June 13, 2012

Frittata Basics and Getting Personal

Just out of the oven.
One of the things I have struggled with for a while now is how much of my life I should bring to this blog. Of course, I  do bring a large piece of me with what I post here about my food, feeding my family and my recent attitude changes about food and eating in general. But, sometimes, I think I want to put more out there... the things I think about, the things I struggle with, my goals and victories. The parts and pieces of life that make me... me.

What I struggle with is what and how much to share with the people who read here. I've been blogging my food since 2008 and in that time I've kept it pretty much focused on the food alone. Because of that, there is a bit of trepidation. Will the folks that come to my blog for recipes and ideas about food want to actually take away a side of my life as well? I'm not the kind of person who usually worries about this kind of thing. Why I've had such a struggle with this, I don't honestly understand. I do know though, that getting more personal is something I want to do. Hopefully you reading this will come along for the ride and will enjoy getting to know me a little better. I can be intense at times, I am sometimes rather opinionated and I'm fiercely passionate about many things. I want to share those things with you and I hope that in doing that, perhaps you will share some bits of yourself with me too. Sound good?

Care for a slice?
This past week was tough on my tribe. It started a little over a week ago with my youngest child getting a stomach bug and has worked it's way through the entire family. We had a couple of days reprieve between the first child getting it and the next, but after that it was just one after the other of us in relentless succession. I wasn't spared this time either, unfortunately. I was lucky with the last couple rounds of colds... but luck wasn't on my side for this one.

Having a house full of sick loved ones meant that grocery shopping and more complicated meals went right out the window. We made do with what we had on hand. One of my go-to meals when things get stressful is the frittata. We always have a couple dozen of eggs in the refrigerator and usually I can scrounge up some leftover cheese, veg and maybe a little meat. Put it all together and you've got a delicious and satisfying meal that can be on the table in less than an hour with really very little effort.  It's so simple that even my teenager put one together on his own while I was sick. It was perfect and fed himself, his little brother and sister well when I was too sick to cook for them.

As long as you know a the basics about making a frittata, the rest is easy and can be varied to fit both what you have available to you and your tastes. The frittata my teenager made simply consisted of beaten eggs, some chopped hard salami that he'd browned off a bit in a skillet, sauteed onions, some leftover roasted potatoes and grated cheddar cheese. Nothing fancy, but they loved it and it looked delicious.

The teen's creation.
When I make a frittata, I usually use about a dozen eggs and I always use my 12 inch cast iron skillet. I love the way cast iron gives my frittata a slight crust to it. The browned bits are always my favorites. If you don't have a cast iron skillet you can use just about anything oven safe. You can see here in the picture above, my son used a couple nonstick cake pans to make his and it worked out beautifully. If you don't use cast iron cookware, I would strongly encourage you to buy a single piece and try it out. It can be purchased at a rather reasonable price and it's not as hard to season and care for as you might think. And you will have it forever! I don't think there is anything that compares. Some things are simply amazing made in cast iron. Cornbread, upside down cake, roasted vegetables, fried chicken. I could go on and on singing it's praises.

In the frittata I made this week (the top two photos), I used up some of the
Southwestern Turkey and Black Bean Salad that we'd had for dinner a couple of days before. I had about 3 cups of it left and thought it would work well with eggs. I also added a cup of so of some queso fresco that I had leftover from making Mexican corn on the cob. Just before baking I added a couple of sliced avocados to the top. In case you've never tried avocado in a hot dish... it's REALLY delicious. I think the avocado flavor intensifies with heat. Avocado with eggs just seems to work well together, too.

So, don't be afraid to use up what you have sitting around in your fridge in your frittata. I can't say I would have started out planning one with beans, corn and turkey. But it was what I had available and it turned out to be so good that I would make it again in a heartbeat. Sometimes you can find some delicious combinations just by trying something off the cuff. I've added lots of things to my frittata that might seem odd. I've added rice, pasta, sometimes chunks of day old bread. I've done ones that were all vegetable, some that were cheese and herb. It's pretty much a blank canvas. I even made one with pound cake pieces, peaches and cinnamon that I topped with some freshly whipped cream and served for dessert. It was amazing!

I highly suggest that your ingredients all be cooked and/or browned before adding the eggs and baking. Some quick cooking vegetables are fine to add in raw. Spinach, tomatoes and herbs all do well added raw. But you certainly wouldn't want to add raw bacon or sausage. Brown them off first, drain them well and then add them to the mixture. Onions are better browned before adding too. Potatoes should be tender.

I usually bake my frittata on about 400* F. The amount of time varies depending on how dense yours is. The more ingredients, the longer it will take. If you're doing something as simple as eggs, spinach and some cheese, for example, it might only take 15-20 minutes to set completely. My southwestern frittata was pretty packed and took about 40 minutes to set totally and get that nice brown crust I was going for.

I hope this inspires you to try making your own unique creations. And I hope you'll share them with me here and will inspire me, too.

6 comments:

  1. SHare your life with us!!! It makes it one more place to keep up with all of you (besides texting, fb and twitter :-) )
    Love the frittata! We use up leftovers all the time in frittata's and quiches!

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  2. I say that if you want to share more personal experiences, then you should do it. Love the frittatas and so happy that you're all on the mend!

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  3. I think sharing a bit of yourself makes reading blogs more interesting... share whatever you are comfortable with sharing. I'm happy to hear you are feeling better!

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