Fun With Garden Foods

Pretty purple carrots make a great edible center piece.

Dana and I harvested a ton of food from our garden at Green Meads Farm in Richmond last Friday.  We spent the morning and part of the afternoon weeding before filling our bags with future dinners.  The commercial crop of leeks and romanesco we are growing on the Clark’s farm (hopefully soon to be our farm!) is looking hardy after a late, slow start.  Without all the weeds, our garden at Green Meads is looking like a real garden, as in, now we have paths and can see individual plants!  The weed uprising has been quashed, for now.  After all that I  discovered we have lots of lemon cucumbers, gherkins, collards, basil, kale and carrots.  I’m super excited to take pictures and make fun things with the lemon cukes, they live up to their name in appearance and I hope they make excellent pickles.

When we finished our work Dana and I headed home with bags full of produce, hungry for a big late lunch. By the time we got into the kitchen I was running out of steam as far as cleaning all the veggies.  So we put all the carrots (Purple Haze variety, of course) into a big glass pitcher to soak which doubled as a very colorful and edible centerpiece!

Cucumbers, carrots and collards from our garden, eggs from Hannah's grampa, peanut sauce from last nights salad.

We made a frittata with collards, sliced up a couple of cucumbers to go with the peanut dressing from the night before and made two so-called ‘Southamptons’, a drink made with 2-3 dashes of bitters, a squeeze of lime, a bit of sweetener, if you like, and soda water.  This drink is sometimes refered to as a mocktail (versus the more adult, cocktail) but I wonder if the place the drink is named after has anything to do with that reference? No, it’s probably not named after those Hamptons.  Whatever the Southampton is named after, it’s a bitter, tart drink, and it’s soothing to the stomach as well.  It was supremely nice to be able to sit outside and enjoy the food that Dana and I have worked to create.

A simple salad complements the big, late lunch we ate at 3pm.

After a big late meal and the day’s manual labor behind me, I didn’t have a huge appetite for dinner.  I made a light salad, with a mix of all the salad greens from our garden including baby spinach.  I used some Fire Cider, mayo, a mashed garlic clove, salt and pepper to make a quick dressing.  And then for dessert I snacked on the tender young carrots we thinned from the garden and that addictively good roasted almond butter with flax seeds from Trader Joes.  I feel really good about today; lots of fresh veggies in a variety of colors, with my biggest meal in the early afternoon and plenty of time spent outside, doing work that I love with some one I love.  I know that not every day can be as well-balanced and stress free but it’s nice to know I can make it happen!

Cooking With My Health Coaching Clients!

I spent all day Tuesday walking around New York City seeing some of my health coaching clients in person.  Working on the phone is very convenient but I always take the opportunity to see my clients in person when I can.  Plus, it was so nice to be in the city, one of my favorite places, doing the work that I love.  My first stop was a meeting with my youngest client, he’s 14 and really into cooking.  He asked me to teach him how to make a frittata, which was a lot of fun!

You are never too young to start making healthy, tasty food!

Jonathan had never cooked with collards before so I showed him how to cut out the stems and slice up the leaves.  We didn’t have a cast iron pan that was the right size so we improvised with oven safe bake-ware.  Since a frittata is a pretty flexible dish we went with sautéed collards with garlic, hot pepper flakes, onion salt and smokey paprika.  Then we added eggs whipped with a little water and grated Romano cheese.  The best part was getting to eat together on the roof deck while we talked about things that Jonathan is working on in addition to sharpening his culinary skills!

I also met with a young client who is currently attending NYU.  She finally has a real kitchen, no more cramped dorm room, and is interested in learning more about cooking, especially things she can make ahead and take with her to school and work.  We made two dishes from a short list of ingredients that she will be able to eat for the next three days, not bad for a social hour in the kitchen!

Kale Salad is an excellent choice for a packed lunch.

We made the crunchy kale salad first, so the kale would have time to soften in the dressing.  Then we started on a frittata (guess it was that kind of day!). This time we sautéed kale with fresh rosemary, mushrooms, garlic and salt.  We whipped the eggs up with fresh goat cheese and when the kale was cooked we poured the egg mixture on top, let it set and then finished it off under the broiler, perfect!

Looks like a balanced meal to me and it will go well with the crunchy kale salad.

During the day I also met with a friend of mine who is an accomplished medical doctor and business man and a former health coaching client.  I always say that my clients teach me as much as I teach them.  By working with my health coaching clients I am able to stay on my own path to better health and personal growth.  This meeting really reinforced that sentiment.  We took turns talking about what was going on in our lives and he gave me some amazingly helpful advice on how to deal with stress.  I’ll be writing a post about this awesome new stress management technique, so look out, it’s only been two days but has already helped me tremendously!

I want to say thank you to my rock star clients, I had a great day that was not like work at all.  I can’t wait til next month when I’ll be meeting with them again for more fun cooking with greens and maybe a lavender chocolate tart!

Frittata With Grated Zucchini, Goat Cheese and Dill

Frittata with grated zucchini, goat cheese and dill, thanks New York Times!

