Zucchini Frittata from The Blackbird Café

Welcome to the August/September round of Cook the BooksDeb from Kahakai Kitchen is hosting  Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber.

About the book:

Nestled in the mountain shadows of Alabama lies the little town of Wicklow. It is here that Anna Kate has returned to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the Blackbird Café.

It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the café and settle her grandmother’s estate, but despite her best intentions to avoid forming ties or even getting to know her father’s side of the family, Anna Kate finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago, and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can’t stop talking about.
As the truth about her past slowly becomes clear, Anna Kate will need to decide if this lone blackbird will finally be able to take her broken wings and fly.

“Full of family secrets, undeniable charm and that particular touch of magic so often found in the South, Midnight at the Blackbird Café is a heartfelt and redemptive tale of a daughter looking to move forward in the place her mother couldn’t wait to leave behind. Heather Webber creates a town as dynamic and real as her characters–and a story so compelling that it will stay on readers’ minds long after the final page. I savored every word.” –Kristy Woodson Harvey, national bestselling author of Slightly South of Simple.

“Family, fate, and magic intertwine in this endearing Southern tale of long-held secrets, homemade pie, and building one’s future from the remains of the past. A tantalizing, delicious delight, through and through. Heather Webber writes with so much detail and imagination that I’ll be craving some Blackbird Cafe pie–and the comfort that comes with it–for a long time to come.” — Kristin Harmel, international bestselling author of The Room on Rue Amélie and The Sweetness of Forgetting.

About the author:

USA Today bestselling author Heather Webber is the author of more than thirty novels and has been twice nominated for the Agatha Award. She loves to read, drink too much coffee and tea, birdwatch, crochet, and bake. She currently lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, and is hard at work on her next book. *Heather also writes under the pen name Heather Blake.

What I thought….

I enjoyed the story and the family drama.  This is one of those stories where a young ingenue inherits a bookstore, café, bakery, or the like in a small town.  In Midnight at the Blackbird Café the young lady in question, Anna Kate, inherits a café that specializes in magical pies from a grandmother she hadn’t seen in years.  There’s a lot of stories like this out there lately, but I still enjoyed the plot as Anna Kate learns about her family and destiny.  There’s also the storyline of another young woman, Natalie, returning to town after a long absence.  I probably enjoyed Anna Kate’s humor the most:  “Commotion loud enough to wake the dead was never a great way to start the day” (1).

She feels at home as soon as she walks into the café–“it felt as though this were a family kitchen rather than a business” (38) with the aroma of “dark-roast coffee, vanilla, green onion, lemon, cinnamon, thyme, and a hint of yeast underneath it all” (40).

Anna Kate falls into the small town life fairly easy.  To her amazement, she becomes a hugger (227) yet she found that “The ma’ams were killing me slowly” (125).

The structure of the book has Anna Kate’s tale interspersed with that of Natalie, Anna Kate’s aunt.   There’s also a reporter that begins many of the chapters.  He or she acts almost like a chorus, an unbiased observer that keeps the tale going.

I struggles with some of the plot lines and the way one of the mysteries is tied up at the end.  But, I still want to visit Wicklow and partake of some pie.

The food:

Obviously, there was a lot of food in the novel.  A lot of food….  Here’s what I spotted.   (I categorized them all a bit.)

Blackberry tea with Honey and grenadine, strong coffee, wine, sweet tea, chamomile and mint tea, and many other herbal teas.

Bread (from the bread brigade):
Zucchini bread, banana bread, cinnamon bread

Mint, basil, yarrow, lemon balm, echinacea, calendula, licorice root, willow bark, lemon balm

Apple, blueberry, peach, cherry, pear, peach, blackberry, rhubarb

Other Desserts:
Blueberry cobbler, blackberry cobbler, blackberry and white chocolate chip ice cream, blueberry tart, shortbread cookies

Breakfast fare:
Hash browns, pancakes, biscuits, ham, red eye gravy, eggs, sweet potato hash, home fries, Johnny cakes, brown butter apples, zucchini frittata, bacon, chicken-fried steak, zucchini and cheddar biscuits with thyme and jalapenos, sausage a ramps mini-frittatas, sausage gravy, zucchini fries with cayenne

There were other items mentioned like produce from Zee’s garden and preserves in her pantry along with Gideon’s picnics and family dinners.

The very secret magical pie ingredient?   You’ll have to read the book.

What to make?  It had to be zucchini something.   There was always lots of zucchini mentioned, most of it from a cherished plant in Anna Kate’s garden.   I landed on my take on the zucchini frittata with goat cheese, onion and fresh mint (242).


Zucchini Frittata


I switched out the mint and added basil.


  • 6 farm fresh eggs
  • 6 large fresh basil leaves, chopped (about 2 T.)
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • dash of cayenne
  • 3-4 oz. ham, diced (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 lb. zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled


  1. Preheat broiler,
  2. Whisk together eggs, basil, salt, pepper and cayenne in a medium bowl.
  3. In a 12-inch ovenproof skillet, heat the oil.  Add the ham and cook until it is just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add zucchini and and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just tender, about 8 minutes. Pour egg mixture into skillet and cook, lifting up cooked egg around edge using a spatula to let as much raw egg as possible flow underneath, until edge is set, about 2 minutes (top and center will still be very loose). Sprinkle cheese evenly over top.
  4. Broil frittata about 6 inches from heat until set, slightly puffed, and golden, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes or until set.
  5. Cool frittata 5 minutes, then loosen edge with a clean spatula and slide onto a large plate. Cut into wedges.

Yield: 6

I loved the flavors of this recipe!  LOVED.   It wasn’t the most beautiful frittata but, again, it was delicious.

There were a lot of other recipes I would like to try from this novel, especially Aubin’s blackberry tea and those zucchini-jalapeno-cheddar biscuits.  There was a lot to inspire!

Thanks for hosting, Deb.

Next up for the October/November edition, Claudia (Honey from Rock) is hosting Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown.  Consider joining in!

I’m linking up with Foodies Read.

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