The Perfect Breakfast: Veggie Frittatas and Rainbow Potatoes

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Thanks to Daylight Savings Time, I was up way too early on Sunday. And so with sleep in my eyes and a major case of bed head, I had the urge to make a fancy schmancy breakfast for me and my honey. We had mini frittatas with raw pepper jack cheese, sautéed yellow and red bell peppers, and onions. I also made slow and low breakfast potatoes with baby Yukon Gold and Peruvian Purple potatoes. Just writing about it makes me long for bites of old…

Frittata (makes 4 minis):

  • 6 large local eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons raw whole milk
  • 1/2 cup local, raw pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup red and yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • non-stick spray
  • S&P to taste

Breakfast Potatoes (4-5 servings): 

  • 15 baby potatoes, gold and purple, washed and quartered
  • 1 cup red and yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • organic olive oil
  • S&P to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic granulated garlic
  • unsalted butter

First, you’ll want to get the potatoes started. You’ll need to wash them thoroughly and quarter them into relatively even pieces.

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In a very large skillet, add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and heat to medium. Add the quartered potatoes and a nice pinch of salt and some cracked pepper. Toss to coat with oil and seasonings and let them cook. Don’t move them around too much or they’ll fall apart before they end up browning.

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Meanwhile, sauté the onions and peppers. Heat your favorite large, nonstick skillet, to medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and all of the diced onions and peppers to the pan (If making both frittatas and potatoes, combine the peppers and onions for this step and divide in half later.). Sauté for about five minutes and transfer to a dish.

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After about 5 minutes, check to see if the undersides are browning. If so, flip them over with a spatula to start browning the other sides. Repeat this process and, please note, I’m crazy methodical about this. I like all sides to be browned, but I don’t expect anyone else to be this neurotic about potatoes.

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Once they’re nice and brown (should take between 10-20 minutes), add the sautéed peppers and onions. Also add the thyme and garlic. Give everything a good stir, reduce the heat to very low and let them hang out while giving them the occasional push around the pan. They’ll be ready when you are.

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For the frittatas, add the milk and desired amount of S&P to the beaten eggs. Spray your mini cast iron casseroles with nonstick spray, and divide up the remaining amount of sautéed peppers and onions to the bottom of each vessel. (If you don’t have mini-cast iron casserole dishes, you can use one large stovetop and oven-save pan. And, truth be told, my mom got these for me last Christmas, and I’ve never used them until today.)

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Divide up the beaten egg mixture between each vessel and top with a nice pinch of shredded pepper jack cheese.

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Only do this step if you have a glass range. Place the casseroles directly on your cooktop over medium-high heat. I was actually able to get them all on one large burner. Within 2-3 minutes, the egg should start to set. This is what you want.

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Now, place the mini casseroles in a baking dish (I used a 9″x13″) and fill with 1″ of water. Sprinkle with a tad bit more cheese.

Place the entire shebang in the oven and cook for 5 minutes. Cook for 3-5 minutes more if you skipped the stovetop step. Remove and check doneness with a toothpick. It should come out fairly clean, but moist. Let them sit for a minute or so.

Loosen the edges with a rubber spatula, invert onto a plate, and voila!

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Phew.

Help yourself to a heaping pile of potatoes, grab your favorite hot sauce, and chow down.

Until next time, my friends,

Jenna

Homemade Local Blueberry Jam

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What does one do with a massive bag of freshly picked summer blueberries? Sorbet? Sure. Frozen and dropped into a glass of Champagne? Absolutely. Blended into a fancy schmancy BBQ sauce? Sign me up. Cooked into  the perfect jam? YES. Today, I vote for jam!

This is the second post in the “It’s UnCANny…” series, and making homemade fruit jams are a fantastic and simple way to break free from the store-bought stuff.

To make this summery-sweet blueberry jam, you’ll need:

  • 6 cups of fresh blueberries, washed and picked of stems
  • 3 cups sugar

I realize I use a lot less sugar than a lot of jam recipes out there, but perfectly ripe berries are sweet enough on their own. Feel free to up the sugar ante if you’d like.

Method:

Using your favorite heavy saucepan or enameled cast iron pot (my personal preference), place the berries first and then the sugar. 

