Friday, July 25, 2008
A beautiful morning in Portland found me scrounging in the crisper for zippy bags of leftover chopped veggies. It's been such a great week for local vegetable finds that I had to break my near-ritual of flax-amaranth-corn cereal for breakfast, and what better way to use all those odds and ends than a classic fritatta.
I'm happily chopping along, gathering ingredients, appreciating the beauty of a huge fresh shallot from Sun Gold farms, and set to make a tasty, cheesy, morning veggie pie. Only, HOLD THE PHONE. There is no cheese in the fridge. None. Nada. Note to self - cheese shopping, pronto.
Now, I used to be a vegan. I can play the improvisational substitution game like a pro. But the reason that's "used to be" is simple: I love cheese. So what's a girl to do? What can approximate a creamy goat cheese or ricotta, a tangy blue or melty havarti... Gazing mournfully at the fridge, I stretch my imagination about as far as it will go, and pick up a tub of basil hummus. It's creamy... kind of tangy... and that shallot looks good enough to be the star of this dish, so why not. I settle in, layering squash and mushrooms in a pie pan, sautéing the shallot in butter and adding some gorgeous eggs from my neighbor's chickens before adding it all to the layer veggies. Final touch before she's off to the broiler, a few swirls and dollops of herby hummus. Crossing my fingers, I place the pan in the oven and wait.
The result was a surprisingly creamy, flavorful dish. I was spot on when I called the shallots the star of the dish, sweet and rich, I'll have to pick up some more of those at the farmer's market on Saturday. I don't think I'll be replacing all of my cheese with hummus, but it certainly did the job and made the most out of a beautiful bunch of vegetables. Crisis averted!
Enjoy your Friday, friends.