A couple of weeks ago, a group wonderful friends came to the Coronado “Villa” under the guise of a bookclub field trip. Vy, our humble leader, wrote a truly inspiring blog post on what it means to be friends. For my blog, I’ll just stick to the food! By “planning to not plan” and knowing I would have lots of help in the kitchen, I’ve figured out how to fun with big group at the house, and not feeling like I’m having to “entertain”. I got there a day ahead of time, and stopped at Trader Joes to get some staples (wine, cheese, eggs). In the mode of not planning, I grilled some chicken breasts and made a pot of quinoa – so dinner for me, and options for salads or sandwiches later. The next morning, I picked my friends up at the airport, and we made a couple of detours on the way to the house: first at Point Loma Seafood, then at the Horton Square Farmer’s market.
For our first lunch, I took my Aunt Joyce’s idea of a quinoa and edaname salad that she left as a comment on my post about green salads. It started with a good amount of cooked quinoa, some diced chicken, plus a container of shelled edaname. To that, we added some of the bounty from the farmers market: chopped red bell pepper, cucumber, zucchini, and an avocado. It was dressed with lemon juice (a couple of lemons worth), some olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano from the herb garden. It all came together in about 5 minutes – 2 of us chopping, others out gathering herbs. A wonderful start!
Dinner was grilled Wahoo (aka Ono), one of my favorite fish to eat. I will definitely be going back to Point Loma Seafood (and not sure why it took 4 of my friends showing up to go try it). Vy made a wonderful asparagus dish. She quickly blanched the asparagus and made a topping of Manchego cheese, garlic, and butter and popped it under the broiler. I’ll do that again! Some boiled potatoes … baby potatoes that were dug that morning … rounded out the meal.
The last day of the trip started with a tour of Glorietta Bay on Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUP). The ride back in to the beach was a bit rough – boat wakes and a stiff breeze made it tough to stay upright (I’m sure at least 2 of my friends likely consider me a big fat liar after saying they probably wouldn’t get wet) and we worked up some good appetites. Fortunately, there was plenty of stuff left from our visit to the farmers market. And lots of egg’s. And I really felt I owed my friends a hot lunch after getting them so wet. So while my shivering friends jumped into hot showers, the rest of us got busy on making a Frittata. Frittata’s are right up there with pasta, stir fry, and pizza’s for using up whatever vegetables, meat, and cheese that might be around – a meal that fits perfectly in my system of not really planning. The bonus of a frittata is that you include some starch – generally pasta or potatoes – which makes it nice and filling, and comforting. Like my friends.
FrittataThis is more a guideline that a real recipe. Your frittata can be as simple as leftover pasta and eggs, or be used a catch-all for odds and ends of fresh vegetables and leftovers. I have sized this for a 10 – 11 inch skillet, but adjust up or down as needed.
Vegetable Component: Some options I like: onions, peppers, broccoli, zucchini, spinach or other greens, asparagus. You can use left-over steamed or roasted vegetables too. If you are using pasta that is loaded with veggies you don’t need to add more. One to three cups is a good amount.
(the Bookgroup Frittata (BF) included onions, peppers, garlic, and leftover asparagus)
Starch Component: Pasta is my favorite, but potatoes (roasted, boiled or even raw – just need to cook in the pan a while until they are tender), quinoa, or rice. Again 1 – 3 cups depending on what you have, how many you are feeding.
(the BF was a bunch of left-over, multicolored steamed new potatoes, sliced)
Meat: completely optional, leftover chicken, ham, bacon, or sausage all work. (we kept the BF vegetarian)
Egg Component: just whisk a bunch of eggs. I never bother adding milk or cream, just a bit of salt and pepper. Use 8 to 12 eggs. You want enough to just cover the other stuff.
(BF used a dozen. We were hungry)
Cheese Component: Pretty much anything.. Parmesan is traditional, any good melting cheese works, or even goat cheese. Use a small handful, shredded or in small crumbles.
(BF used Manchego)
Pulling it together:
Warm some olive oil in a 10 or 11 inch non-stick skillet (I would not attempt this without non-stick) over a medium hot flame. Use more oil if you are using potatoes, less if you have pasta that already has a sauce on it. Sauté any fresh vegetables (including potatoes) in oil, then add leftover vegetables, meat, and starch; warm all the way through. If it’s too dry and sticking, add a bit of water.
Turn the heat down to medium, and add the beaten eggs. Toss in a handful of cheese. Give a good stir to distribute the eggs with the filling. Let it cook for a while (how long depends on how many eggs, how much stuff), but I thinking its 5 minutes or more. Don’t stir, but you can run a rubber spatula around the egde. Meanwhile, turn your broiler on.
When the eggs are starting to get brown on the bottom (the frittata is sturdy enough you can use plastic spatula to lift the edge to look underneath), its ready to pop into the broiler (the bottom half or more should be cooked). Broil for another 3 to 5 minutes or so, until the top is firm and nicely browned. Remove and keep a hot pad on the handle! Let rest a few minutes (poke to make sure the middle is done), then slide off onto a plate to serve. Good hot or room temperature.
And great with best friends.