July 11, 2014

Jiggle Fest!



Who is ready for a PaaaarTAY!  Utah’s very own, Thanksgiving Point, is having their annual Jiggle Fest on Saturday July 19th.  To quote their website, “It’s a food festival of jiggly proportions”.  They are having four different recipe contests, a family movie at dusk, Jello wars, running through sprinklers and all of the other awesomeness you get with a day at Thanksgiving Point. 

Now, you all know that food is near and dear to me so let’s start there.  Utah’s Own is proud to be involved with these recipe contests that focus on some Utah food favorites and feature some of our wonderful member businesses.  Funeral Potatoes, Jello, Fry Sauce, and Dutch Oven Cooking.  I want to know how to become a judge for these.  If you want to enter a recipe you need to be registered with them by July 18th.  That’s NEXT Friday. 

The next bit is, I think, a stroke of genius.  Thanksgiving Point is having hourly Jello Wars starting at 10:30 am and running until 3:30 pm.  They are also doing hourly playtime in the sprinklers starting at 11:00 am and running until 4:00 pm.  Yes, play, run, get covered in Jello and then run through the sprinklers and get washed off.  I say again, genius.  Just don’t forget your sunscreen.

After everything is cleaned up and all the food is put away they will be showing “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” at dusk.  Bring your blankets and a picnic and spend some time relaxing with the family under the stars.  It will be good recovery time from a day filled with running, laughing and eating.

July 3, 2014

Embrace the 4th of July: Declare a New Independence.

History was changed with the courage of a few nearly 238 years ago. A Declaration was made – the Declaration of Independence.

Consider the background – a handful of labeled extremists united with what most thought an “impossible” dream: the ability to be free from political oppression and suppressed opportunity.

Despite the doubt expressed by their neighbors and families – they boldly signed their names to a document that declared truth against the big boys: “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

And so, today – we honor them with fireworks, parades and barbecues. We stand for the red-white-and-blue and cry as we hear the melodies of the land of the free and the home of the brave.

While these traditions are rejuvenating, I would hope that each of us would also seek to pay-it-forward: to display courage and tenacity of our forefathers: To declare a new independence.

Perhaps that independence is some downtime: a chance to spend time with those you love – to listen, to laugh, to live. Or maybe you’d like to free yourself from a bad-habit: kick the addiction to the curb and relish in the light of new beginnings. Most of all, we’d hope to find yourself challenging oppression and seeking opportunity.

Wherever you are, Utah’s Own would like to wish you a Happy Independence’s Day. 

Enjoy a weekend full of American tastes, flavors and memories.

June 20, 2014

Life is a Bowl of Cherries

It’s the start of Cherry SEASON!  Cherries have started popping up in farmers markets and CSA shares all over Utah.  I always start the season with grand plans about all of the items I’m going to bake and preserve.  Sometimes I actually manage to get those things accomplished, usually I just end up sitting around a table with my family eating fresh cherries by the handful and forbidding my boys to throw the pits at each other.  Yeah, I’m the fun police.  This year I really want to expand my cherry recipe repertoire past cobbler and pie.  See, grand plans again.  I have the added incentive of being able to blog about it now.  I am going to give cherry vinegar a try, but that takes weeks to make.  I thought I’d work on something else now.  There are a LOT of amazing sounding cherry recipes out there, it was hard to narrow it down to one.  So I didn’t, I narrowed it down to two: 

Cherry Cornmeal Upside Down Cake
Fresh Cherry Salsa

Full disclaimer:  If searched around on the internet and found a variety of each of these two recipes, then I took the elements that were standard in them and changed around the rest to something that sounded good to me.  That’s generally how I experiment with new recipes, it’s rare that I follow a recipe exactly, but some things you cannot mess with.  Another disclaimer: I am a terrible photographer.  All of my food pictures turned out terrible.  Sorry. 

Without further adieu here are the recipes I feasted on last night.  NOTE!  Having a cherry pitter is a REAL time saver.  I highly suggest it.

