Tag Archives: meatless monday

Meatless Monday: Cheesy Chard and Pasta Gratin

22 Aug IMG_4044

During the summer, my mom’s favorite activity seems to be giving away vegetables. Now that I’m back in the Midwest (or thereabouts), I’ve become one of the lucky benefactors of her garden’s overwhelming productivity. Unfortunately, I missed all of the asparagus, but she never fails to foist bags full of chard and tomatoes and peppers on me whenever she gets the chance.

Not that I’m (really) complaining- it sure beats buying all my produce at Whole Foods (especially given my current, unemployed state). But each time it starts a race against the clock- how do I use all these lovely, backyard garden-grown vegetables before they go bad?

For the chard, this required an exploration of the internets: tomatoes are easy to turn into a tasty caprese salad, but I don’t have much experience with chard. Luckily, I managed to stumble upon a recipe that looked perfect for me: covering vegetables in cheese is always my favorite solution!

Mom was sweet and gave me the chard already separated

Chard and Cheese Pasta Gratin

adapted from Girl Interrupted Eating

I’ve made this dish twice now and all I can say is it’s one of those where you can play around with the ingredients/quantities to suit your tastes. I upped the amount of cheese sauce the second time around since I used whole grain pasta, which tends to absorb more moisture.

Ingredients:

10 Chard leaves, separated

1 Small onion, finely chopped

2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped

12 oz. Whole grain pasta

1 T Butter

1 T Flour

2 c Milk

2 T Whole grain mustard

8 oz. Extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2/3 for sauce, 1/3 for topping)

Breadcrumbs

Salt and Pepper

Directions:
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain.
  • Finely slice the stalks and greens from the chard.
  • Saute the stalks with the onion until softened, then add the garlic and finally the leaves. Allow the leaves to wilt,  then set aside.
  • Create a roux, then slowly add the milk, stirring to prevent lumps. (My sauce was quite thin, but it worked just fine since the whole dish gets baked and the pasta absorbs a lot of the moisture.)
  • Slowly add 2/3 of the shredded cheese, stirring in a figure 8 to prevent clumping. After all the cheese is melted, stir in the mustard.
  • Mix the greens with the pasta, then transfer to a 9″x 11″x 2″ baking dish.
  • Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and greens.
  • Top with salt and pepper, breadcrumbs, and the remaining cheese.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the top is starting to crisp, then broil for 3-5 minutes to give it that nice bit of color.

Meatless Monday Thoughts: On Eating Animals and Dreaming of Turkeys

28 Mar southern ground hornbills

Can't you feel him judging you?

Awhile ago I mentioned picking up a few food-related books at the library, among them Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals. I was skeptical because of its legendary ability to turn readers vegetarian, and as I began reading it I was unconvinced. I’m a Foer fan, but so far (I’m only a third of the way through) he just seems smug and arrogant. There’s absolutely no wiggle room: you either agree with him and give up meat, or you’re completely ignorant (and kind of evil). Seriously, he probably judges lions every time they take down a gazelle. His tone was really starting to annoy me.

Then, I had a dream about a turkey.

Kind of too cute to be bacon

Now, like I told Adam, this could just be from spending too long on the ZooBorns site before bedtime. The site, which I discovered while filling out my NCAA bracket (clearly I needed to see a real bearcat), features baby animals from all over the world. There are palm-sized monkeys, muppet-like sloths, and over-the-top-adorable miniature donkeys. There’s a pig-like creature so cute it made me momentarily reconsider the deliciousness of bacon. And then there’s the Southern Ground Hornbill.

not exactly adorable

This is not a cute baby animal. I mean, I know all the people who care for the animals have to love them all the same, but this is the baby in the nursery that looks like an alien. Actually, it reminds me of one of those challenges on Top Chef when they all have to cook with strange proteins- this could easily have been one of the proteins (if it weren’t endangered). And instead of one of the fluffy, cuddly baby animals, this is the one that somehow made its way into my dream.

You see, the turkey in my dream wasn’t a big, proud, feathered turkey. It was a featherless adolescent that showed up in my apartment, as if it was my new pet. I didn’t know what to feed it, I didn’t know how to tell Adam about it and, most of all, I didn’t know how to keep eating meat. I was seriously planning a blog post in my head (in the dream) in which I admitted omnivorous defeat at the hands pen of Jonathan Safran Foer.

