Wednesday, July 27, 2011


love in the city
pepperoni + giardiniera

i felt the urge to shoot some film
but i couldn't find a single roll
in the house.
i need to change this.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July, visitors, and a frittata.

leek, mushroom, smoked salmon frittata

Today is July 12. July 12! Just like that, June is gone and July is almost halfway over. Where is the summer going?

Well, mine has been here.

in the park
summer on a plate
deep fried turkey
july 4 feasting

There have been days spent at the park and in the city. Eating hot dogs and walking bare foot. There have been festivals and lake houses, gardens and beaches. I fell asleep in the sun at the park district pool. Painted toe nails, cupcakes, gin and tonics. Strawberries, raspberries, watermelon. Deep-fried turkey and beer. Tonight, I took a jog in the rain.

Summer means visitors are dropping by in full force. My friend Di was in town from New York, and we ate our way through Chicago on a day when it was supposed to rain but didn't, and was smoldering hot as it typically gets around these parts, and we cursed ourselves for wearing jeans instead of skirts.

chicago style
chicago summer

My family -- a sister, a brother-in-law, and two little nieces -- are currently in town from California. I braided my niece's hair, and she taught me how to play Angry Birds on an iPad. We set up a kiddie pool and a sandbox in my parents' yard. My sister made a tuna and white bean salad that I'd like to share with you, but not today, and my brother helped me make sure the frittata you see here didn't burn to an eggy crisp.

leek, mushroom, smoked salmon frittata

This frittata involves smoked salmon, mushrooms and leeks. The leeks were a gift from friends in Houston, Nick and Marli, who came over last week with bags of fresh vegetables just pulled from the ground at Marli's family farm. They were still covered in dirt. Nick and Marli are recently engaged, and they're planning on roasting their own farm-raised pigs and serving their own farm-grown vegetables at the wedding. They even asked me to take the photos, which is so exciting and flattering and crazy all at the same time.

So, it's been busy so far this summer. I haven't quite had the time or the energy to find a new recipe, make detailed grocery lists, or even follow cooking instructions. I was at my parents' house when I found myself staring at those lovely leeks, wondering how to feed a party of 6 with them. Frittata just made sense, and so I jumbled together various online recipes, dug around in the fridge, and started guessing my way through the process. What follows is what I did, and what I think will work for just about any ingredients. It's easy, and light, and is perfect for serving to those out-of-town guests who find their way back every summer.

leek, mushroom, smoked salmon frittata

Leek, Mushroom and Smoked Salmon Frittata

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Slice up 2 leeks (white and light green parts only), a small package of mushrooms, and as much smoked salmon as you can handle (I added too much, but it was still tasty). Smash, peel and mince 3 garlic cloves.

Beat 9-10 large eggs in a bowl with a glug of milk, salt and pepper. I wanted to add cream cheese, but only had cream cheese spread, and added it anyway. It didn't make a difference.

Heat butter in a large cast-iron skillet on medium-high. Add leeks, mushrooms and garlic. Cook until tender. Lower heat to medium-low and add the egg mixture and salmon. Stir a bit to spread the salmon evenly, then let cook for 10 minutes or so, until the bottom of the egg has set.

Put skillet in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, checking every so often during the last 5 minutes. Pull out when the edges are golden brown and the top is set. Serve warm or at room temperature, with a refreshing salad.