Starting the Day with a Great Breakfast in Hartland

Hartland Breakfast 1

The Friday before vacation the first and second graders at Hartland Elementary School participated in a nutritious cooking program. They were learning about chemical changes in science with Mrs. Cramer. This included, going from a solid to a liquid, liquid to a gas and physical or chemical changes. They also learned about important components of a healthy breakfast. They were taught that our bodies need fuel for the day to learn and that we need to start out our day with good nutrition for strong bodies, clear minds, and good moods! They made healthy banana pancakes, scrambled eggs, orange juice, butter, and smoothies.

Each grade made the breakfast and then they sat down together to eat. A great way to celebrate all that we learned!

Hartland Breakfast 2

Zucchini Chard Cakes

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve shared this zucchini chard cake recipe with folks this summer. I was sure that as soon as I mentioned zucchini I would be greeted with a sigh and eyeroll.

“No more zucchini!” they’d say. “We’ve had enough!”

 

Because, let’s be honest, each summer we all have more than enough of the ubiquitous green squash. Even if we don’t, we probably know someone looking to give away a few dozen or so. But to my surprise, as I traveled around making zucchini cake after zucchini cake, I didn’t get one complaint. In fact, people were enthusiastic to find another way to put it to use.

I’m always happy to be proven wrong. Really. That’s why this became my go to dish (along with a complementary tomato basil chutney) for my cooking demos and local food tastings. Apparently we haven’t reached peak zucchini. Word is still out on kale, though.

rainbow swiss chard keene fm  by SC, 2008

 

These cakes use the classic technique of vegetable hiding. Zucchini doesn’t have a strong flavor all on its own and when you mix it into what is more or less a standard pancake recipe, you hardly can tell it’s there at all. So much so, that you can also get away with chopping up even more healthy green stuff – chard and parsley – and mixing it in as well. Simply avoid those fruitless debates with the picky eaters in your life (note: none of mine happen to be kids) and just go ahead and serve these anyway. Before they can tell you how much they don’t like these vegetables, they’ll be happily and unknowingly eating them anyway. Call me cruel, but this is one of my great pleasures in life.

Zucchini Chard Cakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: about 10 – 4 inch pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb zucchini
  • 1/2 onion
  • small bunch of Swiss chard leaves
  • small bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • splash of milk
  • 2 Tbsp oil + some for the pan

 

We’re going to need to shred the zucchini. You can do this quite easily with a box grater, or if you’re intending to shred a large quantity, I’d opt for the food processor like I did here. If not using all of the zucchini at once, it does freeze nicely.

Next, grate the onion. I prefer to grate the onion instead of chop it, as it will blend better into the pancakes.

 

Remove the stems from the chard and save for another purpose. Chopped and tossed into a stir fry, perhaps? Then chop the leaves.

Combine the egg, salt, and flour in a bowl. Add in the zucchini, chard, onion, garlic and parsley and stir to form a thick batter. Add just a splash of milk and the oil to form a more workable, pourable batter.

 

Heat your skillet and lightly coat it with oil when hot. Preheat the oven to 200F. Pour 1/4 cup spoonfuls of batter onto the hot skillet and cook 2-3 minutes per side, until browned. Flip and cook another 2 minutes. Transfer the cakes to the oven to keep warm while you cook the remainder of the pancakes.

Serve as a side, topped with tomato chutney, or as a light summer dinner with a side of greens.

Anytime Frittata

Frittata. It’s like a omelet, but less French, more Italian and is easier to put together. If you avoid making omelets in fear of unsuccessfully flipping or folding your eggs and having it all fall apart, then the frittata is for you. I like them because you can add whatever you want – seasonal vegetables, any kind of meat and even your leftovers. You can eat them any time of day and any time of year. There’s never really a bad time for a frittata.

minifrit

Did you know you can make a frittata in just one pan? If, like me, you don’t enjoy washing dishes, this is also good news. But, if you’re making brunch for a group, or need something for a potluck, you can make mini frittatas by using muffin tins. I made the mini version (70 of them, to be exact) when I went to speak to a group of Green Mountain Foster Grandparents a couple weeks ago. These dedicated folks spend several hours each week of the school year to help out kids in local schools. How great is that? Fortunately, they liked the frittatas I brought and were not completely bored by my talk! In fact, they had some great questions about local food and cooking.

