Monday, November 15, 2010

the lazy frittata

There are many not-so-wonderful things about being single, but there are many wonderful things as well, and since I'm a glass-half-full kinda gal, I choose to be happy about the fact that one of the greatest things about being single is that I always get to eat what I want, when I want it. I don't have to take any one else's stomach, or allergies, or nutritional needs, or whims into consideration except my own, and I, for one, like having complete control over my food and drink intake.

There have been many books written on this subject by far better cooks and far better writers than I-- Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, for one, and The Pleasures of Cooking for One, for another-- but I'm here today to tell you about the lazy frittata.

The down side of cooking for one is cleaning for one. Sometimes you don't want to make a huge mess in the kitchen for something that's going to last all of 10 minutes and be shared with no one. So I've taught myself some tricks and shortcuts, and this frittata is one of my laziest. As I almost always have leftovers, the veggies and sometimes the cheese are hanging out in the refrigerator already prepared, so besides something to beat the eggs in, I only use one pan and one plate. (And honestly, I've been known to eat it from the pan!)

olive oil or butter
2 eggs, beaten with a T of milk or water or ahem... half & half if that's what you have on hand
leftover vegetable(s) of your choice
leftover herb(s) of your choice
some sort of cheese
salt & pepper

Preheat your broiler. Heat a swirl of olive oil over medium heat, and toss in whatever vegetables and/or fresh herbs you have on hand. Today I used 3 large handfuls of baby spinach and some green onions. Mushrooms and thyme would also delicious, as are zucchini and dill, roasted tomatoes and red onions, or any combination of what you have available. Season with salt & pepper. Once the veggies are cooked through, pour the egg mixture over the top and turn the heat to low. Don't touch!

Let cook until you can slide a spatula around the edges and see that it's done on the bottom. Now, sprinkle the (still raw) top with cheese (today I used a gruyere/emmenthaler mixture left over from fondue night, but anything you have will do) and more pepper, because you can never have too much black pepper with eggs, and pop under the broiler -- ***making sure you leave the handle sticking out or wrap it in foil*** and finish cooking until the top is golden brown and delicious. Serve immediately and then wash your one pan!

Friday, November 05, 2010

preserved lemon vinaigrette

So, I've been in the South for 3 weeks. Chattanooga, New Orleans, Atlanta. And don't get me wrong... I LOVE the South. I'm FROM the South. But I haven't seen a vegetable that wasn't deep-fried and/or drowned in ranch dressing for weeks, and my body could not be happier to get back to California, where the drawstring on my yoga pants seems to have shrunk. :/

So yesterday I made a nice veggie-based soup, a bunch of fruit, and bought salad greens. Hellooo FIBER! Yesssss! I never buy pre-made salad dressing because A) I think it's gross and B) I don't like to eat the same thing all the time and then it goes bad.

I'm leaving in 4 days so my staples are pretty sparse, but there's a lovely jar of preserved lemons in the fridge that I made on a whim last time I was home, when lemons were 5 for $1. You can find the recipe here and I must say that while they turned out deliciously, I don't really know what to do with them since I don't eat chicken and they kind of are made for a tangine.

But I poked around a little and came up with a simply delightful salad dressing that is making my lunch zing. It may me a little on the tart side for some of you (I love my acid) so maybe dial down the lemon juice and dial up the olive oil a tad.

Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette
1 t minced shallot
2 T chopped preserved lemons (recipe here)
1 t whole-grain mustard
2 T fresh lemon juice
1-2 T extra virgin olive oil (the greener the better)
dash of freshly cracked pepper
caveat: the lemons are very, very salty, so don't add any extra until you've tasted it. I didn't need any, and that's very unusual for me.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and build your salad on top. I used mixed greens, thin slivers of zucchini, and an asian pear, because that's what I had on hand, but I think it would really work well with chickpeas, cucumbers, and tomatoes, or perhaps a simple spinach, red onion, and walnut combo. The sky's the limit-- lemon goes with everything.