Monday, November 09, 2009


After the spicy seafood pasta lunch on Saturday, my mother and I immediately began planning dinner. Doesn't everyone do that? Start talking about the next meal while eating the previous?

My family certainly does that, because we are piggies. And also because on weekends, time is best when spent in the kitchen or sitting with mugs of some hot beverage, chattering away.

Because we had boiled up so much spaghetti for lunch, we had this massive Lock-and-Lock container full of cooked pasta. Whenever I see leftover pasta, my brain immediately goes to two things:

- curry (Korean/Japanese, not Indian or Thai!)
- frittata

My mother gave me this bewildered look when I exclaimed, "frittata!" Turns out, she has never had it before. How that is possible, I don't know. We both love pasta and eggs, and frittatas are just the most useful way to combine those two ingredients. I made a small frittata (pictures below) for part of our Saturday dinner, then made two more frittatas on Sunday afternoon (one for my mother's house, one for mine).


Serves 4

4 eggs
1/4 cup milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream
salt or garlic salt
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
1/4 green bell pepper, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 slices of deli ham, chopped
about 2 ounces cooked chicken, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
about 4 ounces leftover cooked pasta

First, the step that I almost always forget: preheat the ol' oven to 375 Fahrenheit.

The onion, bell pepper, ham, and chicken (all leftovers, by the way) are diced up. Saute the garlic, onion, and bell pepper in a little bit of oil and with some garlic salt. I do not like raw onions. At all. So I have the habit of cooking onions longer than most people do, until they are soft and melting and sweet. In order to get there, I have to start with oil. Cooking in butter would result in browned butter and crispy little pieces of onion.

Once the onions are somewhat pliable, add the butter and cook down until the onions are totally soft. In total, I probably sauteed the vegetables for about 10 minutes, adding the butter a bit more than halfway through.

While the vegetables are cooking beat together the eggs and milk in a separate bowl (I used half-and-half). Once the eggs are loose, add in the spaghetti and stir.

I forgot to take a picture of this part. Once the vegetables are cooked down, turn the heat off and add the ham and chicken, then stir to combine. I do this deliberately to cool the vegetables somewhat. Adding hot ingredients to eggs? Disaster. So I cool down the vegetable mix a little bit before proceeding.

Stir the mixture of meat and veggies into the egg and spaghetti. Combine gently. It should not be very soupy- if it's too loose, you can always add more stuff. Whatever's around, really.

Pour into a greased oven-proof dish. Place the dish into the oven. Check it out after twenty minutes. Is it brown? Does it look set? I bet not. Check again after ten more minutes. The frittata should be golden brown- if it's completely brown, it's been over-cooked. In total, depending on your oven and how many ingredients you've thrown in, the frittata will bake for 30 - 40 minutes.

I used a glass Pyrex dish, which I love because it has a lid. Easy and convenient to take along. My mother has about twenty glass Pyrex dishes with lids (I don't even think I'm exaggerating), so on Sunday evening, I made the frittatas in two different sizes, letting the larger dish cook a little longer (probably 10 minutes more than the smaller dish).

I told my parents that the frittata is better at room temperature, once the eggs have a chance to set up and cool down. They did not buy it for a second, and my mother demanded that we cut into the thing after it had been resting for just about 20 seconds. We dug in, and it was great- though it got even better when I had it for breakfast the next day with a dollop of ketchup on top (I love ketchup dearly).

We had a sort of strange meal for dinner on Saturday: frittata, tonkatsu, eggplant, doenjang soup, and a ton of Korean side dishes. Odd but yummy.

 The last photo is just so I can make fun of my mother. We ate the part of the frittata missing from the left side of the picture. Then Mom decided she wanted some more. Instead of cutting from the left side, like a logical person, she took a very thin slice out of the right side! She wanted the browned corners. That mother, picking out just the parts she likes!

Yesterday's frittatas, which I did not take any pictures of, were a bit different than Saturday's. They contained minced cabbaged, sauteed with onion and a bit of carrot, a bit of chili, and lots of garlic, plus deli ham but without chicken. I just had some for lunch with a side of par-cooked green beans and it was delicious.

The one thing I did differently yesterday was to mix the spaghetti with the sauteed ingredients, then lay that mixture into the baking dishes, pouring the eggs over at the end. The only reason I did it that way was because I had the eggs in a large Pyrex measuring cup and didn't want to track down a giant mixing bowl. I've done this before- no difference at all to the final dish. When there are 8 eggs to contend with, trying to combine that sheer volume of stuff can get a little messy, so I opt for the egg-pouring method.

I've been trying to write out recipes in Korean, for the sake of some of my family as well as for my own benefit. I need to practice my (rusty) writing ability. The only one so far that's done is for chicken pho. My goal is to get at least one recipe done in Korean every week. 

Who knows, maybe I'll be blogging in Korean someday.