“Hon, can I tell you something?”

“Yes babe.”

“I really love her. I mean, really love her. ‘Till we had her, I never knew how much I could love a dog that’s all mine!”

Of course, “her” is Eve, our black lab / basset (beagle? we don’t really know) mix that came into our lives last March. And of course by “all mine” he means ours because what’s mine is mine and what’s his is mine. (tee hee.)

For as long as Ben and I have been together, we always knew we’d get a dog someday. I grew up almost always having a dog, and Ben grew up being pretty much jealous of everyone else’s dogs. Not to say he didn’t have his fair share of animals – with a constant parade of hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, fish, and cats, I may as well have married a former zookeeper. But only those of us who have lived with dogs know how special they are, how different it is than having any other pet. The love, affection and joy that only a dog can bring its human is unrivaled. Now, Ben totally gets it. In fact, it only took a matter of hours for both of us to feel like she is our family.

I gotta say, though, for someone that spends so much time in this house, I sometimes wish she would be a little more helpful. Hey Eve, could you put away your toys? Better yet, could you bring the mail instead of eating it? And when you have a minute, could you sweep all your hair off the floor? Thanks, my love. Sigh. I guess I’ll just “settle” for those cute puppy dog eyes, sloppy kisses, and morning snuggles.

Clearly, I’m a tad bit jealous of those that have pets that are actually productive members of the household. Like chickens! Is it me, or are you hearing about more and more people raising their own chickens? Recently I visited a friend who has a ton of them. Chickens just seem like they’d take a lot of work, but from what she told me, they’re actually pretty easy and self-sufficient. And besides looking cute (yes, they do!) they give you eggs! Fresher, healthier, local (like from your backyard local) eggs. If you eat a lot of eggs (as you certainly should, since they’re chock full of vitamins, protein, and omega-3’s) this just seems like a no-brainer. And here’s the thing: there’s no such thing as too many eggs. My friend pointed to her vibrant, healthy, handsome 3-year-old and said, “This guy eats four for breakfast, easily.” Smart momma, growin’ him big and strong! But, what if you do have a few spare eggs laying around? All your neighbors, coworkers, and casual friends will be lining up to be your new bestie.

Fortunately, the little man saved me some eggs and my friend sent me home with a half dozen. These better-than-ordinary eggs begged for a special recipe, and I instantly remembered the white bean tortilla recipe recipe I’d seen in the latest issue of Vegetarian Times. I’m not talking about the kind of tortilla you stuff with grilled chicken, peppers, onions and guacamole; rather, I mean the Spanish frittata filled with layers of thinly sliced, fried potatoes. By swapping cannellini beans for potatoes, the dish becomes lighter, more nutritious, and easier (bye bye, frying potatoes!) Because a meal is not a meal to me without something green, I bulked it up with sauteed swiss chard, but you could use any green you like, such as spinach, kale, or collards. Whatever you do, don’t skip the traditional Piri Piri sauce, a blend of smokey paprika, zesty lemon, and fruity olive oil. It will have you dreaming about leftover frittata for lunch, I promise.

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Spanish White Bean Tortilla with Swiss Chard and Piri-Piri Sauce

A hearty frittata filled with creamy white beans and colorful swiss chard, drizzled with an addicting smokey, slightly tangy Spanish-inspired hot pepper sauce.

Ingredients:

Piri-Piri Spice Mixture
2 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Piri-Piri spice mixture
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Tortilla
6 large eggs
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 large bunch of swiss chard, stems chopped into 1/2" pieces and leaves sliced into 1/2" ribbons
1 15oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 3/4 cups cooked white beans)
3 teaspoons Piri-Piri spice mixture
2 jarred roasted red bell peppers, sliced into thin strips

Directions:

Combine the spice mixture ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

In a small sauce pan, whisk together olive oil, 2 tablespoons Piri-Piri, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over high heat, and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Turn off heat and transfer to a small bowl.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk well.

Heat 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil over medium-high heat in a 12" skillet, preferrably cast iron.Cook onions and swiss chard stems for about 8 minutes, until softened. Add the swiss chard leaves and cook another 5-7 minutes, turning often, until the leaves wilt down by about half. Add the white beans and 3 teaspoons Piri-Piri and cook for 1 more minute, stirring.

Turn off heat and spoon the vegetable mixture into the bowl with the eggs. Wipe out skillet and add remaining 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil. Return to medium-high heat.

Stir the vegetables into the eggs and then pour into the hot pan. Cook for about 3 minutes. stirring gently with a spatula, until edges begin to set. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until set in the middle.

Remove from heat and top with pepper slices. Slice into 6 wedges and place on serving plates. Drizzle 2-3 teaspoons of the Piri-Piri sauce aside each serving.

Serving Size: 6

Nutrition Facts:

Amount Per Serving
Calories 315.7
Total Fat 21.2 g
Saturated Fat 3.4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 9.8 g
Cholesterol 185.0 mg
Sodium 721.6 mg
Potassium 223.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.1 g
Dietary Fiber 7.9 g
Sugars 2.1 g
Protein 13.2 g

Cara Lyons, www.carascravings.com. Adapted from Vegetarian Times, June 2012.