A Little Black Pot’s Journey through History

There are few cooking vessels today which remain virtually unchanged from the time they were first manufactured. The cast iron Dutch oven has traveled across time – from its inception in 7th and 8th-centuries Europe through the settlement of the American West – in the same form.

In the early 16th century, the Dutch mastered the art of casting iron in molds, using dry sand to create smooth surfaces. The English studied the Dutch process of casting metal, enabling them to manufacture cast iron cooking vessels for Britain and their American colonies. The term “Dutch oven” remained with the shallow kettle with three legs through three centuries into modern times.

Paul Revere

The colonists brought their cast iron pots to the New World and began casting their own skillets and kettles. Silversmith and American patriot Paul Revere is credited with creating the flanged lid on the Dutch oven, allowing for hot coals to be held on the lid. With coals on top and under the oven, an actual baking oven was created at the hearth or campfire.

Iron cookware was treasured so much that George Washington’s mother even specified the recipient of her cast iron kitchenware in her will.

Lewis and Clark

When President Thomas Jefferson commissioned Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery to explore the Louisiana Purchase, the Corps embarked on a two-year trek to discover America’s newest territory. They brought along cast iron cooking pots and refused to discard them when loads along the journey needed to be lightened.

The Dutch oven has become an iconic symbol of the American West – an integral part of the westward expansion by settlers, gold miners and ranchers.  American settlers packed their covered wagons with their most necessary and treasured possessions – including their cast iron cookware.

A chuckwagon with compartments for Dutch ovens and skillets

Chuck wagons on cattle drives were built with special compartments for the Dutch ovens and skillets. The modern baling wire handle of the Dutch oven was most likely added by cowboys so the oven could hang on a tripod over a campfire.

Today, Dutch ovens are rarely made by blacksmiths and now are mass produced. They are predominantly made in China and the United States. Lodge Mfg., based out of South Pittsburg, Tenn., has been manufacturing cast iron cookware since 1896.

Today’s modern Dutch oven cook has a plethora of equipment to make the cooking experience a lot less rustic than American settlers may have experienced. Charcoal, rather than fireplaces and campfires, provides fuel.

For me, cooking in the Dutch oven ties me to my past, knowing that my forefathers and mothers, who were American colonists, revolutionaries, Civil War soldiers, and pioneers, also cooked in a very similar vessel. Many of my friends have ovens and skillets that belonged to their parents and grandparents. The Dutch oven is a part of our American heritage.

How miraculous that one small pot could travel unscathed through history…and be so much a part of it.

Sources: Lodge’s Camp Dutch Oven Cooking 101

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Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup with Meatballs

It seems that cold and flu season has arrived early in northern Nevada. A number of my colleagues and friends have already dealt with the first maladies of fall. Even my husband is fighting a bad head cold, which I do not want to get. (Note to self, get flu shot next week.) This time of year is tricky. The mornings are chilly, around 45-degrees at my house, and warm up to the mid-80s by afternoon. Fall in the high desert is beautiful – sunny, blue skies, the leaves just starting to turn – but the 40-degree temperature difference can prove challenging for our bodies to acclimate.

So to help ward off those nasty viruses – or at least put a little comfort in my tummy – I decided to make this hearty Italian vegetable soup, using up some items in my freezer (Italian sausage), fridge (veggies) and pantry (beans, broth, canned tomatoes, noodles). This hearty soup comes chock full of healthy veggies, a rich beef broth and zesty meatballs. I hope this season finds you in good health!

Meatball Ingredients
1 lb. ground Italian Sausage, mild
1/4 cup Bread Crumbs
1 Egg
1/8 cup Milk

Crumble the Italian sausage in a bowl.

Add the egg

and bread crumbs.

Add a splash of milk, about 1/8 cup, and combine all ingredients. Use your hands. Get personal with that meat!

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (the sausage is oily so the paper helps keep your pan clean). Form small meatballs with the sausage mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Once baked, cool meatballs on wire rack. Place parchment paper underneath to capture any oil drippings. Reserve about 20 meatballs for the soup. Freeze the rest or munch on them while cooking.

