Day 332–Turkey Hash with Egg

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Turkey hash is one of our favorite leftover dinners following Thanksgiving. It really is pure comfort food–a mix of onion, celery, carrots, turkey, broth, and potatoes. You could even add rice or southern dumplings to this and it would be amazing. Actually, you could add pretty much whatever you want or whatever you happen to have handy. This dish is all kinds of flexible. I like that about it.

Usually I make this with thinly sliced red potatoes, but this year I have lots of sweet potatoes on hand, so I decided to change things up a bit. We also have some amazingly delicious, farm fresh eggs from pasture-raised chickens. I saw THIS recipe on Sugar Dish Me’s blog and thought–hmmmm, eggs on hash. Yes, that sounded like a great plan! Although Ellie wasn’t sure about the changes to one of her favorite seasonal meals, we all thought this was delicious and different enough that we didn’t feel like we were eating leftovers!

Turkey Hash (serves 4)

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 ribs of celery, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, chopped fine or 1 tbsp. dried sage
  • 2 cups cooked turkey, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2-3 cups chicken or turkey stock, divided
  • 4 fresh eggs
  • Kosher/sea salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium or medium high heat. When oil is warm, add onions. Cook for about 4 minutes, until translucent and soft.
  2. Add the celery and carrots. Stir well and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Add diced sweet potatoes, 1 cup of stock and sage and continue to cook for about 15 minutes. Add more stock if pan begins to dry out.
  4. Add turkey and continue cooking for about 20 minutes. The mixture should be very thick, almost like a super thick stew. Check for seasoning and season again if needed. Keep warm.
  5. In a smaller saute pan, cook eggs to according to your preference (Ellie likes hers fried, I like mine over easy).
  6. Spoon hash into serving bowls, then top each with an egg.
  7. Serve immediately.

Day 220–Red Pepper Tart

I’m not sure why this isn’t called “Zucchini Tart” because it has more zucchini in it than red pepper, but the pepper sure makes it look pretty. This is another recipe adapted from the Under the Tuscan Sun Cookbook, which is rapidly becoming a favorite of mine. This tart was delicious–it is like a quiche, but with more vegetables and MUCH less fat (no milk or cream in this baby!). So light and delicious–I will definitely make it again. Ellie didn’t care for the zucchini, but she might try it with another vegetable subbed in. I think it would be great with asparagus in the spring or even with thinly sliced potatoes. Or Kale…or broccoli…or…well, you get the picture. Super easy, healthy and versitile. That is MY kind of recipe!

Red Pepper Tart

  • 4 farm eggs
  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced very thin
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced very thin
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil, plus scant amount to coat pepper
  • 1 c. shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 9″ pie crust
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Roll the pie crust into a 9″ pie pan and keep refrigerated until ready.
  3. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent–about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the sliced zucchini and cook another 3 minutes until soft.
  5. Spread the zucchini and onions onto the bottom of the pie crust.
  6. In a bowl, wisk the eggs together. Add the cheese and blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over vegetables.
  7. Toss the red pepper slices in a scant amount of olive oil to coat. Arrange red pepper slices on top of the tart in a spoke pattern. Press them into the egg a bit.
  8. Bake tart for 30 minutes or until eggs are set and crust is lightly browned.

Day 80–First Day of Spring and Eggs Nested in Sauteed Chard

Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris) with variously col...

The first day of spring is typically celebrated with great exuberance in my house. Tom hates winter. Hates. It. He usually has a big, dramatic countdown to the first day of spring–this countdown begins shortly after we open Christmas presents. So, you understand my surprise when not only did we NOT have a countdown this year, but we were well on our way to work when he said, “Oh yeah, it’s the first day of spring!” We did a  little happy dance in the car (good that Ellie was already at school, so we were spared the eye rolling), but that was it for our celebration. The truth is, we have had spring here in NC since January. We’re not complaining, mind you, but it is a bit anticlimactic to celebrate something that arrived two months ago.

One of my favorite spring foods is swiss chard, especially the rainbow variety. Due to our hot summers, chard is usually out of the way by June, so we have to enjoy it quickly. Chard has a fresh, sweet taste that is something like a really amped up spinach. And we are absolutely ready for something other than collards and kale.

