Posts Tagged ‘free-range eggs’

Asparagus and Egg Pizzas

Friday, May 1st, 2015

An updated take on pizza for spring … fresh from the farmers market!

My kids, no surprise to anyone who knows my husband and I, are true night owls. The boy has suddenly become a voracious reader, thanks in great part to the Spirit Animal series he devoured over the past couple months. We’d just concluded our year in Hogwarts, reading the Harry Potter series aloud each night, and this was the first series he really got into reading on his own. Now, we have to pry the books out of his hand at least twice each night to get him to turn off the light and go to sleep. The upside of their pushing the limits on bedtime is that they tend to sleep in later, and we’ve reached that sweet spot of parenting where they don’t need our attention the second they wake up — at least on the weekends. On the downside, it means we were late getting to the market this past Sunday and my good mood at getting to sleep in was quickly turning sour at missing asparagus for the second week. After we made our other purchases and were walking out, I saw the vendor at the end had a huge cooler labeled “asparagus.” I leaned over to confirm it was, in fact, empty — only to have the vendor announce, “Oh, we still have some if you need it.” Hallelujah!

asparagus ramp and egg pizza | foodietots.com

I’ve written before about the fickleness with which the foodie tots approach asparagus each year, alternately loving and hating it. A few weeks ago, we’d gotten some (non-local) asparagus in a veggie delivery from our dairy farm and the boy declared it one of his top favorite vegetables. The girl, however, is on an off-year with it. Likely thanks to Instagram, I had pizza on the mind and decided to make asparagus and egg pizzas. Not wanting to go back out just for pizza dough, I had the revolutionary idea to make it from scratch. I followed Mark Bittman’s Basic Pizza Dough recipe and am now completely embarrassed that I’ve never made it before. It came out perfectly, after just an hour to rise, and handled beautifully — so much better than store bought. (If you’ve already mastered this simple bit of kitchen alchemy, indulge me.) The dough comes together quickly in a food processor, no kneading necessary. It can be frozen, so I plan to make another batch ASAP to keep on hand and ready to pull out the next time a pizza craving strikes.

homemade pizza dough | foodietots.com

Now about the eggs. We only buy cage-free eggs from free-range chickens from local farmers. I’ve done the side-by-side comparison of grocery store eggs and local eggs, and the yolks are visibly, shockingly bright orange next to the bland yellow of grocery store eggs. Pastured eggs have nutrition benefits too — “2 1/2 times more omega-3s and twice the vitamin E in the eggs of pasture-raised hens,” according to a Pennsylvania State University study. And I will never believe that confined chickens are happier than chickens with access to fresh air, no matter what the Big Chicken industry would have your believe.

But when it comes to eating eggs, the male half of our family doesn’t like runny yolks, only scrambled. Thankfully the girl is coming around to my side, although that often means she’s swiping the yolk off my plate if I’m not careful.

making asparagus and scrambled egg pizza | foodietots.com

Most of the egg-topped pizzas you see have the whole egg with runny yolk, but I knew that wouldn’t go over well. I was afraid the scrambled eggs would dry out in the oven, so I cooked them on the stove only until just beginning to set. For the kids’ pizzas, I put the eggs on the pizza before cooking — they came out well done but not dry. (The brown crust is from the parmiggiano on top.) For my and the husband’s pizza, I cooked it half-dressed (oil, cheese, asparagus, ramps and radish) for 10 minutes, then added his scrambled eggs and my whole egg to the already hot crust. After another 6 minutes, his eggs were still soft and my white was set.

asparagus and scrambled egg pizza | foodietots.com

And yes, the girl swiped a piece of my runny yolk pie.

asparagus egg and ramp pizza recipe | foodietots.com

For the recipe below, I’ve written it as prepared with scrambled eggs. If you want runny eggs, see the note at the end. I also added ramps, but I’ve omitted them from the recipe due to their fleeting availability. Thin slices of garlic or green onions will lend a similar flavor, if desired. (I plan to make this again with garlic scapes, when they’re available.) I also added a few thin slices of an early radish from our garden.

Recipe: Asparagus and Egg Pizza

Makes: 3 personal-sized pizzas, or 2 regular

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch pizza dough (“Basic Pizza Dough” recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half (or whole milk)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound asparagus
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • sea salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. Prepare pizza crust as instructed. Divide dough into 2 or 3 balls and set aside to rest while preparing toppings.
2. Preheat oven (and pizza stone, if using) to 450 degrees.
3. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Wash asparagus and trim ends. Cut into about 2-inch pieces. Prepare a separate bowl half full with ice and water. When water boils, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Immediately remove asparagus and place into ice water for a minute, then drain and set aside.
4. Melt butter in a frying pan over medium low heat. Add eggs and half and half (or milk) and whisk together. Cook, stirring frequently, until eggs just begin to thicken. Turn off heat.
5. Roll out pizza crusts and place on baking sheet or parchment paper. Brush each with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with a base layer of parmigiano cheese. Spoon scrambled eggs around the pizza, then arrange asparagus over. Sprinkle with another generous dose of cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper.
6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until crust is golden and eggs are thoroughly cooked (will be firm to the touch.)