Soup Ingredients
1 Tbsp. Oil
1 cup Onion, chopped
1 clove Garlic, minced
32 oz. Beef Broth
2 Carrots, sliced
2 stalks Celery, sliced
1 14.5 oz can whole Tomatoes
1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
Pepper to taste
1 Zucchini, chopped
1 15 oz. can, White Kidney Beans (cannellini), drained
1 cup Pasta (elbow, rotelle), uncooked

In a Dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat.

Add the onion and garlic. Saute until soft and translucent.

Add the broth

carrots and celery

canned tomatoes

and Italian seasoning. Pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil. Then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add zucchini

beans

and pasta.

Stir well. Cover and cook over medium heat until pasta is cooked through – about 15-20 minutes. Is it soup yet?

In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the meatballs so they will heat through.

Serve with some bread – French pictured here – to help soak up all that yummy broth. Sprinkle with a little cheese, if you desire. Here’s to your health!

Apple Nectarine Galette

Man oh man this is such a busy week at work. I’m afraid I won’t get many posts in this week. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel and October looks to be a quieter, gentler month (fingers crossed).

Thankfully, over the past weekend, I was able to lay low – no Dutch oven events, dog trials or other urgent matters – and got a chance to make something I have wanted to make in a long time. A galette.

What exactly is a galette? Basically a French freeform pastry, almost like a very rustic open-faced pie. The crust is slightly denser than pie crust and often filled with fruit of the season.

I had some Fuji apples and a very lonesome nectarine begging to be eaten, so they became my fruit of choice for my galette.

I found an apple galette recipe online and adjusted it to include the nectarine. I also reduced the amount of brown sugar, since I was using Fuji apples, which are pretty sweet. If you use tart apples, like Granny Smiths, then bump up the amount of brown sugar.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose Flour
1 Tbsp. granulated Sugar
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. cold Butter
1/2 cup walnuts
1 large Egg Yolk, lightly beaten
1 large Egg, beaten to blend with 1 Tbsp. Water
2 to 3 Apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 Nectarine, sliced
1/4 cup firmly packed Brown Sugar (not pictured*) – use 1/2 cup Brown Sugar if using tart apples
1/4 tsp. ground Nutmeg (not pictured*)

*In my haste and excitement, I forgot to include the brown sugar and nutmeg in the photo.

Combine the flour, granulated sugar and salt in a bowl.

Cut 1/2 cup of butter into pieces and work into the flour mixture

until it resembles coarse meal.

Add the egg yolk and 4 Tbsp. of cold water, one Tbsp. at a time, into the mixture.

Mix until you can form a ball.

Place the dough on some cellophane and flatten it into a disc.

Wrap up the dough and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

While your dough is chillin’, spread the walnuts in a baking pan (over parchment, if you like) and bake at 375 degrees in an oven for about 6 to 8 minutes, until slightly golden brown. Chop coarsely.

While your dough is still chillin’ and your walnuts are getting toasty, melt the remaining 2 Tbsp. of butter in a cast iron skillet.

Add apples and stir often over medium heat for about 10 to 12 minutes, until slightly softened and brown at edges.

Sprinkle brown sugar and nutmeg over apples.

Stir for about 5 minutes until liquid is bubbly and syrupy.

Add the nectarine

and the walnuts. Combine and remove from the heat.

Lay out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. Lightly flour a rolling pin.

Roll out the dough until it is about 12 to 15 inches in diameter. No I did not measure this. Just wing it. It’s rustic, remember?

Transfer the dough onto a parchment-lined cast iron pizza pan.

Pile the fruit filling in the center. Be sure to leave a couple of inches around the edges.

Gently fold edges around the fruit filling, pleating as you go, leaving an opening of about 3 to 4 inches wide in the center. (Again, I did not measure this. Mon dieux…rustique!)

Combine an egg and 1 Tbsp. of water to create an egg wash. Brush it along the edges of the crust.

Bake in a 375-degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced. Transfer the galette with the parchment paper onto a wire rack to cool.

Sprinkle the galette with powdered sugar and serve while warm. Try it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Tres bien!

Dutch Ovens 101: Fuel and Temperature Control

Cast iron is designed to hold heat throughout the Dutch oven, and cooks evenly throughout the vessel. Regulating cooking temperatures is by far the hardest thing to master when learning to cook with a Dutch oven.