So tonight, in celebration of spring, we will have a dish that uses two fresh springtime foods–swiss chard and fresh farm eggs. This dish was shared by a friend and it looks to be healthy, fresh and easy to make. Thanks to Ben’s Produce for the organic rainbow chard and Water Oaks Farm for the fresh eggs!

This recipe is from Simply Recipes and since the recipe is not mine, I’m directing you to the original source. If I can get my food porn skills in gear, I will post photos, but the photos on the recipe site are pretty amazing, so they speak for themselves.

Happy first day of spring! Or 80th day of spring, whichever the case may be. Celebrate with something fresh and delicious today!

Day 61–Coon Rock Farm

Lately I have been buying produce and eggs from Coon Rock Farm, a family owned farm on the Eno River in Hillsborough. From Harukai turnips to fresh carrots and tatsoi greens, everything I’ve purchased has been delicious. At the Western Wake Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago, I tried a sample of their chorizo (it is impossible to pass their tent without trying it since you can smell it cooking and for “some reason” I am always hungry). It was amazing. I keep forgetting to add it to our rotation, but maybe next week.

Coon Rock Farm (www.coonrockfarm.com) is the epitome of “farm to fork”. The Holcomb family not only operates the farm (which dates back to the 1800s), they also operate two highly reputable restaurants, Zely & Ritz in Raleigh and Piedmont Restaurant in Durham. Both restaurants feature the vegetables, fruit, eggs, lamb, beef, pork and eggs produced on the farm.

According to the Holcombs, farm produce is all organic and mostly heirloom varieties (which explains why my carrots were unbelievably “carrot-y” in flavor). All animals are pasture-raised and grass-fed, with no hormones or antibiotics. I love that this is a family all working together to bring us good food while nurturing the young farmers who will continue to feed us into the future.

Coon Rock Farm sells at three local farmer’s markets–Midtown Farmer’s Market at North Hills, Western Wake Farmer’s Market in Cary and the Chapel Hill Farmer’s Market. They also have a CSA which you can read about on their website.

As for the name? Apparently, the name Coon Rock Farm comes from a large rock that juts into the Eno River and has the historical name of “Coon Rock”.  Regardless, the food produced by this family is wonderful, sustainable, healthy food, and I for one am looking forward to some chorizo on Saturday!

Day 57–Starting Week 9–Budget and Menu

English: Romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. ...

We had settled into a good routine for market shopping and ordering from local farmers. Until this week. With a sick child and busy work week, it was difficult to make time for the farmer’s market and I was tempted to just bag it and do my shopping at the grocery store. But, I didn’t. Can’t say I shopped with a glad heart this weekend, but I know I’ll be glad once we start cooking. We have lots of great eats this week. Our NC fishermen were catching a lot of swordfish, so we’re trying that along with NC scallops. Lettuce is making a strong comeback, so we will also be having more green salads with fresh lettuce and cucumbers. As for our budget we hit right at the mark this week, just four dollars over our $100 goal. Some items like flour will cover us for several weeks, so that’s good. Here’s how it broke out:

  • Farmhand food (meatbox pork tenderloin): $15
  • Locals Seafood (swordfish steaks and scallops): $40
  • Hillsborough Cheese Company (Greek yogurt, pimento chevre): $8.00
  • Coon Rock Farm (egg): $4.00
  • Misc. farmers market (lettuce, tomato, cucumber): $8.00
  • Trader Joes (frozen fruit, organic whole wheat flour, organic buttermilk, butter, lemons, white wine): 29.19
  • Great Harvest Bread Company (honey whole wheat): free with coupon

Total budget for week 9: $104.19

So, what are we having for all this? Here is our menu for the week:

  • Sunday: grilled swordfish with rosemary/white wine sauce, risotto, sautéed kale from garden
  • Monday: Cheese quiche with garden salad [Meatless Monday]
  • Tuesday: Grilled pimento cheese and Mae Farm bacon sandwiches, salad
  • Wednesday: Whole wheat pasta with scallops and lemon
  • Thursday: Soyaki pork tenderloin with stir fried greens and leftover veggies
  • Friday: Leftovers
  • Saturday: Out–dinner and symphony date night

I am seriously looking forward to the grilled pimento cheese and bacon sandwiches this week. That may be a blog post in itself! Here is to wishing you a happy and healthy week ahead!