 

Cherry Cornmeal Upside Down Cake

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or Slide Ridge Honey Vinegar)
5 cups whole, pitted, fresh sweet cherries
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup half and half

Instructions

1.        Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.       Using an oven safe skillet that is at least 2 inches deep (cast iron is a good choice), melt ½ cup butter and the brown sugar.  Add the vinegar and the cherries.  Bring mixture to a simmer and then remove from the heat.

3.       Combine all-purpose flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a bowl, set aside.

4.       Using an electric mixer beat the remaining ½ cup of butter in a large bowl.  Add sugar and whip until thoroughly combined.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.

5.       To this mixture add in the dry ingredients and the half and half alternately, don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl. 

6.       Pour mixture over the cherry mixture in the skillet and using a rubber spatula spread it evenly all the way to the edges of the pan.  Place pan directly in the oven.

7.       Bake until the top of the cake is golden brown and a tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 35 to 45 minutes.  Let the pan cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then run a spatula around the edges to loosen the cake.  Take a large platter (I actually used a wooden cutting board), turn it upside down over the cake and then (don’t forget your oven mitts) flip the pan and platter over together, the cake should slide right out onto the platter. 

8.       You’re supposed to let the cake cool but I had a slice hot out of the oven, just be careful, those cherries are little balls of delicious lava.

 

Fresh Cherry Salsa

Ingredients
1 lb of fresh, sweet cherries, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup minced red onion
Juice of one medium lemon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon minced jalapeno
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon agave nectar
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for one hour to let the flavors combine.  Serve with chips or over grilled meats.  I served mine over bacon wrapped turkey and it was divine.

June 13, 2014

Father's Day


Father’s Day is this Sunday folks.  In our family this usually means golfing, grilling, and a family gathering.  I took a completely informal poll of the wonderful Dad’s I have the honor of knowing and these were the things that rated high on the ‘To Do’ list for their day: 

Doughnuts are the breakfast of choice this year.  Thank goodness for Dunford Bakers because their chocolate iced chocolate cake doughnuts are a crowd pleaser. 

Golf is the mid-morning activity and then we’ll grill up some Colosimo’s Bratwurst for lunch.  Round it out with some spicy mustard and grilled veggies and that’s a meal fit for a king.  Oh, you can’t forget the Apple Beer.  It’s a good family friendly accompaniment for brats or, well, anything really.  We even use it as a marinade base or we simmer our brats in it before grilling them.  If you haven’t tried it yet you should get on that.

I think I will get some good chocolate for a treat.  My husband loves good chocolate, the darker the better in his book.  The ChocolateConspiracy has a 74% Dark Cacao bar that fits the bill and is in high demand at our house. 

The family get together will involve a large salad of spring greens from 3 Squares Produce (yay for CSA’s!) and grilling up more goodness.  I’m betting it will probably be salmon from Fog River or burgers from Stone Meats.  I think I might introduce the extended family to a new favorite of mine, Atwood’s Ranch Dressing.

Wow, looking at all of that makes me realize we’ll need to figure out a way to fit in an afternoon walk.  How does your family celebrate Father’s Day?  We’d love to hear about it in the comments.

June 2, 2014

Utah Farmers Market Listing: Locations and Seasonality

'Tis the Season to be Farming, or at least buying farm fresh produce and local food.
Yup, folks - Farmers Market Season is officially open. (Do I hear cheering?!)

True, some markets have been open for more than a month due to warmer temperatures (we envy you Southern Utah); however most are just opening their venues.

During June, you will find markets in the following cities: Bountiful, Logan, Cedar City, Heber, Kanab, Moab, Oakley, Orderville, Park City, Provo, Richmond, Rose Park, Salt Lake City, Sugarhouse, Sandy, St. George and West Jordan. 

If you are curious about specific days and times, check out our interactive map on the Utah's Own website. You can search it by zip code, or filter it by market season, day or time.  

In addition to knowing what markets are open, you may want to know what type of foods you might find at the market this month. For those that are interested in eating "seasonally" this list can serve as a guide:
Greens: Arugula*, Collard, Kale, Lettuce, Micro-greens, Spinach*, Sprouts, Swiss Chard, Mustard Greens 
Vegetables:Broccoli*, Carrots*, Peas, Radishes, Scallions 
FruitsStrawberries*, Sweet Cherries
*Limited - these crops require certain temperature and moisture levels. 