Kingsford charcoalFirst, choose your fuel well. High quality briquettes like Kingsford are the best, in my opinion. Kingsford’s briquettes are packed tighter, don’t pop and split, and burn longer than other brands. Kingsford charcoal generates heat for about an hour. Match Light charcoal burns hot very quickly and therefore, turns to ash faster. It is good to use to start a group of briquettes, but I would not use it exclusively as your cooking charcoal as you will go through a lot of it in a very short time.

A good rule of thumb to remember is that one briquette equals about 20 to 25 degrees F.

If you are converting a dish you have baked in your oven at home, the following conversion chart offers some guidelines for the number of briquettes.

Oven Temperatures to # of Coals
300 degrees = 12 to 15 coals
325 degrees = 13 to 17 coals
350 degrees = 14 to 18 coals
375 degrees = 15 to 19 coals
400 degrees = 16 to 20 coals
425 degrees = 17 to 22 coals
450 degrees = 18 to 23 coals
475 degrees = 19 to 24 coals

These are general conversions, but keep in mind that other factors like wind, hot and cold temperatures, humidity, and altitude can cause your dish to cook slower or faster, and you will need to adjust your number of coals accordingly. That’s the art and sometimes, tribulation, of Dutch oven cooking.

For cooking styles, just think about how you cook something on your kitchen range or oven at home and apply the same technique to your Dutch oven.

When roasting, you want equal heat on top and bottom.

When baking, you want more heat on top than the bottom, so a 1-to-3 ratio or  1 coal on the bottom to 3 coals on top should be used.

When stewing or simmering, a 4-to-1 ratio or 4 coals on the bottom to 1 coal on top should be used.

When frying or boiling, all the heat goes underneath.

For example, if you are baking at 300 degrees, you need a total of 12 to 15 coals. Place 5 to 6 coals on the bottom and 8 to 10 on top. (15 divided by 3 = 5; 5 coals on bottom, 10 on top. If using a deep-sided oven, add 2 to 4 extra coals to the top.)

Other ways to control your temperature while cooking is the placement of your coals. Arrange your coals in a checkerboard pattern beneath your oven and atop the lid, based on the ratio for your recipe or cooking temperature. The idea is to space them out equally to ensure even heat on both surfaces.

The Dutch oven in the foreground is a great example of arranging charcoals in a checkerboard pattern.

Avoiding Hot Spots

A good way to avoid “hot spots” is to rotate your oven a quarter turn every 15 minutes to maintain an even oven temperature. Rotate your lid a quarter turn in the opposite direction. When your briquettes turn to ash, replace them to maintain even heat and to avoid some areas from cooking slower than others.

Stacking your Dutch ovens when cooking works best for dishes that all need to be cooked at the same temperature.

Mastering temperature control takes some practice…just like everything in life. So, turn up the heat and get cooking!

Stay tuned for the next Dutch Ovens 101: The Necessary Accessories

Foolproof Chili and Skillet Cornbread

Ahhh…fall is just around the corner – this Saturday marks the official start of my favorite season. So what better way to celebrate than with two of my favorite autumnal dishes – chili and cornbread (the two just go together, don’t they?). Now I must confess that I stole this chili recipe from one of my husband’s employees, who stole it from his mom, who won a few cooking awards with it. I was never much of a chili fan until I tried this recipe. Now, I am hooked. What I love most about this recipe is that it isn’t super hot (although you can ratchet up the heat if you want), but it has tons of flavor, includes ground beef and Italian sausage, black beans, and the secret ingredient – fresh corn cut from the cob. It is impossible to mess up this chili (thus the name) and it cooks well in a crock pot in case you want to serve it at potlucks, as a dip with tortilla chips, or tailgating. The cornbread is simple, yet divine, moist and fluffy like a cake. Baking it in a cast iron skillet just makes it that much extra special. Give it a try…and here’s to chilly mornings and turning leaves.

Skillet Cornbread ingredientsSkillet Cornbread Ingredients
1/2 cup Butter, melted
2 Eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups Milk
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Cornmeal
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt

Whisk together the melted butter, eggs and milk in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, sift together all of the dry ingredients.