Then I woke up, and all was right with the world.

Except…

It does make me reconsider Foer’s argument about companion animals. Our decision ‘to eat or not to eat’ is closely tied to whether or not a particular animal is a pet. My dream turkey was definitely a pet, and it made me immediately uncomfortable about the idea of eating poultry. So dream Alex (with a pet turkey) is vegetarian but waking Alex (pet-free) loves Popeye’s? Clearly, this ‘pet’ designation is completely arbitrary. I mean, I look at the capybara and see a mammoth guinea pig, i.e. a pet. I’m sure that people from other cultures look at a capybara and see lunch.

It's just like your third grade class pet!

 

So maybe this dream has me thinking a little too much (or, for Foer, not nearly enough).

What do you think?

*Click on photos for sources

Valentine’s Day Dinner: One Post, Three Recipes

21 Feb IMG_3169

I’m a really bad planner. Or, a really good planner, but a really bad follow through-er. I made all kinds of Valentine’s Day plans. Not that I’m super mushy about this holiday, but I do like it when I have an excuse to be silly and cute. (You should have seen the amount of pink and red I managed to pack into my wardrobe last weekend.) Of course, all of my adorable plans got a little tricky since a) I work at a chocolate store and b) I’m not good at timing.

The plan was actually pretty straightforward- since I was working the whole weekend, Adam cooked me dinner on Sunday, and then I cooked him dinner on Monday.

Adam made pasta and butternut squash in a creamy cheesy sauce

My dinner was where it became a bit more complicated: while he stuck to a fairly simple pasta/ butternut squash recipe, I wanted to make something fancy. And of course, since it was on a Monday, I couldn’t do out-of-the-ordinary by cooking steak with red peppercorns or something. An email from Tasting Table had me salivating over this french onion fondue, but that didn’t really seem like enough for a meal that I wanted to be special.  Then, I stumbled across this  leek and artichoke bread pudding that I’d apparently bookmarked at some point. I figured I should do something light/vegetable-y/not cheese-based too, so a nice light mushroom salad seemed like the right fit. (I know that The Melting Pot is a bit cliche or tacky or something, but they used to make a mushroom salad that was amazing, and now they don’t even sell the seasoning blend for it anymore. I’m still mourning the loss.) And, even though I’ve never before made a bread pudding, I decided to add another one to the menu because this Chocolate Bread Pudding looked too good to pass up (more on dessert later). So I managed to plan a menu, and it didn’t even require an excessive shopping list: I was totally on the right track!

But, again, I work at a chocolate store: Valentine’s Day weekend was a marathon of 9 and 10 hour days. On Monday, I started cooking about 2 hours after I had planned to start, which means dinner wasn’t ready until 3 hours after I thought it would be ready (cooking always takes longer than I expect) and dessert got pushed back to Tuesday.

Cooking and presents and lipstick shower messages

Regardless of the shortcomings of my plan, we ended up with a delicious meal (and leftovers for the rest of the week). I even managed to wake up early and make pancakes before the boy left for work. So while I might get a bit over-ambitious at times, at least there was a lot of yummy food.

French Onion Fondue

(adapted from Tasting Table)

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter

4 onions, thinly sliced

1/8 cup dry sherry

1/8 cup sherry vinegar

1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce

a good sprinkle of thyme

salt and pepper

3/4 cup vegetable stock

2 cups coarsely grated Gruyère (yes, I halved everything else and left this the same- it’s cheese)

chopped parsley

bread for scooping

Directions:

In a large pot, melt the butter over low heat. Add the onions and cook for about 2 hours, until deeply browned, stirring frequently.

Stir in sherry, sherry vinegar, Worcestershire, thyme and salt and pepper. Allow the liquid to reduce slightly (about 2 minutes) before adding the vegetable stock. Continue to cook and reduce, about 5 minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Transfer onions to glass pie dish and cover with the Gruyère. Broil for a few minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Garnish with the parsley and allow to cool slightly before serving.

*A note- we had so much of this left over that I tried to turn it into onion soup: what a disaster! In trying to compensate for blandness I added way too much sherry vinegar: I have no idea how Adam ate a whole bowl of it!