Anytime Frittata

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 10 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium potato, thinly sliced
  • 10 ounces mixed veggies and/or meat, cut into small, 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup crumbled or chopped cheese of your liking

Instructions

  1. Crack the eggs into a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, add the milk/cream and beat until eggs are a consistent color and are slightly frothy. Stir in the parsley.
  2. Melt one tablespoon of the butter in a 8-10 inch, heavy bottomed pan that has been preheated over medium high heat. A cast iron pan is ideal. Add the onion, potato and the additional veggies and meat, if you choose to include. Cook about 15 minutes or until everything is cooked through and tender. Increase the heat if needed.
  3. For one large frittata: Preheat the broiler. Remove all but half the cooked veggie/meat combo from the pan and set aside. Melt in the remaining tablespoon of butter then pour in the eggs. Stir for a minute then let the eggs settle in an even layer in the pan. After a couple of minutes, when the eggs start to settle, add the remaining cooked ingredients on top of the eggs, along with the cheese. Place the entire pan under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the frittata has puffed upped and slightly browned.
  4. For mini frittatas: Preheat the oven to 375F and grease two 12 cup muffin tins. Pour the eggs 3/4 of the way in the tins and then top with your cooked filling ingredients and the cheese. It’s important to put the eggs in the tins first in order to form the shell, otherwise the fillings will fall right out when you remove them from the pan. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until set and puffy.

Vermont Blueberry And Maple Syrup Sorbet

Did you know that you can get locally grown and flash-frozen blueberries in Vermont this time of year?  Check your local co-op or health-food store and look out for Vermont-made labels.  Also, try buying local berries this summer and freezing them for winter use. Homemade sorbet is great way to make a scrumptious and healthy dessert that is also low-fat.  Sorbets can be made with all different types of fruits – so don’t be afraid to try different forms of this recipe!  This recipe does not require the use of an ice-cream or sorbet maker and only takes about 5-7 minutes to prepare.  – And it was a hit tonight with all of my friends!

Ingredients: 1.5-2 cups blueberries 1/4 cup maple syrup 1/2 lemon, juiced ~tsp lemon zest dash of vanilla extract

1. Combine all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mash (or have a helper do so) with a potato masher just until the mixture is combined and the blueberries are smashed up a bit. 2. Place mixture into a blender or food processor.  Blend, pulsating when necessary.  My blender has a space at the top to insert a mixing device.  If your blender doesn’t have this ability, simply blend the mixture, stop it, and then mix it with a spoon.  Blend again and repeat until the entire mixture is fairly smooth.  Some bumps are perfectly fine.  Hand-held electric mixers would probably work fairly well for this purpose, too. 3. Dig in and bask in blueberry deliciousness:)

Red Beet Pancakes

Right, Valentine’s day is over – but I still can’t get enough of beets!  Taste is very important to any recipe, but for kids, appearance and interaction with food is at least equally critical to getting them to eat something  This beet pancake recipe is a great way to get kids involved with cooking something healthy and different…and they will love the color.  I got this amazing recipe from Weelicious, an awesome blog filled with fun and kid-friendly recipes and cooking videos.Red Beet Pancakes (Serves 6)

1 Cup All Purpose Flour 3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour 3 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar 1 Tbsp Baking Powder 1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt 2 medium beets roasted and pureed* 1 1/4 Cup Milk 1/3 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt 1 Large Egg 3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted 1 Tsp Vanilla extract

Puree* 1. To puree, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. 2. Take a piece of aluminum foil and and cover the beets on both sides.  Bake for 45 minutes. 3. Let the beets cool and then skin the beets (use gloves or a plastic bag if you don’t want to stain your hands).  The skin should just slide off. 4. Cut beets and then puree in a food processor or blender.

Pancakes 1. Place the first 5 ingredients into a mixing bowl. 2. Put the rest of the wet ingredients into a separate bowl and mix well. 3. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until just combined (you don’t want to overstir the batter — some lumps are good). 4. Drop about 2 tbsp of the pancake mixture onto a greased griddle or pan over medium heat and cook for 3 minutes on each side. 5. Serve with desired toppings!

There are no more excuses for unhealthy breakfasts due to busy schedules.  You can freeze these pancakes for up to 3 months in a plastic ziplock!