Make sure dry ingredients are fully combined.

Add the dry mix, one cup at a time, to the wet ingredients and stir.

Until dry and wet ingredients are completely combined.

Pour batter into a lightly greased cast iron skillet. I placed a cookie sheet underneath to make it easier to carry and to catch any spills – not that I’m a clutz or anything, because I’m not. Really.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 35 minutes or until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean. Your cornbread should be lightly golden brown. Check out those edges. I love you cast iron skillet!

Notice how moist and fluffy!

While your cornbread is baking, prepare your chili.

Foolproof Chili Ingredients
1 lb. Ground Beef
1 lb. Ground Italian Sausage, mild (choose hot if you want more heat)
1 10 oz. can RoTel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, mild (or hot, if you like it spicy!)
1 6 oz. can Tomato Paste
1 15.5 oz can each of Black Beans and Red Kidney Beans
1-2 Bell Peppers (I like red and yellow), chopped
1 Jalapeno, chopped (add two, if you can stand the heat in the kitchen)
Fresh Corn cut from 3 corn cobs
1 Tbsp. each of Garlic Salt, Chili Powder, Ground Cumin, Oregano

In a Dutch oven, brown the ground beef and Italian sausage.

Once the meat is browned, add the RoTel tomatoes and tomato paste.

Add the beans.

Then the peppers.

Now the fresh corn.

Mix all ingredients well.

Finally, add all of the spices and herbs and stir into chili.

Cover the Dutch oven with a lid and let the chili simmer for 30 minutes until hot.

Serve with a hearty slice of Skillet Cornbread.

Desktop Studio

I know this post may be a little off-topic since it doesn’t feature anything about cast iron cuisine, but I received a product that I think is pretty cool and will be a great tool for my blog.

My husband is getting into my blog as much as I am, because for our anniversary, he gave me this little desktop photo studio. Maybe all of you seasoned food blogger photogs out there already know about this item, but if you don’t, I suggest looking into it.

It’s very inexpensive – just under $100 – and is portable. My husband purchased it through one of our local photography shops, but it is available online.

I often complained about running out of optimum natural light for taking photos of my dishes, because I usually cook after work in the evenings, when good light quickly fades. My husband’s thought was that this little studio would provide me with decent lighting no matter the time of day or location.

So, to test it, I picked the darkest room in my house, a spare bedroom with bad lighting and darkly painted walls.

Here’s my little crock waiting for its close-up.

As you can see, it comes with two 50-watt halogen lamps.

Cheerful!

It comes with different colored backgrounds. I am using the white background with the black crock.

Here are some figurines photographed against the black background.


The studio also comes with an adjustable camera stand.

And folds up nicely into this carrying bag. The halogen lamps heat up quickly, so I suggest letting them cool before packing them away.

I am in love with my new toy! Let’s see how creative I can get with it.

Highlights from the Nevada State Dutch Oven Championship

All I can say is wow. Yesterday was an amazing day. The first ever Nevada State Dutch Oven Championship showcased dishes from nine teams, including two young Boy Scouts representing their troop. My friend Pamela and I prepared dishes for the public – chili, cornbread, blueberry cobbler and cherry apple crisp was our menu – which paled in comparison to the exquisite offerings of the competitors.

Each team had to cook three dishes – breads, main dishes, and desserts – and present each to the judges by a specific time. The variety of dishes that were prepared was astounding. We had everything from turkey, quail, salmon to gluten free offerings. The garnishings of many of the dishes were just as impressive as the food. I was amazed and inspired at what can be prepared in those little black pots. Following are photos of the top teams, plus my own honorable mentions.

First Place Team

Braided Herb Bread

Braided Herb Bread

Cajun Roasted Turkey

Cajun Roasted Turkey served with Mango Peach Cranberry Chutney (not pictured)

Cajun Cake

Second Place Team

Herb Bread

Chicken Satimbocca

Strawberry Bagatelle

Third Place Team

Dill Batter Bread

Salmon Piccata with Green Beans

Apple Tort

Youth Division – Boy Scouts

Vegetable Beef Soup in White Bread Bowl

Brownies

My Honorable Mentions

Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Cordon Bleu with Potatoes

Covered Wagon Stew

Wacky Cake with Icing

Man, why am I so hungry all of a sudden?

