Revving up for the HolidaysDecember has kept us going, what feels like non-stop. At the beginning of the month, we trekked out into the forest, through a good four inches or more of crust laden snow, in the rain and sleet to find our Christmas tree. Finding a woods tree is always a bit of a challenge, making sure the branches are strong enough, that it is full enough, not too big or small, and doesn't too much resemble that of Charlie Brown's tree. After about an hour or so, I found a great one and using a handsaw, brought it down. Zsuleikah enjoyed the adventure, I think her favorite part being running after the fresh fir I dragged behind me and trying to jump on its tip. The adventure however did not stop there. Once we got our three trees to my car, my friend realized, she had forgotten the rope to tie the trees on the roof.
Thankfully, I had been carting arounds an old spool of kite string in my trunk and rigged it so the trees fit in the trunk and the trunk would stay closed.
As anyone who has set up a tree may know, it isn't the finding it that is the most difficult part, but however getting it in the god forsaken stand and then stringing on the lights in a manner that doesn't look totally haphazard. This is especially true for a tree that is from the woods, and hasn't been pruned to perfection by an arborist. After our tree adventure, I bathed Zsuleikah and showered the sap and pitch out of my hair, and it was into our best clothes for an evening at the Maine State Ballet's Nutcracker. It was our third year, and Zsuleikah enjoyed it more than ever. She is so enchanted by the sparkle, costumes, live orchestra and the marvelous ballerinas.
Last weekend after being stuck inside and surrounded by the gray, rainy weather, I finally got a little reconnection with nature on a sunny Sunday afternoon walk along Black Point in Scarborough. Accessing the semi-private trail, somewhat coveted by the inn, is a little tricky at the hight of the tourist season. I love visiting it now, in the coolness of winter. Caressing the stones, smoothed by the endless tumble and churn of the waves. Listening to the chime like sound of the water pulling the stones in and out against each other, with each departure and return of the waves. Remembering that the sun, no matter how cold the air, is always a blessing, and its mid afternoon warmth on your face and back is a true medicine in the winter months.
Any kind of frittata is an easy go to, because the basic ingredients of potatoes, eggs and cheese are almost always in my fridge and cupboard. The idea of having breakfast for dinner to Zsuly is also very enticing. I served this frittata with a citrus and fennel side salad and 2 pieces of multigrain sourdough toast.
Bacon and Swiss Chard Frittata
This is a tasty and simple dish made in a cast iron skillet, that can be prepared pretty quickly. It can be served for brunch or dinner. I like to pair it with a green salad or fruit salad and toast. Doing the prep work before hand, will quicken the cooking time.
2 medium yukon gold potatoes,
washed, peeled and sliced thin
1-2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 small sweet onion, sliced thin
Sprig of fresh Rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon Oregano
3-4 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
5 eggs scrambled
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
¼ cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
4 oz sour cream
4 large leaves of washed Swiss Chard, stems removed, chopped finely
1 teaspoon oregano
Ground Black Pepper
4 pieces of Bacon Cooked
Step 1: Add the EVOO to the cast iron skillet and slightly heat on medium. Add potatoes and rosemary. Stir gently as to coat all the potatoes in the oil, cover for 2 minutes or so. Stir again and add in the onions, garlic and remaining spices, and salt and pepper to taste. Once potatoes are done, you want them firm, but not crunchy or underdone, remove from pan and transfer to a plate or bowl and set aside.
Step 2: Add the chopped swiss chard to the skillet, sauteing over a medium high heat, until soft. Remove from heat.
Step 3: In a 2 cup glass measuring cup or medium mixing bowl, mix the eggs, sour cream, oregano and ground black pepper to taste. If you don’t use sour cream, the frittata will still turn out great, maybe just add a bit more additional cheese or a splash of milk. Mix the cooked swiss chard into the egg mixture and set aside.
Step 4: Be sure some EVOO still remains in your skillet, if not add a tablespoon or so more. Cover bottom of the skillet with the potato mixture. Sprinkle on the cheddar cheese. Pour the egg and chard mixture over the cheese and potatoes in the skillet. Top that with the parmesan cheese and break the strips of bacon into ¼-½ inch pieces over the top. Turn the heat on under the skillet to medium heat and cover with lid. Let cook about 5-8 minutes. Remove lid and remove from heat. Take the entire skillet and place under the broiler for 5-8 minutes, until the eggs have firmed up. Remember to remove the skillet from the broiler with a hot pad. Cut into triangles and serve.