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The Unnatural Cook

a chronicle of weekly meal plans from someone who can't just throw a meal together

Tag Archives: frittata

By Thursday I gave up and went out for Thai Food with the kids. I was three days behind on the dishes and it was a busy week; I was tired. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that the kids woke up twice at the ungodly hour of 5:50 in the morning because they important things to do, like get into Dutch settler costumes and make zucchini bread.

That’s how Thursday’s dinner, a spinach, leek & bacon frittata, turned into Friday’s lunch for the car ride to Vermont. I finally, finally managed to follow my own advice and cooked the bacon and the leeks in separate pans. Surprisingly it felt like less work.  Having to clean the extra pan took less time than negotiating the stress of putting two things  that cook at different rates in the same pan. (As I write that I have to admit I’m pretty sure it was my husband that cleaned the extra pan, but still….)

The frittata made a great on the road meal and I was quite pleased with my made up combination of spinach and leeks, inspired by the giant leeks found at the store.

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I improvised! I took the basic recipe I used earlier for the frittata w/ bratworst & onion and devised my own filling. The result was  frittata w/Potato, Asparagus & Bacon. I roasted the potatoes, cooked the bacon in the oven while the potatoes were roasting and blanched the asparagus. It was delicious.

And…my fancy-shmancy new cutting technique (holding the knife straight) worked very well on the potatoes.

I think the blog is making me a better cook. Being forced to pay attention to what I make and how I make it is changing what I make and how I make it. After six weeks I’m less afraid of that change and more intrigued by it. I still burnt myself twice. That’s not changing anytime soon.

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For Christmas a friend gave me a jar of goose schmaltz rendered from the Christmas goose she cooked. My mother used to keep a can of bacon fat under the kitchen sink to cook with* and my friend’s Irish grandparents saved their fat too: the grandmother for cooking and the grandfather for repairing farm equipment. I’ve never had goose schmaltz at my disposal before and in the absence of a tractor, I roasted the potatoes in it. They tasted wonderful but I set the oven too low (400° instead of my usual 450°) and so the potatoes wouldn’t brown.

I had it all planned out nicely so that while the potatoes were roasting I would cook the ingredients for the frittata, make the salad dressing and have dinner on the table by 6:00. Didn’t work out that way; dinner showed up an hour late. I got so flustered I came perilously close to burning the bottom of the frittata because I wasn’t paying attention to the heat on the stove. In the end, I only burnt a small piece and a kind person would call it “well done.” I still am not sure why sometimes my potatoes come out dark and crispy and sometimes they don’t. They always stick to the pan terribly. Advice anyone?

Not all meals can look beautiful and I guess tonight’s lesson was that simple dishes can go as wrong as complicated ones. The frittata recipe is usually a no-brainer. It’s basically 8 eggs, 1/4 cup heavy cream and whatever fillings you want. The cooking technique is simple: 5 minutes on the stove, 2 minutes under the broiler. I always use a cast iron pan and I never have trouble getting the frittata out clean. It’s a good way to use up leftovers and assuming you know your way around a potato, it should make for a quick and easy dinner!

*CORRECTION: My sister has since informed me that as she recalls it, my mother never once cooked with the bacon fat. She kept it under her sink because she was afraid to pour it down the drain, thinking it would clog the pipes. I think she’s right and it would explain my own fear of pouring fat down the sink. I ask my husband if it’s really okay every damn time….

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