Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day Gluten-Free Frittata

My older sister, Shani, and my new niece, Malia

You haven't heard from me in a while, and part of the reason for that is I've been visiting the new mama in my life. My sister just had her first baby, a healthy little love that she and the proud new papa named Malia. Our family couldn't be more ecstatic, and my attention has been one hundred percent focused on my baby niece for the past week. But I'm back in Seattle now, and have a lot to talk about in the upcoming weeks. But first, I have a recipe to share from another mama in my life, my classmate Jeanine. Jeanine has my utmost respect for being able to excel in our program while raising a new baby, and I thought she would be the perfect person to share a Mother's Day post this year. Jeanine Mills is a Master's student in Nutrition, interested in the place where nutrition science and cultural meaning intersect, and what that means for individuals. Today, she's explaining where Mother's Day came from, and what her family likes to eat on this holiday.

Jeanine Mills and her beautiful baby girl, Jadea
I have heard people say that Mother’s Day is a holiday fabricated by the greeting card companies, and is perpetuated for profit by florists, phone companies, and restaurants. So when I began researching “mother’s day traditions,” I was surprised by the holiday’s long history. Apparently, the Greeks and Romans had deities who were specific to mothering and who each had their special celebrations in the springtime. Mothering Sunday is the 4th Sunday of Lent in England and Ireland. It dates back to the preindustrial world when rural children were often sent to town to work as servants or apprentices. They were let out of their obligations on Mothering Sunday so that they could return to their “mother church” in their home town for worship and celebrations. Returning home also gave children the opportunity to visit with their families. It is said that along the way children would pick blooming wild flowers and present them to their mothers upon arrival at their homes. Mothering Sunday (also called Refreshment Sunday, Sunday of the Five Loaves, and Simnel Sunday) is associated with a particular cake called either “mothering cake” or “simnel cake”. It is traditionally a light fruit cake with marzipan in the middle and on the top. I found a gluten free recipe here but I haven’t tried it yet. Girls might make these to bring home to their mothers to enjoy, perhaps with afternoon tea, as the 40 day fast of Lent was relaxing. Each town had a signature recipe and shape for the cake; Shrewsbury’s recipe is the one that has stood the test of time and their name is now associated with the cake most often.

And so we have historical segue to our own traditions of flowers, food, and sometimes tea on Mother’s day. In some places around the world Mother’s day is still a religious holiday. And my guess is that this contributes to the tradition of Mother’s Day brunch as families would go to church first on Sunday morning and then celebrate with food afterwards. Our secular version of this holiday is more about appreciating individual mothers and as such is really a holiday that every family celebrates in their own way. The idea of breakfast in bed is, in my opinion, a better fantasy than reality. Brunch at a restaurant is lovely as Mom can order what she likes and she won’t ever get left cleaning up. Though because of the popularity of this plan, reservations are often necessary and crowded restaurants are the norm. Growing up, my Mother always said that Mother’s Day was the most important holiday of the year (no pressure, kid). And I never knew how best to celebrate it. This year will be my second Mother’s Day as a mother. My kid is still too small to contribute anything more than her sparkling personality and hugs and kisses to the day. And to be honest I don’t really expect her to fully appreciate what I do as a parent until she’s an adult. Since eating out with a toddler is more stimulating than relaxing, I have purchased all the ingredients to make a frittata for breakfast at home. This is one that I have made and enjoyed before. It is adapted from my “Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates” cookbook. After breakfast we will hopefully be packing up some picnic supplies and heading to a park where the kiddo can run around and the parents (mostly the mom) can relax, eat, and enjoy the day.

Bell Pepper, Asparagus and Green Bean Frittata (Print-Friendly Option)

Adapted from The Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates by Mollie Katzen

6 large eggs
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese
2 tablespoons water
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup asparagus pieces ( ½ inch pieces)*
1 cup green bean pieces ( ½ inch pieces)*
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large red or yellow bell pepper , cut into ¼ inch pieces (or ½ of each for even more color)
½ cup sliced scallions
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

*About ½ pound of asparagus trimmed and chopped will yield 1 cup, same for green beans

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, ricotta, water, parsley, marjoram, salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  3. Blanch the asparagus and green beans by placing them in boiling water. Cover with a top for 2 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  4. Heat oil in a 10-inch cast iron pan on medium high, and sauté the bell peppers until just tender, about 7 minutes. Add the scallions and cook another minute. Stir in the asparagus and green beans. Take off the heat.
  5. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables, and sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until set. You can tell it's set by shaking the pan. It should hold together and no longer "jiggle." Let cool for a few minutes before serving. 
Note: If you don't have a cast iron skillet, do step 4 in a skillet, then transfer to an oiled 9-inch baking dish. 

1 comment:

Cara said...

congrats on your gorgeous little niece!


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