As you walk the market - think deep "greens" and "reds" (with the exception of tomatoes, you'll have to wait a little bit longer for those). 

Here's a picture to help you out:


Top Left (Radishes), Top Right (Pea Plant), Bottom Left (Lettuce), Bottom Right (Artisan Bread)

As you plan your visit and shopping list, keep in mind your local farmers market can have more than just produce. Many Utah markets feature added-value products such as jams, hummus, or baked goods. Some markets even sell fresh eggs and local meat. Take advantage of these fresh local products. However, if you plan to purchase temperature sensitive items, make sure to get them home to a refrigerator or freezer quickly. 

So, do yourself a favor - visit a market some time this month - buy some local, farm fresh food and enjoy the farmers market season.

Happy Shopping! 

May 16, 2014

Utah Farmland - The Story of Three Amazing Women

Ready. Set. Action! 

Green Fields. Red Barns, Black and White Cows. Tractors Driving into the Setting Sun. 

It is no secret that American media is enthralled with the landscapes and lifestyles of agriculture and food. In the last decade we have seen documentaries that have preached their agendas for rural agriculture, urban agriculture, corporate agriculture and anything in between. 

The newest addition to the club is Farmland, a pro-agricultural film that follows a diverse set of young agriculturists across the country. Viewers are introduced to trials and triumphs, family relations and farming communities. 

Interestingly enough, Farmland does not take a side on any particular issue – it rather invites the viewer to “come and see”: organic farming, urban/small scale farming, and large family farms. The lack of a political agenda, coupled with powerful story telling from both sides, is rather refreshing. 

And yet – these documentaries continue to showcase areas hours (if not days) from Utah. We’ve seen the problems and triumphs of Midwest livestock operations, debated the growing and harvesting practices of both East and West coast farms. 

Truthfully, we can get caught up in the tsunami of national agendas, that we can ignore the unique and powerful stories of agriculturists within Utah. 

While there is not sufficient space (or time) to capture them all – I’d like to invite you to "come and see" three amazing women I have discovered in the short four years I have worked with Utah’s Own. 

Meet Deborah (Deb) Myrin-Bertagnolli: a independent ranch girl from Altamont, Utah. As you can see in the picture below, her passion for beef and cattle even made it into her wedding photos. (My kind of girl!)


Photo courtesy of Deborah Myrin-Bertagnolli'
While studying in Orem, Deb discovered the emerging "local-food-fever" and decided to transform her family's ranch from a traditional cow-calf operation to a grass-fed beef supplier. 


Canyon Meadows Ranch, Grass Fed Natural Beef, is now available in many farmers markets across the state, as well as some retail stores like Whole Foods Market. As you browse the market this season, take some time to stop and visit with Deb.







Meet Sara Patterson:
a innovative agricultural entrepreneur from Cedar City, Utah. Her passion for natural and sustainable food production is unparalleled across the state.


Photo taken by Tamra Watson (March 2014)

Sara started Red Acre Farm about six years ago, when she was only 13 years old. At that time, she was disappointed in the type/quality of produce available at her school, as well as at the local market.

Instead of merely identifying the problem, Sara opted to become part of the solution. She attended workshops across the nation, built her own greenhouses, bought some livestock (chickens, goats and cattle) and started a CSA.



Red Acre Farm now services consumers and restaurants in Southern Utah. She also provides fresh greens to eager consumers at the Year Round Cedar City Farmers Market.








Meet Maryann Alston:  urban farmer, retail owner and a genius agricultural marketer from Salt Lake City, Utah. Maryann is one of Utah's greatest local and agriculture advocates.


Photo courtesy of Maryann Alston


Within her work as a director of many Wasatch Front Farmers Markets, Maryann identified the need for a retailer - one that would be willing to sell smaller volumes, accept the reality of seasonality and still have consumer interest. Like Sara, she also opted to become part of the solution. 

Maryann opened Urban Farm & Feed, with her husband Marty in 2012. The store, located in Murray, offers the consumer a Farmers Market Experience without the parking hassle or competitive crowd; it also offers the vendor (both farmer and food producer), one more option to sell their products in a competitive market. 

