Editor’s Note: This dish not only is our first meal in the Dark Days Challenge, but it’s also one of our quick, easy & delicious “Meals in Busytown”. -Christina
Apparently I have fooled myself to believe that I buy mostly local and organic foods for my home, but when faced with having to restrict myself to the Dark Days Challenge determinants, I realized how many foods I buy and cook with that are neither local nor organic. I started a post for the Challenge last week, making a quiche (which I will post under different circumstances at some point in the future), and slowly realized that many of the ingredients did not qualify for the challenge. Halfway through writing up the post I had a revelation: oh yeah, that’s right, a half a block of cheddar cheese went in to this quiche and I have no idea where that cheese comes from or what sorts of toxins have gone in to making it! From this and a few other quiche-related missteps, I learned that I take for granted so much of the food that I and my family consume. I may hold my head high coming home from the farmers market with my bag full of sustainable, organic, local and ethical foods, but my mind is elsewhere when unloading bags from Hannafords.
I put aside the quiche post, with its store-brand cheddar and rice crust, and focused my attention on: The Frittata! This dish is one of those that I feel stupid for not thinking of more often when I’m in a bind about what to make for dinner. It is so incredibly easy to make and, like with Christina’s Fried Rice she posted about yesterday, just about any leftover ingredient can be incorporated in to it. The frittata is usually associated with Spain, although there it’s usually referred to as a “tortilla espanola.” The basic recipe includes potatoes and onions, cooked and then covered with eggs and cooked some more. What’s exciting about my frittata is that it is sustainable, local, organic and ethical as well as quick and easy. A dish like this can come close to boring, however, so you need to use your imagination. For this meal I purchased most of the ingredients from the Saratoga Springs Farmers Market.
The kale, onion and potato came from my CSA share with Kilpatric Family Farm, the Havarti cheese came from Argyle Cheese Farmer and the eggs came from a farm around the corner from where I live that doesn’t appear to have a name. I cooked the potatoes (about two medium-sized, peeled) ahead of time, cutting them in to small pieces and then boiling them. A frittata is best prepared in an iron skillet, starting on the stove-top. I preheated the oven to broil while I sauteed the kale, six leaves stripped off the stem and chopped, along with the onion, and then added the potatoes. I should note that these ingredients were sauteed in olive oil and then topped with black pepper, neither of which are local (these are my exceptions to the Challenge). I beat the five eggs and poured them over the vegetable mixture and then grated about a half cup of the Havarti cheese on the top. After cooking for only a minute or two, I transferred the skillet in to the oven where it was blasted from heat from above and quickly turned in to a golden, bubbling delight.
We ate the frittata for lunch, which really, due to the breakfast-like nature of the dish, made it a brunch. Honestly, this particular frittata was a little bland, and if I’d allowed myself to expand beyond the local foods available to me right now, I would have included some roasted red peppers or corn (preserving projects for next summer!). A dollop of my friend’s home-grown tomatillo sauce brought the dish to life for me though, so in the end this was a meal worth repeating. (Good thing there’s enough for lunch tomorrow!)