Lost in the Supermarket Stir Fry

TGIF! At least it is still Friday in my part of the world. What a week! Hectic one at work and I spent the last two evenings getting ready for a Dutch oven competition that my Dutch oven group is hosting tomorrow. (Yes, I’ve had Dutch ovens on the brain all week). Last night, I hit two grocery stores and spent two hours buying ingredients.

And while I was wandering around, lost in the supermarket (anybody know The Clash song – my favorite!), looking for ingredients, my stomach was grumbling and wondering what’s for dinner.

Stir fry is such a great go-to dish when you’re crunched for time (like me), if you have leftover veggies in your fridge that are near the end of their shelf life, or you want a healthy, colorful dish to feed your family. The beauty of stir fry is that you can tailor it completely to your tastes. I often use chicken or beef, but pork, tofu or strictly vegetarian work too. My veggies of choice are carrots, scallions, water chestnuts (are these a veggie?), bell peppers (usually red because I like the color), snow peas, broccoli, mushrooms, and celery. I also like to add nuts, like cashews, peanuts or sliced almonds. And I always serve it with rice, but noodles would enhance the heartiness of this dish. Whatever your taste buds desire!

So, here’s last night’s Lost in the Supermarket Stir Fry. (My apologies. I did not get a group photo of the ingredients as my counters were covered with items for the cook-off.)

Ingredients
1 lb. top round beef, cut into bite-size pieces
Oil (canola, vegetable, olive – whatever you have handy)
Sesame Oil
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 Red Pepper, chopped
2 Celery stalks, sliced
2 Carrots, julienned (chopped is fine)
1 can Water Chestnuts, sliced
4-6 oz. Snow Peas
1 cup Cashew halves and pieces
Kikkoman Stir Fry Sauce
White Wine

In a large cast iron skillet, pour enough oil to cover the bottom and heat over medium-high heat.

Beef browning in cast iron skillet

Brown the beef. Add 1/4 tsp. of sesame oil and minced garlic.

Beef browning in cast iron skillet

Once the beef is nearly browned – still a little pink –

Lost in the Supermarket Stir Fry

add your vegetables, except the snow peas. The snow peas will cook quickly so should be added toward the end.

Combine and add the stir fry sauce – about 1/2 cup.

Add about a 1/4 cup of wine and stir.

Be sure to pour a glass for yourself. Or two.

Once the vegetables begin to get tender, add the snow peas.

Finally, add the cashews. Reserve about 1/4 cup for garnish. I LOVE nuts in my stir fry so I’m a little heavy-handed when adding them. Use your own discretion.

Combine. Give the cashews a chance to heat through and get slightly soft, absorbing the stir fry sauce.

Lost in the Supermarket Stir Fry

Serve over rice. Garnish with the remainder of the cashews. Enjoy!

Dutch Ovens 101: Tips for Getting Started

Often, when my Dutch oven group gathers for competitions, trainings and community events, we are asked many of the same questions by the general public.

How hard is it to cook in a Dutch oven?

What size oven should I start with?

How do I take care of one?

What’s the best kind of fuel to use?

What’s the best size for cooking a kangaroo? (just checking to see if you’re paying attention…)

Basically, how do I get started?

For some reason, this little black pot with three legs seems to intimidate a lot of people – even the most experienced of cooks. But I will tell you the same advice I was given when I first started and spouted out the same questions. Anything you can cook in your kitchen, you can cook in a Dutch oven.

Size matters

There are sooooo many different sizes of Dutch ovens in this world. Sizes range from eight to 24 inches in diameter and four to six inches deep. The lid is tight-fitting, has a lip around the edge and a handle in the center. For the beginner, I recommend the 12-inch deep oven, which has a capacity of eight quarts. This oven is the most versatile. You can cook anything in it…cobblers, breads, stews, roasts, vegetables. It is large enough to feed a family or leave a couple with a few days of leftovers. But not so big that you feel like you’re feeding the entire rodeo.

