Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The First Vacation of the Summer

Spending Father’s Day in North Carolina as part of a five-day adventure with Grandpa B, Grandma D, and Mama Dazz was just the vacation I needed. I thought about bringing my laptop along, to blog whenever I found a quiet moment, but those quiet moments had other plans for me.

For one, without the computer screen glaring at me, tempting me with social media and “Bisy Backson” tendencies, we traveled around the state to a centuries old graveyard, ate watermelon at the beach, bought freshwater fish for Grandpa B’s lacking aquarium, fed leftover breakfast toast to his chickens, and cooked amazing dinners without recipes.

I had the opportunity to take in the beauty of a June morning without a camera in between, and breathe in the summer air without a care in the world.

It was a great vacation.

I came back to Northern Virginia on Sunday, wishing many of the amazing fathers in my life a happy day. And for the second Sunday in a row, we took out our new charcoal grill and I can happily say my first time grilling bone-in New York strips were a delicious medium-rare. And after cooking veggies with Grandpa B on his grill, I can’t wait for grilling more than just meat on Sundays (now the official Grill Day in the family for as long as the seasons and weather permits).

A few things came out of this vacation: one, learning about Mama Dazz’s side of the family tree; two, how to take photos with my iPod touch and Nikon D50 interchangeably; three, I’m in love with W. B. Yeats and his work; four, I am officially starting a garden this summer, and finally, I really, really, really want chickens.  

If I had chickens (and ducks and goats and horses…), I wouldn’t have to go to the store for eggs ever again, and all I’d have to do is go to the coop and get what I needed for this recipe.

Cast Iron Skillet Custard with Veggies & Ricotta Cheese

30 ml Coconut oil
100 g Carrots, grated
175 g White mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 Medium red onion, coarsely chopped
2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp. Sea salt
1 tsp. Cracked pepper
1/4 tsp. Thyme
1 pinch Tarragon
200 g* (4 Large) Eggs
400 ml Water
120 g Ricotta cheese
3 Small tomatoes, quartered

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat and add the coconut oil.
At the oil’s smoking point, cook the carrots, mushrooms, onion, and garlic cloves until softened and slightly browned, and stir in the seasonings.
Turn off the heat and set aside.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the eggs until frothy and a light yellow color and fold in the ricotta so it is fully integrated.
Pour the egg mixture into the pan and place the tomato wedges around the edges (much like the numbers on the face of a clock).
Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or when a knife runs clean from testing the doneness in the center.
Serve warm (or cold) over your favorite side dish, preferably rice or quinoa.

Makes 4 servings.

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