Leek and Artichoke Bread Pudding

(Adapted from Five and Spice)

Ingredients

About 6 (loosely packed) cups of 1-inch cubes of stale bread

1 Tbs. butter (plus more for greasing the baking pan)

2 medium leeks, sliced into thin coins (only the white and light green parts, well cleaned)

1 can of artichoke hearts, drained and cut into thin slices

1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 large eggs

2 1/4 cups whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly grated black pepper

Directions

In a large frying pan, heat your butter over medium heat until it is melted and starting to bubble. Stir in the leeks and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they have begun to brown. Then, turn the heat down to very low and let them cook another 10 minutes, until they are nicely caramelized.

In the meantime, heat your oven to 350F, spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes, until just lightly golden. Take them out of the oven and transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Once the leeks are caramelized, stir them in with the bread cubes, then add the artichokes and the cheeses and toss everything together.

Butter an 8 inch square baking pan well, then put the bread, vegetable, cheese mixture into the pan, pressing it down a little to get everything to fit. (Bread cubes will be poking up above the top of the pan though.)

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour 3/4s of this mixture into the bread in the pan. Let it rest about 10 minutes, then pour in the rest of the egg mixture and let it rest 5 minutes more – you should still have edges of bread cube sticking up out of the egg-milk mixture, these will become a crispy crust.

Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, or until it is set and the top is browned. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

*Note- I had my doubts  about the amount of bread sticking up above the liquid, but those parts turned into lovely crispy decadent croutons! Also, being a bread pudding neophyte, I made only two tiny adjustments to Emily’s recipe- my lemon refused to zest, so I used juice instead, and my loaf pan wasn’t big enough for this recipe, so I switched to the square pan.

Fresh Mushroom Salad

(from Giada De Laurentiis, via La Dolce Bacon)

Ingredients:

8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, cleaned/trimmed and thinly sliced

a small handful of fresh parsley, chopped

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/8  cup lemon juice

salt and pepper

parmesan

Directions:

In a medium salad bowl, mix together the mushrooms and parsley.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and lemon juice until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Add the oil mixture to the salad bowl and toss until all the ingredients are coated. At this point you can place the mushroom salad in the refrigerator to allow the mushrooms to marinate a bit. When ready to serve, add some freshly grated parmesan.

Meatless Monday: the Jar of Artichokes

8 Feb ready for the final broil

You know how there’s always one jar in your pantry whose sole purpose is to taunt you? It just stares at you every time you open the cabinet door as if to say, “You’re never going to find a use for me, are you?” And you acknowledge its presence, thinking, “Oh yeah, I need to use that sometime,” and then promptly ignore it as you close the cabinet again.

For me, it’s been a jar of ‘Trader Giotto’s Artichoke Antipasto.’ The label describes it as “an artichoke spread with extra virgin olive oil.” Seems innocent enough. I’m sure I just grabbed it one day at Trader Joe’s, no doubt thinking it would be a key component for some simple but as-yet-unplanned meal in the future. Then it sat in my cabinet. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, it might have been sitting in Adam’s cabinet this whole time. Regardless, when we moved in together five months ago the jar moved with us, and it’s been sitting in our new cabinet ever since.

At least it was until yesterday. With no plans for Meatless Monday and a strong disinclination to move my car from its perfect parking spot, I decided to go back to basics and make a simple bruschetta. Sure, fresh tomatoes and basil would have been lovely, but given that it’s winter and I really needed to find a use for this jar of artichokes, I decided it would work.

olive oil-brushed, garlic-rubbed, freshly toasted bread slices

beginning the topping process

the finished product

And it did. I put my leftover ricotta to good use and topped some pieces with the artichoke spread and others with some of the tomato jam (with garlic and rosemary) that my mother made with her abundance of tomatoes. The ‘Artichoke Antipasto’ was not exactly what I expected (more vinegar-y than artichoke-y) but the ricotta helped mellow it a bit. The result was quite satisfactory- a light, fresh-tasting meal with minimal mess and no meat. Of course, now I have to figure out how to use up the rest of it since the half-empty jar is just sitting in my fridge, staring at me…

 

Meatless Monday Recap: Roasted Potato Leek Soup or Ina Garten, I love you!

