Fresh Eggs and Frittata

I’ve always loved eggs, adored them really, even when I was young. My mom made amazing Saturday morning breakfasts. We would wake up to the smell of pancakes, some sort of breakfast meat and fried eggs. They were always fried and the yolk was runny. You’d cut into the egg disturbing the yolk and a gooey, sticky mess that would run onto the plate just begging to be sopped up with a pancake or piece of toast. It was my favorite way to eat them. As my sister and I grew and began experimenting with cooking she taught me how to make microwave scrambled eggs. We learned quickly that if not covered they make a horrible messy explosion, covering the interior of the microwave with pale yellow flecks.  Another thing we learned is that if the flecks of leftover eggs are allowed to dry in the bowl or cup they make a horrible crust, nearly impossible to remove.  My mother became quite exasperated at the egg crusted coffee cups that never came clean, even in the dishwasher.

When I was finally able to get my own chickens I couldn’t wait to have my own fresh eggs.  I’d heard about their wonders and fantasized about my own wonderful eggs right out of my backyard.  When you buy your chicks though they are a long way off from making those glorious eggs.  They are small, puffy, and quite adorable, and quite a bit of work.  Our chickens matured into pullets and we waited anxiously for our very first egg.  A chicken will usually start laying around 18-20 weeks.  Since the chicks were hatched in April we knew we would probably not be getting eggs until August or September.

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After what felt like an eternity we did in fact get fresh eggs.    We get four different colors; dark brown, light brown, olive-green, and blue-green.  There is something so beautiful to a full carton off fresh eggs.  Now that our girls are older they are laying pretty regularly and depending on how often we use them we can get quite the stockpile. When we do have a surplus I love to make Frittata.

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Frittata is not only fun to say but is delightfully delicious.  It is similar to quiche but has no crust, which also makes it easier to cook.  I love to use tons of veggies.  I’m especially looking forward to make frittata using veggies from my garden this year, but seeing as we have nothing from the garden in March the store produce will have to do.  Tonight I chose kale, bell peppers, a zucchini, asparagus, red potatoes, and green onions.  I used a lean turkey sausage, our fresh eggs of course, some skim milk, and a soft flavored cream cheese.

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Aren’t the cracked eggs an amazing sight!  The orange yolks are so different from regular store-bought eggs.  I was blown away by the difference when we got our first egg.

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First I brown the sausage in a large pan.  Once it is brown I put in a bowl.  I add a few tablespoons of butter and deglaze the pan.  The butter may defeat the purpose of the lean sausage, but I never said I was logical.  I have been reading a lot about Julia Child recently so perhaps I am just channeling her.

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I then cook the chopped asparagus, zucchini, and bell peppers until they begin to soften.  I cheat with the potatoes.  I put them in whole into the microwave after stabbing them a few times.  I cook them for 8 minutes until they are soft and chop them and set them aside.

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I throw in the chopped kale and green onions until they are soft.  Then I add the meat back in, the potatoes and the soft cheese.

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Once everything is incorporated I pour in the eggs, which have been scrambled with the milk and seasoned with salt and pepper.  I mix everything again until it is well incorporated.

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I then turn the heat to low, and top the pan with a lid to allow the eggs to start cooking.  I lift up the edges of the frittata occasionally to allow the raw egg to flow to the bottom.

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As things are beginning to set I turn the oven to broil and put the entire pan into the oven.   I watch it closely so it doesn’t burn.  Once the egg is completely cooked and the top develops a crustiness I pull it back out, cut and serve.  I love to serve frittata with salad and fresh fruit.

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I save any veggie scraps, like the zucchini ends and the woody ends of the asparagus for the hens.  I love being able to give my hens the scraps and in return get lovely eggs.  It’s a wondrous cycle.

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