Day 40–The Meatrix (Agribusiness and Your Meat Supply)

Could chickens roam Cary backyards?

Today, the Town Council for my town (Town of Cary) will vote for the fourth time on whether to allow residents to keep backyard chickens. Cary is known for being extremely proactive when it comes to parks and greenways or the arts, but not so much with chickens. I still can’t figure that out. My neighbor could have a dog that barks all night, but they couldn’t have quiet chickens. Poultry bias at work?

In honor of this (hopefully) historic vote, we are having quiche again with eggs from our favorite chickens, Coco Chanel and Oprah. You can access the quiche recipe by clicking on the “recipe” menu at the top of the blog page and go to Day 25. Yummy!

Moopheus, Leo, Chickety, and Agent Industry explore food production in "The Meatrix"

In the meantime, I’m sharing a series of entertaining, sometimes gross, and always enlightening animated shorts called “The Meatrix.” If you have seen the movie “The Matrix,” you will probably love them. The protagonist pig Leo is guided by hero Moopheus to learn the truth about agribusiness meat production (The Meatrix I), dairy production (The Meatrix II), and the fast food industry (The Meatrix II 1/2). The series was produced by The Sustainable Table project and has received numerous film awards.

The Cary Town Council should probably watch these before their vote 🙂 Go Chickens!!!

Day 25–Oprah and Coco Chanel In My Kitchen

Paula Deen (in any iteration) has never been in my kitchen, but I do have help this week from Oprah. That’s right–Oprah. And Coco Chanel, too. These two ladies are helping me make one stylin’, yummy vegetable quiche this week (see recipe below). In fact, they’re helping me get dinner on the table without hardly a feather ruffled. For reals.

You see, Oprah and Coco Chanel are hens who have the pleasure of residing with Eric and Lisa Forehand of Water Oaks Farm in Durham (www.wateroaksfarm.org). In addition to heritage breed chickens, Lisa and Eric also love their miniature donkeys and Eric makes a wicked variety of homebrew. I don’t think I have ever seen chickens get so much love and care (I’m pretty sure Eric puts that much love into his beer, as well). If you are a doubter (in which case, I don’t know why you’re reading this blog to begin with), go and see their Chick Cam. Go on! Watch! I’ll wait…

See? When the big ol’ reincarnation happens for me, I want to come back as a chicken or donkey at Water Oaks Farm. Except I want my name to be Angelina Jolie.

Happy chickens laying happy eggs. If you’re not all about “happy,” but you are all about health, consider buying locally produced cage free eggs because:

  • They taste better. WAAAAAAY better.
  • They have more protein than mass-produced eggs because the hen’s diet is richer.
  • You will support your local economy, not an agribusiness.
  • You may help perpetuate heritage breed fowl, which keeps our genetic population of chickens healthier and more diverse.

Here is my “go-to” recipe for quiche. It is by far and away the best quiche recipe I have ever made and is much more like a traditional French quiche (light and custardy) than most dense restaurant quiches. The trick is to use vegetables that are dry, so cook veggies ahead and squeeze the dickens out of them before adding to the quiche. Bon Appetite!

Spinach Quiche

  • Pastry dough or 1 frozen deep dish pie crust
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 oz. swiss and Gruyère cheese mix (check Trader Joes on this)
  • 1 bag spinach or other greens cooked and squeezed of all excess water
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  1. Prepare pastry and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Heat olive oil in a pan and cook onions over medium heat until soft and slightly browned (about 5 min.). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
  4. Add spinach to pan and cook until very wilted. Toss spinach frequently to keep from scorching. When greens have collapsed and are fully cooked, remove from pan and put onto a towel or paper towel. Roll the towel up and squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the greens (if you use frozen greens, you will need to do this as well once the greens are defrosted). Do NOT skip this step.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, cream and milk until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add cheese and stir until combined.
  6. Take the pastry crust from the refrigerator and arrange the onions and spinach on the pastry.
  7. Pour the egg mixture into the pastry.
  8. Sprinkle nutmeg across the top of the quiche.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees about 30-40 minutes–until top is golden and puffy and the quiche does not “wobble” in the center when gently moved.
  10. Serve immediately. Bow and accept the culinary accolades from your family. Make sure to thank Oprah and Coco Chanel.