Italian sausage and peppers cooked in a 12-inch deep Dutch oven.

Mixed berry pie baked in a 12-inch deep Dutch oven.

Other sizes and what can be prepared in them.

This upside down pineapple cake was baked in a 10-inch shallow Dutch oven. Shallow-sided ovens are best for breads and cakes.

This margharita pizza was baked in a 16-inch Dutch oven. This size is great for pizzas, large meat dishes like tri tip, and feeding large groups.

Four tri tips can fit into a 16-inch Dutch oven.

Following is a chart that outlines oven sizes and their capacities.

Oven Sizes = Oven Capacity
8-inch = 2 quarts
10-inch = 4 quarts
12-inch shallow = 6 quarts
12-inch deep = 8 quarts
14-inch shallow = 8 quarts
14-inch deep = 10 quarts
16-inch = 12 quarts

Stay tuned for the next edition of Dutch Ovens 101:  Fuel and Temperature Control….

Recipe for Southwestern Omelet with Pico de Gallo

Sunday morning I took my dogs for a hike along the hills behind my house. Since I hadn’t hiked in a couple of weeks and didn’t eat anything before I left, I took the “short” route, climbing three hills or an elevation gain of about 800 feet. Generally, this hike takes about an hour and gives my dogs a chance to chase jackrabbits, startle quail out of trees, and sniff along the invisible pathways of the resident mule deer herd and wily coyotes. And it gives me a chance to get my heart rate going and build up a good appetite.

This photo will give you an example of what the high desert hills and mountains look like in my neck of the woods.

Back at the ‘ol homestead, I decided to make this southwestern omelet with pico de gallo – a surefire breakfast that would stick to my ribs.

First, make the pico de gallo.

ingredients for pico de galloPico de Gallo Ingredients

2-3 Medium Tomatoes, chopped
1 cup Scallions, chopped
1 Tbsp. Jalapeno Pepper, minced (Reserve the rest for the omelet.)
1 Tbsp. Cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp. Lime Juice, fresh or from a bottle (I had a bottle in my fridge so that’s what I used)
Salt to taste

chopped tomatoes

Place the chopped tomatoes in a bowl.

chopped tomatoes and scallions

Add the scallions.

chopped tomatoes, scallions and jalapeno

And the jalapeno.

Tablespoon of lime juice

Next, the lime juice.

tomatoes, scallions, jalapeno and cilantro

Finally, the cilantro.

pico de gallo

Add some salt to taste.

pico de gallo

Combine ingredients, cover the bowl and place in fridge while you make the omelet.

Now for the omelet.

ingredients for southwestern omeletIngredients for Southwestern Omelet
The remainder of the Jalapeno Pepper, minced
1/2 Onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. Oil
1/2 of ripe Avocado
1/2 Tomato, chopped (this can be omitted if you make the pico de gallo, which is what I opted to do)
4 strips Bacon, fried and chopped
1/2 cup crumbled Queso Fresco or white cheese
4 Eggs beaten with 1/4 cup Milk

bacon in cast iron skillet

Bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan.

onion and jalapeno in cast iron skillet

Oil a smaller skillet and saute the onion and jalapeno until tender.

cracked eggs

Meanwhile, crack four eggs in a bowl.

1/2 cup of milk

Add the milk to the eggs.

whisked eggs and milk

And whisk it, whisk it good!

eggs in cast iron skillet

Add the eggs to the large skillet. Since I used the same skillet for the bacon, there is a little bacon grease left for extra flavor. (After frying the bacon, I poured out most of the grease and wiped the skillet as clean as possible.) Allow the eggs to cook for 3 to 5 minutes on medium low heat.

Spread the sauted onions and jalapeno, avocado, chopped bacon, and half of the cheese onto the eggs. This is also where you can add the chopped tomato.

southwestern omelet

Fold the omelet in half. Mmmmmm…look at that golden goodness!

Place a lid on top of the skillet for a few minutes to ensure the eggs cook through, if needed.

southwestern omelet with pico de gallo

Top with pico de gallo and queso fresco. Serve with a toasted tortilla. Eat the whole omelet, if you dare, or cut it in half and share with an amigo. Enjoy!