1 Feb Roasted Potato Leek Soup

Oh how I love the Barefoot Contessa. Let’s be honest- who among us doesn’t dream about running away to the Hamptons to run a specialty food store? No? Just me? Whatever- regardless of your feelings about the buttercream queen, you are going to love this soup. Seriously. Love it. I’ve been a bit lackadaisical in my praise for some recipes I’ve tried recently, but this one gets a standing ovation. I should have known Ina wouldn’t let me down.

I saw this Roasted Potato Leek soup months ago on an episode called Comfort Classics Closeup. I wanted to try it immediately, but decided to wait until I got the immersion blender that I knew my mother had planned for my Hannukah gift.

It was so worth the wait.

Somehow, my soup ended up tasting like a bowlful of liquefied sour cream and onion potato chips- in an amazing way. On the Food Network website the recipe had four stars out of five, but a quick read-through of the reviews revealed mostly raves, with a few disgruntled failures mixed in. Just to make sure that it wasn’t going to end up “very bland” (as described by the most recent reviewer), I tried one of the potato pieces post-roasting: tasted just like latkes (a thought that Adam immediately echoed when he walked in the door, “it smells like latkes in here!”). Of course, now I’m just looking forward to trying the Cheesy Soup that popped up in the ‘similar recipes’ sidebar, although Robert Irvine could never hold the place in my heart that Ina does.

A few notes, before the recipe:

~The ‘cook time’ is supposedly 1 hour 35 minutes, but it took me 3 hours start to finish. I’m certainly not a speedy cook, but this is also definitely not a quick recipe.

~I’d never used leeks before last night- I was completely surprised when I pulled apart the leaves and found mud between the layers! Katie Goodman of goodLife {eats} provides great step-by-step instructions (with photos!) for cleaning leeks. While I’ve never had a problem with cutting onions, the leeks definitely had the inside of my nose stinging. Hooray for trying new vegetables!

I had no idea leeks were so huge!

~I did try to make the crispy shallots for on top, but they just didn’t turn out crispy. At all. I’m going to blame my lack of a candy thermometer and say that the shallots are probably lovely when done properly, but I didn’t really mourn their absence (because this soup is awesome). If it hadn’t been Meatless Monday I might have followed some of the suggestions in the comments section and topped the soup with some crispy bacon, just for fun.

trying to fry shallots

waiting for shallots to get crispy

~My grocery store didn’t have crème fraîche and my specialty store was out, so I just substituted 1/2 cup lowfat sour cream and 1/2 cup half & half- turned out just fine.

~Finally- I was a little confused because there were no instructions concerning when to add the butter. This is, after all, an Ina Garten recipe- how could there be no butter involved? After searching the ingredients list several times, however, I was reassured that this wasn’t an oversight, and I comforted myself by adding some extra parmesan, just to be safe.

Anway, here’s the recipe that will have you swooning. Enjoy!

Roasted Potato Leek Soup
(from foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients:

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks

4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (I needed three leeks)

1/4 cup good olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 cups baby arugula, lightly packed

1/2 cup dry white wine, plus extra for serving (I used a Schmitt Sohne reisling that’s been floating around since our housewarming; it worked just fine)

6 to 7 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade (I subbed vegetable stock, as usual)

3/4 cup heavy cream

8 ounces creme fraiche (or 1/2 cup sour cream plus 1/2 cup half &half)

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan (I used about 1/2 cup), plus extra for garnish

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the potatoes and leeks in a large mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss to coat the vegetables evenly. Spread the vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, turning them a few times during cooking, until very tender.

leeks and potatoes getting roast-y in the oven

Add the arugula and toss to combine. Roast for 4 to 5 more minutes, until the arugula is wilted. Remove the pan from the oven and place over 2 burners. Stir in the wine and 1 cup of the chicken stock and cook over low heat, scraping up any crispy roasted bits sticking to the pan. (I ended up adding a bit more of the stock at this point because I was having difficulty loosening up all the yummy bits.)

maybe the only benefit of my electric cooktop- it's flat (though not at all level)

Transfer the vegetables to a large pot; add the pan liquid and about 5 cups of the stock.

roasted veggies and vegetable stock

Use an immersion blender to create a puree, then add enough of the remaining 1 to 2 cups of stock to make a thick soup.

immersion blender in action

Add the cream, creme fraiche, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and check the seasonings. (The one note I would make here- taste the soup before adding the 2 teaspoons of salt: it might already be salty enough.)

adding in the creaminess

When ready to serve, reheat the soup gently and whisk in 2 tablespoons white wine (I added a bit more) and the grated parmesan. Serve hot with an extra grating of parmesan.