Note: To make with whole, runny eggs, skip step 4. Prepare pizzas and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully crack eggs onto the pizza (it helps contain the whites if you push asparagus to make a border on two sides). Return to oven and bake another 5 to 6 minutes, until eggs are white and mostly firm.

Spring Pea and Chevre Souffle {#SundaySupper}

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Anyone else wake up to snow on the first day of spring? Thankfully not enough for another snow day, but still. March is always full of crazy weather here in the mid-Atlantic; it was 70 degrees on Monday, before the snow! But as the weather eventually warms up, new fresh produce will soon be appearing at the farmers market. Peas may not be ready quite yet — we just planted them in the preschool garden this past week — but chickens are laying eggs! And it’s kidding season, which means fresh goat cheese (chèvre) from local farms, too.

peas egg goat cheese recipe | foodietots.com

My dish for this week’s Sunday Supper Spring Fling combines all three of these early spring foods in a light dish that’s the perfect counterpoint to all those months of braising and stews. A souffle takes just a little more effort than a quiche, but it is an impressive dish to serve guests or just enjoy around the family table. To make a standard souffle, you prepare a bechamel sauce (butter, flour, mustard, milk), add egg yolks and beaten egg whites. Cheese is standard, and I’ve double-down on the green here by mixing in both a pea and tarragon puree and whole peas.

pea and chevre souffle | foodietots.com

You could serve this springy souffle as a side to a roast chicken or even Easter ham (green eggs and ham, aha!), but I served it as a vegetarian main dish with a big salad. Divide it into four smaller ramekins to make individual servings, or use a souffle pan or large round baking dish.My foodie tot is the designated egg cracker in my kitchen so she’s always game to help me with a dish like this — getting to whisk those egg whites in the mixer is even better.

Recipe: Pea and Chèvre Souffle

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup peas (thawed, if using frozen)
  • 6 fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 5 ounces goat cheese
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 large egg whites
  • pinch sea salt

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter or oil baking dishes — either 4 10-ounce ramekins or a 2-quart souffle pan or round baking dish.

2. Boil peas in a small pan for 4 minutes. Drain and scoop out 1/2 cup peas, reserving for later. Place remaining cooked peas and tarragon leaves in small food processor and pulse until pureed. (May need to add up to a tablespoon of water to help smooth the puree.)

2. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, mustard powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a dash of black pepper and cook, stirring, until smooth and golden. Slowly whisk in milk and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until thick. Remove from heat and crumble goat cheese into pan, stirring. Add 3 egg yolks and stir until mixture is smooth. Stir in pea puree and reserved peas.

3. Beat egg whites at medium high speed until soft peaks form. Add a pinch of sea salt and beat until peaks become stiff.

4. Fold egg whites into the pea/bechamel mixture and scoop batter into prepared baking dish(es). Bake for 25 minutes for small ramekins or about 45 minutes for large souffle, until puffed, brown on top and set (if it jiggles a lot, continue baking for a few more minutes).  Serve immediately.

spring pea and goat cheese souffle recipe | foodietots.com

(PS Those daffodils were my taking a stand for spring despite the snow Friday. They sure brightened the kitchen!)

Read on for links to many more fantastic dishes to welcome spring from the Sunday Supper bloggers!

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Middle Class Brioche {BBA week four}

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

After a week-long vacation that went by way too fast, I got back into the baking groove this weekend with my third* bread of the Bread Baker’s Apprentice challenge, buttery rich brioche. The book offers three variations, the rich man’s, middle class and poor man’s, the main difference being the butter content. I opted for a middle-of-the-road approach and was pleased to find my resulting bread plenty rich; I imagine the rich man’s version must truly taste like pastry! I was also surprised at how easy it was to make something I’ve only ever had from a bakery. In fact, the husband declared these just as good as the ones we get at our favorite bakery, so I’d consider that another success. Last night we topped them with my sister-in-law’s fabulous strawberry-rhubarb jam, which was a fantastic treat (and homemade touch to our take-out chicken dinner).

BBA bread baking challenge brioche

Here’s my step-by-step photo montage … mixing in the butter was the hardest part, as the dough was quite sticky and even though my butter had softened on the counter for more than an hour, I kneaded the dough slightly by hand after removing it from the mixer to smooth a few remaining lumps. I used organic butter and my free-range, farmers market eggs, which added to the sunny yellow color of the bread.

bread bakers apprentice challenge brioche

I didn’t buy special brioche pans and just used a muffin pan, which was a little small for my larger rolls. I also regretted not taking out my scale to weight the portions as I divided it, because as you can see, I had a few that were significantly larger than the others. Next time…

* for those keeping track, I haven’t gotten to the bagels of week 3 yet but didn’t want to fall further behind. I’ll get back to them one of these days. And I’m sharing this with Real Food Wednesday, hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

Follow along at the Bread Bakers Apprentice Challenge homepage as we bake our way through The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.