Curling up with a Good Cookbook

If you’re like me, you have been cooking A LOT over the past couple of months.

Before the pandemic started, I made a commitment to try to make recipes that focused on seasonal, local ingredients. I love reading cookbooks, studying the recipes, looking at all the beautiful food, but sometimes this means getting creative and substituting ingredients for what’s available in Upstate NY at any given time.

Three cookbooks I found that have a farm to table, seasonal approach are Dishing Up the Dirt by Andrea Bemis, Savor by Ilona Oppenheim, and Earth to Table by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann. These three cookbooks have given me a ton of inspiration when it comes to season, local cooking. Plus, they are full of other great info like stories from the farm or food and chef spotlights.

Check out this recipe for a Farmer’s Breakfast Bowl from Dishing Up the Dirt to keep you fueled up throughout the day. Serves 4.


Fine Sea Salt

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 c coarse grits (or polenta)

1 c whole milk

1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed

3 spring onions, roughly chopped

olive oil

freshly-ground black pepper

4 strips good-quality bacon

4 eggs

Preheat the over to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Bring 4 c water, 3/4 tsp salt and 1 Tbsp of the butter to a boil in a large saucepan. Gradually add the grits and stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and cook at a bare simmer, stirring frequently, until the water is absorbed and the grits are thickened, about 15 minutes (cooking time may vary, so check the packaging for specific instructions). Stir in 1/2 c of milk and continue to cook, partially covered, for about 10 minutes. Stir often to keep the grits from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining 1/2 c of milk and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the grits are thick and tender, about 30 minutes.

While the grits cook, prepare your veggies and bacon. Toss the asparagus and spring onions with 2 Tbsp of the oil and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Place the vegetables in a single layer on half of the prepared baking sheet. On the other side of the baking sheet, arrange the bacon strips. Bake until the asparagus and onions are golden brown and the bacon is lightly crisp or cooked to the desired doneness, 12 to 15 minutes. Toss the veggies halfway through cooking (no need to flip the bacon). If the spring onions begin to brown faster than the asparagus, remove them from the oven earlier.

Heat a little oil in a nonstick skillet over medium and fry the eggs until the whites are set and the yolks are still a little runny.

To assemble the dish, spoon the grits into the bowl and top each portion with asparagus, onions, a strip of bacon, and a fried egg. Season to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy.

Buy at the market: Butter, Milk, Asparagus, Spring Onions, Bacon, Eggs