Thursday, May 27, 2010

so now i've joined a cooking club?...and a recipe for rainbow chard frittata

i have never been a "joiner". never belonged to groups or clubs...nothing that required meetings, or schedules, or commitments. working a zillion hours a week in my former corporate life...plus squeezing in time for board service for non-profits...left me with zero desire for anything else.

so here i am...blogging about my book club, my blogger cookbook club and now...my cooking club. what has happened to me? well, first of all....no corporate life (yeah, yeah ,yeah)...and second...i keep meeting the coolest people here in napa that i instantly love! best of all, they all seem to adhere to the "no rules" rules way of life.

i have blogged a number of times about my fabulous book club....this month we are reading the widow clicquot... our meeting is next week...and i cannot wait to tell you all about it...but today i am introducing my cooking club. a few friends (different from book club friends) and i realized that we all are very similar in the way we cook, eat, shop for food, explore restaurants, visit farmer's markets...etc. we thought it would be fun to create a "no rules" rules club as an excuse to ensure we get together at least once a month to eat, talk and catch up. so...the napa cooking club was launched. we decided that we would meet at one of our homes every other month and have a pot luck. the hostess decides the theme, everyone makes a dish..and we sit around drinking wine and eating! that's it...no rules, no work, no structure. just good friends and terrific food...my kind of club. i told you we do this every other month...so...even easier...the "off months", we meet at a cool restaurant...still terrific food, wine and conversation...just no cooking this time.
i look forward to sharing our menus with you each month....for our first meeting we decided to have a "fresh from the farmer's market" theme. our napa market opened this month and we were silly enough to imagine a warm may evening (of course, the weather being what its been this year, it was cold and pouring rain for our inaugural meeting! whatever...) we had frittata on green salad, steamed asparagus with parmigiano-reggiano & pancetta, a fresh corn and edamame salad with jalapeño, red bell pepper and lemon juice, and a delicious coconut panna cotta with macerated strawberries and rhubarb/ginger compote. everything was delicious...wine was supberb...and new friends got to know each other a bit better. how cool is that?
i contributed the frittata/salad combo. my csa boxes have been chock full of spring onions, green spring garlic and leeks. the same farm (hudson ranch, more about them next post) sells amazing, beautifully hued organic araucana eggs so i have been buying them all spring. i found gorgeous rainbow chard at the farmer's market, along with fantastic lettuce for salad. don't you find cooking delicious meals is pretty simple when you have perfect ingredients on hand? frittata is one of those dishes...easy, delicious, works hot, warm or room temperature, incredibly versatile with countless ingredient combination possibilites...i serve for breakfast or brunch or lunch or appetizers or for dinner....you get the point. i have written my technique for making frittatas....if you have a favorite, please share in the comments section of this post

rainbow chard frittata1 bunch rainbow chard
2 stalks spring onions (or 1 med sweet onion)~chopped
1 leek~chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 organic eggs
1 tsp
aglio olio peperoncino (or pinch of red pepper flakes)
grey sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1 tbsp italian parsley, chopped
white cheddar cheese, shredded (about a cup)

cut the leaves off the chard stems. slice the stems in very thin (about 1/4 inch) pieces and set aside. stack 4 chard leaves on top of each other. roll up into a cigar shaped cylinder. slice into very thin strips...this is called a chiffonade. continue with another 4 chard leaves until the entire bunch is cut. separate the pieces and set aside.

add 1 tbsp of the olive oil to a large pan. when warm add the spring onions and leek and sauté over med heat until the onions are translucent(about 4 minutes). add the sliced chard stems and continue cooking until the stems are just beginning to soften (another 4 minutes or so). add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, along with the chard leaves chiffonade and the minced garlic. season to taste with salt and pepper. cook, stirring frequently, until the leaves soften (about 2 minutes).

place a clean tea towel on a plate. (use and old towel because this next step will stain...just make sure it is clean). turn out the cooked vegetable mixture onto the towel lined plate. roll up the towel and squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible. set aside.

crack the eggs into a medium sized bowl and beat. add the vegetable mixture, 1 tbsp olive oil, the aglio olio peperoncino (or red pepper flakes), a pinch of grey salt and black pepper and the parsley and beat again till everything is incorporated.

add the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil to a 9-10 inch skillet. warm over medium heat and pour in the egg mixture. cook until the top looks fairly dry. while it is cooking, every so often take a spatula and lift the edges of the frittata to let the uncooked eggs run to the bottom of the pan. when the top is almost dry, take a dinner plate and place over the top of the skillet. hold the plate (wear oven mitts) and flip the skillet so the frittata is on the plate. place the now empty skillet back on the heat and slide the frittata back in the pan. the former bottom of frittata is now on top. continue cooking for another minute or two and then slide onto a serving dish. sprinkle the white cheddar cheese on top. serve warm or at room temperature.

i love serving frittata slices either on a salad with champagne vinegar/honey mustard vinaigrette or on top of bruschetta rubbed with garlic and drizzled with an excellent extra virgin olive oil. **note...we ate everything before i remembered to take photographs...so these pictures are sans the salad, asparagus and dessert...we ran out! trust me everything was beautiful & delicious....** whoops!

hope you all have a wonderful memorial day holiday weekend. be safe, have fun and eat well!~and, if you have a minute, please join our new facebook fan page...your best way to stay on top of all the napa farmhouse 1885 events (and special offers just for fans)

best,
diane

diane padoven
founder/president
napa farmhouse 1885™
"live a green life of style™ "
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4 comments:

Leslie said...

a cooking club sounds awesome Diane. I think that it is a great idea.

napa farmhouse 1885 said...

thanks leslie...what could be better than amazing food and great friends?
diane

ben - www.Kambody.com said...

"freshly cracked black pepper" is very important because after 3 month cracked the essentials oils of pepper beginn to disapear. But the best is to use Kampot pepper, very tasty and fragrant nothing to compare with supermarket pepper.

Puja said...

Wow, great one farm houses. I love very much. great idea.