Maryann continues to show fierce loyalty to Utah farmers and food artisans. She has even started her own urban farm and now offers a CSA share.




To Deb, Sara and Maryann, and to the many other Utah farmers, ranchers and growers alike, I would like to say: Thank You. Your farmland stories - full of trial and triumph - are worth sharing, and Utah's Own feels honored to associate with you.

To the general reader - I would like to say: Look to Utah for the answers to your food solutions. Take some time this season to visit with a farmer or food producer and discover what amazing story might unfold. 

Happy Farming Season.

May 9, 2014

Rainy day musings

Being from Arizona I have a special place in my heart for days like this.  Any time water falls from the sky in any form I find it to be a wonder inspiring event, one I may want to watch from behind a window (mostly in the case of hail), but wonder inspiring none the less.  In honor of the glorious rainy day we are having in this part of the world, I thought I would share a few of my favorite comfort foods with you.  On overcast, chilly, rainy days my favorite thing to do is stake out the spot on the couch right by the window, wrap myself up in a blanket and enjoy a good book and selection of comfort foods.  Since moving to Utah my comfort foods of choice have morphed into a who’s who of Utah products.  We have some really good stuff here.

In my opinion no rainy day relaxation session can exist without a warm beverage.  Sometimes it’s hot tea, sometimes a sweet latte from my favorite little coffee shop, but lately it’s been hot chocolate.  Bella Rose Chocolates have been the star of my hot chocolate mug lately.  Their hot chocolate sticks are where it’s at.  Warm up your milk, stir the hot chocolate stick in and viola, creamy, rich hot chocolate.  This is a treat I usually enjoy by itself because it’s warm beverage and chocolaty goodness all in one.
If I’ve got a nice cup of tea I like to accompany it with a pastry.  I have a couple of go to options for this.  The kouing aman (pronounced quin aman)from Les Madeleines in Salt Lake is amazing.  I’ve tried to make this pastry myself and for the amount of physical effort and time that go into them I am just happy to pay for them.  They are made of sugar, butter, and joy. 
Photo credit: Les Madeleines. 
My other go to is Ruby Snap.  Picking one favorite Ruby Snap cookie is impossible but I’ve narrowed it down to Vivianna (mango and dark chocolate) or Audrey (almond dough, almonds, white chocolate and cranberry).  Maybe Judy (citrusy dough with cream cheese frosting).  My husband’s hands down favorite is Frida (chocolately, chile, ganachy goodness) and I can understand why. 

Vivianna
Judy
Audrey
Frida
Sometime around midday I’ll get hungry for something a bit more savory and really, what is better on a rainy day than a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup?  I try to put up a LOT of tomato sauce every year and that’s generally what I turn into tomato soup.  The sandwich though, that’s got to have bread with just the right amount of buttery, golden brown, crispiness.  I like Aspen Mills Light Wheat for this.   It also needs to be filled with melty cheese that oozes out onto the plate and I have a pretty serious love of Beehive cheese in this regard.  I know the Promontory is the cheese everyone thinks about from them and I love to eat that all by itself or with fruit.  For my grilled cheese I like Big John’s Cajun, it is soooooo good.  
Photo Credit: Beehive Cheese (Promontory)
Photo Credit: Beehive Cheese (Big John's Cajun)



















 I’ve also recently been introduced to the Brigham’s Brew root beer from Wasatch Brewery.  It’s a really great grilled cheese and tomato soup accompaniment, I can personally attest to it.


Brigham's Brew
No day indulging in comfort food is complete for me without ice cream.  Farr's Ice Cream is my families special treat and if we don’t have it in the freezer we will take a drive up to their ice cream parlor in Ogden.  My kids think the Play dough ice cream is the greatest thing since robot ninjas (which are pretty great) and my husband is a fan of their sherbets but I’m a Spumoni fan myself.  On a side note, the Brigham’s Brew root beer I mentioned above pairs really well with Farr’s vanilla for a killer root beer float.

Now my only hope is that this drizzly weather holds out until tomorrow when I will actually be at home.  I’d better make sure I’m stocked up on all the stuff I need for my perfect comfort food day.


