Iris Clark Neumann: Vendor dinner dishes feature popular market products

Caramelized onions create the first layer of the frittata.

A mushroom and zucchini frittata is ready to go into the oven.

The yolks of free range chickens tend to be a vibrant orange color and are a good choice for whipping up for a frittata.

Dinner for two included a wedge of frittata, honey cornbread with herb butter and a green salad.
By : 
Iris Clark Neumann
Food for the Neighborhood

With the beginning of the Eyota Farmers Market just around the corner on May 21, we needed a preseason meeting with vendors. Last fall, at the end of the market, I had wanted to have a thank you dinner for the sellers who had sold through many bad weather Tuesdays. However, it didn't happen because I never quite got all my market supplies put away neatly and, suddenly, it was Christmas. So, for our vendor meeting I wanted to prepare them a menu featuring produce, honey, herbs and eggs one might purchase at the market.

My farmer son still had some surviving butternut squash that could make a great creamy soup. Cornbread having honey as a sweetener might be served with an herb butter from a recipe I wanted to try. Rhubarb had to star for dessert in the Edna Fabian pie, featured last spring in this column.

Eggs — I could make a frittata with veggies in an electric fry pan that could be plugged in and rewarmed before meeting time. Then, I thought, how about dill pickle soup using a recipe from a calendar I picked up at the Minnesota Farmers Market annual meeting in January?

I'd considered the ingredients, and thought they looked like a better combination than a pickle soup recipe I'd made previously. But there were similarities, like the Old Bay seasoning. Except I had taken my tin of Old Bay up to the cabin for seasoning fish.

I purchased another one. I'd be using dill pickles I canned using the cucumbers Dave Ehlenfeldt had sold me last summer at the market.

I started cooking the evening before. Enough rhubarb was picked to make two pies, and with them in the oven, I started preparing the dill pickle soup. The plan was having enough extra to serve my husband for supper.

The ingredients were assembled, then I began prep at 7 p.m., but failed to take my own advice of reading the recipe before starting. First, I browned bacon in a fry pan, then chopped celery, onions, carrots and pickles and mixed them together in a bowl.

Next, I peeled and cut up potatoes, and, as directed, put them in ice water, while heating water in another pan to cook them. Another saucepan was needed to melt butter, then mix in flour.

A big kettle was readied for the main attraction, cooking the soup. But I got confused, when reading the next step, which should have been softening the vegetable mixture in bacon fat, oil or butter in the kettle. But reading “butter,” I tossed in the flour, thickened butter too, hindering the process.

 Oh, I had also mixed together sour cream and cream to be kept chilled in the fridge.

Well, it was 9 o'clock when the veggies and potatoes were cooked in chicken broth and I read I needed to cool the soup to room temperature before stirring in the chilled cream. Then one should warm up the soup slowly to serve it.

We ate our soup about 9:30 and I chilled the rest of the soup for the next day. But there were so many prep dishes piled up that I ran a load in the dishwasher.

The next morning it was cornbread in the oven and later, squash roasting for the other soup. My assistant Kylie joined me to help prepare the soup and electric skillet frittata.

After our meeting and serving the meal, I was back home to my disastrous kitchen. But outside the weather was gorgeous and I just wanted to escape to my gardens for a while.

Much later, I returned inside to tackle the mess and my husband came home for supper. I gave him the leftover choices and he chose dill pickle soup.

Before going to bed, I filled the dishwasher another time.

Then it was today and after finishing getting my kitchen back in order, I tried thinking of what to feature in my column. By late afternoon, I'd settled on zucchini mushroom frittata, but kept thinking I might have made one for a previous column. I checked through my files for 2018, 2017 and then 2016. Nope. But it seemed so familiar.

It wasn't until it was in the oven that I checked 2019 files, yep, back in February I'd written a column featuring eggs, including kale frittata.

My cousin Chris, who lives in Utah and is only three months older than me, had been telling me about her new chicks in her emails. She mentioned how she likes free range chickens because their yolks are orange, not yellow.

Oh, I go, I always eat eggs with orange yolks, the eggs sold at our market are free range. Well, Iris, she said, that's why people like to come and buy them there. Oh yeah, I never thought of that.

So supper for two tonight consisted of wedges of frittata, a green salad and warmed up corn bread with herb butter.

I think you'll like the herb butter. The honey cornbread was a recipe I found from the National Honey Board. I may have shared it in an earlier column, but I’m pretty sure the herb butter is new.

Another day, I'll recreate the dill pickle soup and simplify the recipe to share it with readers. Just know that it was the preferred leftover and worth waiting for.

Honey Cornbread

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup 2% milk

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 egg

In a large bowl combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, honey, oil, and egg. Pour honey mixture into dry mixture and stir until just combined. Pour batter into a greased 9 x 9 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center of bread comes out clean. Serve warm.


Sage, Thyme and Rosemary Butter

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until well blended. Serve at room temperature to accompany cornbread, then store in an airtight container.


Zucchini and Mushroom Frittata

1 tablespoon butter

1 large onion, halved and sliced into half moon shapes

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced (1/4 inch) zucchini

1/2 cup thinly sliced sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup red or green chopped pepper

8 large eggs

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup shredded Swiss or cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Le Gruyre cheese

Fresh chives

Melt butter in non-stick fry pan over medium heat. Add onion half moons and sprinkle with salt. Cook and stir to separate onion slices. Turn occasionally, cooking until onions are golden brown. Spread onions over the bottom of a large ovenproof pie pan or 9x9 inch greased pan.

Prepare zucchini, mushrooms and green pepper. Position veggies and mushrooms in layers on top of browned onions. In a large bowl, break eggs and add milk, salt and pepper. Whisk together. Stir in shredded Swiss or cheddar cheese and parsley. Pour slowly over vegetables. Sprinkle with Parmesan or Le Gruyre cheese and snip chives over the top.

Bake in a 400-degree oven for about 40 minutes or until center is firm. Cool about 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Store leftovers in fridge.