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Over a low heat and while stirring, cook the mixture until the sugar dissolves.

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In about five minutes, it should look like this.

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Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.

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Boil until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. This batch took about 10 minutes.

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Enjoy the taste of summer.

Until next time…

Jenna

 

Angel Hair with Lemony Kale, Caramelized Onions, & Ricotta Salata

Kale is the new little black dress. Sautéed, baked, raw, braised, or fried, it all works. And I’m so fortunate to have oodles of the stuff from my favorite local farm. We’re always coming up with new ways to infuse the leafy lovelies into our meals, and this pasta dish may be my new favorite.

For this dish, you’ll need…

  • approximately 50 leaves of curly kale, stripped from the spines, washed and dried (use your salad spinner)
  • four tablespoons of EVOO
  • two yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • five cloves of garlic, minced
  • half fresh lemon, juice and zest
  • Sea Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces Angel hair cooked al dente

Optional:

  • Balsamic vinegar reduction
  • Ricotta Salata cheese, crumbled

To begin, heat two tablespoons of EVOO in your favorite, very large, skillet over medium heat.

Add the sliced onions to the pan and a small pinch of sea salt.

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Keep the onions moving so they don’t burn until they start to soften. Reduce the heat to low-medium and let them caramelize. This should take about five minutes. Once they’re done, transfer them to a separate vessel.

Add one more tablespoon of EVOO to the pan and add the kale.

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Using tongs, toss the kale a lot as this will help it wilt. You’ll want it all in the pan, but it takes patience. Cooked kale, like any other green, cooks down to a minuscule portion of its original size once the water content is gone. The result is concentrated, amazing flavor.

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Add the lemon juice and a large pinch of sea salt. Give it another good toss. Put the lid on the pan. The kale will really start to break down because of the steam. After about a minute, remove the lid and check the progress. If it’s not soft, put the lid back on and wait another minute.

Remove the lid and make a well in the center of the kale. Add the minced garlic and give it a good stir. Add a bit of olive oil to help the sautéing if you desire.

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Add the lemon zest and stir again. Have cute boy help in the kitchen.

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Add the caramelized onions back to the pan and toss.

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Add the cooked pasta, drizzle in the remaining tablespoon of EVOO, and add salt and pepper to taste. There, you’re done!

photo 4But, if you’re like me, you’ll want to garnish this dish with crumbled ricotta salata cheese and a hefty balsamic reduction drizzle (yes, we always have this on hand). If you don’t have ricotta salata, feta cheese would be a great substitute.

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Until next time, my friends, happy eating!

 

Fresh Jalapeños: We can pickle that!

I’ve never looked at a basket of garden-fresh organic jalapeños and thought “Mmmm…I’d love to gnaw on those!” So when I was gifted with some uber-spicy jalapeños from my friend at the farmers market, there was only one option: pickling. These are great for perking up a sandwich, sprinkling on nachos, or serving on top of a steaming bowl of chili.

This is such a simple process as this isn’t a proper canning. But it’s great and so very quick!

You’ll need:

  • 1 pound fresh jalapeño peppers
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons kosher or sea salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled

Cut one pound of fresh, washed jalapeños in rings.

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Soak the rings in a bowl of cold water. Swish around with a long-handled utensil every now and then as this will help some of the seeds fall to the bottom. Please don’t do this with your hands and then touch your eyes! Gently scoop out the pepper rings without getting the seeds that have fallen to the bottom and transfer to another vessel.

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In a non-reactive saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, garlic cloves, salt, and sugar together and bring to a boil. Add the drained jalapeños to the pot.

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Cover with a lid and let sit for 15 minutes off the heat.

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Transfer to your favorite jar and keep in the refrigerator. They’ll last for quite some time even though they’re not properly canned.

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“…gonna kick it root down!”

It’s Fiesta Friday, and The Novice Gardener throws a wicked party! I’m wearing a leopard baby doll dress, hot pink jelly shoes, three slap bracelets, and the biggest Aqua Net bang wave you’ve ever seen. And what’s more is that the Beastie Boys “Root Down” is bumping in the background. I’m partying like it’s 1994. And, my friends, this song is the inspiration for these roasted, locally-grown golden beets. I hope my bangs don’t catch on fire.

