Eating With Our Eyes

Although it is technically June here in Michigan, it feels more like April.  It’s been unusually cool and wet and most crops are more than two weeks behind.  We are watching the garlic closely for signs of stress.  So far, so good but the deer, bunnies and woodchucks have had their way with all three varieties of beans we have planted.  I tilled once again and we have replanted, hoping for better results.  All things flowering have literally exploded in color which is a feast for the eyes.  The dogwood, lilacs, honeysuckle and any wild flower imaginable are in full flower, and my Korean lilac outside our kitchen door would bowl you over with its fragrance.  It challenges one’s perspective; is the glass half empty or half full?

I read last week that normally 73% of Michigan crops would be planted by this time; and the records have shown that this year farmers have only planted 33%.  This is stressful both financially and emotionally.  The mood at our farmers market is not as upbeat as it normally is at the beginning of the season.  The jury is out; we will have to stay patient and see what unfolds.  Farming is an act of faith, and we are being tested; we do not control the weather.  Tomorrow we will be planting potatoes if the weather prediction holds true.

Meanwhile, during our quieter moments, we revel in the beauty that surrounds us and feel gratitude for each day.  When creating meals we often combine both color and texture as much as possible.  The visual appeal of food is hard-wired into our brain.  The sight, aroma, taste and even the sound of food all factor in one’s decision in choosing what we eat.  The expression “you eat with your eyes” is certainly true since when a dish is visually appealing, it’s more appetizing.  Healthy food is not only beautiful, but for me its creation is an act of love.

For example what seems more appealing to you; an Egg McMuffin or a Red Pepper, Onion and Duck Egg Gallette?  I certainly know which one I would choose!

SWEET PEPPER & DUCK EGG GALETTE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large sweet bell peppers, (I use one red and one yellow), cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 2 small red onions, halved and cut into 1/2 inch wedges
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves removed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 farm fresh egg, beaten, for brushing the pastry
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 4 farm fresh duck eggs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix together the pepper, onions, thyme leaves and spices in a medium bowl.  Add the olive oil and toss well so that everything is coated with the oil and spices.
  3. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring and rearranging the vegetables a few times so that they don’t burn.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with half of the fresh herbs; set aside.
  4. Turn the oven up to 425 degrees F.  Roll out the pastry sheet on a floured surface until it reaches a 12 x 12 inch square.  Cut into four 6 inch squares.  Transfer to two parchment or silpat lined baking sheets.
  5. With a butter knife, score a 1/2 inch frame around each square (don’t cut all the way through).  Prick the inside of the square all over with the tines of a fork.  Put back in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the pastry from the fridge and brush all over with a beaten egg.  Spread the inside of each square with 3 teaspoons of sour cream.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, until rising and starting to brown.  Remove and carefully crack an egg into the center of each galette.
  8. Put back into the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the egg is set.
  9. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and remaining herbs.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil and serve immediately.

Serves 4

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             “In the spring I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.”                       —Mark Twain

 

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