramps and fiddleheads and saute until tender (about 5 minutes).

When the potatoes are done, use and immersion blender to puree them a little bit (maybe a third or so), just enough to give the soup a creamy texture while still leaving chunks of potato. Stir in the fiddleheads, ramps, and bacon, then add the milk. Reheat on the stove if needed.

Serves 4-6.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Asparagus Frittata with Cheddar and Thyme

This is a great way to celebrate the first asparagus of the season, which I am very much hoping to see at the farmers market tomorrow. If you skip the potatoes, you can use a bit more asparagus.

¼ cup olive oil (2 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium red potatoes, cubed (about 12 ounces; optional)
1 medium bunch asparagus (about 6 ounces), in 1-inch lengths
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 large eggs
½ cup milk
1 ½ cups shredded medium or sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375°.

Heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the potatoes, if using, and lower the heat to medium. Sauté, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until the potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. To speed the cooking process a bit, cover the skillet when not stirring. If not using potatoes, sauté just until the onions are translucent.

Add the asparagus, thyme, salt, and pepper to the skillet and sauté until the asparagus is tender but still a bit crisp, about 2-3 minutes.

Remove the potato and asparagus mixture to a bowl. Clean out the skillet, dry it, and coat it with the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Stir in the cheddar.

Add the egg mixture to the potato mixture. Pour the combination into the freshly oiled skillet. Spread the vegetables and egg around to make sure everything is evenly distributed.

Bake the frittata for 30-35 minutes, until the egg is cooked through.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Serves 3-4.