Cousins, the next generation

Sunday, November 30, 2014
It's the time of year for family reunions. I've written before about getting together with my dad's side of the family, but we celebrate with the relatives on my mom's side, too. We met last weekend to have brunch and to catch up on each others' busy lives.

Many of my cousins now have children of their own. And this year for the first time, one of my cousins has a grandchild. Heather's daughter Laura had a baby (Alice) a month ago. The family tree has gained another branch.

We were lucky to have most of my daughters' generation celebrating with us. With the exception of Laura and her brother Ben, all the children of my first cousins were there. They range in age from two to twenty, and although they don't see each other often, they were enthusiastic in getting reacquainted.

We've been meeting at Christmas as a family for longer than I can remember. There are baby pictures of me taken under the Christmas tree at my Grandma and Grandpa Bustin's house. One of the photos I posted last month was taken at my grandparents' house at Christmas 1968. Now we meet at a restaurant that's at a midpoint for most of us. Much has changed but the important things haven't: family members getting together, breaking bread, and sharing stories.

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"The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women....

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow, We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks. Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite."

- from "Perhaps the World Ends Here", by Joy Harjo

Pasta Frittata with Leeks, Arugula, Goat Cheese and Mint
(from The Fresh & Green Table, by Susie Middleton)

3/4 cup small to medium shaped pasta (I used calabresi but fusilli would also be nice)
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp butter (first amount)
1 Tbsp olive oil (first amount)
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and light green parts only) from about 3 large leeks, well washed
1 tsp minced garlic
4 ounces baby arugula leaves (about 4 cups packed)
7 large eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup coarsely grated parmigiano-reggiano
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, well crumbled while still chilled
1 Tbsp chopped or thinly sliced fresh mint
1/2 Tbsp butter (second amount)
1 tsp olive oil (second amount)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook pasta in well-salted boiling water. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl.

In a 10 inch heavy nonstick ovenproof skillet, heat 2 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-low heat. When the butter has melted, add the leeks and 1/4 tsp salt, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Uncover, raise the heat to medium, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks have shrunk and browned, another 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir until softened and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add arugula to the pan and toss with the leeks until the arugula has completely wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer the leeks and arugula to the bowl of pasta and toss well. Let cool for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, cream, 1/2 tsp salt, and several grinds of pepper. Stir in the parmigiano, goat, cheese, and mint. Add the pasta mixture and stir well to incorporate all the ingredients.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the remaining 1/2 Tbsp butter and 1 tsp olive oil. When the butter has melted and begun to sizzle, pour and scrape all the pasta-custard mixture into the skillet. Gently stir once or twice to move the contents of the pan so everything is evenly distributed. Let the pan sit on the heat until the custard is just beginning to set all the way around the edge of the pan, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the pan to the preheated oven and bake until the frittata is set, about 25 minutes.

Let the frittata cool at least 15 to 20 minutes before serving. The flavour gets better as it sits, so it can be served at room temperature, or even the following day.




19 comments:

Bonnie said...

How wonderful to have the chance to catch-up with family. I adore the excerpt from "Perhaps the World Ends Here". The kitchen table is probably the most important place in a home. I have wonderful memories of time spent around my mother's kitchen table. Thank you for a lovely post! Hugs...

Catherine said...

Dear Beth, That is so nice that your family makes it a point to get together and meet up to keep in touch. xo Catherine

Natalie Aguirre said...

How awesome you all got together. And the recipe looks yummy.

Tricia Buice said...

Family togetherness is so important and cousins are the best! Family around a dining table is so special. Love this recipe too! Thanks Beth :)

Stephen Tremp said...

Looks like good times for the holidays! I've always wanted to try a frittata. Never had one Before.. No excuses now though.

nancy at good food matters said...

I love this excerpt from "Perhaps the World Ends Here." beautiful and true.
wishing you and yours much joy throughout the holiday season! no doubt there will be plenty of delicious food.

grace said...

i've made no fewer than 50 frittatas but pasta has never made an appearance! this is worth a try, for sure.

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

Hi Beth, so nice that your family gets together every year, what a nice tradition. Happy Holidays to you!

Monica said...

I love a frittata and don't make it nearly often enough. It's a great dish to share. And yay for family gatherings and cousins. I know that my son loves hanging out with his cousins. Being an only child, he loves being a part of the group and getting into trouble together! ;) Happy Holidays!

Barbara said...

When I see all the new babies, I feel old! :) Those mothers were babies themselves just the other day. Amazing.
Love the idea of adding pasta to your frittata, Beth. Looks so good.

Liz Berg said...

Your family bonds have created such wonderful memories! I'm heading to Denver to be with my 3 sisters, parents and aunt...it's a rare occasion for so many of us to be together. I treasure those times, too.
P.S. your frittata looks amazing!

Julie said...

What fun times and I can't wait to try that fritata!

amy (fearless homemaker) said...

Oh, I love that from "Perhaps the World Ends Here." It actually gave me chills reading it - so true! You are so lucky to have such a big family tree! And what a beautiful frittata that is - looks lovely!

Katerina said...

I always remember with love our family gatherings. Unfortunately, nowadays we don't get to see each other at all. Such a pity! Your frittata looks just perfect!

I Wilkerson said...

I am hosting the big (extended) family Christmas party this year. That will mean 50-60 guests in just over a week. But totally worth the work! BTW, my current giveaway includes Canada--hooray (and the dressings--made in Canada--are delicious)

Pam said...

Spending time with family is so important! The frittata looks amazing!

Joanne said...

I love that you all make such an effort to keep in touch and get together!! That's so important.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Fun post! And great recipe. Never met a fritatta I didn't like. Never had one with pasta, though -- nifty idea, and one I'll try. And goat cheese and argula? Just a perfect flavor combo. Thanks.

Juliana Levine said...

It is nice to have all the kids together...family is so important!
The frigate sounds and looks delicious Beth...have a great week :)

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