Saturday, September 27, 2008

Egg Casserole with Leeks and Feta Cheese

This recipe was assigned to me recently by my sister Julie who got it from my mom, who got it from one of her friends in Tucson’s Saddlebrooke Community where she and my dad live. It was originally labeled as a frittata, but I’ve looked up frittata recipes and most seem to call for first cooking in a skillet and then a quick final step under the broiler. This recipe is more like a casserole, so I’m going to call it that.

The flavor combination of note in this dish is the feta cheese, dill, and mint. It has proven especially popular as a staple at Julie’s yard sales. She hosts about three a year. Yes, hosts, as if throwing a party. And in a way, she is. She blasts an email out to all our friends and they show up with their old stuff for a morning of selling to the same people who come to every yard sale (the lady on the bike, the guy who only buys jewelry, the character actor best known for his roles on Seinfeld), sipping coffee and then mimosas, and nibbling on whatever dish she’s whipped up. It used to be her Seven Layer Mexican Dip; now it’s this one, which I’ve been told is much more South Beach friendly. Sometimes there are donuts, too.

Egg Casserole with Leeks and Feta Cheese


- ¼ cup long-grain brown rice
- ¾ cup water
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil
- 3 leeks, white and 2 inches of the green, chopped and washed (spring onions can be substituted)
- 3 zucchini unpeeled and coarsely grated
- 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill (dried dill works fine)
- 8 eggs, lightly beaten
- 8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled


1) Bring the rice, water and a large pinch of salt to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer, covered for about 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked and the water is absorbed.

2) Preheat oven to 325F.

3) Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the leeks, covered, until soft, 10-15 minutes.

4) Remove from the pan and over medium heat, sauté the zucchini, uncovered, until the zucchini softens, 5-7 minutes. Season the zucchini with salt and pepper.

5) Combine the rice, leeks, zucchini, mint, dill, feta, salt and pepper and eggs. Mix well.

6) Oil a 9x9 baking dish with the remaining 2 tsp. of oil. (A 9x13 will work too, but the casserole will be thinner.) Pour the eggs and vegetables into the dish.

7) Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden and set. Cut into squares and serve warm.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mexican Clam Dip

(photo by Julie Fay Ashborn)

The time has come to add something new to this blog, which has been neglected for months because of work. Good news, To Vietnam With Love is finally out in the world. Bad news, Communion is still in the editing stage. Good news, Ingram Publishing Services is now distributing all ThingsAsian Press titles to bookstores around the country. Bad news, it’s a lot of work having a distributor! (For some reason, Blogger won't let me add links today, so head to Amazon for the book and to check out our other new titles.)

Last weekend was my spectacular friend Vickie’s spectacular 35th birthday, and I made a few contributions to the party: an incredibly yummy Peach White Wine Sangria and this delicious (super easy) clam dip. With most of the ingredients out of cans, plus a handful of cilantro for the fresh factor, it’s exactly what is called for when you need a last minute party dish. Just add tortilla chips, and you’re set.

Mexican Clam Dip
from Bon Appetit

- 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cup (about 6 ounces) purchased green chili salsa (salsa verde), medium
- 1 4-ounce can diced green chilies, mild
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 6.5-ounce cans chopped clams, drained well
- Tortilla chips


1) Beat cream cheese in large bowl until smooth.

2) Mix in salsa, chilies and cilantro.

3) Add clams and blend well.

4) Season dip to taste with salt and pepper.

5) Transfer to ovenproof dish. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)

6) Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake dip uncovered until heated through and bubbling around edges, about 35 minutes.

7) Place bowl of dip on platter. Surround with chips and serve.


Pictures by Julie Fay. Check out more at Julie’s website.