I found this on the New York Times Fitness and Nutrition page and love the idea of shredding zucchini and pairing it with goat cheese and dill!  Goat cheese is so delicious when it’s all warm and gooey and on my dinner plate.  This is a whole meal and makes a great brunch, dinner or snack.  We usually make a large frittata for dinner and then enjoy the leftovers the next day for lunch.  The leftovers are good cold or reheated on the stove.


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound zucchini, grated (4 cups grated zucchini)

2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

8 eggs

2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat in a 10-inch, heavy nonstick skillet. Add the zucchini. Cook, stirring, until the zucchini begins to wilt, about two minutes. Stir in the garlic. Cook for another minute or until the zucchini has just wilted — it should still be bright green. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.

2. Beat the eggs a large bowl with the goat cheese. Add salt and pepper, and stir in the zucchini and the dill.

3. Clean and dry the pan, and return to the burner, set on medium-high. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet. Drop a bit of egg into the pan; if it sizzles and cooks at once, the pan is ready. Pour in the egg mixture. Tilt the pan to distribute the eggs and filling evenly over the surface. Shake the pan gently, tilting it slightly with one hand while lifting up the edges of the frittata with the spatula in your other hand, to let the eggs run underneath during the first few minutes of cooking.

4. Turn the heat to low, cover and cook 10 minutes, shaking the pan gently every once in a while. From time to time, remove the lid, tilt the pan and loosen the bottom of the frittata with a wooden spatula so that it doesn’t burn. The bottom should have a golden color. The eggs should be just about set; cook a few minutes longer if they’re not.

5. Meanwhile, heat the broiler. Uncover the pan and place under the broiler, not too close to the heat, for one to three minutes, watching very carefully to make sure the top doesn’t burn (at most, it should brown very slightly and puff under the broiler). Remove from the heat, and shake the pan to make sure the frittata isn’t sticking. Allow it to cool for at least five minutes and for as long as 15 minutes. Loosen the edges with a wooden or plastic spatula. Carefully slide from the pan onto a large round platter. Cut into wedges or into smaller bite-size diamonds. Serve hot, warm, at room temperature or cold.

Yield: Six servings.

Note: For four servings, use the same recipe but reduce the number of eggs to six.

Advance preparation: In Mediterranean countries, flat omelets are served at room temperature, which makes them perfect do-ahead dishes. They’ll keep in the refrigerator for a few days, and they make terrific lunchbox fare.

Nutritional information per serving: 192 calories; 5 grams saturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 7 grams monounsaturated fat; 258 milligrams cholesterol; 3 gramscarbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 134 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 12 grams protein

Martha Rose Shulman is the author of “The Very Best of Recipes for Health.”

Her original recipe is here!

I wanted to try this recipe out but realized I didn’t have dill or zucchini so we used kale and parsley instead…basically you can make a frittata with any combination of vegetables, herbs and cheese or meat.  Here’s how mine came out:

Frittata with goat cheese, kale, onions and parsley

Dana’s Frittata with Greens and Chilies

As the weather continues to get colder it’s time to turn up the heat and that includes the food we are eating.  A great way to keep warm during the cold months is to eat foods that warm us up and the following recipe is for a one dish meal that’s served hot and also has a healthy dose of heat from chilies in adobo sauce.  This is my husband’s recipe and our go to, one dish dinner.

Dana’s Frittata with Greens and Chilies

Since this is a one dish meal the amount of the ingredients depends on the size of your skillet.  My cast iron skillet is about 11 inches in diameter, so adjust accordingly. You don’t need to worry about getting the measurements exact.  And, as with most of the recipes I love, there is plenty of room for improvisation and substitution.  This recipe will feed about 3-4 people and can be made in about 30 minutes or less.

The Ingredients: Local and Organic, please!

2-3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

5-7 large Eggs (I always get my eggs from the farm on Michael’s Road in Hinsdale) lightly beaten with a pinch of salt and 1 Tablespoon of water or milk.

1 bunch of Greens, any kind will do, Kale and Collards are my favorites, ribs removed, finely shredded.

1 medium Onion, chopped or sliced into half moons

2-3 cloves of Garlic, pressed or finely chopped

1-3 Chilies in Adobo (Goya brand) these are HOT so use with caution!  Chop them fine and be sure to include some of the sauce.

1 teaspoon Cumin

1 teaspoon smoked Paprika

1 teaspoon Oregano

½ teaspoon/dash of Lemon juice

Salt to taste

Cheese, optional, for topping


Dana adds the chopped kale to the onion mixture.

The Procedure:

Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to your skillet over medium heat.

Sauté the onions until soft with about 1 teaspoon of salt.

Add in the garlic and cumin and sauté for another 2 minutes.

Add the green veggies, chilies and paprika and a dash of lemon juice.  Mix well and continue to cook until the greens are wilted.

Add the oregano to your eggs, mix well and pour the egg mixture evenly over everything in the skillet.

Let it cook until the eggs are mostly set.  Top with cheese if you like.

Put the whole thing in the oven under the broiler.  This is why cast iron is so handy!  The top will set and bubble and then brown.  When it’s got a nice toasty top that means it’s done and ready to eat.  Serve straight out of the skillet.  This is a complete meal but you can always serve with whole grain toast and a side of greens.  Also, if you have leftovers this makes an excellent breakfast and you get extra bonus points for having veggies at breakfast!

Just out of the oven and ready to eat!