Look, there’s a party goin’ on, and I don’t want to waste this outfit in the kitchen. This recipe is a quick and dirty one, so I’ll be flirting with the cute boy in one-strapped overalls and a Kangol bucket hat in no time. See him over there drinking a Zima? He’s all mine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound golden beets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Large pinch of sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper to taste

Method:

Peel and quarter the beets.

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Toss all ingredients in a non-stick oven-safe vessel.

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Roast for 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven until the beets start caramelizing.

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That’s it! Sweet, tender, earthy, sexy beets. These root veggies have my heart, and the simpler they’re prepared, the better.

Now where’s that cutie? Oh no, really?!? He left with the girl in the cropped velour blazer and high-waisted Bongo jeans? Seriously? Oh, I get it. She drives a Miata.

Who wants the next dance? The Beastie Boys are on again, and it’s totally my song!

My Secret Life as a Granola Pusher

Happy Fiesta Friday, everyone! My name is Jenna, I own Happy-Go-Lucky Granola, and my Fridays are crazy. For the past two months, I’ve baked lots and lots of vegan and organic granola products for the City Island Farmer’s Market in Downtown Daytona Beach, Florida. Happy-Go-Lucky Granola is my pride and joy. It’s also a source of near exhaustion, but, friends, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s my hectic, yet amazing, reality.

These are my granola bars…

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This was my first day at the market (and things have changed a lot since then)…

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These are my friends that come to buy, nosh, and chat…

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This is my happy-go-lucky life.

Happy Fiesta Friday, friends,

Jenna

DIY for a Happy, Healthy, Juicy 2014

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Florida winters bring an abundance of gorgeous, colorful citrus to our farmers markets, and my friend Craig at the City Island Farmer’s Market in Daytona Beach has the best. He’s been in the citrus business his whole life and really knows his stuff. Depending on the week and what’s perfectly ripe (according to sugar content), he’ll have tangerines, tangelos, red grapefruits, white grapefruits, pineapple oranges, red navels, and honeybells, among others. And while I love to slice or peel and eat, I absolutely love to make fresh-squeezed juice. It’s fun to mix and match the varieties and get blends impossible to find in stores. Besides, there’s nothing like local.

This week, I squeezed sun glow tangerines and a couple of red navels, and it’s so simple to do. I use a small electric home juicer by Black & Decker that allows me to control the amount of pulp. I like next to no pulp and it does a good job of keeping the stuff out.

If you’re considering juicing citrus at home yourself, here’s some basic steps:

Gather up your favorite citrus fruits (go local if you can) and don’t forget to wash the skins.

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Slice each fruit down the middle but not from the stem end. Avoid cutting through the poles.

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Plug in your juicer and set it to the amount of pulp passage you desire. Get to juicing!

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Remember to rinse the grates out when it get’s too gunky. Being clogged only makes the juice harder to filter down to the receptacle.

Pour it in a pretty jar.

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Compost the skins, and enjoy your delicious juice!

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Protein-Rich and Veggie Laden Breakfast Quesadillas

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There’s nothing that I can’t and won’t slap between two tortilla shells, and breakfast is certainly no exception. This morning I got a little crazy with some local eggs, purple bell peppers, red onion, yellow extra sharp Vermont cheddar, yellow sharp cheddar, and chicken apple sausage. To channel my inner Guy Fieri, I bought a one way ticket to Flavortown.

NOTE: If you’re vegetarian, gluten-free, or dairy-free, I’ll give some ways for you to adapt this to your dietary needs at the end of the post. 🙂

First thing’s first. Sautee the peppers and onions in a bit of canola oil until they’re translucent. Medium heat for 3-4 minutes should do the trick. Transfer to a plate.

Next soft scramble some eggs. To do this, beat them with a bit of milk and, using the same pan the veggies were in, add a smidge of butter, let it melt, and add the egg mixture. Moving them around the pan every 30 seconds or so, just cook them until they’re barely done. Runny is good. Salt and pepper them while they’re cooking. Transfer them to the same plate the veggies are on. Make neat little piles of your cooked goodies.

