Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Farm Fresh Egg, Spinach, and Basil Bake

Through my church, I am participating in a Food Faith and Substantibility small group.  This week's focus was on Food and the Environment.  For our potluck style meeting, we were asked to bring something made with local ingredients and I volunteered to cook an entree.  On Sunday, at the last minute, I saw my uncle at a graduation party.  He had four dozen eggs in the fridge for the taking.  He said I could have some - his chickens lay five eggs a day and he has plenty.  Eggs don't get any more farm fresh than ones from an uncle's backyard farm in Wisconsin!

I took a vacation day off from work in order to explore some new farmers markets throughout the city.  (Some people use vacation days to visit the beach; I use it to drool over fresh veggies.)  Today, I visited the Lincoln Square Farmers Market, which is literally steps off the Western brown line stop.  It is open on Tuesdays from 7am to 1pm.  There was a great selection of plants (edible and non), baked goods (for gluten loving folks), fruits and green veggies.  I bought some asparagus for $3.00 and a bunch of basil for $1.50 for my entree.
For cheese, since every recipe involving eggs seems to require cheese, I used Teeze Vegan Mozzarella "cheese" from Chicago Vegan Foods (sold in Whole Foods).  I love the product and support the company's core values: veganism (sorry for using eggs with your product!), environmental responsibility and commitment to customers.  This dairy-free cheese melts, grates well, and is a breeze to substitute for dairy cheeses.

With the help from Uncle Mike's Farm Fresh Eggs, a visit to a nearby Farmers Market, and vegan cheese, I created this Egg and Spinach bake. Even if you do not have your own uncle with chickens, I hope you try some cage free eggs for this recipe!  (You'll get hooked.)  As written, the only top 8 allergens the recipe contains are soy and egg; it is naturally gluten-free.  This recipe is easy enough to substitute in other herbs or cooked veggies for endless varieties!  I got a lot of compliments from my group (unofficial taste testers) - everyone really enjoyed this "crustless quiche".  It pairs quite deliciously with other local foods! (Such as quinoa with beans and corn, corn on the cob, strawberry salad, rice with green beans...)

Farm Fresh Egg, Spinach and Basil Bake

1 bunch of spinach, washed, with large stems removed
2 T olive oil
Cooking spray
2 cups basil (loosely packed when measuring) then thinly sliced
1 package (10oz) of Teeze - Mozzarella vegan cheese
10 cage free eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a casserole pan with cooking spray.

Heat oil in a pan.  Add the spinach, tossing it around to coat the spinach leaves with oil.  Cover and let cook until it is wilted for about two minutes.

Add the spinach to the casserole pan.  Add basil.  Grate Teeze one top.
Add salt and pepper (to taste) to the eggs and beat.  Pour the egg mixture into the casserole pan and give it a quick stir.
Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until the mixture is set and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let cool before cutting.

What do you do to eat locally?  What farmers markets do you visit?

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