May 2, 2014

Mother's Day ideas


With Mother’s Day right around the corner I thought it would be a good idea to point you in the direction of some Utah’s Own members that may be able to help you out.  We have such a wide variety of amazing, locally owned and operated businesses I am confident you can find just about anything you want right here in Utah.  I’ve included more traditional offerings but if you are looking for something off the beaten path you should check out our website here.
An excellent way to start off Mother’s Day is with breakfast in bed.  I know it gets a bad rap but it’s still sweet and it doesn’t need to be difficult.  Utah has some great options for this.  Here’s what’s on the menu at our house:

Rhodes Bake-n-Serv:  We’ll be having their cinnamon rolls but their orange rolls are a strong second place contender at my house.  My boys say they’re for me but really, they love them too. 
Oakdell Eggs and Aspen Mills bread to make Eggs in a Basket.  Have you had this?  Yummy stuff and EASY. 

We like a good toast and jam at my house too and Butcher’sBunches has the best preserves.
Personally, I’m more into the gardening aspect of the holiday.  The old Utah adage of waiting until Mother’s Day to plant your garden makes giving plants as gifts a solid choice around here.  We like flowers but LOVE food plants.  Fruit, veggies, berries.  All of it.  Here are some of the places I’m hoping my family shops for me this year: 

Grow Wild Nursery:  They have Utah friendly, water wise plants!
Happy Trowel Farms:  So many flowers.

Cache Flower Design:  Grows and arranges beautiful flowers
I also like my fluffy stuff.  Things for hobbies (like knitting!) or fun knick knacks and pretties.  I also love artisan soaps and lotions.  All that stuff.  Utah has such a diverse range of these things.  Here are some good ones:

Crooked Fence Alpaca:  My knitting friends RAVE about how soft their yarn is.
Beehive soap and Body care:  We ARE the beehive state and for good reason.

Simply Eden:  Creams, lotions, sugar scrubs and goat milk soaps!
Refined Benefit:  High-end skin care from right here in Utah!

Olive and Cocoa:  This adorable store has so much stuff I could take three days listing it all.
Sweet treats are another traditional idea for Mother’s Day.  This is an area that Utah really comes out ahead in many ways.  Aside from having loads of wonderful chocolatiers and candy makers we also have some amazing bakeries and specialty food shops.   These are some of my favorites:

Ruby Snap:  Anyone who follows my twitter feed (@SarahUTFoodie) knows that I’ve been visiting Ruby Snap a LOT lately.  You should too. 
Daniels Fine Chocolates:  Sea salt caramels and English toffee, mmmmm.

Idle Isle:  We’ve talked about them before. 
Chocolat:  Order in advance on the website.

Bella Rose Chocolates:  Check out their esty shop. 

Taffy Town:  A Salt Lake staple
The Forbidden Fruit:  Who doesn’t love caramel apples?

Farr Ice Cream:  Truly Farr BETTER Ice Cream, that really says it all.

I could go on and on about the sweets available but maybe it’s time to move on.  Another nice way to celebrate is with a meal out.  Lunch is a lovely midday break, dinner is a great way to end a wonderful day.  Here are some great options that range from very casual to sit down fancy.  All of them are tasty.
Moochies Meatballs & More:  Amazing sandwiches, the jalapeno sauce is worth eating with a spoon

Pago:  Strong Farm to Table commitment.  Fresh, local and wonderful.
Rodizio:  Come hungry and leave full to bursting

Hell’s Backbone Grill:  Worth the drive, maybe escape for the weekend.
Bruges Waffles:  Gourmet waffles, sweet AND savory varieties.

Lucky 13 Bar and Grill:  Best burgers in the state, maybe the world in my humble opinion.
I hope this list was helpful.  As I said in the beginning, it is in no way comprehensive of every wonderful option available from Utah’s Own member businesses but it’s a good jumping off point.  Take some time and peruse our website.  If you have a lovely local place in mind and they are not a Utah’s Own member, suggest them to me and maybe next year I’ll be highlighting them in our Mother’s Day post.  Most of all, have a safe and happy holiday.