Finally, slice and sauté the chicken sausage. I really like the depth of flavor that comes with caramelization. This is a crucial step. As with the ingredients before, add these to the plate of goodies.

Now wipe out your pan. Add a bit more butter, and place one tortilla in the pan. Make sure the heat is on low-medium. Layer by layer, add some cheese, egg, veggies, chicken sausage, and more cheese.

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Cover with the other tortilla. Wait about two minutes, and check the underneath. It should be nice and golden brown. If so, carefully flip it over.

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Cook for another two minutes, transfer to a plate, and cut into triangles. I use a pizza wheel for this.

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Now all that’s left to do is grab your favorite hot sauce and chow down. Happy eating, everyone!

And, as promised, here’s some substitutions or omissions for my friends with dietary needs:

  • For my vegetarian friends, just leave out the chicken sausage or sub your favorite veggie one. Veggie bacon would also be yummy.
  • For my gluten-free friends, just swap corn tortillas for the flour ones. Also, the Al Fresco apple maple sausages are gluten-free, so you’re fine with those.
  • For my dairy-free friends, just use Daiya cheese, omit the milk in the eggs, and use Earth Balance spread instead of butter.

Local Shrimp with Lemon-Infused EVOO, Capers, and Chardonnay

Oooooooh, yum. Exorbitant amounts of yum. You know how every now and then you have a meal, and then when its almost gone, you feel a sadness? I had that tonight. Tonight’s dinner will be missed. But, on the bright side, it was extremely easy, and the shrimp is local. Lucky me.

For dinner this evening, we had local shrimp with lemon-infused olive oil, capers, garlic, tomatoes, and Chardonnay. We served it over angel hair, but you could put it on crostini, quinoa, couscous, rice, or an old shoe. It’s that good.

For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 tablespoons lemon-infused olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • Sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Unsalted butter
  • Good quality Chardonnay

To begin, heat 2 tablespoons lemon olive oil in large skillet on medium-high. While its heating, season the shrimp with a little salt and pepper.
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Add the shrimp in a single layer to the skillet.
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After one minute, turn them over. Tongs are the easiest tool for this.
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Wait one more minute, remove them from the skillet and set them aside.
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There will be some tasty bits on the bottom of the pan (called “fond”). Leave it there. It’s packed with flavor. Add the remaining two tablespoons of lemon olive oil to the pan. Then add the capers, garlic, and diced tomatoes.
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Add a small pinch of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper to this mixture. Let this simmer uncovered for two minutes on medium-high heat. It should start forming a bit of a sauce because the tomatoes will start breaking down. Now add the shrimp.
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Add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and a 1/2 cup of good quality drinking Chardonnay to the mix. If you like it really spicy, add more pepper flakes. Let this simmer for another minute. Add one tablespoon of unsalted butter.
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Work the mixture through and remove from the heat.
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Taste the sauce and adjust for seasoning.

As I mentioned earlier, serve this over whatever you’d like. We love pasta and served ours over angel hair and grated some fresh Romano cheese over the top. It was heavenly.

Happy eating, everyone!

A Delightful Rose Wine from a Local Winery: Did it Save its Kind?

Bring in the troubadours! Sound the alarms! Get me my megaphone! I have found a rose wine that makes my tastebuds do the cha cha! Thank you, San Sebastián Winery in lovely St. Augustine, Florida. I’m a changed foodie because of you. You see, if it weren’t for my family visiting the winery on a recent vacation, I’d have never purchased this on my own. NEVER. Wines that even slightly resemble White Zin scare me. The Kool-Aid quality just doesn’t work for me, and, for years, I’ve equated (admittedly unfairly) pinkish-colored wines with the nightmarish flavor of the first wine I ever tasted. Look I’m not the only one who’s shied away; guilt by association is real.

But the past is the past, and thank goodness. I couldn’t imagine missing out on this amazing rose bursting with peachy deliciousness.

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What a treat for a warm summer evening! What a treat for a cold winter day! What a treat…period! So, I guess the moral of this story with a very happy ending is that although a White Zinfandel may be considered a rose, a rose isn’t at all a Zinfandel. It’s all in the grape, my friends. Cheers! 🙂