(Given the richness of the soup, I served it with a simple arugula salad- just baby arugula tossed in olive oil, lemon juice and a little salt, topped with shaved parmesan and some freshly ground pepper. It provided a really nice balance to the rich, creamy soup. Plus, you know, vitamins.)

A Detour to the Library

31 Jan my cookbook shelf- not that scary

I set off on an ingredient quest this afternoon, hoping it would be a quick and easy errand. All I need for tonight’s Roasted Potato Leek Soup is creme fraiche, and I was totally counting on the Market on Market to have some. Alas, they just ran out, and won’t be getting more in stock until at least tomorrow. Instead of turning my quest into an epic, I’m opting to do the sour cream/whipping cream substitution method and hoping for the best.

In order to keep my walk downtown from being a complete failure, however, I decided to stop by the library to look for some new audition monologues. I was a bit disappointed by the play selection, but the multiple aisles of food-related reading material quickly cheered me up. There were no copies of The Joy of Cooking on the shelf, but I ended up leaving with a few books. (Adam has already mocked me for getting food books from the library even though I already have plenty of my own sitting around, begging for attention.)

Regardless of the mockery, I’m pretty excited about my library selections:

from bookcoverarchive.com

In honor of Meatless Monday, I’m finally going to tackle Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals. I’ve heard mixed reviews; I’m quite fond of meat, so I’m not looking to be turned vegetarian, but I do like his style and I’m intrigued enough to try reading this one.

from simonandschuster.com

While I was browsing the many, many cookbooks, one totally tacky-looking tome popped out at me: America’s Most Wanted Recipes. The subtitle, “delicious recipes from your family’s favorite restaurants,” says it all. I’m planning a series of posts about ‘guilty pleasure’ foods, and this book totally fits that theme. Can’t wait to try making the oft-craved Red Lobster cheddar biscuits!

from tomstandage.com

Finally, I decided to give one of my father’s reading suggestions another shot. We don’t always agree on writing style, but he’s the reason I read The United States of Arugula, so I’m going to try A History of the World in 6 Glasses again. Of course, I have his copies of Goat Song and The Omnivore’s Dilemma sitting on my shelf, but library books just seem so much more exciting! Maybe that will help me get through a book that is, from what I remember, rather dry and repetitive.

Now, with leftovers from tonight’s soup and a new stack of books, I’m all ready to be snowed in again!

Meatless Monday Recap: Cheddar Beer Soup

25 Jan IMG_2759

In case you don’t know me, there’s something you should probably be aware of: I really like cheese. I like cheese so much that when I mentioned to Adam that I should probably consume more calcium he just looked at me, flabbergasted. I keep our refrigerator constantly stocked with at least four different kinds of cheese, and one of my life goals (shared with Mags) is to have a huge wheel of parmigiano-reggiano in my kitchen. That’s how much I like cheese. So really, going meatless on Mondays isn’t all that difficult- I just make cheese-based meals instead.

Since it’s been so ridiculously cold out recently, I decided that a soup would be nice, and I wanted to try making a cheddar/beer soup. Christine Van Bloem, owner of The Kitchen Studio in Frederick, has been tweeting about the upcoming ‘Cooking with Beer‘ class she’s teaching and I couldn’t get the thought of cheese-based soup out of my mind. Unfortunately, the class isn’t until March, so I was on my own to figure out how to satisfy that craving.

A quick search of the interwebs turned up plenty of recipe options. The top-rated offering on Allrecipes was a little more complicated than what I was going for, so I settled on a simple-looking Newcastle Brown Ale Cheddar Soup. In retrospect, it might have been better to go with something a little more complex, as I was a little dissatisfied with the soup’s flavor. Nevertheless, it satisfied my craving for a cheesy main dish (and even snuck in some nutrition in the form of cauliflower). So, here it is, with my little tweaks.