April 25, 2014

Utah’s Own Reaches Impressive Heights In First Economic Summit

We have a guest blogger this week.

By Larry Lewis, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

You have to wonder how the marketing folks at Utah’s Own can match the lofty performance of their just concluded economic summit held in Brigham City.  An overflow crowd of small business owners and local business leaders invaded a popular Main Street staple, Afton's Floral, owned by Kyle Kanno.  The purpose of the summit was to offer owners of fledgling local food-oriented companies the opportunity to network with more experienced and successful businesses, and State of Utah economic development providers. Judging by the large turnout, Box Elder County has a great potential for expanding the number of Utah’s Own members.  It also appears the county also has a well-connected and business friendly economic development engine headed by Wendy English of the Box Elder County Small Business Development Center.
Business advice, and even capital, was offered by the Sandy, Utah office of Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Business Program, the Box Elder County Small Business Development Center, Utah's Own, and several established and successful Utah's Own companies.

The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food's Commissioner, LuAnn Adams, told the crowd of about 80 people they have a number of resources, both private and public, available to help them.  Commissioner Adams recognized that there are many small businesses around the state that are looking to develop and market a local food product, but just need a helping hand to get them started.  These regional summits, she said, are just the hand they need.  
Commissioner LuAnn Adams and Jed Christenson of Utah's Own
 
Kevin Jones, a veteran of Utah's Own and founder of Snap Daddy's barbecue sauce, said he owed it all to Utah's Own.  Snap Daddy’s is available in a number of Utah grocery stores such as Macey's, Harmon's and Dan's.  He said Utah's Own provided education and networking that led to his own commercial kitchen. 

The Brigham City summit also attracted large grocery store chain buyers who are looking for locally made products to meet consumer demand.  At least one UO company made a hit with one of these buyers, and has a follow up appointment. 
So much wonderful food to try
 
Rich VanDyke, the owner of Brigham City's Idle Isle's Candies is a Utah's Own member and was on hand to offer advice.  He said the idea of Idle Isle selling candies beyond the Box Elder County market seemed nearly impossible a while back, but that's when Utah's Own stepped in.  VanDyke said, "It's opened doors that I don't know could be opened so easily without being a member."

Sweets from Rich VanDyke at Idle Isle


Utah’s Own Director, Jed Christenson, says that buying local benefits locals.  "When you shop Utah, and buy Utah, you end up building Utah," he added.   "For every $1 spent on local products the effect is like adding $4 to $6 to our Utah economy while reducing our carbon footprint."  UO is developing a culture among consumers to look for and buy local products.
The overflow crowd at Afton's Floral appears to be a sign that folks in rural Utah have a desire to develop their own local food products, and they are looking for expert help in getting started in the right direction.  
Crowds of people and piles of food make for a fun time


Agriculture Commissioner Adams is meeting with a statewide organizing group of Small Business Development Centers next month (May, 2014)  to develop a schedule of future Utah's Own summits.  They should have a schedule of these summits shortly after that.

If you are a small business operator wishing to attend the next Utah's Own summit contact the Utah's Own program at (801) 538-7108.  jedchristenson@utah.gov/
 

April 15, 2014

Springtime Frittata



This is what we're making folks!
It is recipe time folks.  I was gifted some Utah’s Own asparagus from Castle Valley Farms in Moab and since asparagus is the hallmark vegetable of spring to me I wanted to do something light and fresh.  I decided on a frittata which is excellent and easy to throw together and can be made in advance if you have an event to prepare for.  Frittatas are a favorite at my house because you can put just about anything in them.  We make them when we have leftovers that need to be used up.  Pulled pork?  Roasted veggies?  Taco meat?  Curried tofu?  All of these things are wonderful in a frittata, just maybe not at the same time. 
Since I was taking the opportunity to make a non-leftover based frittata I took some time and went to Tony Caputo’s Downtown Market for some unique ingredients.  That was fun and quite an education.  The folks at the deli counter were incredibly helpful, they are all passionate about the products they sell and excited to show them off.  I explained what I was doing and then spent the next hour tasting cheeses and meats they suggested and enjoying myself thoroughly.  I ended up choosing some Calabrese from Creminelli’s Fine Meats and the house made Caputo Burrata for my cheese. 

