Fountain Avenue Kids goes on the road with this informative, beautifully photographed video that offers something for kids and adults alike. Farmer Aidan also shares his family’s favorite omelet recipe!
My early memories of Aidan are dotted across our region’s various cross-country courses. Aidan was the “big kid” when my older son started running as a seventh grader – one of those kids that the younger kids looked up to.
Over the years, I got to know Aidan’s parents and younger sister, as all our kids ran cross country. The youngest of the bunch is in college, but as luck would have it, I ran into Aidan’s parents at a meet last fall. (I was there to watch Fountain Avenue Kids James and Oliver, of Pretzel Fish and Cracker Crust Pork Chop fame.)
As we caught up, conversation turned to cooking and Aidan’s work on a farm in North Carolina. The next thing I know, I was talking with Aidan, and he was interested in the Fountain Avenue Kids video series.
Making a video when I’m in Pennsylvania and he’s in North Carolina seemed problematic at first, but Aidan mentioned he dabbles in video making…and why not take readers on a field trip?
I loved this idea, and what you will see in this beautifully recorded video offers a glimpse into the day-to-day happenings on a small, family-owned farm. The days can be long and exhausting for sure, but Aidan finds the work rewarding and has developed a deep appreciation for the food that he eats as a result.
Thanks to the farm’s 60 laying chickens, eggs are a mainstay in Aidan’s diet. So as a bonus, Aidan shared one of his family’s favorite ways to enjoy these protein- and nutrient-rich orbs – his Dad’s loaded veggie omelet.
Like a frittata, the add-ins are incorporated into the omelet rather than laying them on top of the mostly cooked egg. There are options to fold like an omelet – or like a frittata, you can cut the cooked eggs into wedges. Aidan’s family uses a lid to cook the top; I have found a quick trip under the broiler works quite well too and adds a bit of golden-brown caramelization on top.
Like many cooks, Aidan’s dad eyeballs the ingredients, so for the sake of sharing, I quantified the recipe based on Aidan’s insight and found that one cup of vegetables to each egg was perfect. You could increase the veggies, but as you do so, the eggs will become more of a binder. Conversely, you could add another egg or two to stretch the yield and all will still be well.
Vary the vegetables by season and what you have on hand. Add fresh or dried herbs if you like, and mix up the cheese to your heart’s content. Or skip the cheese for a dairy-free omelet.
I have divided the omelet into two or three smaller servings and served with a side of toast and fruit. A leftover grain or potato on the side would be lovely too – even kimchi or sauerkraut.
A foggy morning at Suncatcher Farm.
Aidan and some of the farm’s cows and sheep.
Did you know that sunlight affects how frequently chickens lay eggs? In the summer, when days are long, Suncatcher Farms’ 60 chickens lay about five dozen eggs per day. In the darkest days of winter, average daily production drops to about one dozen eggs or less.
I start with the vegetables that can be quickly seared, like bell pepper, asparagus, small broccoli florets, thinly sliced leeks, etc. Once cooked to your liking, about 5 minutes, transfer to a plate.
Proceed with the remaining veggies. For enhanced flavor when cooking mushrooms and onions, I like to cook them until nicely golden. Greens are added in the final minute or so, as they wilt quickly. I also added thinly sliced cabbage to this omelet. You can sauté cabbage for a few minutes to fully cook it, or just a minute, like the greens, if you’d enjoy a hint of crispness.
Aidan and his family cover the omelet with a lid to cook the top. I run it under the broiler for a hint of golden color. If you’d prefer a traditional omelet presentation, you may fold it.
The recipe produces 2 generous servings, Optionally, you could serve 3-4 people, bolstering with fruit, toast, leftover roasted vegetables or grains, kimchi, etc. You may also enjoy the omelet over several days, gently reheating – or even tucking into a pita or bread for an egg sandwich. Or use a wedge as a protein topper on avocado toast.
If you make this recipe, please comment and give it a 5-star review if you deem worthy. The feedback is always appreciated! 💛
Dad's Loaded Veggie Omelet
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:15 minutes
Total Time:20 minutes
Yield:2 servings (or 3 to 4 smaller servings)
Protein-rich with a ratio of one cup of vegetables per egg, this filling omelet can be customized with veggies and add-ins of choice. Gently reheat leftovers for a grab-and- go breakfast another day.
¼ teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil, divided use
4 cups mix of sliced, diced, or chopped vegetables like mushrooms, asparagus, bell pepper, zucchini, spinach, kale, cabbage, onions, and leeks
¼ cup (28g) cheese such as shredded cheddar, Gruyere, Gouda, or Italian blend; crumbled feta; or grated Parmesan (or more to taste)
Before you start: A 9-inch nonstick or seasoned cast iron skillet (or maximum of 10-inch) works well – the omelet will be too thin if you use a 12-inch pan. If you’d like to use the broil option, make sure your skillet is oven safe.
Whisk the eggs in a small bowl with the salt and pepper until blended. Set aside.
Cook half the vegetables: Add half the oil to the skillet and set over medium heat. When hot, add half of the veggies and sauté until just tender, adding a sprinkle of salt and pepper, to taste. I start with the ones that can be quickly seared, like bell pepper, asparagus, small broccoli florets, thinly sliced leeks, etc. Once cooked to your liking, about 5 minutes, transfer to a plate.
Cook the remaining vegetables. Add the remaining oil and cook and season the rest of the veggies. I like to give mushrooms a few minutes head start so they brown nicely, and then follow with whatever is left, adding cabbage and greens in the final two minutes or so to soften.
Add the reserved veggies back to the pan and spread into an even layer.
Pour in the eggs and reduce the heat to medium low. Evenly distribute the cheese over top, and cover pan. Check the mixture frequently and once the eggs are completely cooked and firm, flip the omelet in half.
Alternatively, once the bottom and sides are set, you may transfer the omelet to the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes or until the top is set and the cheese is golden in spots.
Remove from heat. Let stand for a few minutes to cool slightly and then enjoy.
Herbs and spices: Feel free to mix in dried or fresh herbs (dried Italian seasoning or fresh chives and basil are my favorites) or spices of choice (garlic powder and smoked or regular paprika complement nicely). A pinch or two of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes are perfect for those who enjoy a hint of heat.
Additional flavorings: Sliced green or black olives, crumbled bacon, thinly sliced and chopped ham, or cooked sausage may be added.
Have leftover roasted vegetables? Simply add to the pan and cook long enough to warm.
Prefer to use egg whites? I recommend using at least two whole eggs and then adding ¼ cup of egg whites for each additional egg.
Optional toppings: I like to top with sliced avocado and/or a sprinkle of halved cherry tomatoes for added flavor and fresh appeal. A spoonful of salsa (green or red) or a drizzle of pesto offer more ways to mix it up.
For a handheld breakfast, you may tuck a wedge into an English muffin, pita, tortilla, or wrap, adding more cheese, hot sauce, salsa, pesto, sriracha mayo, etc. to taste.