Onions and cheese and beer, oh my!
Newcastle Brown Ale Cheddar Soup
(from About.com, with minor adjustments)

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets

1 T butter

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 T Worcestershire sauce

12 oz. Newcastle Brown Ale

14 1/2 oz. vegetable broth (subbed for chicken broth to keep recipe meat-free)

3 T cornstarch

2 cups half & half

2 cups shredded cheddar

salt and pepper

dash of nutmeg

pinch of cayenne

dash of ground mustard

Put cauliflower in a small saucepan, cover in water, and cook over medium heat until tender, ~10 minutes. Drain.

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and Worcestershire sauce, cook until the onion begins to soften, then add the garlic. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and translucent. Add the beer and bring to a boil. Add the vegetable broth, allow to return to a boil before stirring in the cauliflower.

Combine the cornstarch with 3T of water in a small bowl; set aside.

Stir the cheese and half & half into the soup until the cheese is completely melted. Add the cornstarch mixture and continue stirring until the soup thickens.

Enjoy!

 

Meatless Monday: Spanish Omelette

4 Jan Spanish omelette

For my first Meatless Monday I decided to make something new but simple. Based on the ingredients I already had in my fridge, a Spanish omelette seemed to fit the bill nicely. There was an easy enough recipe in Nigella Express and, best of all, it recommended that the omelette be eaten at room temperature, so I didn’t have to worry about timing dinner for when Adam would get home.

pages 272-273 of Nigella Express

The recipe was incredibly straightforward. I started by cutting the potatoes into cubes that were a little under an inch. I’d been worried about not having enough potatoes (I had a half dozen red-skinned baby potatoes) so I’d walked down to my favorite market to pick up extras. My mom pointed out that this was probably unnecessary since I was only cooking for two people and she was right. I only ended up using five of the potatoes I already had.

While the potatoes were boiling (since I’d cut them so small it took less than 15 minutes) I chopped up the rest of my ingredients. Nigella called for roasted red peppers and scallions, but since I was depending on the contents of my fridge I went with sun-dried tomatoes and onions, plus curly leaf parsley for color. I also opted for cheddar over Manchego, since that’s what I had on hand.

the sun-dried tomatoes were part of my mom's bountiful tomato harvest this year

While the (now cooked) potatoes drained in the sink, I moved on to the other key ingredient- the eggs. Oddly, the ‘Large’ white egg I used was significantly larger than the three ‘Large’ brown eggs were. I think I’m going to have to look into that. (I think I should also look into the health benefits of brown eggs, to justify the higher price to myself.) I whisked the four eggs together, added my chopped/shredded ingredients  and some salt and pepper.

scrambled eggs with onion, parsley, cheddar, sundried tomatoes, salt and pepper

Now, according to Nigella, it was time to pour the omelette into the pan and start the cooking process. I got as far as heating the oil and butter on the stove before I realized that I’d forgotten about the potatoes draining in the sink. Apparently Nigella did, too. After consulting the recipe again, I discovered that the potatoes disappeared after step two. A quick search of allrecipes reassured me that it was time to add the potatoes.

I put my small frying pan back on the burner and emptied the contents of my mixing bowl into it. This was the challenging part of the process. According to Nigella, I could cook the omelette for five minutes on the stovetop, then transfer it to the broiler to finish up. Unfortunately, none of my frying pans are oven-safe, so I had to search for an alternative cooking method.

waiting for the top to become firm enough to flip

Luckily, The Illustrated Kitchen Bible (one of my winter solstice presents this year) called for cooking in the pan, over low heat, for twenty minutes, then using plates to flip the omelette before returning it to the pan to finish cooking. While this method required a little more patience, I was pleasantly surprised that the bottom didn’t get over-done while the top was becoming solid enough for the plate flip-and-slide.

It actually ended up cooking pretty well. Overall, it was certainly satisfying enough to be a main dish. I was a little dissatisfied with the flavor: the sun-dried tomatoes were definitely the strongest individual flavor, and everything else was pretty mild. I think next time I might try the Kitchen Bible’s method: they suggest cutting the potatoes into matchsticks instead of cubes. I think that could help prevent the big pockets of mildness that the potatoes cause. And, of course, adding a little extra cheese could never hurt… Maybe I should just stick to quiche, after all.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.