A little about my ingredients.  Italian Calabrese Salami is more commonly known as pepperoni to those of us in the U.S. and Creminelli makes the best I’ve ever had.  It’s got the perfect level of spiciness; you can feel the heat, but it doesn’t overwhelm the really wonderful flavor.  It’s the perfect thing to kick up my frittata and accentuate my beloved asparagus. 
Creminelli Calabrese.  Sooooo tasty.


The cheese I chose (say that 10 times fast) is a house made cheese from Tony Caputo’s, it’s called Burrata and if you like mozzarella you will go crazy for Burrata.  It’s kind of like mozzarella’s smoother, tastier cousin.  It is creamy, dreamy and the flavor is so rich.  Also, they present it wrapped up in banana leaves and tied with twine.  Cute!

Asparagus is the favorite vegetable of spring at my house, we eat as much of it as we can get for as long as it lasts.  People either love or hate it and I’ve discovered this has a lot to do with preparation.  The most common complaint is that it’s tough and woody.  This is true because once you harvest asparagus it starts to lignify (turn woody) from the base up but the woodiness can be avoided by trimming your spears.  Contrary to popular belief, peeling the base of the stalk won’t fix it.  There are a couple of methods for trimming, the cut or the snap.  I prefer the snap but I’ll tell you about both. 
The stars of this show, Caputo's Burrata, Creminelli's Calabrese and Castle Valley asparagus.


For the cut, you take a single spear of asparagus from your bunch and cut it where the white part turns to green.  Look at the end where you just cut it. You should see tightly packed, smooth looking, moist fibers.  If it doesn’t look like this or you see air pockets, keep trimming off a bit at a time until it looks like it should.  Once you have that done, use that spear as a guide, line it up with the rest of the bunch and cut them all together. Then peek at the cut ends and trim a little more if any of them look like they need it. 

Woody asparagus ends

The snap is pretty basic and goes faster for me.  You just take the spears, hold them by the ends, bend them and where they snap is a pretty good indicator (though not perfect) of where the woody part ends and the tender, glorious part begins.  I save my asparagus ends in a bag in the freezer along with a LOT of my vegetable trimmings and I use them to make vegetable stock when I’ve accumulated enough.

My girls make pretty eggs
Aside from the frittata filling ingredients the main player are the eggs.  I used eggs from my chickens for this but I LOVE Oakdell eggs and use them when my girls stop producing in the winter.  Also, when you season your ingredients you will want to over season because you’re not just seasoning the sautéed meats and veggies, you’re also seasoning a pan full of eggs and milk.  Here’s what we made:
 
 

Springtime Frittata
Ingredients:
4 oz. Creminelli Calabrese, cut into strips
8 oz Caputo’s Barruta, torn
1 bunch Castle Valley Asparagus, trimmed and then cut into 1 inch sections
8 large eggs
½ cup 2% milk
1 tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

      
1.     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2.     Over medium high preheat an oven safe skillet (cast iron is an excellent choice) and if your pan is NOT non-stick you will want to oil the bottom and at least an inch up the sides.  Sautee the Calabrese in the skillet.
3.     When the meat is warmed through add the asparagus and your seasonings.  Let that cook until the asparagus is almost tender, stirring occasionally.
4.     Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.  Set aside.
Right before I added the egg mixture
5.     Once the asparagus is almost tender sprinkle the torn Burrata over the top.  When the cheese barely starts to melt, pour the egg mixture over the ingredients.  Once the egg mixture has been added you will not stir any more.  You can jiggle the pan to make certain there is good coverage and this helps keep the eggs fluffy.  When the eggs start to set up around the edges you will move your pan from the burner to the oven. 
Baked and set
6.     Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the center is firm and set.  Test it like you would a cake.  Use a toothpick or a knife, insert it into the center of the frittata and if it comes out clean it’s done.




I prefer to serve my frittata hot out of the oven, but some people like them slightly warm or cold. It’s your choice. I like to put a wooden cutting board over my pan and flip my frittata out, I like how it looks. It tastes just as good if you serve it straight from the pan.
Sliced and ready to eat