Don’t let it be said that the beacons of light, whispering into your house through yellowed slats of old blinds, didn’t illuminate your heart as much as they illuminated the strange breed of white that’s spattered on the walls. It’s all a bit haphazard – in a free-spirit sort of way. Spring is escaping the sky and making a break for my kitchen counters. It sings songs to my belly as I sleep, and my belly coaxes my dreams into fields of crisp, green stalks. They snap and their aroma pierces my nose, littering the senses with yet another reminder of the season. It’s tempting to forage daily. To row me over to farmer’s markets and groceries alike; always on the hunt for resplendent leeks, gentle chives, and the shyest peaches. My mind spirals into euphoria, backflipping into the possibilities. How many flavors can I weave together to make a pie? How many vegetables can I spin together to create supper? Where does harmony crack into discord?
Food is my favorite vacationing spot, it’s where I summer, spring, winter, and fall. But I must plow myself back into the earth. I try my best to not waste those ingredients that dwindle behind their counterparts’ creations. Otherwise, when I pop open the fridge, they all start to leer at me.
There they are: each pointed, green head staring in disdain. Chorally reminding me of my untethered, undisciplined affairs with spring. Once again, I’ve not used up the totality of the dill. And it’s not alone. Though, thankfully, the island of forgotten ingredients is a small one: a tiny colony amongst the growing wasteland of my fridge. My stomach is grumbling. At the close of the week, I’m more than eager to get dinner going. I’m ready to fold myself into my sofa/ blanket/ chair and wash away the leftover kinks of stress – including the kind of stress that comes from knowing that, once again, I’ve somehow overcompensated for my weekly appetite. Most likely caught up in my fervent (and hungry) dreamscapes. What can I say, I’m a bit greedy.
Happy was the day that I happened upon the idea of using a dutch baby as a cradle for the island of forgotten forage.
How to clean out the fridge in a (somewhat) artful way:
It all culminates in a hodge-podge of leftovers. Think of it as the beginning of the orchestra: the violins squeaking beautifully and out of key until, all at once, it all comes together. It’s a bit like that, but a bit less beautiful sometimes – but only because I’m currently more concerned with filling my belly than fulfilling my eyes.
After an hour or so, you’ll have a steaming pan full of the most beautiful leftover concoction you ever did see. I urge you to think of this dutch baby as a blank canvas. Fill it with parmesan, with chives! Stuff it full of gorgonzola – with the half onion you didn’t use on Thursday! Top it with whatever prism of ingredients you have on hand. This week alone (I’ve been on a mission to de-chaos my fridge) I’ve made green onion stuffed dutch babies topped with a mix of brie and camembert, sprinkled heavily with baby leeks and garlic. I’ve made one topped with cheddar and garnished with fat, oven roasted tomatoes. I’ve even turned the whole thing on its head and added a 1/4 cup of goat yogurt, zested with lemons and cardamom and brought to life with fat slices of orange and tangles of parsley.
- 3 T of butter, salted or unsalted
- 4 eggs
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- ⅔ cup milk
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ⅓ cup rye flour
- ⅔ cup whole wheat flour
- ½ tsp salt
Pesto – loosely adapted from Gatherings:
- ⅓ cup seeds – I used pepitas
- ⅔ cup lightly packed greens – I used a mishmash of dill, basil, and red veined sorrel
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1 fat garlic clove
- 1 fat pinch of salt
- ½ lemon, sliced thin
- A smattering of red veined sorrel
- 1 spring onion, sliced thin
- 1 inch daikon radish, sliced thin
- A healthy amount of parmesan – I used about ¼ cup
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. This means 450 for me, but my oven is a runt. Pop the butter into a skillet and tuck it into the oven while it heats. In a medium bowl, whisk (with or without a stand mixer) your eggs until frothy. Incorporate the milk, heavy cream, and lemon juice. Then add your flours and salt. It should look about like mud soup. At this point, your oven ought to be preheated, so take the skillet, pour in your batter, and marvel at the heady scent of melted butter. The newly crackling dough is pleasant as well. Place the skillet back into your oven and let it cook for about 20-23 minutes, or until golden brown. Meanwhile, toss your pesto ingredients into a blender or food processor (or even a mortar and pestle if you’re feeling a bit intense) and blend until creamy. Feel free to snatch a spoonful or two. Once the dutch baby is done, assemble your masterpiece! The peaks will most likely fall when you spread the pesto around, but I enjoy this. It allows me to eat it all like a pizza – and who doesn’t like pizza!?
Chocolate dutch babies at Smitten Kitchen!
Crazy easy blender dutch babies at The Faux Martha
Looking to make something a little more pack and go? Try the mini dutch babies that Nerds with Knives have concocted!
A sort of peach cobbler/ pancake mishmash, The Pioneer Woman has the perfect peach bebes for you!0