Monday, March 23, 2020

Veggie Frittata

Is the struggle real? It doesn't have to be. 
Keeping my promise, here's the recipe for the frittata, before the anecdote.

Here's how I made mine, enough for 2-4 people

Frittata

  • 5 large eggs from a local farmer
    • They're going for $4/dozen out here, but trust me, they're worth it
  • A heaping spoonful of mayonnaise
    • Use a soup spoon 
  • 1 tsp horseradish, ground
    • You can get these at most grocery stores that have a Jewish section
  • Half of a red bell pepper, left over from some other dish, diced fine
  • 3 scallions, sliced fine, all the way up to the greens
  • A good handful of diced up cheese
    • I used a vegan parmesan that I love - but you use whatever you have around
  • 1 Tbsp butter (or vegan solid fat) plus 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
    • Pro-tip: mix it up with your peppercorns! Use half black peppercorns and half sichuan peppercorns in your pepper mill. Trust me, you'll thank me later
  • Any fresh herbs you've manager to procure
    • I have a sage plant in the garden that I snagged a few leaves off of
Preheat your oven to 400. Yes, preheat. This is very important to the dish that it goes in to a hot oven, otherwise your frittata won't be right. Heat is a factor for maximum fluffiness, which is exactly what you want. 

Invest in some good metal chopsticks - especially good for cooking and carrying around with you to eat with! Seriously, you want to avoid using single-use plasticware as much as possible anyhow.

Beat your eggs using a pair of chopsticks. Add your mayo, horseradish, and season with salt and pepper. Dice and slice your veggies, cheese, and whatever else you've decided to put in there. Think of your dish as a song that you're writing, and make decisions as to where things should go. Would you stick an oboe next to an electric guitar? You might, but what would the point be? The idea of the frittata is to use what leftover veggie scraps you have lying around and to transform it into something great. Make good decisions, especially when considering the size of your knife cuts. Everything should be the same size, so that way it all cooks evenly.

Speaking of knife cuts, have you ever done a chiffonade of fresh herbs? It's easy! Just take flat-leaf herbs, such as basil, mint, or sage, stack them up atop one another and roll them, as if you were rolling a cigar. Slice across as thin as you can, et voila! There we have a beautiful chiffonade, ready for garnish. 

Fresh herbs are cheap, but growing your own is cheaper. Use an egg carton to grow some in your kitchen window!

If you do buy herbs, however, keep them in the fridge standing in a tall glass of water, like you would keep flowers in a vase. They'll last for days and days longer!

Heat your butter and oil in a nonstick or cast iron pan until sizzling hot. Add your veggies and season heavily. Cook these on a high heat until soft and the color has just dimmed, about 1 minute or so, and add your egg. Use a spatula to stir in the middle, just so, and scrape once around the edge. The idea is to equally distribute the veggies, but quickly. Turn off your flame and add the cheese all around. Pop in your very hot oven and cook for 15 minutes. 

Once it's all done, run your spatula around once again to loosen it and it should slight right on to your cutting board. Cut into wedges, garnish with herbs and the scallion greens, and serve with some toast. Want to know how to make your own bread from scratch? I've written a few pieces on it here.

Don't let your stale bread go to waste, either! Chop it up, douse it with olive oil, and roast them at 300 degrees F to make croutons, which are wonderfully shelf-stable.
I love a good frittata because it's a perfect meal for a family on a budget that's been stuck inside during a global pandemic and that need to make every scrap of everything last. You can put just about anything in a frittata and have it still come out. The biggest factor you should consider is moisture - as in, please control how much you put in. 

I wouldn't use a big heaping spoonful of marinara in my frittata, nor would I put dry pasta. I might, however, put in the last few bites of lo mein from my takeout, or some taco meat and veggies. The only thing I have to do is to saute it first until I'm sure that there's at least not sopping moisture in the item. You can put cheese, veggies, meats and fish into a frittata so long as you keep ratios right.

The best part about this dish is that you can very easily save it for later, as it reheats well enough. In fact, you can chop up a leftover frittata, fry it quickly in some oil or butter, and serve it as a warm crouton in a garden salad. May I suggest a raspberry vinaigrette? If you don't have any vinaigrette, but have some last bits of jam in a near-empty jam jar, simply dump in some vinegar and oil in a 1:3 ratio and shake briskly. Yes, straight in the jar! You have an instant vinaigrette that's fancy and will save for later.

I hope you're all keeping your spirits up and staying strong during this global pandemic. What you can do now, since many of you are likely working from home or gainfully unemployed is find some good side hustles. You can also use this time to write or call your representatives for your local government and tell them exactly how you think they're handling this health crisis in your area. There's also a wonderful app and website called NextDoor, and if you feel like helping, they have a feature where you can tag your home - in your own neighborhood - to help out your elderly neighbors. 

The world is watching us. It'd be a very classy move if we used our spare time to show each other that community is a priority and that we are going to be there for each other in times of crisis. I'd also like to remind you to please not hoard things, especially for your elderly neighbors that may not be able to get to the grocery store. Old people need things like toilet paper and soap as well.

Is there something you'd like to see covered? Do you want help live for a certain something you're just not sure of in the pantry? Is your cupboard looking like an episode of "Chopped"? DM me on Instagram! I do 5 mins for $5, which is all I need from you to help get your a meal going. I do live chats, facetime, etc., any way you need help for your problem, right now.

Thanks so much for spending some time with me. Make sure you get outside and walk around your block at least once per day. Remember that exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy. Let's not let this disease ruin us. 

Happy cooking and happy eating. 

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